TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun and Bob McKenzie gathered for the latest installment of Insider Trading and the topics discussed were the NHL's realignment plans, NHL teams indignant over officiating and Corey Perry contract talks as the trade deadline approaches.
How will the playoffs work in the NHL's new realignment plan?
Bob McKenzie: There's nothing completely final just yet and neither side has signed off on anything but what we can anticipate at this point is that the playoffs are not going to be expanded. There will still be 16 teams in the playoffs and there will be no play-in to get to the playoffs with extra wild card teams in any way, shape or form.
But we are looking at a situation like the original December 2011 plan -- four conferences with four teams in each conference making the playoffs and playing the first two rounds; just like the old divisional format in the National Hockey League. That's what the NHL wanted but the NHLPA didn't want to do that, so what we're likely to see this time around is three teams from each of the four conferences guaranteed a playoff spot and then fill out with wild card spots the rest of the way.
So, four of 18 teams would be in the running based on their total points but we don't know at this point how those will be allocated in terms of the first and second round of the playoffs.
Pierre LeBrun: And with Detroit and Columbus going East, that leaves only 14 teams in what we call the Western Conference right now and I think it's reasonable to infer from that that if the Phoenix Coyotes ever have to relocate next year - and I'm not saying they're moving - it will probably be out West where there's only 14 teams. And obviously Seattle very much comes to mind as a possibility.
Are missed calls by officials creating controversy in the NHL?
Darren Dreger: Several general managers over the past few days have been outraged by the state of officiating in the NHL, and not just the teams who are losing or those who are impacted by the bad calls across the board.
I've had two general managers say this is the worst officiating they've ever seen. Now in fairness to the officials, we and the GM's do have access to video review and replays but March 20 is going to be an interesting GM's meeting. These are the guys who give the officials the marching orders and if the GMs are upset as they say they are, it's up to them to try and fix it.
What's the latest on the Corey Perry talks?
LeBrun: Contract talks will resume in the next week and people are wondering what Anaheim is going to do with Perry if he's not signed by the April 3 trade deadline. A lot of people think there's no way you can move him but I'm not so sure about that.
I think that if he's not signed by April 3, the Ducks will give it some serious thought to moving him. They lost Justin Schultz a year ago for nothing; they saw the Nashville Predators lose Ryan Suter and the New Jersey Devils lose Zach Parise. It's going to be interesting.