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Insider Trading: Coyotes preparing for move ahead of final game


TSN’s Hockey Insiders discuss the latest on the Coyotes and Salt Lake City, the Sabres parting ways with Don Granato, Connor Bedard going to the Worlds and if Macklin Celebrini will join him, and Patrick Kane’s future.


James Duthie: Your Insiders, Chris Johnston and Darren Dreger: this is always kind of a weird, depressing time of year for players on teams that are out of the playoffs. We have a night like this that's so exciting for all the teams that are in the mix, and that might be five-fold for the players of the Arizona Coyotes. How awkward of a situation is this for them, CJ, as they await relocation?

Chris Johnston: It's as strange as I've ever seen. I was at their practice today, ahead of their final game of the season against Edmonton and ahead of what's probably the final game in the franchise's history. There's almost a feeling of resignation there, and with good reason. There's already talk of a trip to Salt Lake City where the players will have a chance early next week to see the facilities, to see the city as negotiations are down to the final hours with Alex Meruelo selling the team's hockey assets. On Thursday there is a call scheduled, with the NHL's board of governors, a virtual call whereby that could be as soon as they're voting on an ownership change here. There may end up being an update as far as those talks go but amid it all, here are the players, the coaching staff, the trainers preparing for one last game.

Duthie: So many logistics involved, too, the players may own houses in Arizona, etc. Is there compensation for relocation?

Johnston: There is, and that's going to be an important part of what happens next, as soon as that sale is completed. You know, when the players went to Vegas as part of expansion, they were given a $16,000 relocation fee. That went up to $20,800 in Seattle, and you can expect, in addition to sort of a 'moving expenses,' some 'house transition payment,' that the players that are moving from Arizona to Salt Lake City will be getting something north of that number, once those talks are completed.

Duthie: Meanwhile the Buffalo Sabres aren't going anywhere, but you can take that literally too as they have not gone anywhere in the last 13 years, as far as the playoff race. Has the autopsy already started?

Darren Dreger: Yes it has, and experienced coaches who are looking for a change, or at least an opportunity, need to start lining up. We're talking about Craig Berube, Todd McLellan, maybe Dean Evason, or what about the return of Lindy Ruff to the Sabres? I mean, all of that can't be discounted based on what we heard from Kevyn Adams, the general manager, as part of his media availability. Now, he accepted responsibility, and also applied some of the struggles of the Sabres to his players. He discounted the fact that they're a young team, he says they've got enough experience and that they need to be better. So if he's hiring an experienced coach, that's the missing piece, then obviously Kevyn Adams is on the clock as well.

Duthie: Meanwhile, the world championship approaches, and Team Canada continues to put its team together. Connor Bedard, the first overall pick in last year's NHL draft is going, could the first overall pick in this year's draft be going as well?

Dreger: He could be - Macklin Celebrini, he's been asked by Team Canada to report to the Worlds and the expectation is that he will accept. So you've got two young guns there to bolster a lineup in Bedard and Celebrini. Beyond that, the roster for Team Canada heading over to Prague looks pretty solid. Dylan Cozens and Bo Byram from the Sabres, gold medal experience in net with Jordan Binnington of the St. Louis Blues, Colton Parayko, the big defenceman from the Blues, is also expected to accept the invitation from Team Canada. Big question mark beside Sidney Crosby - the Pittsburgh Penguins' season isn't even completed yet, so it's uncertain as to whether or not he'll be available.

UPDATE: The Penguins and Detroit Red Wings were eliminated from the playoff race as the Washington Capitals defeated the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night.

Duthie: We talk a lot about free agent 'busts' - Patrick Kane would not be one of those. His contract has turned out really well for Kane and Detroit: 47 points in 49 games. What does the future hold for Kane, CJ?

Johnston: That future was unknown even as soon as he came back, right? In the fall, after he completed a hip resurfacing procedure that no NHL player had gone through previously, because of that strong performance he's had this year, he's energized, he wants to play not just one more season, he's looking at multiple seasons as a 35-year-old. I had a chance to catch up with him recently; he mentioned that he thinks he will be even stronger when he comes back next season because he hasn't been able to use the last couple summers to train properly. He's loved his time in Detroit, no question he'd love to be back with the Red Wings, but at this point, with all eyes on the playoff race, we'll have to wait until they've played their final game to get more clarity on that.