Insider Trading: Hintz extension may impact Horvat, Larkin negotiations
What's the latest on the sale of the Senators franchise? What are people around the NHL saying about Roope Hintz's big new deal? TSN Hockey Insiders Chris Johnston, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun discuss these topics and more in Tuesday’s edition of Insider Trading.
It's been over a month since we first heard the Ottawa Senators are going up for sale. Where are we in the process now?
Johnston: We're on the verge of a significant step and that's because groups that are interested in bidding on the Ottawa Senators are expected later this week to get their first look at the financials of the franchise. Why that matters, there's been considerable interest here – celebrities, billionaires, you've heard all the names, but we have to get to the point where you separate the casual interest from the most serious bidders, once that financial picture is clear. It's believed that will happen next. As our friend Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia reported this week, this is a complicated sale because it's also going to need to include a new lease agreement on an arena downtown.
We know the league hates changing rules during the regular season, but they do take notice when they start to see trends, including something they've seen from the goalies.
Dreger: Of late goaltenders pushing the net off its moorings. And we know this from our own experience, often it's the noise of the market in Toronto historically [which] can get loud and force a reaction. So, I'm looking at Toronto Maple Leafs netminder Matt Murray and the fact that he on more than one occasion of late has pushed that net off its mooring – be it with a shoulder, which is fine, or the skate which isn't fine. He's not alone in this regard. [Florida Panthers goalie] Spencer Knight on Monday night had a situation which was questionable. The officials are likely going to be reminded, 'look, recognize the play. Warn the goaltender if it's close. If he does it again, give a penalty.' The belief is if they call a delay of game, that'll stop.
The Dallas stars were busy Tuesday. They signed Roope Hintz to an eight-year, $67.6 million deal. What are people around the league saying about that number?
LeBrun: It's another contract of late that is having an impact on other conversations around the league. Mathew Barzal's extension earlier this season had an impact - $9.15 million a year and now Hintz at $8.45 million a year. For example, if you're Bo Horvat's camp, Dylan Larkin's camp – two pending UFAs at the end of the season – these are impactful developments. Certainly, if you would have put [the] Roope Hintz contract of $8.45 million a year in front of Bo Horvat last summer, I'm confident in saying Bo Horvat would have signed it. Now, I'm not so sure because the marketplace continues to shift. And that's the big takeaway here – is that after three years of really a frozen marketplace, but now the expectation of a rising cap, these numbers and the term are starting to rise.
Dreger: Back to Dallas for a moment. The Hintz extension is an indication of looking after their long-term future in Dallas. But the Stars’ Christmas wish list could also provide a luxury item for those up front. They like what they have. They like the way things are going in Dallas right now. It's hard not to. But they'd also like to add a forward to play with Tyler Seguin and Mason Marchment. It sounds like a tall ask. They do like this up there, but that top-six luxury item is definitely something Dallas is in the market for.
Here's something you don't hear a lot – an NHL arena flooded. But that's the case in Nashville right now. What happened and how bad is it?
Johnston: The Nashville Predators managed to re-open Bridgestone Arena and host the game against Anaheim on Tuesday. So that's some good news. But they're still dealing with considerable damage to the building. Basically, a broken water main poured in tons of water at the start of the weekend and really made a mess of things. The team's video room, the dressing rooms were affected. The main control centre for the scoreboard, the multiple elevators, you name it. And while they got it back in working order in pretty short term here, it's probably going to take months to fully clean things up. But there is some good news for the NHL community, I'm told it won't affect the NHL draft, which is scheduled there for June.
The NHLPA voted to look for a new leader back in April. Where are they in that search?
LeBrun: They won't have a new executive director replacing Don Fehr by Christmas as maybe some had hoped. That interview process is going to extend into the new year, I'm told. Now they are casting a pretty wide net. The player search committee, which consists of 10 players – it was seven players originally – they've added [James van Riemsdyk], Mattias Ekholm and Jacob Trouba since. But the idea is that by the end of the regular season, we should have the heir apparent to Don Fehr.