GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes general manager Don Maloney spoke to a handful of local media members before Thursday’s game against the Sharks to offer his takeaways on the GM meetings this week in Boca Raton, Florida.
Here are his thoughts on the various topics discussed, or in some cases, not discussed.
NHL GMs opted not to tinker with the coach’s challenge despite widespread dissatisfaction with the interpretation of goaltender interference.
“The general consensus was that it’s working the way it’s expected,” Maloney said. “It’s interesting when you look at the numbers. As of Monday there were 216 challenges. Of that, 55 were overturned, meaning a better call. People have to remember it’s not an exact science. It will never be black and white. There’s going to be some gray and interpretation.”
Maloney reiterated that the league will place cameras on the blue line during this year’s playoffs — one on the player’s bench and one on the boards — to better review for offside (the other instance in which coaches can use the challenge). The league gave GMs a demonstration of what it will look like.
It’s been widely reported that if the NHL chooses to expand, the league is considering allowing teams to protect just eight skaters and one goalie in the expansion draft.
“I think it will make expansions teams more competitive, which is a good thing,” Maloney said. “They’re paying enough to get in the league. You want them to be competitive teams.”
Maloney was told that teams will not have to protect rookies and second-year pros but third-year pros and above must be protected or exposed.
The NHL has not decided whether it will expand but Maloney said that if the announcement is not made by the NHL Draft on June 24–25, there will not be expansion for the 2017-18 season.
THE OILERS & BLACKHAWKS RULES
There was much discussion in the media about limiting how many times a team can win the NHL Draft Lottery without finishing with the worst record after Edmonton jumped two teams to draft Connor McDavid last season. Maloney said there wasn’t much more than idle conversation on the topic among GMs.
“You don’t want to be knee-jerking every year,” he said. “Let’s get through this lottery.
Maloney said there was even less discussion about tinkering the salary cap rules after Chicago placed Patrick Kane on long-term injured reserve last year and gained the cap relief to acquire Antoine Vermette from the Coyotes and also defenseman Kimmo Timonen.
“That was a media bandied-about topic of conversation,” Maloney said with a smile. “That wasn’t talked about. The rules are the rules. If players are hurt players are hurt and they have the ability to go into LTIR.
“We were able to get a good draft pick and a good young player out of it so I have no problem with what they did.”
SHRINKING GOALIE EQUIPMENT
“I know some people would like to see more offense but I enjoy a 2-1 game just as much as a 6-5 game,” he said. “That said, the league has put a ton of work into working with goalie manufacturers and I think next year we’ll see more impact on how goalies are outfitted. The robot look that a lot of goaltenders have will be gone and that will create more room in net.”
Maloney said the tipping point in this discussion was getting the NHLPA and key goaltenders such as Cory Schneider and Devan Dubnyk on bard with the need to alter equipment.
Maloney is curious to see how smaller equipment impacts today’s goaltenders as well as team’s scouting.
“I think the athletic goaltenders will be rewarded; guys that can react or recover more quickly and to a certain degree, that’s how the game used to be,” he said. “It’s something you have to pay attention to when scouting.
“You see where the position has gone the last four or five years. We’ve had a lot of 6-4, 6-5 goalies getting drafted regardless of how they move in net. It’s going to be interesting to see how this impacts the position.”
OTHER PROPOSALS FOR INCREASING OFFENSE
Among the proposals floated were allowing teams to play the full two minutes of a power play even if they scored, and penalizing shorthanded teams for icing the puck by bringing a faceoff back into their end.
“There were dozens of those types of ideas that were thrown out at the meeting and then you just try and mull it over and take it back and talk to your coaches and maybe grab a couple players and ask what they think,” Maloney said. ”
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