Notebook: Goalie trade talk and front-office compensation

November, 22, 2013
11/22/13
1:37
PM ET
Star netminder Pekka Rinne (hip) is scheduled to have an MRI in the next 10 days, which may be the tipping point as to whether the Predators act on a trade for another goalie.

If the news is good, perhaps they hold tight given the recent play of 22-year-old rookie Marek Mazanec (three straight wins entering the weekend). But if they get news that Rinne will be out even longer, word is the Preds may have to return some phone calls. Heck, even if they get good news, Rinne is still out for at least a few more weeks, so I wonder if they don’t act on a trade anyway.

As reported last week, the Preds and Ducks have talked about Jonas Hiller, and Nashville GM David Poile has spoken to other teams as well.

The Ducks are loaded in goal throughout the organization. Frederik Andersen proved earlier this season he was ready for prime time by going 6-1-0 with a .943 save percentage during a call-up while Viktor Fasth was injured. Meanwhile, 20-year-old American stud John Gibson entered the weekend with a 1.99 GAA and .940 save percentage in the AHL. So whether it’s through making a move with Nashville or not, a goalie logjam in Anaheim needs addressing at some point over the next year. But since the Ducks announced Saturday that Fasth will be out another three-to-four weeks, one assumes any trade talks involving Hiller are on hold.

Michal Neuvirth's name has been bandied about this season, as the Czech netminder is perhaps open to a trade so he can push for a No. 1 job elsewhere after losing out in Washington to Braden Holtby. But what I’m hearing is that GM George McPhee has no intention to move him this season unless it’s a deal that knocks him over (think top-four defenseman, at least). The Caps like their one-two depth in goal and don’t want to mess with it.

FRONT-OFFICE COMPENSATION


Once again, there is growing support among some NHL team executives to bring back compensation when front-office personnel leave for promotions on other teams.

I wrote about this in March 2012, and the subject is once again gaining steam among a group of GMs and other team execs.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman abolished the practice of compensation for teams losing front-office personnel in the wake of Peter Chiarelli’s controversial promotion from the assistant general manager of the Senators to GM in Boston in the spring of 2006. The two teams quarreled over the proper compensation.

Starting with the 2006-07 season, there was no longer any compensation. If you allowed someone to accept a promotion elsewhere, so be it; you got nothing in return.

But there is once again a push to revisit that.

For years, Brian Burke (now president of hockey operations in Calgary) has pushed the league on this, and other GMs such as Ray Shero, Ken Holland and David Poile have voiced their support on the issue.

Is it fair for the Penguins to lose Chuck Fletcher and Mike Yeo to Minnesota and get nothing in return? Same goes for the Red Wings, who put GMs in Tampa (Steve Yzerman) and Dallas (Jim Nill) and a head coach in San Jose (Todd McLellan) but got nothing back?

As one Eastern Conference team executive told ESPN.com on Friday, if you’re spending years developing front-office or coaching personnel, you should be compensated for their loss, just like you would when trading a player that you’ve developed.

For example, if the Buffalo Sabres soon snatch an assistant GM from another team and make him their new GM, shouldn’t that team get a draft pick or something in return?

Seems fair to me.

In an email exchange Friday, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com that the league’s "position on the subject has not changed."

Still, expect these team execs to continue to bring it up with the NHL head office in an effort to get Bettman to change his mind on the matter.

HAVLAT’S FUTURE
It’s going to be intriguing to see how things roll out in San Jose concerning the future of 32-year-old winger Martin Havlat.

GM Doug Wilson came out in the local newspaper this week and talked about Havlat having to earn his ice time on a team loaded with forwards.

The veteran GM is certainly right, when you’re talking about a team that can dress the likes of Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns, Tomas Hertl, Joe Pavelski, Tommy Wingels (who scored twice Thursday night), Tyler Kennedy and rookie Matthew Nieto. And don’t forget at some point this season Raffi Torres will return from injury.

It’s a crowded group.

Havlat’s agent, Allan Walsh, hit Twitter in the wake of a report linking his client to trade rumors to remind everyone of the most important thing: Havlat has a full no-movement clause.

Which is to say he isn’t going anywhere unless he wakes up one day and feels like a change of scenery. Right now, Havlat is happy in San Jose, Walsh said.

The question now: How long will he remain happy if his ice time and role remain limited?

He was a healthy scratch last week, played on the fourth line last weekend in Chicago then got put back on Pavelski's third line Thursday night in a 5-1 win over Tampa, playing 16:08 but not registering a point.

He has one goal and one assist in nine games entering the weekend.

Even if Havlat has a change of heart and gives Wilson the green light to shop around, the fact that he has another year on his deal paying him $6 million in salary next season ($5 million cap hit) is a bit of an anchor given how banged up the winger has been the past few seasons, which has limited his effectiveness.

Mind you, as we saw with the Kris Versteeg deal where Florida ate half of his remaining contract, there are devices in the new collective bargaining agreement that allow San Jose to be creative if ever the Havlat camp decided it’s time to explore the market.

This is probably as healthy as he's been in a year, so perhaps the next few weeks will show us the Havlat of old which much pique the interest of other teams.

Also, there is no doubt Havlat is mindful of the fact that, regardless of his diminished role with the Sharks, he’s on a team that has a serious shot at winning a Cup, something he’s never done in his career.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Wilson and Walsh have had a close relationship over the years.

Wilson, by the way, has a history of treating players well in these situations. When veteran center Michal Handzus looked for a change of scenery last season, Wilson dropped him in Chicago, where the Slovak center picked up a Cup ring. Thank you very much.

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