Pierre Luc-Dubois has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but does that mean he’s happy in his current situation?
Darren Dreger: Well, no, he’s not happy, obviously. Hence the commercial demand. I know Pat Brisson represents Pierre Luc-Dubois and has been in regular communication with Jarmo Kekäläinen of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Now both sides are trying to solve this problem and Dubois will play in good faith. He promises to be a good teammate for his Blue Jackets teammates, so that’s good news. But there is a feeling that it would be better for both parties to do something as soon as possible, but whether it is two weeks or two months. There does not appear to be a specific timeline at this point.
Pierre LeBrun: And it might be easier to name the team that won’t call Columbus than the teams that likely will by the end of the season. And certainly a lot of people I’ve spoken to in the league think the Jackets are going to take their time on this. They could even wait for the June draft. There are a number of teams that intend to make sure they stay on this point. I’m talking about the Anaheim Ducks. They have a lot of young working people. Pierre Luc-Dubois, with his age and skills, will be, I believe, a player of interest for the Ducks. Just down the freeway, through town with the LA Kings, another team with a lot of active kids now. They’re pretty central in terms of outlook, but maybe that’s something Columbus needs in return. The Winnipeg Jets do exist. Can you trade a situation Patrik laine for another to Pierre Luc-Dubois? I don’t know how many there is in it, but it’s over there. What piece are the New York Rangers missing and what could Dubois bring with all these talented wingers with the New York Rangers? I don’t know if Columbus would like to trade with a rival. And you certainly have to mention the Montreal Canadiens. Now the Canadiens are quite happy with their center depth with [Nick] Suzuki et [Jesperi] Kotkaniemi et Phillip Danault for the moment. So they’re not in dire straits, but there’s no doubt that Marc Bergevin’s record when there’s such a situation is to keep an eye on it and I think that’s exactly what he will do.
All seven Canadian teams can now play home games in their own buildings after obtaining provincial approval. And there will be a lot of Canadian content in the North Division.
Frank Seravalli: There will also be a healthy dose of Canadian officials because the NHL expects them to maintain the same pool of officials with the North Division on the north side of the border throughout the season, barring injury or illness. . If so, they can tap into a few officials for certain games that have been in their referee development program, but this will create a really interesting dynamic for the seven Canadian teams who see the same officials if emotions are boiling over. throughout the season consistently. base, but they will not be alone. American teams in the United States will likely see the same group of officials for two to three games at a time as they play their baseball-style schedule to reduce official travel as well.
A number of key players are entering the final year of their contracts, including the Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen. Something new on this front?
LeBrun: I understand the two sides haven’t talked about his contract since July, so it’s been quite a while and the crickets since. But I think both parties are comfortable with it. Now, it should be noted that Freddy Andersen’s agent is Claude Lemieux and that his record is not normally to negotiate during the season for one of his clients who is a pending UFA. He thinks it’s a distraction. Does that mean he couldn’t be an exception if the Leafs came to the table mid-season with something Freddy Andersen is really excited about? But for now, the idea is that both parties are comfortable with him starting the year and possibly playing out his contract.
Dreger: Well, Freddy Andersen has a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, while Matt Barzal, a restricted free agent with the New York Islanders, is still working hard to secure a contract from the Islanders. Both sides creak, that’s my understanding. Trying to come up with something, more likely to be a bridging deal than anything else. The good news is Barzal is local, he continues to skate, he trains and as soon as a deal is done he can jump on the ice and be part of the New York Islanders roster. Not likely to happen tonight, but you never know.
When the NHL returned this summer, the play-in round was met with mixed reviews. Is this something we could review?
Dreger: Well, unfortunately no, but the idea of using a play formula certainly arose due to the shortened season. Now the presentation has been made specifically for the fourth and fifth places. So the idea would be for these two teams to meet at the end of the regular season in a two-game series. If the fourth-place team at the end of the regular season won the first game, well, they placed fourth and advance to the playoffs in every division. If the fifth-place team ended up winning those two games of the two-game series, they would take fourth place and move on to round 1. So the theory being, at least from a TV perspective, that would keep things really. interesting for teams three to six at the end of the regular season. The NHL is not interested. They want to recognize the integrity of the playoffs.
John Chayka unexpectedly resigned as general manager for the Arizona Coyotes over the summer. Could he have a new landing point?
Seravalli: It is true. There was no shortage of speculation over the last few months about John Chayka’s next landing spot. He has been seemingly endlessly connected with the New Jersey Devils and their parent company Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment in a potential oversight role at some of their other sports properties. But I’m told there hasn’t been a dialogue lately and part of the reason is that John Chayka is still awaiting an arbitration decision from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman regarding the contract dispute he is ‘he got with the Arizona Coyotes. back to last year. So until he gets that decision and he’s free and clear – or not – to take over the league and be employed, he’s in limbo and sources are telling this. stage that John Chayka is involved with in other endeavors at the moment, including consultancy work with other major league sports. So we’ll see where it all goes, but it’s certainly bubbling under the surface.
What is Mike Hoffman’s status after signing a professional trial with the St. Louis Blues? Is there anyone else looking for a new deal?
LeBrun: Well, listen, let’s be clear. Mike Hoffman didn’t really have to try. I mean, there was a verbal understanding that it would lead to something better, although nothing is guaranteed. But when you saw him take part in the First Unit power play this week at training camp, you knew something was going to play out in a positive way for Mike Hoffman. And that’s what’s going to happen. He’s going to sign a one-year contract in the order of $ 4-4.5 million, I think, by opening night. The Blues need to do a little salary cap gymnastics. Vladimir Tarasenko will likely go on LTIR closer to opening night. This will create room for Mike Hoffman. But he should be Blue, all other things being equal. Now speaking of contracts, Alex Ovechkin of all people needs one. His 13-year contract expires at the end of this season. There were discussions over the summer – Frank and I both talked about it a few months ago – those discussions were put on hold, but I spoke to Caps General Manager Brian MacLellan this week and he has said these discussions would resume within his franchise captain sooner rather than later. I see an extension happening here during the season.
Seravalli: And Pierre, if you’re sitting down, I’m told that Alex Ovechkin’s initial claim before the pandemic was $ 12.5 million per year. We’ll see where it all goes for the top goalscorer of his generation. And speaking of salary, some sobering news from New York. The NHL held a public meeting with its employees on Thursday and informed them that they can continue to expect to receive 75% of their salary for the remainder of the season. It just talks about the financial reality that the NHL faces as it tries to get back to an equal level in terms of income.
Reda: It’s hard. Before the pandemic, the NHL was reporting annual revenues north of $ 5 million, but given that we could be looking at cuts of 30 to 40 percent this year, finances could suffer for a long time.