How advanced stats are changing NHL contract negotiations

Justin Williams. (Getty Images)

It started like any contract negotiation. 
Agent Allan Walsh, who represents Jonathan Drouin, David Perron and Antoine Vermette, among many others, sat across from an NHL GM and assistant GM. The group was hammering out a deal for one of Walsh’s clients. They spent 45 minutes discussing staple statistics like points per game, goals, assists and ice time. Walsh, though, wasn’t satisfied. He told the executives they were omitting a crucial criterion.

It just so happened, Walsh explained to them, the player in question was tops on the team in almost every major possession metric, including Corsi and Fenwick. Walsh had his own advanced stat booklet prepared. He fished out two copies.

“I saw them open the first page, and I saw the GM and the assistant GM lock eyes with each other,” Walsh said. “And the look on their faces was, ‘Oh s—, he knows.’ ”

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War of words continues between city of Glendale, Coyotes

Adam Proteau
Gila River Arena (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The open war between the city of Glendale, Ariz., and the Arizona Coyotes continued Tuesday, as the municipality’s executives met and chose to press on in its legal battle over an arena lease with the NHL franchise.

Glendale city council held an executive session Tuesday and decided to continue its showdown against Coyotes ownership over its 15-year, $225-million lease with Gila River Arena. Glendale politicians voted last week to void the lease, prompting a harsh reaction from the team and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. But Glendale officials maintain they wish to keep the franchise in the building. Read more

Coyotes’ Ekman-Larsson: Glendale lease saga “feels like getting a pie in the face”

Adam Proteau
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Arizona city of Glendale’s battle with the NHL’s Coyotes is taking a toll on a variety of people, including long-suffering team employees, fans and players – players including star Yotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who spoke out Sunday in stark and unflattering terms regarding the saga. In an interview with Sebastian Noren of radio station ESPN 1230, Ekman-Larsson compared the municipality’s decision last week to dissolve its arena lease agreement with the Coyotes and Gila River Arena to an embarrassing comedic act.

But his first feeling was one of troubling deja vu. Read more

Bettman: Glendale’s arena actions “outrageous, irrational & cannot be condoned”

Adam Proteau
Gary Bettman (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

A day after the city of Glendale, Ariz., voted to dissolve its arena lease agreement with Gila River Arena and the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, league commissioner Gary Bettman continued speaking out strongly against the decision. And, speaking to THN via phone Thursday afternoon, he wanted to nip one particular rumor in the bud. Read more

Coyotes co-owner’s not nuts, perhaps just a little misguided

Anthony LeBlanc (left) and Gary Bettman  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Arizona Coyotes co-owner Anthony LeBlanc thinks I think he’s nuts for fighting to keep the Coyotes in the desert. For the record, I don’t think Anthony LeBlanc is nuts. I admire him for his determination and his willingness to stand up for what he thinks is right.

But like so many other people, I’m absolutely flummoxed at why LeBlanc, and the NHL for that matter, seems so insistent on fighting for a hockey market that has bled millions of dollars and one now, where even the local government has made it clear it no longer wants you around. Both the NHL and LeBlanc have fought the good fight and both can now leave the desert – at least this part of the desert – with a completely clear conscience.

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Glendale city council cancels arena lease agreement; what’s next for Yotes?

Adam Proteau
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to the media before Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

A day after the city of Glendale, Ariz., angered the owners of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes with the announcement it would be exploring the possibility of voiding the team’s lease agreement with Gila River Arena, the municipality voted to do just that. And the decision – made by city councillors late Wednesday evening in a 5-2 public vote – has once again put the franchise back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons and renewed speculation it may relocate.

The team’s response to the decision was immediate and dismayed. Read more

Coyotes fire back angrily after Glendale council announces it will consider killing arena lease deal

Adam Proteau
Gila River Arena (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

For months now, the city of Glendale, Ariz., has been involved in an ongoing political debate regarding its relationship with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, the Gila River Arena in which the team plays, and the lease agreement that keeps the franchise in town. But after the municipality announced late Tuesday it would hold a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the possible cancellation of the arena lease, the Coyotes fired back with a harshly-worded news release from ownership indicating it would “take all actions available” to the team under the law against Glendale. Read more