Kaplan: Latest on Dylan Larkin, David Pastrnak and more buzz from around the NHL

Of all the conversations I had on All-Star weekend in Florida, one in particular stood out with Sidney Crosby. He told me many times that the league feels more competitive than ever. In his 18 years in the NHL, Crosby said he had never seen anything like it. Sure, Boston ran away with the best record in the league, but there are so many teams grouped behind the Bruins and any team could win on any given night, meaning it’s hard to pinpoint the true favorites.

So as we get closer to the trade deadline (March 3) – coupled with the stagnant salary cap that has restricted so many applicants – teams are being cautious about going all-in. Teams seemingly in the mix may end up exchanging veterans. Teams arriving ahead of schedule or moving up the league table (see: New Jersey, Buffalo) are wary of giving up too much this year, knowing it’s more important for their franchises to build sustainably into the future. And we’re still not sure what players are available, as some of the most anticipated unrestricted free agents, such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, have yet to announce their intentions. The way it all shakes up will create an intriguing approach to the deadline.

Here’s what I hear about the storylines that will develop next month.

Breaking news about Dylan Larkin in Detroit

At All-Star weekend, Dylan Larkin lamented what he said was misinformation about his contract negotiations. “It just seems like people are fishing and speculating,” Larkin said. “I really don’t want my business to be there. I understand that we are in the spotlight and the fans want to know. They deserve to know. But I don’t think that’s entirely true, you know?”

As captain of the Red Wings, Larkin does not want his situation to become public. He hates to distract the team. He handled the situation the best he could, but it must be frustrating. Because when talking to people close to Larkin, no one really knows where things are going.

So, without getting into numbers, here’s what I can tell you about the dynamics going on behind the scenes:

Overall, Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman already has the price he’s willing to pay for Larkin in mind, and it’s not in line with what some of the other number one centers in the league are doing. Yzerman sticks to this figure. Larkin’s camp argue: How much does it cost to replace Larkin? They firmly believe in its value, and this is more than Yzerman was ready to budge. So we are between a rock and a hard place.

The only thing I keep hearing about Yzerman as a general manager is that he works slowly. He grinds things. He and Larkin’s camp did not speak for days. At the time, the Islanders offered Croatia AAV for $8.5 million. So when Larkin and Yzerman’s reps reunite – probably sometime this week – they’ll see if this deal helps their cause.

Ideally, Yzerman wants to close this deal before the March 3 deadline so he can plan other moves, as well as ensure that his 26-year-old captain doesn’t go away this summer in vain. Larkin has total control here with a no-trade clause in his deal. For now, Larkin doesn’t want to move on the deadline or this summer. He’s a hometown guy who’s spent his entire life in Michigan. He is proud to lead Detroit. But it becomes obvious that other teams may want to give him more money in the open market. And if there is no progress, his agent can talk to the other teams and agree on where Larkin wants to go. But they hope it doesn’t come to that. Judging by the way things are going, there is a very good chance that this will not be decided before the summer.

David Pastrnak close to payout?

In contract negotiations with David Pastrnak, I was told that the Bruins and their star winger were “very close financially.” Although Pastrnak admitted during All-Star weekend that there is no rush and he is focused on hockey, he is looking to make it this season after making some progress over the past few weeks. It looks like Pastrnak will be on par with the league’s top stars, and even more than the Boston front office originally budgeted. I heard that Pastrnak also wanted to be sure of the Bruins’ long-term vision so they could remain competitive in the next era after the departures of Patrice Bergeron, David Krayci and Brad Marchand.

In this regard, it looks like the Bruins were very hesitant to turn down a first-round pick or too many assets to loan players at this year’s deadline. They have been burned before and need to back up their lead pool. The Bruins want to strengthen their playoff roster, but ideally they want a player who also fits into their long-term plans. Price confidence is also a big priority for the other two top Eastern Conference contenders: the New Jersey Devils and the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Islanders Should Have Overpaid Bo Horvath

If Horváth’s eight-year, $8.5 million AAV expansion has confirmed anything, it’s the importance of market dynamics. Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello himself said, “It’s taking too long and too much money.” But the islanders desperately needed a push. When I was in Long Island the week before the All-Star break, the players said they didn’t believe the Islanders were as bad as their track record suggested. They were just in a rut, struggling to score – Matthew Barzal told me he thought he had to score three more goals and make 15 more assists – and the power play was brutal. Lamoriello gave up significant assets to get Horvath and needed to overpay to make sure it wasn’t for nothing.

Market for Timo Meier

Since Horvath’s move, all eyes have been on Timo Meier as the best forward available. He is 26 and is scoring at a career pace (0.55 goals per game in his first 51 games) at just the right time. Meyer will become a restricted free agent this summer (albeit with a $10 million qualifying offer). But league teams are looking to secure a new contract with Meyer’s camp to ease the deal, hoping they can get him in the $8 million to $9 million range. Metro’s rivals, the Devils and New York Rangers, are both very interested, though wary of getting into a trade war because they are not alone in this interest. “Everyone is talking to San Jose about Timo Meyer,” one Eastern Conference executive told me. “Everyone is watching it.”

Thatcher Demko on the move?

There were many rumors about Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko before the trade deadline. According to sources, at least four teams called Vancouver asking about Demko’s availability, and the Canucks didn’t say no to any of those teams. If Vancouver gets serious about rebuilding, it could get a lot of assets for Demko, who is only 27 and has another three years on a team-friendly $5 million a season.

The goalkeeper has not played since December 1 due to a lower body injury, and about a week and a half remain before returning to the ice. If he gets a couple of good starts and looks like the old, dominating Demko again, that interest is likely to increase. So this situation needs to be monitored, but not necessarily inevitable.

The goalkeeping market is not as hot as it was last year, although there will be teams looking for confidence in goal, especially if injuries crop up in the next few weeks. The two veterans most likely to be on the move are Ottawa’s Cam Talbot and San Jose’s James Reimer. The Kanese have three NHL goaltenders and, given the arrival of Petr Kochetkov, they may want to move in anticipation of Antti Raantha from UVA if the right offer comes along.

Kevin Hayes and latest Flyers news

One of the best stories of the weekend came from Kevin Hayes, a 30-year-old forward who made his first All-Star appearance in his ninth year in the league. Hayes’ late brother, Jimmy, always told Kevin that he considered himself an All-Star.

“I never thought something like this would happen,” Kevin said. “He always just said, ‘This year, it’s going to happen.’ I think he was just saying it to be a good guy.”

It was clearly an emotional weekend for Hayes, who shared the ice with his cousins ​​Matthew and Brady Tkachuk, as well as his former Boston College teammate Johnny Gaudreau. A large contingent of the Hayes family was on hand, including Jimmy’s son, Bo, whose main weekend goal was to meet his favorite player, David Pastrnak, in the locker room.

The Flyers had a practice at Voorhees on Sunday afternoon and I was told that Hayes had switched to a 7 a.m. departure to rush back in time. This is an example of Hayes’ character and how hard he works to exemplify the Flyers’ new culture under John Tortorella. Such discipline did not always exist in the team.

On Monday, Tortorella sent out a letter to Flyers season ticket holders explaining where the team is on the journey. Key Phrase: “I’m not going to lie to you – and I want to make this clear – we haven’t reached that point yet. This year has been the first step in building the Flyers’ future and rebuilding our reputation. as one of the most respected teams in hockey.” This signals that the Flyers will be sellers again by this year’s deadline.

I’ve heard some teams are interested in Hayes, who has three years left on a $7.1 million average annual deal, although the Flyers will no doubt need to keep some salary if they transfer him. It’s more likely that the Philly forward will be traded for James van Riemsdyk, who’s expecting an unrestricted free agent (who will also need some deduction from his $7 million salary). And while the Flyers would like to move Ivan Provorov ($6.75 million, contract until 2024-2025), an Eastern Conference executive told me that all-league interest in Nick Siler ($750,000, contract until 2023-2023 years) is much higher. 24) as a raw version of the budget contract. Philadelphia may be tempted to move Siler, 29, to open up spaces for younger players in the final stretch.

Source: www.espn.com

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