NHL Notebook: Larry Tanenbaum seeks sale of stake in Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, why the New Jersey Devils may not make sense for Connor Hellebuyck, and more

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
8 months ago
Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum is looking to sell his portion of the organization that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, and the Toronto Argonauts.
Tanenbaum is looking to sell his 25 percent stake in the company — which is now valued at over $8-billion — to OMERS, a pension plan for Ontario municipal employees.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Colton Davies wrote about the impending sale:
If the deal goes through OMERS will own a slice of the Toronto sports pie. The $8 billion valuation would be the highest amount of money a North American sports entity sold for in history. Nowhere near $8 billion would actually change hands in this sale as Tanenbaum only owns a quarter of the company, or about $2 billion worth of equity. Sportico, who originally broke the story, was unclear as to what percentage of Tanenbaum’s stake he is aiming to sell.
This would be the third time in a month that an NHL team sold off a stake to outside investors. Jeff Vinik sold off a stake of the Tampa Bay Lightning at a $1.4 billion valuation to Arctos Sports Partners. The Ottawa Senators reached an agreement with Michael Andlauer to acquire the team for $950 million, more than a year after Eugene Melnyk’s death.
According to Sportico, the Raptors are valued at $3.34 billion, the Maple Leafs at $2.12 billion, and the Toronto FC at $705 million. This wouldn’t be the first time MLSE was at least partially controlled by a pension plan. The Ontario Teacher’s pension plan had a controlling stake in the company from 2003 to 2012. MLSE was sold at an enterprise value of $2.05 billion in 2012.


Hellebuyck to the Devils?

On Tuesday night during an Insider Trading segment on TSN, hockey insider Pierre Lebrun reported that the New Jersey Devils could be linked to Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
And on Wednesday, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli spoke with goaltender guru Mike McKenna about the potential fit.
Seravalli: Mike, there was a report from TSN on insider trading on Tuesday that linked Connor Hellebuyck to the New Jersey Devils as potentially one of the landing spots for Hellebuyck as the Jets cruise through the trade market. While it’s an intriguing idea, what’s fascinating about the Hellebuyck issue is wherever he goes, whether it’s New Jersey or Los Angeles, or wherever it might be, you can get him at a decent rate this year, but then you need to pay him for years moving forward, and that’s going to be expensive. They’ve reported that Hellebuyck could be in the Andrei Vasilevskiy range, north of $9 million. I sort of saw him at a number lesser than that, somewhere in the $8 million range.
I don’t think teams are ready to pay a goalie that much after seeing teams struggle with the Carey Price context, etc. Maybe the suspense coming off Vegas and Adin Hill is you don’t need to pay a goalie that much in order to win a Stanley Cup and be successful. There’s only ever been one $10 million AAV player to win the Cup, and that’s Jack Eichel as a skater. Nobody has really gotten close other than Vasilevskiy in terms of being paid that much as a goalie. With that being an issue for Hellebuyck moving forward, regardless of where he stands, they have cap space, and are they willing to commit that much to a goalie knowing the other players they need to pay?
McKenna: That’s my question too. If Connor Hellebuyck wants to make over $9 million, I don’t see amongst the contenders who that is going to happen with. Like LA, how are they going to make room for him or the Pittsburgh Penguins? Can they extend him beyond one year? But New Jersey, I’m interested in here. If there’s mutual interest for both sides, would it make sense? Yes, I think it would. New Jersey wants to sharpen up their goalie; Akira Schmid is probably a year or two away and is likely headed back to Utica because he’s waiver exempt. They just extended Jesper Bratt, and they’ve got to extend Dawson Mercer.
If you want to keep Timo Meier, I don’t know how you plan on keeping Hellebuyck. He’s also 30 years old; that’s why I’m surprised the $9 million number is in play. I don’t know which team will do it. Carolina won’t spend that much money on a goalie, the only team I could potentially see that with is Ottawa, but even they have a lot of money coming at them as well. Do you see any of these teams making a play in order to keep him in the future? I don’t. I think it starts to look more middle-pack teams, and those teams aren’t contenders, so do you want to win, or do you want to get paid? That’s my question.

What’s next for the Bruins?

One of the more interesting teams to follow this offseason will be the Boston Bruins.
Already facing a cap deficit of $4-million next season due to bonus overages, they have found themselves facing a cap crunch as they look to build off a tremendous regular season.
On Wednesday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live, Seravalli and McKenna spoke about what may lie ahead for them:
Seravalli: Don’t know yet whether Bergeron and Krejci are going to be coming back. Depending on who you speak to, and again not reporting this, but the sort of subtle whisper, the thought process is maybe they aren’t getting those guys back. That’s what people are whispering behind the scenes. And if that’s the case, one way or the other, you still got a whole host of other players that you need to figure out on your team.
What about Tyler Bertuzzi? You want to try and bring him back. It seems like they can’t afford to keep Dmitry Orlov. But this is a team that still wants to remain in that competitive window, and they might have someone like a Jeremy Swayman in net who could be an offer sheet target for some of these other teams.
Don Sweeney has a whole lot to figure out. He’s got pieces that he has to move out. I think he’s offered Taylor Hall to teams at almost a “take him off of our hands, we’re not expecting a lot back in return for him” given his cap hit and the term that’s remaining on his deal. They’re trying to get rid of Mike Reilly, who’s still a buyout candidate, potentially Derek Forbort. Go down the list, Matt Grzelcyk, these are all guys that are in play in a significant summer of transition for a Bruins team that still has Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm to build around. Say nothing of the likely Vezina winner in Linus Ullmark.
McKenna: Well I like the core that they have on the backend, that’s the nice part, it’s just how are you going to be able to keep everybody in the mix when you don’t know what’s going to happen. They need clarity from Bergeron and Krejci as soon as they can because they do have to lock up Trent Frederic who’s an RFA and Swayman as an RFA that could be $3-4 million. You’d like to keep them in house, but what if they do something crazy and make a trade. They have Brandon Bussi in the American Hockey League who had a great rookie season.
I don’t expect that, but I think that might be their nuclear option, because you laid out the path to clearing out cap space. Grzelcyk, Reilly, Forbort, Hall, there’s a lot there that can move. But the center position that the Bruins were so strong at this year is in question because of Tomas Nosek probably moving on as well. So, if you get Bergeron back, that’s great. If you get Krejci back, big bonus. But I think they need one of those two players to even be able to make it work and how they figure out anything else, and they need that clarity soon. So, if I’m the Bruins, I still like my backend, I’d like to add a little bit if possible like they did, but how do they do it under cap space. That’s the big question.
Seravalli: Yeah, I think the gist of conversations, at least how they’ve been relayed to me, that general managers have had with Don Sweeney to this point has been “tell me who you like, tell me what gets you excited” so that they can potentially begin to figure this out based on which players might have some value, another reason why they got a player like Pavel Zacha locked up already too. You mentioned that center position and the hole that might be there, certainly could be active on the trade market on that front as well.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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