Could a 'Kucherov' rule be implemented where salary cap restrictions extend into the playoffs? Could we see a play-in event for the World Cup of Hockey? Will the Evgeni Dadonov trade annulment lead to rule changes to no-trade lists? TSN Hockey Insiders Chris Johnston, Pierre LeBrun, and Darren Dreger discuss this and more.
Could we see a “Kucherov Rule” implemented that would see salary cap restrictions extend to the playoffs?
Pierre LeBrun: I don’t know if that’s what they’ll call it, but yes. The GMs are meeting next week and what we’re being told, according to sources, is that there will be a discussion between NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and the GMs about whether or not they should expand the salary cap into the playoffs.
There is no cap in the playoffs. There never has been since it came into effect in 2005 and it’s been controversial. Patrick Kane came off long-term injured reserve in the 2015 playoffs and Tampa did it with Kucherov last year. The team was able to use that cap space and then add a player come playoff time, essentially, when he came off of LTIR.
This is going to be an interesting discussion. I’m told there is going to be a group of GMs that have been talking about this for a month and that they went to the league and said “Could we talk about this?” So, we’ll see where it goes.
Chris Johnston: And there will be some good news for the GMs when they are in Florida because they will be told that the league is continuing to project a $1 million increase to the salary cap next season, up to $82.5 million. This is welcome because it’s been three years with a flat cap.
The key takeaway here is that the COVID scheduling disaster in December, January, and February, plus the Canadian attendance limits didn’t do enough damage to the business to keep it stagnant. The NHL business is running strong.
Could we see a qualifying event for the World Cup of Hockey?
Darren Dreger: A play-in event is exactly what’s being discussed by the NHL, the NHLPA, the IIHF, and the various Federations. They’re meeting this week in Paris and they’re trying to hammer out some of the details.
You could see a play-in event for some of the European teams in August 2023. We’ve talked a lot about what the World Cup will look like in 2024 and again in 2028, it will most likely be eight teams including Canada, the USA, and the six European Federations. Russia, obviously, is to be determined.
Why is Rene Fasel being investigated by the IIHF Ethics Board?
Johnston: Rene Fasel is potentially in hot water. This is a major story in international hockey because the IIHF is reviewing Fasel, who was on the job for seven years and is still considered a lifetime president, based on some of the pro-Russian comments he’s made since that country’s invasion of Ukraine, plus the fact that he has now taken a job with the KHL.
He is under investigation and could be facing discipline. Nothing has happened but the mere fact that he is being investigated is a notable development in the international hockey world.
Will the vetoed Evgenii Dadonov trade lead to rule changes with no-trade lists?
LeBrun: I think there’s going to be some fallout at the GM meetings next week. I think it’s the fact that there was some contention over whether or not there was a no-trade list that was submitted on time last summer. It turns out it was submitted on time but the fact is there was some confusion over that.
Here’s the thing. A no-trade list is submitted solely between a player agent and the club, the league and the NHLPA do not keep track of a no-trade list. I think the NHL is going to push for a change where the league’s central registry, and maybe the Players Association, gets a copy of these no-trade lists.
What’s the news on the upcoming NHL Draft combine?
Dreger: Good news for the draft eligibles is that there will be an NHL Draft combine in Buffalo. It will run from May 29 to June 4. The issue here is that some of the draft-eligible players in the major junior leagues, because of the pandemic and extended seasons, are going to still be playing.
It’s important to the NHL to do the in-person combine to try and get back to normal.