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Insider Trading: NHL continues to work on Coyotes situation

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TSN’s Hockey Insiders have the latest on the league and the Coyotes-Salt Lake City speculation, its effect on the Arizona players, the Flyers and head coach John Tortorella, Noah Hanifin’s extension with Vegas and Canada’s 4-Nations GM.

On one hand, the Coyotes moving to Salt Lake seems to be fait accompli but at the same time, it seems really complicated. What's going on behind closed doors and what are you expecting as far as a timeline, Pierre?

Pierre LeBrun: Nothing simple when it comes to this story and what's playing out here in the desert, Gino. Number one, the league continues to work behind the scenes on trying to find a solution to what Bill Daly yesterday told us was, a "challenging and difficult situation." A comment by the way that did not go unnoticed among a lot of teams around the league. (It) was really the league's most public acknowledgement of the difficulties here and what appears to potentially be the end of the Coyotes in Arizona. But it may not be and that's what's so delicate here. In terms of a timeline if the league can pull this off, if they can negotiate both the sale of the Coyotes and a purchase by Salt Lake. What about when this could happen - as early as next week? I think that's a little hopeful.

Remember that the Thrashers' announcement of moving to Winnipeg was in late May, someone involved in the deal told me today it won't be that long if this gets done. They hope to have it done before then, but it might still take a little while here.

Chris Johnston: And that will come as a welcome relief for players that are in the Coyotes organization, for staff members. It's been a very trying season there and since all this news has really started to flood out into the public, we haven't yet heard from any Coyotes players about how they feel. But I can tell you behind the scenes, there is a fair amount of unrest, uneasiness about the uncertainty of of this team. 

You got players who have kids in school, players who own houses in Phoenix, and there's not really that much that can be said. In fact, Matt Dumba, who was with the Coyotes until the trade deadline, told me it's been a bit like mental warfare for the players there this year. And the NHLPA is doing what it can to keep the players in the loop. But at this point in time, what they're being told is what Pierre says, there's a world of course where they are moving to Salt Lake City for next season, but there is also still a chance they're back at Mullett Arena in Tempe if this isn't able to be resolved.

Vegas continues to work cap magic by signing Noah Hanifin to a new eight-year max deal at $7.35 million per season. It certainly looked like the pending UFA was willing to go to the open market and test those waters. But all of a sudden this? What happened, C.J.?

Johnston: It really goes back to his time in Calgary earlier this season. There were discussions at that point with the Flames about an eight-year extension - was going to be somewhere likely in the seven-and-a-half million dollar range. And many didn't think Hanifin would be able to get that kind of money if he went elsewhere. When the trade was made, that brought him to Vegas at the deadline, there was no assurances at that point he would re-sign with the Golden Knights but he's enjoyed his time there. It's a tax-free state, great weather, a team that's going to be in the mix to chase a Stanley Cup over the life of this deal. And it ultimately ends up at the same sort of money, in fact, a little bit more when you factor in the taxes that he would get in Calgary. So it got done pretty quickly here and was finalized on Wednesday night.

John Tortorella hasn't done himself any favours by publicly ripping his team. Now after a brutal, winless streak the playoffs are a long shot. What's his future look like with the team, Pierre?

LeBrun: Flyers management absolutely wants Tortorella back behind the bench and I get it. It's been a late-season collapse and a lot of drama. But in the bigger picture, which matters more to Flyers management, they view Tortorella as a huge impact on developing their younger players and that's why they want him back. But the real question was at 65 years old, how much gas is left in the tank for Tortorella to want to keep coaching? And the answer I got this week was that he absolutely feels energized. He wants to continue coaching the Flyers past this year which is good because he's got two more years left on his deal.

Four Nations Cup is now under a year away. Where are we in terms of naming the general manager for Team Canada, Pierre?

LeBrun: Word is that Hockey Canada will be ready to name the GM for the Four Nations team either Friday or Monday. They're still working out those logistics. Remember that Doug Armstrong is the Olympic team GM, but there will be a different GM for the Four Nations team. The candidates for that job I'm told are Kelly McCrimmon, Don Sweeney, Julian BriseBois, or Jim Neal. And in fact, two of those four I think will be part of the Four Nations management team. One as GM, one as assistant GM.