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Off The Record: Blue Jackets; Garland; NHL Frenzy (+)



The NHL trade market remains hamstrung by the salary cap, but there has still been plenty of chatter across the league and as teams figure out exactly what they are.

Will the Columbus Blue Jackets finally unload a defenseman on the NHL trade market?

Did the Canucks play a bigger role in the Connor Garland trade chatter?

Also, the NHL and ESPN held the first ‘NHL Frenzy’ on Tuesday night, with all 32 NHL teams playing in a staggered schedule that had games starting up every 15 minutes. Will the frenzies become more frequent?

Find out in the latest Off The Record:

1. Potential Blue Jackets Trade Partners

It’s become no secret on the NHL trade market that the Columbus Blue Jackets are trying to move a defenseman. Longtime Blue Jackets beat reporter Aaron Portzline of The Athletic has been reporting for weeks now that the Blue Jackets have let it be known that right-shot defensemen Erik Gudbranson, Andrew Peeke, and Adam Boqvist are available. With so many teams cap-strapped, though, the NHL trade market has been clogged, but OTR has been told to keep an eye on three potential trade suitors for one of that right-shot trio, with, not surprisingly, more than one having more than lukewarm interest in the 23-year-old Boqvist who was drafted eighth overall by the Blue Jackets at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

Off the record:

“I think you have to look at the Dallas Stars, the Devils and the Panthers,” an NHL pro scout told Boston Hockey Now. “I’m hearing the Stars and Panthers really like Boqvist a lot. As for the Devils, they’re looking for that shutdown guy right now, so you gotta think of Gudbranson or Peeke.”

2. Was The Garland Trade Request Mutual?

Tuesday marked two weeks since Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman broke the news that the Vancouver Canucks had granted winger Connor Garland and his brand new agent Judd Moldaver to negotiate a trade. With Garland replacing longtime agent Peter Cooney and the Canucks coming off a disastrous 2022-23 season, many speculated and intimated that it was the 2015 fifth-round pick (123rd overall) pick of the Arizona Coyotes who requested the trade. According to an NHL source with knowledge of the situation, though, maybe the feeling was more mutual than reported.

Off the record:

“I wonder if maybe [Rick] Tocchet had question marks when he had him in Arizona and wants him to be more physical? Maybe the second time around, he still doesn’t see it,” the NHL source said.

Garland, 27, had 129 points and 128 points, respectively, in his last two junior seasons and has 84 goals and 112 assists in 327 NHL games thus far. From the sounds of it, Tocchet wants more snarl and size from his wingers, and that’s just not the 5-foot-10, 165-pound winger’s game.

3. Will The ‘NHL Frenzy’ Become More Frequent?

The first-ever ‘NHL Frenzy’ on ESPN took place on Tuesday night, and in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, there were mixed reviews from NHL Insiders.

“I liked it. I really did,” one NHL executive said.

“Too much going on and basically the same thing as NHL Live (NHL Network),” an NHL scout opined.

“Typical gimmicky stuff from ESPN,” said a media industry insider.

While the NHL will surely gather data and opinions on how having all 32 NHL teams play in one night did, Boston Hockey Now has confirmed that this likely isn’t a one-off even if, at best, it gets mixed reviews.

Off The Record:

“That’s the goal, to make this more frequent each season,” the media industry insider confirmed on Tuesday night. “They definitely know Saturdays would be better, but a weeknight was an experiment I know we’ll see again.”

“Even though it didn’t count, that Connor Bedard goal was sick, eh?” the source quipped.





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