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News and Notes: Weekend Round-up

Unsigned restricted free agents, Patrik Laine, Hometown Tour and more

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Winnipeg Jets v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

A new week brings us news and some note-worthy writing to share. Here are some things that caught my eye over the weekend:

  • I’ve written about it a couple of times already, so I won’t belabor the point here, but there are still a really large number of restricted free agents that remain unsigned and it’s starting to get weird! Craig Custance has a nice summary of where things stand over at the Athletic. Custance’s piece is well-sourced, but there’s one quote towards the end that really stuck out to me:

But wait, there’s more. Multiple team executives have suggested that the NHLPA is involved to make sure the market is set in a way that is most advantageous to the players.

“I happen to believe this has been well thought out and concerted effort by the union,” said an executive, echoing the thoughts a few others. “They’re just saying wait, wait, wait.”

This is either a fairly benign quote, unions function to improve the livelihoods of their members after all, or a fairly explosive allegation depending on your point of view. We’re still a couple of years removed from the end of the CBA but it’s worth keeping an eye on how these protracted contract disputes play out — and whether they might be a signal of trouble to come.

  • Speaking of stalled contract negotiations, Patrik Laine let it be known that he’s not certain he’ll be returning to the Winnipeg Jets next season. Laine’s a restricted free agent who scored an impressive 110 goals the last three seasons but last year was up and down to say the least. Of all the unsigned RFAs out there, Laine’s contract seems like the one with the largest range of possible outcomes.
  • Ian Tulloch took a look at how the NHL’s stars are deployed during the play-offs and in high leverage moments and found that their ice-time doesn’t change much at all as compared to the regular season. Intuitively it makes sense to me that the stars should play more in the most important games, but NHL coahes don’t seem to agree. One thing worth noting is that Tulloch was focused solely on forwards, whereas anecdotally star defensemen play huge minutes in the biggest games. Could this be an unexplored efficiency?
  • In Ottawa news, the Sens announced the return of their Hometown Tour, set to begin August 27th in Nepean. The full list of the six stops, as well as the current players and alumni that will be in attendance can be found here. The Hometown Tour is a sure sign that the new season is almossssssst here.