Allan Walsh

NHL agent poll hits many topics, shows optimism about avoiding 2022 lockout

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For a long time, agents in the NHL and other sports were demonized, often to the advantage of ownership. As many fans have started to realize a little bit more about what goes on behind the scenes, such viewpoints have become more nuanced. It doesn’t hurt that agents can express their message — and their clients’ perspectives — more freely over social media.

Then again, for every outspoken agent like Allan Walsh, there are plenty we don’t hear a whole lot from. That’s part of what makes Puck Pedia’s NHL agent poll so fascinating.

While the full post is worth your time, here are some of the highlights from Puck Pedia’s NHL agent poll.

NHL agent poll provides optimism about avoiding 2022 lockout

Puck Pedia polled 25 top NHL agents in late January to early February, so COVID-19 issues aren’t really touched upon. As they mentioned, it’s possible that the pandemic might push certain opinions a bit, but for the most part, I’d agree that these results are still worth mulling over.

Maybe the most important one is that 80 percent of NHL agents polled believe that there won’t be a 2022 lockout.

Reports indicate that the NHL and NHLPA underwent some CBA extension/new CBA talks amid the pause. So, to some extent, this shouldn’t be surprising.

Still, I think I speak for most hockey fans when I say that any positive lockout-avoidance talk remains good news. It probably always will be after 2004-05 was scuttled, and 2012-13 was shortened.

Other issues the poll covers

  • When it came to viewpoints on specific GMs, one former and one current Toronto Maple Leafs GM represented polar opposites.

Thirty three percent of NHL agents in the poll chose Lou Lamoriello as the most difficult GM to work with. Meanwhile, when asked about a GM you’d want to work with to get a great deal for a client, Kyle Dubas received 29 percent of votes. The closest GM behind Lamoriello was Bob Murray at 14 percent, while Dubas topped the other list by an even more dramatic margin (no other GM exceeded six percent).

As Puck Pedia notes, recency bias likely inflates Dubas. Recency bias surfaces in plenty of polls like these, including for players. (Though you won’t see players changing their minds about, say, Carey Price or Drew Doughty too quickly, either.)

But I wouldn’t be surprised if a few Maple Leafs fans will grit their teeth at this. After all, you can spin that in a pretty negative way.

  • Some of the best contract votes (Nathan MacKinnon as team-friendly) and worst (Milan Lucic, Brent Seabrook) ended up being far from surprising. Others were a little bit unexpected, though.
  • On the negative side, it was surprising to see Erik Karlsson garner more votes than, say, Sergei Bobrovsky. From a recency bias perspective, maybe absence made hearts grow fonder about David Clarkson? (I’m guessing absence made at least an NHL agent or 20 straight-up forget about Clarkson.)
  • The positives inspired some interesting choices, too. I’m not sure many people would rank Calle Jarnkrok alongside David Pastrnak, but they were tied at 14 percent. Jarnkrok’s deal being more team-friendly than Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Brad Marchand? You do you, 14 percent of those NHL agents.

NHL agent poll ends up reasonable — for the most part

For the most part, this NHL agent poll seemed to produce some understandable results. They certainly seem to have more grounded expectations than the sometimes-audacious things NHL executives want to change about the CBA, at least.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Parenteau back in Montreal lineup after agent’s tweet

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It appears P.A. Parenteau will draw back into the Montreal Canadiens lineup tonight when they play host to the Ottawa Senators.

Parenteau, who has missed time this season due to a concussion, was a healthy scratch for a fourth consecutive game on Tuesday night as the Montreal Canadiens were blanked 1-0 by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Parenteau’s absence from the Habs’ lineup prompted his agent to take to Twitter postgame.

Parenteau has six goals and 15 points in 41 games this season while averaging 14:49 in time on ice.

The 31-year-old skated alongside Alex Galchenyuk and Tomas Plekanec at the team’s morning skate Thursday.

It’s not the first time Walsh has been outspoken about a player’s ice time.

During the 2011-12 season Walsh voiced his displeasure over then Columbus Blue Jackets’ forward Derick Brassard being a healthy scratch.

Since Walsh had success with Parenteau, TSN’s Gord Miller is hoping he can help him as well.

Sens’ Michalek taking advantage of interview window

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This summer was already shaping up to be a busy one for the Ottawa Senators, but now they’ll have another potential free agent forward to keep tabs on.

According to Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen, Senators forward Milan Michalek will take advantage of the NHL’s interview window for potential unrestricted free agents and see what’s potentially out there.

Michalek, 29, reportedly wants to stay in Ottawa, but the opportunity to see what may be out on the market from other teams is situation he’s taking advantage of. His agent, Allan Walsh, told Scanlan they’re not looking for anything “stupid” in terms of a deal.

Seeing him explore what’s out there puts the Sens in a potentially tough spot.

The team is looking to move Jason Spezza and potential free agent Ales Hemsky reportedly broke off contract talks with the team. Those two along with Michalek made up what was Ottawa’s top line at the end of last season.

Considering the Sens missed the playoffs with them, they’d be in dire need of help should they move on without them.

Sharks GM: Boyle, Havlat not returning; Burns returning to defense

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It didn’t take long for the San Jose Sharks to start making decisions on the roster for next season.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson spoke on a conference call with the media today and said the team would not bring back defenseman Dan Boyle or forward Martin Havlat next season, as Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com shares. While Boyle is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, Havlat has one more year left on his contract with a $5 million cap hit.

Presumably the Sharks will try to trade Havlat, but if they can’t find a taker the team still has both of its compliance buyouts.

Wilson also added that Brent Burns would be moved back to defense. With Boyle out of the picture, moving the puck-moving Burns back on the blue line makes sense. He spent the past season and a half playing forward and scored 22 goals this season.

The only surprising news out of this is Burns moving back to defense. While the Sharks gave extensions to Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, the 37-year-old Boyle was left out of the mix.

Havlat dealt with injury problems this season and appeared to fall out of favor with coach Todd McLellan as he played on the fourth line when was in the lineup. Even though Havlat’s agent Allan Walsh said his client was happy in San Jose in November, the team is moving on without him regardless.

Before busting owners, Allan Walsh busted criminals

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Chances are if you’re on Twitter you’ve seen the work of agent Allan Walsh.

While the NHLPA does their own PR work rallying support of the players, Walsh has been more than aggressive in pushing the buttons of the NHL’s owners and drawing the fire of fans and media alike.

What you may not know about him, however, is he used to be the guy who put away violent criminals in Los Angeles. Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star has the fascinating story about Walsh spending six years prosecuting hardcore gang criminals and the gut-wrenching trial that made him decide to change careers.

Going from gang members to hockey players and owners sure makes for a drastic switch. That said, you’d have to think he’s not getting rattled when TSN’s Darren Dreger snarks back at him on Twitter.