toronto – in NHLThe general managers gathered on Tuesday for their traditional post-Hockey Hall of Fame induction meeting, a four-and-a-half-hour session that was low in the news but provided an opportunity for some managers to plant early seeds in trade talks.
They joked: “I had 29 friends here who were really trying to help me.” Senators GM Pierre Dorion, was responsible for the two GMs who didn’t show up (Brian McClellan of the Capitals and Jarmo Kekkalainen of the Blue Jackets, the latter of whom had a flying problem).
“These meetings are a bit different than the ones in March because in the March meetings you can’t do any more deals (it’s beyond the deadline),” he added. “Here you see guys getting together and trying to figure things out.
“You find out what’s going on, if there’s anyone in the market, and you have an idea about injuries or anything, who’s talking to who. We’re all trying to talk to each other and try to improve our teams.”
How active is Dorion as far as examining the market right now?
“Very active,” Dorion said. “Very active to see what’s out there and what’s going on.”
Dorion feels his team is playing better than their standard performances, so he wants to be patient. But to an extent.
“I think at this time of year we’re all checking in to see where we’re going to be, where everyone’s going to be in the next couple of weeks, where everyone’s going to be by Christmas,” he said. “We have to be somewhat patient, but at the same time, we cannot let this go on for too long.”
The March 3 trading deadline is still a long way off, but it’s never too early to start thinking about scenarios.@tweet He names some of the best players who may be on the move this season and where they are.https://t.co/Av1O823ajd
– NHL Sports Association (TheAthleticNHL) November 10, 2022
Dorion also doubled down on his faith in head coach DJ Smith, once again sending the message that this is not the kind of change he had in mind.
“Training is not the issue. Easy like that,” Dorion said. “For me, this is the first time we’ve given a DJ squad that can compete for a potential playoff spot. So I think we have to be patient there.”
But watching his team lose so many close matches in the opening month was not easy to comprehend.
“(It was) tough, he said, smiling, to anyone who knows me.” “It can be very difficult to be patient, but it’s a process. If we’re being outsmarted every night, you have to do something.
But at the moment we don’t feel that’s the case. We are close to every game. …
“Hopefully we start to get a little bit of luck. But at the end of the day we have to start winning games.”
Strengthening the blue line is the obvious need, and Dorion reiterated what he has said before, that he feels it is the hardest position to trade for. But this is clearly where he’s looking.
Speaking of which…
Senators, as discussed before, have shown interest in Jacob ShekronAnd it just so happens that the 24-year-old blueliner is finally getting ready for his first season start next week. Or at least that’s the current plan.
There are a number of teams eager to finally see Chychrun play again before deciding whether to get more serious in trade talks with Arizona.
He’s coming back on November 21,” Bill Armstrong of the Coyotes said after the GMs’ meeting. “He’ll join the team to practice starting, I think, tomorrow. That’s the plan.”
And I think it’s clear that if a team comes up with a serious offer, the Wolves don’t feel the need to withdraw that offer forever.
“There’s been a lot of injury to a lot of defensemen (around the NHL) this year, and I think there’s a lot of opportunity that’s going to come our way,” Armstrong said. “We’re just going to be patient with it. That obviously has something to do with how well he plays when he comes into the squad.”
Armstrong also doesn’t intend to drop the asking price, which I believe includes a pair of first-round picks as part of any package.
“I don’t know if it’s a high bar. I think other GMs feel that way,” Armstrong said of his asking price. “But I think they’d ask the same thing if it were me, you know? I think he led the league in scoring for a defenceman, and he’s 24 years old on a very good contract.
“I think they might be asking for the same thing.”
Mike Greer was attending his second meeting with GMs after going to a draft meeting in Montreal in July just days after he was named Sharks GM.
What I was excited to learn after Tuesday’s meeting was how Greer felt about veteran tackle Erik Carlson’s stellar play and what that might mean for the trade deadline.
We’ll get to his massive contract in a moment, but specifically, I asked Greer if he could see a situation where teams called up Carlson.
“I don’t know. He’s a dynamic player,” Greer said. “For me, he’s probably one of the three best offensive defenders in the league, and he’s been fantastic for us. He did everything we asked in terms of preparation and practice.
“Maybe there’s a scenario where a team comes in asking for him, because I think he’s the difference maker. He’s someone who can go out there and win you a game or win you a series, for that matter. Maybe something will come up down the road. We’ll see.”
Any potential trade requires the sharks to massage this contract in some way. Carlson after this season has four more years averaging $11.5 million in annual value.
How much are sharks willing to eat to make the movement possible?
Erik Carlson’s play was one of the better stories in the first 20 percent of the season. It’s not just about the goals – it’s earned praise from many different sides.
He’s also been playing…a lot, lately, which might be something to watch. https://t.co/gN73WFTr1v
– Corey Macasisak (@cmasisak22) November 15, 2022
And of course, that’s all up to Carlson. He has a complete immobility condition. calls the shots. He probably doesn’t want to go anywhere, even if teams call closer to March 3.
“I would listen (if the team called), but at the end of the day, a lot of that depends on Eric, too. He’s got no-trade protection,” Greer said. “And what he wants to do… I know now he’s happy in San Jose His family is happy there and we are happy with the way he is playing.”
A media colleague asked why the rebound in Carlson’s game this season.
“I think health is a big part of it, but I think he’s in a good frame of mind, mentally,” Greer said. “From the moment I got the job, we had good conversations. Quinny (head coach David Quinn) did a good job of coming out to Ottawa (last summer) and visiting with him.
“I think it was an open line of communication. If he needs a day off or if there are things he wants to discuss at hockey, we have open doors with him. I think he feels good about where things are personally in his life, with his family, and I think our relationship is very open.” give and take.”
McFarland’s first General Manager meeting
I don’t think they forced him to tour the room on his own before things started on Tuesday, but it was really Chris McFarland’s first GM meeting after his summer promotion with the Stanley Cup champ. Colorado.
“It was exciting for me,” McFarland said afterwards. “It was old hat to a few other guys, but you know, it was another fresh moment for me. Something I enjoyed.”
I’ve often been told that junior GMs don’t know how to talk much in the first meeting or two.
“I didn’t say anything,” McFarland laughed. “I don’t know if there are rules for beginners, but it was very welcoming and a very good day.”
It was a chance to talk to the other GMs in person, especially for an Avs team that has been hit hard by injuries, and may be looking to get promoted at some point. For now, his team just has to work with a depleted lineup.
“I think the coaches are doing a great job, the players are doing a great job. I think there are 20 teams in the LTI, so it’s a challenge,” McFarland said. “As always, if there’s an opportunity to make us better, we’ll always look at anything. Whether it be now or months from now.”
(Top photo by Jakob Chychrun: Dan Hamilton/USA Today)