Friedman on Leafs, Oilers trade talks

So just how close were the Oilers and Leafs to making a trade before Monday’s deadline?

The latest 31 Thoughts: The Podcast episode with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek was recorded Wednesday and released Thursday.

A listener wanted to know the answer to that exact question involving Edmonton and Toronto.

“There was something there,” said Friedman. “Edmonton wanted Connor Brown. I think there were a lot of teams that asked Toronto about Connor Brown. I think Edmonton wanted Connor Brown. I believe Toronto’s target was Matt Benning. I’ve heard those same rumors.

“Now, someone told me that there was a report that Adam Larsson’s name came up as part of the Connor Brown deal. I’ve heard that’s not correct. But I don’t like to dump on other people’s reports. I’m just saying that I heard that was not correct and that Larsson was never discussed by the Oilers. But I heard it was Benning and for Brown.”

“Under that umbrella,” interjected Marek. “One of the names I heard of in a prospective deal was Jujhar Khaira.”

“For Toronto?” asked Friedman.

“Yes,” replied Marek. “I’m not sure that Toronto asked that, that might have been what Edmonton was offering; but that name was part of the conversation.”

“Well, I think Edmonton was definitely interested in Connor Brown,” noted Friedman. “Because I heard the Benning rumor. You mentioned Khaira. Somebody else mentioned they heard a Zack Kassian-to-Toronto rumor for Connor Brown. What that says to me is Edmonton really wanted Connor Brown.

“Now, I think there were a few teams that wanted Brown. I think Toronto thought about it, but I think at the end of the day, the Maple Leafs kind of looked at it like… they preferred not to give up Brown for a rental. I think they still like him a lot. If he was going anywhere, I think it was going for someone with term, and they’ll have to deal with all of this in the summer when they see what they have to do.

“By the way, Kassian an interesting one. Someone told me Nashville looked at Kassian before they got Brian Boyle.”

“Hear anything between Pittsburgh and Edmonton about Kassian?” asked Marek.

“Obviously they were getting asked about him because we’re hearing it all sorts of places like this,” said Friedman. “And he has been playing really well lately.”

“Sure has,” agreed Marek.”

Brown is in the second season of a three-year, $6.3 million contract.

Benning is in the first season of a two-year, $3.8 million contract.

Khaira is in the second season of a two-year, $1.35 million contract, and can become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

Kassian is in the second season of a three-year, $5.85 million contract.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly