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This is Agent Provocateur with Alan Walsh and Adam Wild.


Welcome, everybody.


We're in the same studio.


I'm here.


He's finally in Toronto. Alan Walsh, everybody. Let me high five. We had a big hug earlier. Alan, I'm so glad that you're here. We didn't even know you were coming until, what, yesterday or the day before when you said, How about we do this in person?


Well, I was in Buffalo at the Central Scouting Combines. We're going to talk about that. Yes. I figured I'm so close. Why don't I just fly out of Toronto back home instead of Buffalo and connecting back to LA? And I get to see everybody here, including you.


That's right. Everybody here, including us, which I appreciate.


And Jessie hiding in the back room.


That's right. Jesse was actually shooting us, I think, for social media right now. Allan, I mean, listen, it's been a few weeks and a lot has happened. We're talking World Championships. You just talked about the combine. You've got Adam, you're a check. Beck and a bunch of other players getting ready for the draft. We'll start with the combinesines here because they just happened. How was it?


Well, they're still going on. They're still going on. A lot of the fitness testing, medical testing and fitness testing is going on today, and players will start leaving tomorrow. The Leifs are also having a private combine, and they're bringing some of the top-rank players that they may have interest in into Toronto that will be here for a day or two doing some testing and interviews with all the leaf brass here in Toronto.


Now, is that normal that teams do that? Yes. Okay. So a lot of teams will have their own side tests?


Under NHL rules, teams are not allowed to do this until the combinesines. Got it. So there's a window after the combinesines where they can do that. And if a player is invited to the combinesines, he can't test with the team because he only want players testing one time. If a player is not invited to the combinesines, after the combinesines, they can be brought into an NHL team city to do some physical testing.


How do you prepare a player for this? Because these guys are, you got to remember, these guys are 17, 18 years old or newly 18, I guess, and young, and this is intimidating, and they've waited their whole lives for this. What do you tell them?


There's a lot of people who think there's a way to program players for their interviews. The players get a sheet, and it tells them each day which team they're going to interview with and the time. The interviews are limited to 20 minutes. Okay. Can't stay longer than that. Teams also have some teams, psychologists, and they do personality tests separate and apart, schedule separate and apart. They have meetings with psychologists where they do a psychological analysis. But the actual interview with a GM, Assistant GM, Director of Amateur Scouting, and a group of scouts. Some teams have 12 to 15 people in the room with the prospect when they come in, and some teams have three or four scouts with a head scout conducting the interviews. Every team is different.


That's got to be scary.


Well, it could be intimidating going in there. What I try to do is I never tell players how to answer questions. I just give them information about what to expect. These are the interviews. Here's your sheet. Here's the times of your interviews. They're limited to 20 minutes. Here are typical areas that are covered in the interview. There's no right or wrong answer. Right.


But I think-And some of the questions are really weird, too, are they? Yeah.


The question going around that A-Team was asking players over the last couple of days is, If you were an animal, what animal would you be?


Okay. I guess the answer, what the teams would be looking for from something like that from a player is their ability to just work through the answer. Am I right on that?


I think they're looking for players who could think on their feet. I've talked to scouts for 30 years, picking their brains on what they're looking for in interviews, and they're just trying to get to know the player. Is this guy a good guy? Is this guy somebody we want to have as part of our organization? The hockey stuff That gets evaluated separately. But then you got to look at what a player are we bringing into the organization? So one question that was asked by a team was, if you had a choice between playing only one year in the NHL and winning the Stanley Cup or having a 10-year career in the NHL and never winning the Cup, which would you choose?


It's a tough one. That's a real tough one. I know how I'm answering that in front of management, but I also know how I feel about that, which is I'm taking the money, but that's just me, right?


But I think teams are also looking for sincerity.


Yeah. Okay.


Are you coming in here to tell us what we want to hear? Or are you coming in here and being honest with us?


Yeah, because I'd like to support my family for 10 years based on an NHL salary, right? Exactly. That's how I'd look at it. But again, that's why I'm not a Stanley Cup winner, I think. That's the only reason. But, Allen, I I think what's interesting about this, too, beyond the funny questions that teams ask players, is it really is a meeting of the minds before the draft. And the draft is going to move to decentralization after this year. Chris Johnson has already talked about how he's not He thinks Vegas will be fun, but he's like, It's not going to be the same packed-in thing that we've been used to when all the media and all the scouts and all the general managers and everybody goes to the draft. This is a great way to talk to everybody in the league all in one place, isn't it?


Yeah. And first of all, I'm not convinced the draft is actually going to get decentralized. I've had lots of conversations with GMs who are very upset that there is a movement afoot to decentralize. There was a vote at the GM meeting, and the vote went 28 to 4 in favor of decentralizing. Yeah. Right? Yes. I talked to probably 10 GMs who voted to decentralize who don't want it to happen.


Why did they vote to decentralize?


It's a very complicated issue. Some voted because their owners want it decentralized. It's an expense issue. Owners don't want to pay for it. Draft is very expensive. It doesn't bring in any revenue or it historically doesn't bring in revenue.


It's also just not an entertaining, compelling television product.


Well, the biggest issue for many GMs is the lack of substantial time between the end of the draft and the start of free agency. So last year in Nashville, teams were bugging out right after the second day of the draft, and there were thunderstorms all over, and flights were getting canceled and delayed everywhere. And free agency starts in 48 hours, and you have your entire team's brain trust sitting at a gate with a canceled flight. Right.


And it's a two-day latency period. It's like the 28th to the first, essentially. But you got to have all your decisions made by the 30th this year. So it's pretty quick.


I talked to one GM who told me, We're just staying in Vegas. We're running the free agency. We rented out the space, and we're just going to have our war room set up in Vegas. We're going to have it set up for the draft, and we're going to keep it to go all the way through free agency. We're going to be down there till fourth of July.Wow.Yeah..


I got to say-I wonder if they would do that if it was in Winnipeg. Listen, I hear the WiFi is not great in Winnipeg. No, that's very interesting. I remember last year because especially through the New York, New Jersey area, there were really, really bad thunderstorms, and Nashville had some, too. I remember you telling me that prospects had to drive overnight 14, 15 hours to get to Nashville from New York, New Jersey.


I had two top prospects who were drafted very high in the draft, who had flown from Europe to New York area airports, and thunderstorms everywhere. Everything was getting canceled for days. There were days of cancelations. Literally, these airports are shut down. They rented cars in New York and drove to Nashville. I couldn't even imagine.


That's devotion, though.


Yeah, well, they made it in time. They got there a day late, but they made it, but they literally drove 16 hours.


At a combine, when you're there, obviously you're there and you're looking after your players. Are you talking to general managers about other things when you run into them?


That's all you're doing. There were about 28 GMs in Buffalo at the combines, and Buffalo is now the permanent home of the combines. It used to be Toronto, but now they have a permanent home in Buffalo. It's a tremendous setup. All the players are at the hotel attached to the rink. They don't even have to go outside. Most of the teams are staying at that hotel. There's one other hotel right across the street where a bunch of teams are staying at. You're all in a very close proximity to each other. I probably had one-on-one meetings with over 20 GMs.Wow.Yeah..


Holy smokes. It's like speed dating.


Yeah. It was funny because I'd finish a meeting with the GM, and the next meeting, and the person had come down and meet me in the lobby, and you go off somewhere and sit down and talk, and then you just basically roll it all day.


Right. And are you exhausted at the end of the day?


No, I feel great. I love what I do.


That much talking, though. People can get burned out.


I go back to my room and update everybody on what's going on. There's various players without contracts, and you're meeting with their GMs talking about new deals. It's really the kickoff to the process of getting a deal done. You've got the combinesines, and that's when you really have that first face-to-face meeting, and you start negotiating up to the draft. You might meet again at the draft, and then you've got another pressure point of June 30th turning to July 1 for guys that are becoming free agents, guys that are restricted free agents. July fifth, file for arbitration, date, if that's what you're going to do. And arbitration hearings start around July 20th, go to August fourth. You know for sure if the player is filing for arbitration on July fifth, he's going to have a contract right around the first week of August. Right. It's a good one.


Right. Okay. I do want to come back to the conversations with general managers and that thing, because there's obviously this time of year so much positioning and posturing between two different sides in many different teams and many different levels. So I want to come back to that. But before we get away from the combine, I want to talk to you about the guys that you had there. Specifically, obviously, the big name is Adam Yurichek. We We all know David. We all know that things have been not for him necessarily, but Columbus has had a rocky couple of years, but they expect him to come in and be a gigantic force for them, I think, this year. Adam, you're a check. If you ask David, David has said that he's better, which is hilarious. When he was on a couple of years ago, we asked him about it, and right before he was drafted. What's your sense of Adam? He had the knee injury, and now he's come in, and he should go. Where do you think he's going to go? What are your thoughts on Adam's future?


You have a great memory. When I first met David and Adam together, several years ago, David said to me, Do you know the best thing about me? I said, What, David? He goes, My brother Adam, he is better than me.


He's like, I'm not even the best. You're a check. Exactly.


I was like, That's interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Adam, unfortunately, tore his ACL during his first game in the World Juniors. Right. And needed an ACL reconstruction, had the surgery done in check. He's about four and a half, five months post-surgery. The recovery is going great. He He's going to be cleared to return to action for sure by the start of training camp. We're going very slow and very conservative with him. He's doing everything he needs to be doing right now in the gym. Obviously, every team is asking him. Every team is going to look at the surgical reports. They can look at the MRIs. It's all available. It's all available. There's no balls. There's nothing to hide. You want to give teams as much information as possible so they don't have any doubts. And nowadays, a torn ACL, I wouldn't want to say routine because it is a serious injury, but it's as routine as you're going to get. Lots of players have had torn ACLs in 19, 20, 21 years of age and had long, long careers and never had another issue again with that knee. And David had knee surgery in his draft year as well.


I got about that.


You're right.


Yes. Yeah. So the two brothers, I was like, Wait, Adam, you got jealous of your brother? I'm not like, You have to go do that as well. So where do I think he's going to go? I think that if He did not get hurt. Most people at midseason had him somewhere in the top eight. I don't think that that's realistic anymore. I think he's going to go somewhere between Between 12 to 25. I really don't have a tighter bend than that just because the draft is very deep this year in defensemen, as opposed to other years. Last year was very deep at center. This year is very deep with Dmen. There's a lot of teams, several teams with multiple picks in the first round. I think there It would be some trade action involving some of those picks, which makes it much more difficult to predict where guys are going to go.


Because certain teams, you probably, and I won't ask you for them, but certain teams, I'm sure you feel a little bit warmer about than others when it comes to your players, year in, year out. I feel like if my player falls in that position, I feel like that team really likes my guy.




Sometimes. Sometimes. Or they keep their cards close to the chest?


I I have like, prefer teams where I was like, I want this team to draft my guy, or I don't want that team. I don't really feel like that about anybody. It's like wherever the player goes, he's going to go. And now the focus is on helping him and supporting him in his development to become an NHL player. Because remember, getting drafted, even getting drafted in the first round, only puts you on the starting line. Yes. Getting to an NHL career.


I was going to ask you about that because Because you say it's like, congratulations, you've been drafted, but now the work begins. Exactly. I say, what are the teams going to get? What are the fans going to get with this guy? What do fans expect? What type of player, if they haven't watched If they missed the World Juniors for the game that he was playing or they haven't seen his junior career, what type of player is he for whatever organization gets him?


Adam is an elite skater. His game that stood out to scouts last year and for half the season this year was how he can get up to speed, full speed so fast. And he's a very shifty skater in that he can pivot and has great mobility while handling the buck. So he's a buck rushing defenseman in that respect. He doesn't have the bomb yet from the blue line that his brother has. But he call it Martin Fripp, too. Yeah, exactly. But David told me, he goes, Alan, give me another year or two, and my brother will have that bomb. I'll show him how to do it.


Who else is a noted Alan Walsh client in this year's draft that we should look out for?


I think you should keep a close eye on Adam Jeckeo.


It's all the Adams.


Yeah, I've got cornered the market on the Adams from Czechia. Jeckeo played for Edmonton in the Western Hockey League, was one of the top scoring rookies. He's a centerman. He's 6'5, and he's been a very highly touted prospect from Czechia for the last several years. People have been waiting For him, they know all about him. He had a great year. He's got a great personality. He's always smiling, always happy, really passionate about the game. He can score. And what I think was most advantageous about the combinesines for him is he got a lot of feedback from teams on areas he needs to work on. He's going to go to his summer and really work on those areas, which is key.


For you, going into this particular draft year, obviously, it's not just about the draft. You've got these players. They're great. You also have some noted clients with some contracts that have come up. Yeah, there's a few. There's a few, just a few. I remember a couple of summers ago, you had a crazy summer in 2022. I'm thinking about Marc-André Fleury. I'm thinking about Huber Doe. I'm thinking about some of the other names that I think Peron signed in Detroit that year. It was a wild year. I think I would be remiss if we did not ask you about Philip Peronic. Now, I watched him because I did all the sidecasts for the Vancouver games until they were eliminated. So I watched him every game of the playoffs with Quinn Hughes. Obviously, the two of them together were a revelation in Vancouver. It's Vancouver's best season since probably 2011. They're in a bit of a cap crunch. I hate to cry, but I actually don't hate to cry. What can you tell us about preparing for those negotiations?


Well, I don't want to say too much. I've been very careful not to provide Any oxygen with regard to all of the speculation? One of the big problems with the salary cap, in my opinion, and I have been very vocal about it. No. I know it's shocking to you. I know it's totally shocking to you. But Adam, the game should be about the game. People should be talking about the players. Talk about a goal. Talk about an amazing pass. Shouldn't be discussing and wringing their hands. Every fan base, 6.5 million, 7 million, 8 million. He's not an eight. He scores a beautiful goal. He's an eight million dollar player. He doesn't have a great game. I wouldn't give that guy 6.5 million. And the fact that there's a cap, and it's not just teams having a budget and they're signing guys, the fact that it's a cap and there's only so many cap dollars to go around makes the cap the story.


Yes. And it's not about if the player is good or not. It's about, does their contract match their play? Right.


For the entire second half of the year, the Knux market has been obsessed. First, it was Petterson, and now they've been obsessed with Philip Ronick. How much is that contract going to cost? They should trade him. No, they should keep him. It's all about, Don't pay him 8 million. Don't pay him 7 million. I wouldn't give him 6.5, 7.5. It's so ridiculous. I've been hearing people talk about negotiations that have been going on and how much he's asking for. I'm sitting back and saying, If anybody would know, I would know.


Have you been getting questions? Have people been calling you? The stuff that I'm hearing people are saying, Oh, he turned this down.


It's fantasy. They don't know what the hell they're talking about. Actually, Phil and I, a couple of times, he's called me and we were like, a clip comes across our way and we're laughing. We're like, What is this? It's Mary Poppins. It's Cinderella. It's unbelievable.


I have to be honest, I'm on a show that's probably guilty of sometimes. I'm not going to say anything about that.


But the thing is, if you try saying that about any of my players, I'm going to go after you on Twitter.


That's fair. Listen, that's fair. I think Dan Milstein did actually over a Dan Murphy report, too. And regardless of that, the one thing I do want to say is that Philip Hronik is an RFA, and not necessarily pertaining to him, but when you're a year from RFA for a lot of players, you're looking at, if I'm going to sign I'm going to sign for more than a year. A lot of teams don't want to sign you for a year and walk you to free agency. If I'm going to sign for more than that, I'm giving up my unrestricted free agency years. I'm giving up where I could make market rate, whatever market rate is that year. And we expect the cap to go up 4 million this year and next.


And you're in your 20s.


Right. And that's where you're most valuable. I mean, he's entering his prime years, and he ran the Detroit power play on a bad Detroit team for years. No disrespect to Steve Iserman. And then-Non-playoff team. Non-playoff team. Sorry. There you go. That's a better way. You're far better than I am. And then came in and was the best defense partner Quin Hughes has ever had. So how do you... They always say the team holds all the cards in an RFA negotiation. When you're a year from free agency, unrestricted, does that change things a bit?


Sure. The player has tremendous leverage, But I've been very clear. I think Phil has been very clear. He loves Vancouver.How could you not?Exactly. And the organization, from the time that he was traded, when they were a non-playoff team, and now they are not just a playoff team, but legitimate contenders. He loves the guys. Sure. I think he has great rapport and respect for the coaches. All of the factors, and he loves the city, right?


As anyone who visits Wood, it's a great place to live.


Phil and his girlfriend and his dog love the city. So you go in and you really upfront about how much he likes it and would like to stay, and you hope that there's a way to make it happen.


Right. Just negotiating from an RFA point of view, just because we always hear from people, Hey, not just Phil, but anybody, does the team really actually hold all the cards in an RFA situation, or is that a little bit overblown?


I think every situation has its own DNA to it. It's impossible to generalize and say, Team holds the cards. I think arbitration It is a very fair process to get to the end result. It encourages deals to get done before a hearing.


What do you say about deadlines?


Deadlines clarify the mind, and deals happen at deadlines. I can't tell you how many times over my 30 years representing players that a player, my player, has filed for arbitration, and this isn't just me, this is across the board, and the deal gets done the night before the arbitration hearing or the morning of. I've even settled cases and done deals, literally as the arbitrator is walking into the room and the arbitration hearing is about to start.


Do you still have to pay the arbitrator?


We don't pay the arbitrator.


You don't pay the... The team... It's not your problem.


The League and the NHLPA jointly pay the arbitrator. That's good.


Yeah, we don't... They must laugh about that. That must be a very funny moment when they walk in and go, Okay, gentlemen, and we're like, We have a deal.


Yeah. We had gone in. I walked in with the player, and everybody was getting settled and opening their binders. The GM walked over to me and tapped me on the shoulder, and he said, Can I have a word with you outside? And we walked outside, and we had dinner together the night before. Sure. Me and the GM and the player went for dinner the night before the hearing. This is not That people think arbitration is so contentious, and the team is going in and trashing the player.


That's how it's framed to us as fans.


It is nothing like that. The rules have been refined from the days where Tommy Salah was sitting in tears as his GM testified about what a terrible goalie he was. That actually happened. That The player was sitting there at the table in tears. That story has gone around a lot over the years. It's not like that. The arbitration is based on statistics. Benjamin Disraeli said, There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. You can use stats to skew the results to any conclusion conclusions you want. It may not be a strong argument, but it's possible to make it. With Philip Ronick out there, there's going to be a group of players who are defensemen, left shot and right shot. Right shots are more valuable than left shots. There's generally a 10% premium attached to a right shot defenseman because they're rare. There's less right shots out there than the left shot. You got to then look at what was the cap when these other deals were done and what percentage of the cap? What was the percentage? And what's the percentage of the cap with the numbers that we're talking about now that we know what the cap is likely going to be at 87, up from 87.679 up from 83.5. You've got a group of defensemen with similar games played, similar time on ice, similar offensive production.


From that search parameter, you're going to get a group of players in this cluster. Basically, you've got a group of players at the bottom of that range, a group of players at the top of that range, a group of players in the middle of that range, and the team is going to go in there and argue that the player is either at the very bottom of that range or even just below that range. The player is going to go in and argue that the player is They're at the top of the range, and they're going to make arguments based on the stats using comparable contracts of similarly situated players, and the arbitrator is going to decide. It's a very accurate It's an academic exercise.


So the emotion, the brutality of it has been pulled out of it.


A general manager's opinion is no longer relevant in an arbitration hearing. So a general manager doesn't testify lie and say, This player, I don't like his attitude, or the coaches don't like his attitude. It's not about that. It's really tied to the statistics.


Wow. When did that change happen? Was that directly after Tommy Salo, and they thought, We can't let this happen? When did you see that change?


The focus has been on stats since at least 2005. Wow.


So right after that, I guess, that would have been... It's nice to hear that because whenever you hear your team, your favorite player, arbitration, there is a bit of a chill that goes down people's minds, right? And we see that In Toronto, we've seen that with the Blue Jays. They've gone to arbitration with their star players several times.


The reason why I think media and fan bases get so riled up about arbitration is if a player is one year from USA a day, and you actually go to arbitration and keep in mind from on average 40 to 45 arbitration filings each offseason, maybe one actually goes to hearing, everything else settles. What I said about deadlines. Everything else settles at them. When you look at it like that and you've got a player one year from USA, if you actually go to arbitration, it's a one-year deal, and that player has been walked to free agency. That's what gets everybody so riled up.


Now, you have with, obviously, Philip, he is a great... There was a great situation in Vancouver. Am I allowed to talk to you about a couple other players or any other players on your roster that may or may not be out of contract, or are we Too early on that. You can try. You can try? Okay. All right. I want to ask that before.


As you can see, we've rehearsed this.


Yes, of course. Yeah. No, this is the thing. I understand that it's your podcast. It's our podcast, but you are the star here. But I do want to ask questions that are somewhat, at least uncomfortable, and people are going to want to know. A guy like David Peron, he wins the Stanley Cup in St. Louis, notably under Craig Berube, who's now the coach of the Leaps, but he moves on to Detroit. What situation is David looking for at this point in his career? What's a perfect situation for a guy like this?


I would say that a really good situation... I don't know if the perfect situation ever exists for anybody, but Detroit was a great fit. He's got a fabulous relationship with the coaches, and he really likes the coaches, and that's very well known. He is one of the veteran leaders amongst a leadership group with a lot of younger players coming up. And I think he has really enjoyed working with younger players, showing them how to play, talking to them about playing the right way, showing them by example. And that's something that is very important to him. And David plays with a snarrel.


Yes, he does.


He plays with an edge, and he's always played that way. And there are a lot of teams that need a guy who plays that way. And just the fit on the power play, the fit with the guys that he played with, the family situation. Detroit was a great place for them for two years, and I know that he hopes to stay there. Okay.


Yeah. And you know what? Detroit, the Detroit Metro, which I think people have a really rough view of Detroit based on them filing for bankruptcy in 2009, which is 15 years ago now. They just reopened Michigan Grand Central Station last night and had M&M in front of it. And the new Detroit, it's a very real thing. It's becoming a very exciting place to live and very affordable for everybody.


Yeah. And players don't live in Detroit. No.


They live in-Like Ann Arbor.


Birmingham is a big spot where guys are living right now. They're beautiful homes, beautiful communities. The minor hockey is great. If you've You have kids playing hockey. Max Paturetti just moved there with his family. Oh, he did? He's got four young boys all playing minor hockey. Each one of them is playing a year or two ahead of their age group and the best player on the ice every How does Max-I have to hang on long enough for these kids to get to their draft here.


Max had a real interesting year. And the fact that the Capitals made the playoffs, he has to probably feel very good after a season like that. How is Max? What are his thoughts on his outlook on this year?


Well, I think that what he's been through and what he has overcome and the way that he's overcome it is truly remarkable. There's a couple of really good sports documentaries out there right now I've watched recently. If anybody made a documentary going through the process from the first time he tore his Achilles to right now, you have a hell of a film. It's really quite incredible. And the fact that he made it back after the re-injury and the surgeries and played again at the NHL at a high level and was at around 0.50 points per game, it's just truly remarkable.


And he wants to keep playing.


Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. Max is really... He's a very cerebral player, but nobody should ever underestimate how much he loves the game. To For me, the best testament to that is the way he's passed on his love of the game to his kids. That's cool. Because when you're so passionate about the game itself and your kids, young, tap into that and they want to play, that to me, that's one of the signs of passion.


When he was on the show, we were talking about his... And he was in Vegas at the time. Just his obsession with health, obsession with taking care of his body. Everybody talks about Nathan McKinnon, and I would put Patcheretti in that same range where it's like every calorie that goes in, I know what that's going there for. Every piece of movement I do in the gym, there's a reason for it. He's very calculated that way.


And training method.


Yes. I wondered, and again, this is far down the road, so not anytime soon, but is this the guy That becomes we've seen a lot of great players from the last generation become really good coaches. Like, look at a Marty St. Louis in Montreal in the way he's even though the team's not, they're on the upswing slowly, the mood in Montreal has changed enormously. And there's obviously a ton of other examples I can give. Do you see Max as a coach guy?


Oh, absolutely. Yeah? Oh, yeah.


He just feels that like, I don't know if he'd be the GM guy. I think he'd be the coach guy.


100 % whenever Max decides to retire, whenever that is, I could see him in a few different roles. I respect I, to factfully disagree, I think he would be an amazing GM.


I think he'd be great. Okay, great.


He knows every player in the league, encyclopedic knowledge of them and can break down their game and analyze it in a level Way above most people.


Do you think he'd want to do a podcast?


I don't know. I'm sure he'd want to... He would be happy to come on with us again.


Oh, that'd be good.


That'd be good. And renew acquaintances with you and talk about how things are going now. But I can definitely see him coaching, but I can also definitely see him scouting and or managing, too.


Like an Iserman, Sackick, guy.


Yeah. I found that Some GMs that I've grown very close to, when they've retired, their initial passion was in player development. That was their entree. That was the area that they were attracted to most. And they moved up the line first in player development into upper management. And other players, when they retired, really enjoyed and had passion for scouting and identifying talent and evaluating talent and talking about evaluating talent. And they went into scouting. And then that was their entree into upper management. And some, you could just tell at the way they thought about the game and their level of instinct around the game were destined to become GM. Gms. Yes. And there are players that I know right now in the league where, I'm not going to say it, but I would be comfortable writing their name down on a piece of paper and putting it in an envelope and saying on the envelope, Open in 10 years. And inside, they're going to be a GM when you open this envelope.


Okay. And Max's name would be on it. A couple of other names I want to talk to you about that are, quote, unquote, out of contract but had great years. Sean Dersy Finally got, I think, obviously the LA system was very deep. So he got a lot more responsibility in Arizona and Sean in that. And then he's obviously out of contract, but with the Utah franchise. He was part of the guy, part of the group that walked off the plane and had that amazing reaction from the fans. From what we've heard, there's more than 20,000 people who have registered for season tickets, and I believe this year, only 12,000 seats unobstructed will be available, but they're obviously going to renovate the arena. You've talked about on the show how great this has been and how exciting Utah is. For Sean, what do you see in his future? Obviously, I would imagine it's a part of that franchise.


Oh, for sure. But, well, he has rights to arbitration. He's two years from free agency. So I would expect, at least in the short term, his future is in Utah. We can assume. We'll see where it goes from there. But keep in mind, his entire last year in LA, because of Drew Dauti on the right side in LA and Drew being healthy, Sean played on the left side. Yes. And that's extremely rare for a right shot D to be playing on the left side consistently. It wasn'tAt a high level. It wasn't like he was filling in for an injured player, and it was a temporary situation. And that happens more frequently. But to have a right shot guy play on the left side almost all year, almost unheard of. And it was a function of he was too good to play down the lineup on the D-side in LA, but no one was going to surplant Drew Dauti as the number one D-man with his longtime partner. So The only other real option to get Sean into the 20 to 22 minute time on ice mark per game was to move him over to the left side.


But the fact that he could do that after not playing on the left side almost his entire career to that point is remarkable.


Yes. And is tricky and challenging and that thing. What do you think about his step forward, though, with Arizona and now Utah?


Well, I think what you saw in Arizona the past year was him getting more comfortable and settling in as an everyday NHL player and then taking a step forward with regard to leadership. Sean is a guy that is going to wear a letter for the rest of his career, wherever he plays. He is so well respected by other players. He's so intelligent and-Relentlessly positive.


Like, relentlessly positive.


You know, If I'm not having a good day, I want to call Sean Dersy, and he will find a way to cheer me up because you're right, he is a bundle of positivity and energy, and He's one of those few rare people that makes you feel good being around him.


Actually, if you go back into the archives of Agent Provocateur, you'll see a Sean Dersy interview, and he's spectacular, and it tells some great stories, but also you just get the sense of the guy. One name that, for my money, is the Comeback Player of the Year, and criminally underreported, frankly, is Jonathan Druant. He had a great year in Colorado. He really did. It was, apparently, Nathan McKinnon called Joe Sackick—this is the story, I don't know if this is true or not—and said, You got to sign this guy. You got to bring this guy in. How is Jonathan Druin feeling after this season, after a bit of a bumpy ride the last few?


I would say that what Colorado allowed him to do, to be there, and to have the familiarity of his old linemate and very close friend from Junior is it allowed him to rekindle his passion to play the game. There's some very well-documented issues with the anxiety that he's been very open about and very public about. When I spoke and continued to speak with Jonathan now, he's in just a tremendous place in his personal life. Great. He's a happy guy. He all season looked forward to coming to the rink and was so focused and locked in on having success on the ice. But really, enough credit has not gone to the Avalanche as an organization. I think that From the management to giving him the opportunity, the coaching staff. Jonathan cannot think more highly of that coaching staff to the guys in the room that accepted him and brought him in. He's like, Allan, I feel like I've played here for the last five years. No disrespect at all to Montreal. Many people were very good to him in Montreal. But I think the constant scrutiny and the fact that he was one of the few French-Canadian players over a lengthy period of time where there's demands on you in speaking to media on a daily basis.


We've talked about it before here on this podcast, going out into the world and going to a and having people come to you and walking down the street and walking into a restaurant.


I don't think people in Toronto talk too much about how intense the media is here. I don't think people pay enough attention to how intense, not just the English media, but the French media in Montreal is tough. There's blogs and they'll follow you around. It's a whole different world.


It's 24/7.


Yes. You don't leave your house without it.


It's all summer. It literally goes 24/7 all the time. You either have to be incredibly thick skinned and cut yourself off from access to it. Stay off social media, don't don't read anything. It's a very hard thing to do. When things are not going well, it's much easier for it to start snowballing out of control in a place like Montreal or Toronto or really any Canadian city, as opposed to being in a city with one or two beat writers. When you leave the rink You have relative anonymity. You can go anywhere, live your life, go anywhere with your family. You can walk your dog, you can go to the park with your kid. It's not that people won't bother you. It's people don't know who you are. Yeah. And that's a wonderful thing for many guys.


I don't know how long that's going to last, though, because hockey is growing in certain areas where players have traditionally gone to escape that. And you look at what's happening in South Florida, you look at what's happened in Tampa, you look at what's happened in Nashville, places where people are, well, if I want to be anonymous, you can't sign in those places the same way that you used to and get that same anonymity. And obviously, Denver is not a... It's a pretty intense place to play. The fan base is great. And I think being next to Nathan McKinnon, having him as your best friend, I think that's pretty great. Do you think that he's now able to take this momentum and turn it into a longer... You said he was five years with Colorado. Do you think it'll be that? Do you think he's going to stay there? Am I allowed to ask that?


Well, I don't want to talk specifically on... I did meet with Chris McFarlon in Buffalo and had a great meeting with him. Both sides have been pretty public also about how we want to make a deal, they want to make a deal. When both sides If you don't want to make deals, deals happen.


There you go. Marc-andre Fleury. He has another year. And there was a lot of speculation this year about whether or not he'd play beyond this season. What do you think it is about Minnesota? It seems that when he got there, he found a home. What is it about Minnesota where you thought, you know what? I got to keep doing this?


Well, I think Minnesota is an amazing place to play. You've got a great fan base, and the lifestyle for him and his family off the ice has been fantastic. He's got young kids. They love their schools. They love their extracurricular activities from hockey to soccer to everything else. Management, you have a GM who was your former teammate that you won a cup with. One another couple of cups with Billy Aaron in in management in Pittsburgh. Bill was on our podcast, and we talked about his-Yeah, he was great fun. We talked about how much he loves Flour and how far back they go together. When you have all that and And I went into Minnesota for his 1,000-game celebration, and they hosted a party after the game for the guys on the team and their families or wives, girlfriends. You just see how much he's loved by his teammates.


Yeah, and that's followed him everywhere. Yeah. And you know what? He's an asset to a team that needs a guy like him, right?


If any team that can have a Marc-André Fleury in their dressing room is better for it.


There you go. All right, now, one last question. There's a new addition to your family. Both of your kids have moved out, but you have a new kid that's moved in.


Yes, we do. Tell us. Both of my kids are going to university. My son is going into his final year in Washington, DC, and my daughter is going to school. His final year? Final year. Oh, my God. My daughter is going to be a junior in Ed Berklee, up in Northern California. We've had a dog who lived 17 years. She was completely blind and in a diaper for the last two years of her life. My wife and I went from having two kids who off to university back to buying diapers and putting diapers on a dog. And sadly, she passed away in March. And since then, my wife has been on a pretty consistent basis, Let's get a dog. Let's get a dog. We want to get a new dog. I've been the one who's been a little bit hesitant to jump right back into it, even though we've had dogs, both of us, our whole lives. Our dog who passed, my son said to me afterwards, he goes, Dad, I don't remember life before we had her. It's a big loss. It was an emotional saying goodbye to a family member. And your dogs are part of your family.


And my wife started scouring different animal rescues and came across this 8, 9 week old puppy who is 40 pounds and projected to grow as big as 120 pounds.


So he'll triple in size.


It's a grand Pyranies. Doodle. A very odd mix. And he's huge. He is a monster. He's got big mitts. He's got a big helmet.


It'll be a tough third pair, do you think?


Oh, maybe. He's just the sweetest dog in the world. We've only had him for about two weeks now, so he's still getting used to us. His name is Graham. We're still getting used to him, but the house is full of new puppy energy now that Graham is the new member of our family.


Amazing. I don't know if you want to tell it, but he's got quite the backstory, too.


Well, from what we heard, he was abandoned and rescued. When we first met him in the rescue, it didn't look very good. The hair was all matted down and looked very scraggly and sad. Right now, Graham is a happy dog.


That's great. Now, I got to ask you as a dog owner, are you dogs allowed on the furniture or not allowed on the furniture?


It depends if my wife is in the house or not.


All right. Well, Alan, listen, I don't know. I want you to know that to do this show, Alan drove up from Buffalo this morning. He's flying out this evening. So for you to come in and make time, it's just great to see it, man. It's great to be here. Yeah. Listen, we got to get more of your clients on the leaf so you're in town more, and we can do this a little bit more often. You got it. I love it. This has been Agent Provocateur with Allan Walsh and Adam Wild. Follow Allan Walsh on Twitter @Walsh. A. Subscribe wherever you get your podcast by searching Agent Provocateur and hitting the subscribe button, youtube. Com/sdpn.