Last week, Sportsnet's Chris Johnson noted that the Rangers were one of four teams that had two scouts in Toronto watching the Penguins and Leafs.
It was revealed this morning that Leafs GM Kyle Dubas was at last night's Flames/Rangers game, though as Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger noted, Leafs RFA William Nylander's agent Lewis Gross lives in NYC and was also at the game.
Dubas recently traveled to Europe to meet with Nylander and spoke with Gross last night, according to Dreger.
While on the radio in Toronto this morning, Dreger said that it is not uncommon for a General Manager to check out other games but that when they do it is likely with a "purpose" and looking at something specific.
Dreger noted that general speculation would suggest that the Leafs are looking at one of the Rangers defensemen but that he isn't sure which player would "automatically help the Leafs." (TSN 1050)
On the Rangers in general, Dreger said (TSN 1050):
- "I think the Rangers are willing to consider just about anything because they are in the midst of a renovation."
- The Rangers would potentially be interested in trying to move Mats Zuccarello or Kevin Hayes
- The Leafs kicked tires on Ranger defenseman last season but things "pretty much stopped" when the Rangers asked for Kasperi Kapanen.
TSN host and former NHLer Carlo Colaiacovo said that he "loves the idea" of the Leafs adding, his former teammate, Kevin Shattenkirk. (TSN 1050)
Adam Rotter: There is a lot to unpack with these rumors, starting with the idea that there is nothing going on, Dubas was in NY to work on the Nylander contract and the Rangers had two people in Toronto as part of regular pro scouting duties.
I'd lean more towards that scenario than anything that involves the Leafs and Rangers on the verge of making any sort of deal. The Leafs are a team with eyes on the Stanley Cup and the Rangers could be watching them and noting where they need to upgrade and seeing who they have to help Toronto. Dubas cold be doing the same from the Toronto side and taking notes for potential discussions down the line.
I'm sure the Rangers have interest in William Nylander but I don't believe they are going to pay a bunch of assets to acquire his rights and then sign him to a long-term deal. That wold defeat part of the purpose of this rebuild, especially giving up assets and losing flexibility for next summer.
As for players the Leafs might have interest in, they are deep up front but rentals like Mats Zuccarello, or maybe Cody McLeod if they want some grit, could be fits. On defense, Adam McQuaid is a rental and then there is Brendan Smith. Smith has an up and down history with Leafs coach Mike Babcock but there is familiarity. The Rangers would certainly need to eat half of the contract to make it work, but that could be a possibility. As for Kevin Shattenkirk, I don't see that happening unless he wants to leave and the Rangers are okay with eating half of his salary. I don't see that happening