Some of the NHL's best veteran players are still without contracts, and that could very well be a good thing. For Team Canada, anyway.
Hockey Canada's GM Sean Burke confirmed on Wednesday that the organization had reached out to Jerome Iginla and Shane Doan. Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations, Scott Salmond, spoke with TSN 1040 in Vancouver Thursday afternoon and confirming that and also revealed they had also contacted Mike Fisher, saying:
“As Hockey Canada we have tremendous respect for all of those players.There’s no question that their leadership and their experience could be invaluable to our team.”
While both Iginla and Doan don't have the opportunity to return to their teams from last season, that door has yet to be fully closed on Fisher. Nashville Predators' general manager David Poile said he is expecting to meet with Fisher regarding his future soon, so nothing is set in stone as of yet.
Poile has been working some amazing magic with contract negotiations this summer, and he'll likely need some more if he wants to keep Fisher around. The 37-year-old center signed a two-year, $8.8 million deal in 2015-16, and the Predators' GM will likely want a deep discount on his services moving forward.
The NHL announced in April, via Gary Bettman, that the league would not be taking a break to accommodate the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Barring further developments, that means NHL players won't be permitted to participate in the international tournament without the possibility of major repercussions.
If the veteran All Stars don't find new deals in the NHL soon, they very well could be tempted to sit out the first part of the season to participate in the Olympics. That would still leave the opportunity to sign late with a playoff contender, which is likely already the goal for Iginla and Doan anyways.