As NHL training camp continues and the 2022-23 season is just around the corner, an Insider Trading panel takes a look at the league’s early storylines, including Bo Horvathcontract status and the NHLPA’s search for a replacement for Donald Fehr. TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Draeger and Pierre Lebrun joined Mark Rowe for a discussion.
Mark Rowe: Joined by our TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Draeger and Pierre Lebrun, and with training camp in progress, there’s no shortage of big questions across the league, including in Vancouver; Pierre, what’s the news about the Canucks renewing the captain’s contract?
Lebrun: Well, the first thing I would like to say about Bo Horvath The front – he’s UFA (unrestricted free agent) this year as everyone knows – is something that’s been quiet lately, but these discussions started three to four months ago, it doesn’t look like they’re just starting right now. Both sides have really laid out their positions and I understand that there is a pretty significant gap between those positions at the moment, which again, the Canucks and Horvath reps have plenty of time to find a way over the next few months and that is the Canucks’ absolute priority is signing the captain to a long-term contract, but I also think the Canucks front office is feeling a little less pressure after JT Miller Signing to do it at any cost. In other words, they have a delicate salary cap and Horváth’s extension should be in line with that long-term plan. We’ll see where that goes, but certainly I believe that if Horvath isn’t signed by the March 3rd trade deadline, there’s a chance the Canucks will trade him instead of losing him for nothing on July 1st.
Caviar: The NHL Players Association also has a big decision to make, Misfits, is there any progress on finding a replacement for Donald Fehr?
Dryer: Well, they’re working hard on it, Mark. I can tell you that the search firm hired by the players’ association continues to work aggressively with the search committee that was formed to find a replacement for Ferou. Now they are looking for and interviewing candidates both in and out of hockey, as you would expect. It’s a confidential approach, no specific timeline as to when the PA hopes to find a replacement for Feru, but optimistically it could be before the New Year.
Caviar: One of the biggest surprises of the offseason was the release of Barry Trotz from the New York Islanders, and while he’s retired from coaching, Pierre, is it safe to say that’s not in his long-term plans?
Lebrun: No, that’s right, and if you call it one of the biggest surprises, surprise number two would be that he didn’t accept some of the offers he had on the table and left the coaching market. We know there was an offer from the Winnipeg Jets, but there was also interest from Detroit. [Las] Vegas and Philadelphia. This summer, Trotz made the very difficult and selfless decision to take over the family business. I met with Trotz yesterday and as difficult as it was to put his career on hold, he knows it was the right decision. He had a very busy family summer, a trip to Manitoba to help his father pack the things they lived in for 60 years, and the loss of his mother in January, so so much happened in his life that he made the right choice. . But know this: Trotz is feeling revitalized and rejuvenated and intends to coach in the NHL again. Obviously not possible right now, but when the time comes – whether it’s a practice fire this season or a carousel this offseason – Trotz will be ready to go.
Caviar: Over the past few years, we’ve seen increased investment in player health and safety, and, Dregs, we’re seeing another example of this from the NHL to the alumni association.
Dryer: Yes, what a great initiative, Mark, and credit to the NHL, all the clubs involved in this initiative, and NHL alumni. All clubs have opened their doors to provide medical access to all former NHL players. From what I understand, over 200 former players have already booked appointments, and this includes all types of medical care, as simple as the annual physical examination. So it’s a good job done by the NHL and the alumni, and it’s not an easy process when you look at Canada, the United States, the states, the provinces involved, all the doctors, coaches, and everyone else, but it’s definitely going to save lives.