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Jack Eichel’s Business Sense Built For Vegas

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s rare for an NHL player to request a trade. But when you’re an upset 25-year-old franchise center being forced to undergo an undesired medical procedure, things change.

When he went to them with a trade request, they took it very personally. There are people that can say I understand that this is business and the people don’t understand that. Jack Eichel saw this is as business. –Elliotte Friedman, 32 Thoughts Podcast

Let’s face it, that type of acumen fits well with an organization that’s moved on from fan favorites, bought cap space for little return, and purchased the biggest names in the sport. We’ve learned early on in the franchise’s existence that it’s a fish or cut bait mentality. And there’s nothing wrong with that as long as they continue to make the playoffs.

Eichel had his own put up or shut up moment last offseason when he requested a trade.

The Pegualas saw Jack Eichel the same way the fans did as a US born savior of their team. When he asked for a trade they saw it as a betrayal… they were so hurt and so disappointed, I have no doubt it made the situation harder. –Friedman, 32 Thoughts Podcast

Eichel felt like he was doing his part but the Sabres organization wasn’t doing enough for him. Lack of supporting characters and a messy front office were bad enough but not allowing Eichel to chose his own medical procedure led to his cold but calculated demand.

He did a lot of research into the two surgeries and why one was better than the other and why he chose the disc replacement. It was almost like he was saying I earned the right to the make the decision. –Friedman, 32 Thoughts Podcast

In 375 games with Buffalo, Eichel registered 139 goals and 355 total points. Not only did he earn the right to make decisions but the Sabres ownership backed that up by offering an $80M extension in 2017. After handing over large sums of money like that, it would suggest the Sabres wanted Eichel to have a voice in the organization. The player felt it was taken away by barring him from a selective surgery or his choice.

Eichel credited all of his agents, I think over the last couple of weeks Brisson and Berry really turned up the heat. They knew they had a really unhappy client and they were turning up the heat anyway they could. –Friedman, 32 Thoughts Podcast

On top of his high end skill that will undoubtedly win Vegas more hockey games it’s the possibility of handling a pressure filled boardroom organization like the Golden Knights. Eichel has proven he’s willing to pause his career for what’s best for himself. Not many players would’ve held steadfast like the newest Golden Knight but he put himself first and the team second. And that’s completely fair.

However, when the surgery is done and his neck has healed, Eichel is strictly in the business of winning a Stanley Cup.

Marc-Andre Fleury Lone Golden Knights On NHLPA Players Poll

Once a year, since 2017, the NHL Players’ Association puts out a poll of questions answered by about 500 current players. Historically, the Golden Knights, Vegas, and T-Mobile Arena have been all over these polls, but this year, there was just one mention of VGK.

That honor went to Marc-Andre Fleury for the prestigious category of “Who is the best goalie?

Fleury actually garnered fewer percentage of votes this year than he did a year ago but he passed Carey Price for the first time in poll history and rose to #2 on the list, the highest he’s ever been.

Fleury voting by year
2020-21 – 8.88% (2nd)
2019-20 – 8.93% (3rd)
2018-19 – 6.53% (4th)
2017-18 – Unranked

Last year, the Golden Knights were on the board seven different times including four player mentions. This year, Fleury is the lone Golden Knight listed, albeit on a much shorter list of questions.

Former Golden Knight Nikita Gusev cracked the list coming in 3rd place for the “most unique tape job.” Meanwhile, the Reverse Retro jersey that everyone seems to love despite it looking like a leotard was NOT listed among the top seven Reverse Retro unis.

Finally, and maybe the most interesting piece of the poll, was the fact that 292 players said they prefer the “series style” schedule the NHL used this season. About the same amount were also in favor of returning to the normal divisions, which is happening next season.

Player opinions will always be outweighed by financial ones, but the positivity towards the series-style schedule certainly may lead to it making a return in the near future. It’s unlikely we’ll see it next year, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s back at least in some fashion in 2022-23.

**You can read the whole NHLPA Players Poll here.**

VGK All Over 2019-20 NHLPA Player’s Poll

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Every year the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) conducts a poll among more than 500 players asking a wide-ranging variety of topics.

In the Golden Knights’ first season there were just two mentions of Vegas related items in the poll. Last year that number jumped to five. This year takes the cake with seven total Golden Knights mentions.

We’ll start with the team related ones. First, in a bit of a surprise, the Golden Knights were voted to have the second-best jersey in all of the NHL.

Last year T-Mobile-Arena was voted as having the best atmosphere in the league. This year that category was left off, but that didn’t keep Vegas away from the arena related items.

The best individual honor received by a Golden Knight went to Marc-Andre Fleury.

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Out Of Shape Already?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s been two and a half weeks since the Golden Knights last suited up. Their 3-2 overtime victory in Edmonton was their final game before the league pause.

You miss two weeks without doing anything, your wind goes, your legs go. They’re not nearly the same. Not like an NHL player needs to be. Two weeks is probably the most they can miss, and then it becomes a real hard struggle to get back in a hurry. -Pierre McGuire, TSN Montreal

Established players hit camp around the second week of September, and their first game isn’t until early October. That allows them plenty of time to get the rust off, build endurance, strength, and prepare for a lengthy 82-game season. Most, if not all, are ready to get back to work by camp because they’ve been training and playing scrimmages with other NHL’ers. I’m sure you’ve heard of Da Beauty League or the Comm Ave Classic.

Outside of injuries, players rarely spend two weeks or more off the ice during a normal NHL season. So why is it that easy for players to lose their condition after all of the hard work they put in the offseason and regular season?

Two weeks if they haven’t done anything. A lot of guys will tell you if you miss five days it’s tough to get it back right away. It takes two or three (games). Usually after two weeks players start to lose whatever they had built up to this point during the regular season. It becomes really difficult to get it back on the track. -McGuire

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Expected Financial Loss May Be Worse For The Players

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As the pause continues, it’s no surprise the NHL is preparing for a severe loss in revenue. It’s not to suggest they would rush to play, but like most of us, the league is facing serious financial issues. It’s already started inside the league office.

But the players may be the ones that get hit the most.

Hall of Fame hockey scribe Larry Brooks reported NHL players were alerted to a staggering amount of earnings lost due to the pause.

The NHL has informed the NHLPA that revenue losses could range from the best-case low of a couple of hundred million dollars to a worst-case amount of up to one billion dollars, The Post has learned. -Larry Brooks, NY Post

The NHLPA spoke with player representatives and explained the escrow share could reach a loss of 21% if the season and/or playoffs are canceled. Under the current labor agreement, it’s possible player contracts would be paid only 65% of their salary for 2019-20.

The season is approximately 85-percent complete. The discrepancy reflects a combination of the 6-to-10 percent of revenue generated by the playoffs and the fact that a full playoff would come at the cost of the remaining 15-percent of the season that would not be played. No wonder the players are pitching the idea of resuming the season in some form and playing for the Stanley Cup in August and September.-Brooks, NY Post

For a team like the Golden Knights who were expected to make a deep run, the pause takes significant money out of the players’ pockets. Playoff shares, according to the NHL are distributed by “A single lump-sum payment of $6,500,000 shall be made by the NHL to the players on account of a player fund, which shall be allocated to the players on clubs participating in the various playoff rounds and/or based upon club finish, as shall be determined by the NHLPA, subject to approval by the League.”

Without the postseason, players stand to lose a good chunk of change, and because of their escrow agreement, they stand to be impacted financially even more than the owners.

Players and owners split the NHL’s “hockey-related revenue” 50/50 (players get their share in salaries). At the end of the playoffs every year, both sides get together and count up how much money the NHL made that season. They then use that number to estimate how much it’ll make the next season (a five per cent bump is a typical ballpark guess). The salary cap, which is designed to make sure the players get 50 per cent of the revenue and no more, is then set based on that number.

But because it’s impossible to predict exactly how much revenue will come in, a percentage of every player’s paycheque is held in escrow until the money is counted at the end of the season (it isn’t always the same, but 15 per cent is a good ballpark number). If the NHL does really well and exceeds the revenue projection by a significant amount, all that money is returned to the players. But if it doesn’t, the owners get to keep however much they need to ensure they end up with exactly 50 per cent of the revenue. –Jesse Campigotto, CBC Sports

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51 Players Have No Movement Clauses, Must Be Protected In Expansion Draft

Earlier it was confirmed by Gary Lawless that the NHLPA and NHL have agreed to the rules of a potential Expansion Draft should the league indeed choose to expand. The biggest hurdle was what to do with players who have “No Movement Clauses” and “No Trade Clauses” in their contracts.

We now know the agreement states that the players with no movement clauses must be protected and players with no trade clauses do not necessarily have to be protected by their current team.

What’s the difference you ask? Well, let’s let the experts over at GeneralFanager.com.

A No-Movement Clause prohibits a team from moving a player by trade, loan or waivers, or assigning that player to the minors without the player’s consent. This keeps the player with the pro team unless permitted by the player to move the player by one of these means.

A No-Trade Clause is less restrictive, as it only places restrictions on movement by trade. A player with a No-Trade Clause cannot be traded by a team unless the player provides consent.

There are plenty of obvious names on the NMC list that would have been protected no matter what. Guys like Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, and Ryan Getzlaf. But, there are also a number of players who, in our preliminary Mock Expansion Draft, were left unprotected. Their current team would be forced to protect them. These players are, Ryan Callahan (TB), Valtteri Filppula (TB), Marc Staal (NYR), Jason Pominville (MIN), Marcus Foligno (BUF), David Clarkson (CBJ), Scott Hartnell (CBJ), Fedor Tyutin (CBJ), Ryane Clowe (NJ), and Kevin Bieksa (ANA).

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NHL and NHLPA Agree To Expansion Draft Rules

One of the largest hurdles involved in expansion process has been settled, essentially paving the way for the Board of Governors to vote and eventually approve Las Vegas as the NHL’s 31st franchise.

Our favorite Lawless, Gary Lawless tweeted this extremely important piece of knowledge early this morning.

No word yet on exactly what will happen to players with NMC’s (no movement clauses), but it appears that saga has come to a close.

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NHL Figuring Out Expansion Trades, Plus More On NMC’s

It’s nice the rest of the media world has finally caught on to the idea that this thing really seems like it’s going to happen. With the “leaked” expansion draft rules coming out last week media members everywhere are trying to figure out how it will affect their teams.

Some are claiming it’ll kill good teams. Others think teams with players with “no-move-clauses” (NMC’s) will get hurt. And the rest are just like all of us geeking out about what’s to come.

There are still a lot of rules to be figured out, especially one that was brought up by our good friend Frank Seravalli (we’ve never met Frank but if we say he’s out friend maybe he’ll actually want to be our friend. This works sometimes. Ask Dana how he became friends with me and Jason.)

The NHL has not yet made a decision on whether teams will be allowed to trade players and/or picks to an expansion team in exchange for a guarantee to not select certain unprotected players. -Frank Seravalli

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