Unrestricted free agency is the holy grail for a players' association in any sport, so to have one of its leaders spurn the opportunity just wouldn't wash with the rank and file. Ron Hainsey's role with the NHLPA almost makes it a requirement that he test the free agent market on July 5. Were the Winnipeg Jets to make him an offer significantly increasing his wage, the veteran blue-liner could likely accept with little or no backlash. But a pay cut, a given in Hainsey's case, wouldn't be viewed as good union politics. Hainsey must consider the optics of his actions so it's a safe bet he'll test the market. Hainsey led his union's recent CBA negotiations as they fought to retain contracting rights they'd gained in previous deals, including unrestricted free agency. Taking the first offer sent his way, unless it included large gains that would elevate the marketplace, flies in the face of everything Hainsey has stood for in his off-ice politics. The Jets are unlikely to offer Hainsey anything close to the previous deal -- $22.5 million over five years. The Los Angeles Kings recently signed veteran defenceman Robyn Regehr to a two-year deal worth $6 million. The players are really only similar in age, position and previous contract, but Hainsey's representatives will likely use the Regehr contract as a comparable. It's hard to imagine the Jets, with an influx of young defensive talent on the way and serious cash demands to meet in the form of Zach Bogosian and a slew of valuable restricted free agents, agreeing to such a demand. It looks more and more like Ron Hainsey will go to market and find work with another organization. BOGO TALKS BEGIN: Bogosian is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 5 and his agent Bob Murray says talks have begun with the Jets. "We had a very preliminary discussion (Thursday)," said Murray in a response to an email query from the Free Press. Bogosian is coming off a strong season and is at the end of a two-year deal worth $5 million. The Jets signed teammate Toby Enstrom to a five-year, $28.75-million deal last summer. Veteran Dustin Byfuglien is scheduled to make $5.75 million this season and has two more years at similar rates left on his deal. Bogosian doesn't have the same offensive game or hockey sense as Enstrom and Byfuglien, but has more leadership upside and provides a constant physical presence. Bogosian was used against the opposition's best players game in and game out. The coaching staff trusts him more than any other blue-liner.
Hainsey unlikely to stay with Jets
Winnipeg Free Press | Jun 9