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Two of the highest profile restricted free agents this summer would certainly be Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty, both of whom will see their entry-level contracts expire.
How time flies. Wasn't it just yesterday in June 2008 that they went 1-2 in the NHL entry draft?
In any case, their respective NHL teams will work to make sure they never get to restricted free agency.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, a source told ESPN.com Saturday, will approach Stamkos' representation "within the next couple of weeks" to kick-start contract talks with the NHL's leading scorer.
The Los Angeles Kings, meanwhile, have been drafting and analyzing different contract extension models, which they'll present to Dougthy and a number of their other free agents in the not-too-distant future, another source said Friday.
Interestingly, both young superstars are represented by the same player agency firm, Don Meehan's Newport Sports.
In both cases, I think the hope was that the process would have begun over the summer, but I believe the Ilya Kovalchuk saga postponed things as teams around the league kept a close eye on how that all turned out and the implications of the CBA amendment regarding long-term contracts.
|Jarome Iginla is signed with the Flames for two more seasons at $7 million per year and has a no-movement clause.|
Iginla is signed for two more seasons at $7 million per year and also has a no-movement clause, so he controls his fate.
Of course, Smyth also had a no-movement clause in his contract, but the Kings persisted for almost a year before getting him out of Colorado in the summer of 2009. Food for thought ...
On Saturday, the team instead called up forward Christian Hanson.
I asked Leafs GM Brian Burke on Saturday about the feeling from some fans and media that they should call up Kadri.
"No, we will not rush Kadri," Burke said. "He's still very much on a learning curve. Look up how many games [Ryan] Getzlaf and [Corey] Perry played in the AHL [when Burke was GM in Anaheim]. Bobby Ryan spent parts of two seasons in the AHL. So I don't rush guys. I want to get Kadri ready to play 10 years in the NHL, not 10 games."
A majority of NHL coaches polled by TSN's Darren Dreger this past week supported the idea but with limitations.
Tallon told ESPN.com via text message Saturday that he's "probably" going to table the idea for the Nov. 9 GMs meeting in Toronto.
The problem with the idea is where exactly does it end? Could a coach challenge an off-side call or an icing call? A line would have to be drawn.
Last March at their meetings, interestingly, GMs examined the idea of video replay for four-minute high-sticking calls but ultimately decided it wasn't worth pursuing. Two years ago, one NHL GM tabled the idea of extending the current jurisdiction of video replay so that it included goalie interference when it didn't generate enough support in the group.
But, this leads to a possible alternative to instituting an NFL-style coach's challenge. Why not just expand the powers of video replay with the war room in Toronto? If that were the case, the war room could have called down last Tuesday night to advise that Orr's goal should not have counted.
And here's a third alternative: one NHL referee, who requested anonymity, told ESPN.com via email Saturday that he'd like to see on-ice officials have the ability to watch video in-game (just like NFL referees). So in the case of a controversial play like Orr's goal, at least he could watch the video himself before dropping the puck at center ice.
Finally, here's another thought: There are 1,230 games in an NHL regular season. How many plays like Orr's goal are we really going to see? Is there the risk of overreacting to an one-off occurrence?
He's come up with something, although he wouldn't tell me Friday. I don't expect any radical changes but rather some interesting nuances to improve what's there.
His focus has been on trying to find what makes players so competitive, for example, when they play a shinny game at the end of practice or even a ping-pong game between teammates. The players often get hugely competitive even in those settings. So how do you carry those natural competitive traits over to the NHL All-Star Game?
"For some reason, that's missing in the All-Star Game until there's three minutes to go," Shanahan said. "How do we capture those competitive juices?"
Rob Blake, who has yet to be formally announced as an NHL hire by the league office, has helped Shanahan with the project.