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Insider Trading: What to expect at GM meetings

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TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun outline the topics to be discussed at the upcoming NHL GM meetings, including Department of Player Safety, LTIR, 3-on-3 OT and the coaches’ challenge.


James Duthie: Still plenty of news to go over, including the upcoming GMs meetings. The Department of Player Safety has been long scrutinized by NHL fans for perceived inconsistency and the GMs want some answers too, Dregs? 

Darren Dreger: It could get a bit more fiery at the GM meetings next week in Florida. It's not new that George Parros, the head of the Department of Player Safety, would present to the general managers. He does it all the time. But, we're being told his presentation next week to the GMs will be more expansive. We know that the general managers have questions. They have concerns. Consistency is always challenged. Why is one suspension five games? Another suspension is one or two for a similar act? Department of Player Safety will come under fire next week, but that's what the commissioner is there for. To keep things civil and professional, and not tell any of us what's going on in the media.

Pierre LeBrun: And, if that's the meatiest item, certainly one that has a lot of sizzle as well, Dregs, is LTIR after Vegas made all the headlines at the Trade Deadline. Let's be clear, no one inside the league or any other teams believe the Golden Knights have broken any rules. The idea from some teams, who have already approached the league about this for next week's GM meetings, is to have a conversation about the way the system works right now. Is the system working the way it should? So, the league is open to that conversation. You may remember, they had this discussion two years ago at the GM meetings, Dregs and I were there. And at the end of the day they didn't make any changes. Part of the reason for that is that the league would have to go to the NHLPA. This is a CBA thing, in terms of the salary cap and LTIR, and all those rules. But, at the very least, because of some of the teams reaching out, the league is ready to have that conversation again next week. I don't think anything will change, but they're having the conversation. 

Duthie: You guys were also at the meetings in November where 3-on-3 was on the agenda. Some nights, 3-on-3 overtime is spectacular, and some nights it's just plotting with guys going back and back and back and out of the zone. Are they still watching this very carefully, Pierre?

LeBrun: James, what I would say is that, especially hockey ops at the league have been watching this carefully ever since that November GM meeting when some GMs said, you know, is this the way we want 3-on-3 overtime? Should we bring in a rule or something to clean this up in terms of the puck possession and regrouping, like you said, outside the zone. What I will tell you is that the league after watching this closely, I think its recommendation to the GMs next week will be, let's leave it alone. It's not that bad. It's still working. But, they obviously will be canvassing managers for their input on it, so we'll see where it goes.

Dreger: Video review will be discussed in Florida as it always is on an annual basis, anyway. You're talking about criteria for the coach's challenge. You're talking about goaltender interference and you're talking about something that is near and dear to your heart, James, and that's kicked-in pucks. Here's an example of a play that I think is going to draw some attention next week. This was back [in] early January when Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers propels the puck in on a stopping motion. Now this play went to review. It was ruled to be a good goal. Should it have been a good goal? Well, according to the general managers, yes it should, but as is always the case, the National Hockey League will one more time go across the general managers, maybe they vote, maybe they don't, but if that happens in a playoff game or decides a Stanley Cup, is everybody still okay with it?

Duthie: It seems like a full agenda for the GMs meetings. Is it the executive committee that was formed a couple years ago that decides exactly what they're going to talk about, Pierre?

LeBrun: Well no, they don't decide, but they certainly now I would say have more of a voice then they used to have. You're right, it was only created two years ago, it's in its second year, really still in its infancy, the GM's executive committee. They will meet on Sunday, ahead of the GMs meeting, veteran GMs on that committee, Ken Holland, Doug Armstrong, Steve Yzerman, Kevin Cheveldayoff, Lou Lamoriello and Don Waddell, so basically all the most experienced GMs, they're going to meet with Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and Colin Campbell on Sunday ahead of the GMs. So, again, we used to not see this, but the idea here is to be a bit of liaison and talk about the agenda, maybe have some recommendations for tweaks, etc. So, a bit of a new thing.

Duthie: Doug Armstrong, one of the guys on that list, is busy a guy. He's got to run his own team, he's on the executive committee and he has a new job as well, Dregs.

Dreger: He does. On Friday, Hockey Canada will name Doug Armstrong as its general manager for the 2026 Winter Olympic team. In addition to that, Armstrong is expected to be the lead of all management groups. He will name the general manager for the upcoming men's world championship, followed by naming the general manager and the management group for the Four Nations in spring. It goes to the next men's worlds, then ultimately the entire Olympic staff for '26. So, Doug Armstrong internationally is going to be a busy guy.