Vegas ended up landing Mark Stone right before the trade deadline, but it wasn’t a straight path to that destination.
Darren Dreger had a Wednesday afternoon radio hit on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290.
As part of the overall conversation reflecting on both the weekend and Monday’s trade-related activity, the Insider shed more insight into what was going on behind the scenes as it related to Stone.
“My Vegas sources told me that there was at least an exchange early Sunday morning and then it went quiet between Vegas and Ottawa,” noted Dreger. “I’m pretty sure that Chevy and the Winnipeg Jets were talking to Ottawa throughout Sunday, and maybe even early Monday again.
“But I never got the sense - even though I know that Winnipeg definitely, definitely targeted Mark Stone - you have to be willing to negotiate, and I don’t think Ottawa was going off its ask, whatever the ask was. It would have been that first-round pick. Was it Roslovic, was it Niku, was it Stanley - go down the list of all of the good, young Winnipeg Jets players and prospects that they have.
“There was no deal to be made with Ottawa that made sense to Cheveldayoff. So Chevy does what he needed to do. He shifts his focus over to the New York Rangers. He makes a deal for Kevin Hayes, and I can tell you guys that the deal that they ended up making was quite a bit less than the New York Rangers were hoping. They were eying one of those good, top, young guys like Roslovic or Vesalainen, or I mentioned Stanley, Niku, some of the other pieces. So Chevy did good work there.
“But what that then did was really narrow the focus of what the Ottawa Senators had to work with on Mark Stone. Very quickly it became the Vegas Golden Knights. I’m told that they closed on the hockey side of that deal around 2:00, 2:15 Eastern - so 45 minutes before the deadline. And then of course Vegas had to work with Newport Sports to get that extension done.
“So it was nervous times, certainly, for Pierre Dorion in Ottawa.”
Dreger was pressed for details on which teams may have been waiting in the wings during that Vegas-Ottawa negotiation.
“Trust me, I’m sure that he was feeling a fair bit of angst and probably panic at times,” said Dreger of Dorion.”Because they had to negotiate that deal. It’s not always a slam-dunk, especially when you’re a pending unrestricted free agent. We know the connection between Kelly McCrimmon and Mark Stone, dating back to the Brandon Wheat Kings and the deep, deep level of respect that they have for one another. But at the end of the day, it’s a business.
“And what if Stone had said, ‘Well, I love the idea of Vegas, but I just can’t make that decision right now.’ Well, Vegas would have pulled out. They would have pulled out. And Dorion would have had to have opted over to Plan B. Now, is that the New York Islanders. Lots of speculation that the Islanders were digging around, but they did not want to spend the 9.5 annual, at least that’s what was speculated. And I think the Boston Bruins were kind of nibbling a little bit as well.
“But as I said a minute ago, when Winnipeg zeroed in on Kevin Hayes with the New York Rangers, then I think that that was the indication for Pierre Dorion that he better find something with Vegas because he maybe didn’t like the other deals or deal as much.
“So it all worked out in the end and everyone’s happy.”