TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun and Bob McKenzie joined host James Duthie to discuss the latest with William Nylander and the remaining restricted free agents, if and when Erik Karlsson will sign long-term with San Jose, the situation in Columbus with Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, a potential return of Slava Voynov and the next steps for Seattle expansion. 

Nylander and Leafs any closer on a deal?

There are four remaining restricted free agents, including Toronto’s William Nylander. Are they close to getting something done?

Embedded ImageMcKenzie: What happens when a guy like Sam Reinhart signs a bridge deal with the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs fans say what about William Nylander? Might he sign a bridge deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs to expedite this process? As general manager Kyle Dubas of the Leafs has said dialogue continues, the lines of communication are open. Where Nylander might be a little more difficult than some, is my sense of it, seems to be is that both Nylander and the Leafs are much more likely to want to try to get something done longer term as opposed to going to the bridge deal so valuation becomes a little more difficult. And you mentioned James, Nylander is one of the four remaining free agents. Shea Theodore, he’d like a short term deal in Vegas but Vegas is looking for something longer term. Nick Ritchie and the Anaheim Ducks are trying to get a bridge deal done but that’s been really tough sledding and there’s virtually been no dialogue as of late between Miles Wood and the New Jersey Devils. So there’s still lots of time in training camp, there’s no sense of panic here, but the longer it goes and when players start potentially missing all the preseason games, then that becomes much more of a factor. 

Will Erik Karlsson sign a long-term deal with San Jose?

We waited seven months to see if Karlsson would be traded, now we wait again to see if and when he signs a long-term deal with San Jose.

Embedded ImageLeBrun: A lot of people are waiting for the shoe to drop soon on that, thinking no way San Jose makes this deal without having him sign soon. Well don’t wait in the short term for that, because the understanding of the situation as per the CBA is that Erik Karlsson cannot sign an eight-year extension with the San Jose Sharks until the Feb. 25 trade deadline. It’s a little known rule in the CBA to the point that Bill Daly, the deputy commissioner, actually sent out a memo this summer, it didn’t have Karlsson’s name in it, but it had a memo explaining to all 31 teams ‘remember this rule’ because he was still on the Ottawa roster after the last trade deadline. You have to wait until the next trade deadline to be able to sign an eight-year deal with your new team, so San Jose has to wait because you assume that if Karlsson does want to re-sign in San Jose, we’re not saying for sure he does, that he would want the eight-year max.

Panarin, Bobrovsky source of speculation

Embedded ImageDreger: Well if he doesn’t, he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1 of 2019. What a crop that might be when you look at what Columbus has to offer as well as to the likes of Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. Now I’m told that Jarmo Kekalainen, the general manager of the Blue Jackets continues to get trade calls with interest on Artemi Panarin. He has no interest in trading him and his principle point of interest is trying to convince him to re-sign, likewise for Sergei Bobrovsky. But it doesn’t sound like the mood has changed for Panarin that he wants a market change so this is a story we’ll continue to follow for months I’m sure.

What kind of punishment would Slava Voynov face if he returns to the NHL?

Slava Voynov was exiled from the NHL four years ago after serious domestic abuse charges. He was suspended indefinitely but wants to come back. If the NHL allows that, what punishment will he get?

Embedded ImageDreger: I’m told that the starting point for the National Hockey League without thoroughly investigating the facts is a one-year suspension. Now I also know there’s been some back and forth as many as 80 games was tossed out there as well. But you bring up the Austin Watson appeal scenario, and I think that’s what the NHL is absolutely waiting for. Let’s close one domestic violence case before sinking our teeth into another. We can’t forget the Los Angeles Kings in all of this as well. The Kings are waiting for the NHL and that process to unfold and then there’s a decision to make. Trade his rights or sign and trade him if he’s eventually cleared.

Next steps for expansion to Seattle

Embedded ImageLeBrun: City council votes on Monday to approve the big renovation project for the KeyArena that is expected to pass, and then the ownership group in Seattle gets to meet for the first time with the smaller executive committee at the Board of Governors in New York on Oct.2. We don’t expect an actual vote on the Seattle franchise until December at the earliest, but that’s an important step.