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Insider Trading: Why would Panthers turn to Tim Thomas?

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TSN.ca Staff
9/16/2013 10:31:02 PM
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TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger gathered for the latest installment of Insider Trading and the topics discussed were Tim Thomas's professional tryout with the Panthers, the status of contract extension talks between the Canucks and the Sedin twins, the Rangers' negotiations with Henrik Lundqvist on an extension and restricted free agent Derek Stepan on a new deal, the chances of free agent Brenden Morrow signing with a new team, as well the NHL's new rule that sees a minor penalty given to a player who removes his helmet prior to a fight.

Why are the Florida Panthers taking a chance on a 39-year-old Tim Thomas who hasn't played in 17 months?
Pierre LeBrun: For Dale Tallon, he's got a young goalie in Jakob Markstrom that struggled at times last season when given the No. 1 mantle. Dale Tallon wants Tim Thomas to come in and be a mentor for Jakob Markstrom just as he was for Tuukka Rask in Boston. Now, he's 39. He hasn't played in a year-and-a-half. All indications are that he's in pretty good shape and he's going to hit the ice for the first time on Tuesday, but it's a tryout. If this doesn't work out, there are no strings attached. In the end, this is about Markstrom so that he isn't overwhelmed at being No. 1.
Bob McKenzie: This is also about Tim Thomas knowing that there's an Olympics this year. People realize that this is a long shot and he hasn't played in over a year, but just for the record the Team USA had added him to their long list. That didn't just happen today in light of what happened with the Florida Panthers. It was actually done in the summer. David Poile and Team USA are not taking any chances. Tim Thomas is on the long list of players eligible to be named to Team USA.
Are the Canucks and Sedins getting any closer on dollar figure and what kind of term that we're talking about? What about the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist?
Darren Dreger: Yes, because they're talking about it on almost a daily basis, so they are inching towards it. J.P. Barry, who represents Daniel and Henrik Sedin, met with Canucks management on Thursday. They talked again on Friday and it was quiet over the weekend. Claes Elefalk, who represents the twins out of Sweden, has made his way over to Canada, so the expectation is that negotiations will continue this week, perhaps, midweek. The tricky part is going to be the term. You know what the dollars are going to be. Certainly, they're going to get a raise better than their current $6.1 mill. per year, but is it a three-year term, four-year term, five-year term? The Canucks will likely want a lower end term and the players are going to want a four or five-year term.
Bob McKenzie: And that's also the thorny issue there could be with Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers. When Henrik Lundqvist's current deal expires and he's on an extension, he'll be 33-years-old on the first year of that extension. Do you want to give a 33-year-old goaltender, as good as Henrik Lundqvist is and as much as he means to the New York Rangers, a long term deal or do you want it shorter? Don Meehan, the agent for Henrik Lundqvist, was in Manhattan last week talking with Glen Sather from the New York Rangers. Nobody's sounding any alarm bells, but there is that issue of term. Everybody knows that Lundqvist is going to get north of the $7 mill. a year that Pekka Rinne and Tuukka Rask get, the highest-paid goaltenders in the NHL, but the question is how long is it going to be and how much more than $7 mill.?
What about a contract for Derek Stepan while we're with the Rangers?
Bob McKenzie: Still no word on the restricted free agent. The word out of New York is that not only is he looking for Matt Duchene money, which is a bridge deal of two years and $3.5 mill. per year, the word out of New York is that he's actually looking for somewhere north of $3.5 mill. a year. The Rangers sound like they're prepared to pay $3 mill. or $3 mill. and change, but right now, there is still a significant distance.
With the cap down to $64.3 mill., there are a lot of unrestricted free agents who have been frozen out of this, does Brenden Morrow get a contract?
Pierre LeBrun: I've never been asked on Twitter more about what “PTO” met than what's happening here over the last month. Brenden Morrow doesn't want a PTO. He wants to sign an honest-to-goodness NHL contract, so he's sitting at home, working out and waiting for that. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are among the contenders that are keeping an eye on Brenden Morrow, but they don't have any cap room to sign him right now, so they're just waiting to see what transpires. Carolina Hurricanes, with the Kirk Muller-Dallas connection, they also value Brenden Morrow, but again, right now nothing imminent on that front. They're going to have to wait and be patient.
New rule this year - you can't talk your helmet off for a fight or it's an extra two-minute penalty. We saw David Broll and Doug Clarkson get penalized for that, but is there concern that it's a meaningless rule?
Darren Dreger: A bit toothless, yes, because it makes sense that, if one player removes his helmet, then the other player, who is a willing combatant in this fight, takes his helmet off as well, each player gets a five-minute fighting major and a two-minute minor for removing the helmet and, effectively, it's a wash. There are some in the league who wanted it to be an automatic game misconduct or, perhaps, be cumulative, but the player's association wasn't onside with that because it becomes a bit too prohibitive and the players around the National Hockey League still want to protect the role of the fighter.
 
Sedins celebrate (Photo: Jessica Haydahl/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jessica Haydahl/NHLI via Getty Images)
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