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News and Notes: Weekend Round-up

The NHL is not re-opening the CBA negotiations, Lassi Thomson’s first goal, and more!

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2019 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

The offseason continues to roll along, with a handful of happenings around the NHL that merit discussion.

  • For anyone worried about another potential lockout, there’s some good news. The NHL announced this week that they won’t be re-opening negotiations on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), meaning that a lockout in 2020 seems unlikely. It’s now on the NHLPA to decide whether they want to re-open negotiations, with the deadline on September 15th. There are still some pertinent issues to them in the current CBA, such as Olympic participation and escrow. However, the NHL’s decision to move forward with the current CBA is a good signal that there’s already plenty of middle ground. If the NHLPA also decides not to re-open the CBA, it will be extended until the end of the 2021-22 season.

This is fantastic news for hockey fans, who have already had to endure three work stoppages during Gary Bettman’s tenure as commissioner. The 2012-13 lockout was triggered by the group of owners, so for them to at least delay a stoppage until 2022 is a positive step forward. Some players have already begun preparing for a lockout, with heavy signing bonuses negotiated in their contracts for 2020-21 and 2022-23 (Leon Draisaitl is a prime example). But for everyone’s sake, let’s hope that no more hockey is missed.

  • With tracking data for the NHL getting closer, teams continue to gear up with analytics hires to prepare for the tsunami of new information. The newest name to be plucked from the public sphere is Hayden Speak, formerly of Prospect-Stats.com, who will be joining the Los Angeles Kings. Another interesting move is Andrew C. Thomas joining SMT as their director of data science. SMT is the company who will be providing the NHL with tracking data, and with Thomas leaving the Minnesota Wild earlier this offseason, the match couldn’t be more perfect. Thomas discusses the future of tracking technology with Craig Custance in an episode of The Full 60 podcast for The Athletic ($).
  • D.J. Smith and the rest of the Sens’ coaching staff gave a series of interviews to Bruce Garrioch in his latest feature piece. There are highlights and lowlights in the quotes, although the emphasis on developing players is a good sign that Dorion and Smith are on the same page heading into the season. I’m also interested to see how Bob Jones’ role will come into play, as he’ll serve as the coach away from the bench, giving Smith adjustments to make as each game progresses. The system tactics discussed by the assistants don’t seem like anything groundbreaking or forward-thinking, but all that will be secondary to how the young players develop.
  • Lastly, Lassi Thomson scored his first goal with Ilves in Liiga pre-season action. The Sens’ first round pick seems to already be adapting well to pro competition, since opting to head back to Finland instead of staying in the WHL.