Insider Trading: Will upcoming UFAs affect the off-season trade market?
It is Masters week in the world of golf, so TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reveals his leaderboard among upcoming UFAs in the NHL with surprising results. LeBrun and Chris Johnston discuss the probability of Alex Killorn staying in Tampa, the effect the UFAs can have on the trade market, what turn the coaching situation can take in Washington and more.
Who are some of the top scorers among UFA’s this season?
Pierre LeBrun: This is a list of the top unrestricted free agent scorers so far in the NHL with a week to go in the regular season. It’s not Patrick Kane or Vladimir Tarasenko that lead these scorers it’s Alex Killorn, Gino. I wonder how many people would have guessed that.
Back-to-back 25-goal seasons for the veteran leader of the Tampa Bay Lightning and it’s going to be hard for them to keep him. He’s making $4.45 million and keep in mind that they’ve got three key players with brand new contracts kicking in next year: Erik Cernak, Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli.
They need to clear up $7.4 million in cap space so they’re going to try and keep Alex Killorn but all things being equal, just like Ondrej Palat a year ago, I think Killorn is heading to market.
Chris Johnston: One thing that the board illustrates as well is that it lends some credence to a sentiment that I’ve been hearing lately and that’s the idea that we’re going to have a little more trade activity this offseason than maybe we’ve seen in the past. When you have a free-agent class that doesn’t have a headliner, or at least not a headliner still in the prime of his career, with Kane and Tarasenko more towards the end of their time in the NHL, I think that does clear the way for more trades.
We saw a lot of that before the deadline as you reported earlier this week, Pierre, some teams like Columbus picked up an extra first round pick and will be looking to deal it. This could be a pretty eventful offseason once we get to June and July.
When he was introduced, new NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh said he was concerned about the Arizona Coyotes arena situation. And now those plans have taken another turn?
There was a pretty interesting press release that came out from the Coyotes. What I can tell you is this. They don’t think it impacts their plans to build a new arena district. That ultimately still lies in the hands of voters in the city of Tempe. That referendum will start shortly and that process will wrap up May 16th.
While this noise and all this stuff about lawsuits doesn’t look too good on the Coyotes they think that it’s ultimately just a distraction and that they’ll be able to move ahead assuming that vote goes as planned in the next month or so.
Non-playoff teams have to start making decisions about their future, and for the Washington Capitals does that include a decision about the man behind the bench?
Peter Laviolette Washington CapitalsLeBrun: Peter Laviolette is on the expiring term of his three-year contract. The Capitals I think want to let the season play out and then sit back and then have those conversations, take stock, and decompress from a year that was filled with injuries.
I would say it’s also a mutual situation. Peter Laviolette has been in this league a long time. He’s gone to three Stanley Cup Finals with three different organizations. He’d be a pretty hot candidate on the free-agent market. He has to decide what he wants. Does he want to go back to Washington? Which he may. Or does he want to try his hand at free agency? So an interesting situation there.
Josh Leivo Chicago Wolves Johnston: We know the relationship itself is going to end because the Chicago Wolves are doing something we haven’t seen in more than 25 years. They’re going to play next season in the American Hockey League without an NHL affiliate. They’re going out on their own. What that means for Carolina is that they need to find somewhere new for their prospects to play.
Are there questions about the relationship between the Carolina Hurricanes and their AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves?
I'm told that as of this day they’re still working through the various moving parts on that. It’s obviously getting late on that to line up that sort of arrangement but Carolina has been thrust into a position here where they have to find a new affiliation with the Wolves going alone.