NHL Rumors: Johnston on the Nikita Zadorov situation, and agents going public with trade request

TSN: Chris Johnston on TSN OverDrive talking about Nikita Zadorov’s trade request from the Calgary Flames, the Toronto Maple Leafs connection, and timeline for a potential trade somewhere. Also, Johnston’s thoughts on an agent going public like Dan Milstein did.

** NHLRumors.com transcription

Bryan Hayes: “So Friday night, what a coincidence the flames are in Toronto and then all of a sudden Nikita Zadorov makes a trade request.”

Jamie McLennan: “What a stupid thing by his agent.”

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Hayes: “Dan Milstein tweets out, you know, get your leaf tickets or so I didn’t quite understand what Milstein was indicating, like the way I read it was like, wait a minute, did Zadorov just get traded to the Leafs. Again, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they used that weekend, this city, this media circus to get the news out.

Zadorov scores on Friday, throws a big hit but. Obviously, we’re well aware of Brad Treliving, his connection to that team, to Zadorov, to other upcoming UFA’s on the back end of Calgary.

What do you make of it, And how much of a Toronto connection could there be to this story?”

Johnston: “Well, I think there’s an obvious and apparent one. I mean, look, Calgary seems to be at a point now where they’re looking at, at their options with their UFAs. They have three defensemen in (Chris) Tanev, Zadorov, and Noah Hanifin, who are all playing on expiring contracts.

Obviously, those players were all acquired at one point in time when Brad Treliving worked for the Flames. I don’t think it’s hard to connect the dots there and I don’t think it’s unfair to.

In terms of timeline for this to happen, you know, I don’t think it has to go down right now. I mean, I think the way the planes are viewing the situation is that they have the ability to kind of sit back, see what the level of interest is in other places. You know, gauge the market and you know, typically we see most players traded in that three-week window or month window leading into the trade deadline.

So I was with it, was kind of, you know, I was on high alert that night I covered the game and then was in the arena and then you start to see this and obviously worked in some light sources and you wonder if it’s going down in real-time, but I think in hindsight it was, it was more of just a power play to get attention as opposed to it wasn’t as though that the talks between the Leafs and the Flames were at a point where anything was, was imminent or got close and didn’t happen.

I think, it’s not surprising look, I think the Leafs will be in the market for at least one defenseman at some time before March 8 and Calgary’s got a few to sell. So let’s, let’s keep an eye on it.”

McLellan: “CJ, what do you make of agents going public? You know, like we saw Allan Walsh last year very vocal about Jonathan Huberdeau. Don’t see him being vocal this year about Huberdeau’s play, or big, bad Darryl Sutter.

Hayes: “Didn’t notice Huberdeau on Friday again.

McLellan: “Well he had that 2-on-0 in overtime and he passed it back.

Jeff O’Neill: “That’s the only thing he did and it didn’t work out. The only thing.”

McLellan: “But, but then you know, again, Dan Milstein, who by all accounts is good agent good guy, all of that but like, is it like I just don’t like, I don’t like agents taking it’s about dirty laundry but taking laundry public.

Because what is that, what could that possibly do for the relationship between Zadorov and the Calgary Flames? Zadorov and the players? His teammates, Zadorov and the marketplace? Like you know, is it, you say it puts pressure on it but to me that, it jams up the GMs because you know if he was available or asked for a trade, or do you think you do that behind closed doors? If you take that public, all you’re doing is shining a light on that, and it probably puts Craig Conroy in a really tough spot as far as either leverage to move forward. Like, I would wait to get exactly what you wanted for the player if you decide you’re going to trade him.”

Johnston: “Yeah, I mean I think you’re onto something. I mean, for me even, I heard from a couple of executives that weren’t directly involved in this situation, who said something along the lines of ‘this is this isn’t good for the player.’ You know, the only time I think you might see it work, where it’s not negative as if, if an agent is trying to get a player move right away, and sometimes maybe there’s ways to exert some pressure in these situations, but instead what you have here is okay, now we all know about this formally.

I mean, the truth was he was going to be traded anyway. I mean, this was he’s the exact type of player, he would have been on every trade list. You know, whether that was a public demand or not, it’s only because he’s, he’s good. He’s in the right age group but he doesn’t have a contract beyond the season. And the Flames are team that looks like they’re going to be going into a little bit of a retool of some sort.

So, you know, I don’t know what it accomplishes. You know, I can’t come out here and say I hate it because part of my job is to try to find out information, so I might be biting the hand that feeds if I’m, you know, come out swinging against it.

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But I do think big picture I’m not sure really what it does. And now you’re right, so we got a night of headlines. You know, Zadorov had to do a scrum in Ottawa, that they played there on Saturday after the game in Toronto, talking about it, and I’m sure it can’t be that comfortable around some of his teammates. I mean, it’s, it is an unusual situation, and it rarely, I just find it rarely produces an immediate action. I think, I think this is a trade that’s probably going to take some time unless things change”