Kukla's Korner

‘Two Things’: On the Wings’ draft picks and Lidstrom, Fedorov and the Hockey Hall of Fame

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

'Two Things':

1. MLive posted a set of videos helping fans "get to know" the Wings' draft haul;

2. And the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa penned a novella-sized column discussing Nicklas Lidstrom's incredibly likely induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame today at 4 PM EDT, and Sergei Fedorov's probable induction to said institution:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The Past Week And The Rest Of This Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,

This year, with such a seemingly weak free agent class, you’d think the mistakes that lead to buyouts will be minimized. Then you see Colorado give Carl Soderberg that money and you imagine that Wednesday’s opening day of free agency could see all kinds of money thrown at players simply because they are available without having to be acquired via trade.

It will be fascinating to see what kind of money is offered to players like Mike Green, Antoine Vermette and Matt Beleskey. Some GMs, however, think agents and players better be ready to make very quick decisions before the money dries up.

“The money that’s there on July 1st may not be there a few days later,” said one GM.

Interestingly, the Bruins and Rangers made decisions on the weekend to avoid tying themselves to long-term contracts they deemed excessive by moving Dougie Hamilton and Carl Hagelin, respectively. In other words, both teams demonstrated it’s still possible to say, “No.”

Other weekend takeaways:

— Most people believe the Kings will bounce back next season after missing the playoffs, and adding Milan Lucic should help. Still, it’s worth remembering that L.A. gave up its first round pick (No. 13) to get Lucic, and has already surrendered its first round pick next season in another strong draft year.

much more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Short Hockey Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

- Picking up winger Carl Hagelin from the New York Rangers was a major coup for the Anaheim Ducks because the player they gave up, Emerson Etem, hasn’t found any consistency as a former first-round draft pick. Hagelin can be a third-liner with burning speed. The Ducks may have the two fastest NHL players ­— Hagelin and Andrew Cogliano — now. They’ll both kill penalties. “The speed element in the game is getting bigger and bigger and we have to move with the times,” said Anaheim general manager Bob Murray.

- Chris Pronger is getting into the Hall of Fame on Monday as is one of the three or four best defenceman of all-time. Detroit Red Wings defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom, along with former teammate Sergei Fedorov, are strong possibilities. Let’s hope that longtime University of Alberta hockey coach Clare Drake gets in as a builder, too.

- The Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks were looking to change their netminding at the NHL entry draft, but didn’t get a deal done. The Sharks could still trade for the Dallas Stars’ Kari Lehtonen, but he’s overpriced at $5.9 million. The Flames still have Jonas Hiller and will let free agent Karri Ramo walk because they have to play farmhand Joni Ortio, who can’t go to the minors anymore without going through waivers.

much more...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

KK- The Week Ahead

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

We are basically on trade and UFA talk watch starting this morning.

George Malik of The Malik Report and I will be doing our best to bring you the most current news as UFA day approaches on Wednesday at 12:00pm ET.

Coverage will at least be in full mode through the Fourth of July holiday weekend and we will play it by ear if we need to extend the coverage another week.

Then a little 'relaxed' time which will allow me to plan on KK 2.0.  Do note posting will continue during this time, but news does slow down during that period.

The KK donation drive is over 75% at this time and any funds you may be able to donate is greatly appreciated.  This will be a major overhaul of KK and will include many bells and whistles.

Do understand we will continue to make KK easy to navigate, no pop-up or auto-play ads and nothing to interfere with your browsing of KK.

Filed in: KK Website Business, NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

From A Fantasy Point Of View, The Trades During The NHL Draft

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Collins of Dobber Hockey,

What trades had the greatest fantasy impact? Not including players selected in the draft through traded draft picks, here are the top 10 players that were impacted in deals this past weekend.

 10. Antti Niemi

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Niemi. I wanted him to win the Vezina in 2013, and thought the Sharks threw him under a bus by not starting him in Game 6 of the first round series a couple of years back when the Kings made their historic comeback. Niemi is also pretty underrated fantasy-wise. Despite his struggles this past year, and a Sharks team that didn't give him much help, Niemi still ranked 19th in Yahoo rotisserie and head-to-head leagues (ahead of Ryan Miller, Craig Anderson, Sergei Bobrovsky and Kari Lehtonen). Now, if he signs with Dallas, he gets a chance to be the number one goalie on a team that scored the second-most goals per game last year. The only reason he isn't ranked higher is because of the uncertainty he signs in Dallas, and if he does, whether he splits starts with Kari Lehtonen. If he goes into next season as the certified number one, he jumps up to number one on this list.

 9. Mikhail Grigorenko

Probably no player has ever been as happy to get away from a team than Grigorenko is to get out of Buffalo. It may be too hasty to say the team ruined him, but it would not be surprising for a 21-year-old to very dejected after his few years there.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, | KK Hockey | Permalink

UFA Day Not What It Used To Be

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

Remember not so long ago when teams were camped out outside the Newport Sports Offices on July 1 like college recruiters, trying everything and anything to woo then-prized free agent Brad Richards to sign on their club’s dotted line?

Richards would end up giving the nod to the New York Rangers on July 2, 2011, over fellow bidders such as the Flames, Kings and Maple Leafs but not before Los Angeles went as far as presenting a video that included a cameo by Kobe Bryant on what a great place La-La-Land was to live.

Times have certainly changed since then.

No longer does Canada Day come with the splash associated with the arrival of free agency as the market is no longer saturated with the same level and depth of available talent.

Teams now are more intent on inking their foundation players to long-term deals, with the Ducks setting that trend with the lengthy mega-pacts signed a couple of years ago by Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. What’s resulted is mammoth deals such as those of Chicago’s dynamic duo of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, whose matching $10.5 million US cap hits next season will chew up 29% of the 2015-16 cap limit of $71.4 million US.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Toronto Maple Leafs Won’t Make Big News With A UFA Signing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

“We’ll be active, but we might have a different set of targets than other teams,” Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said as the NHL draft wrapped up Saturday, “But I don’t know if we’ll be the headline stealers.”

Shanahan then caught himself.

“We’re Toronto, so somehow there’ll be headlines,” he said with a laugh. “So let me re-phrase that, I don’t think we’ll shake the hockey world.”

Names and salaries that might have enticed interest in the pre-cap era have little allure in 2015. Martin St. Louis and Sergei Gonchar are long in the tooth. If looking at players under 30, the list includes defenceman Mike Green, Toronto-born right winger Chris Stewart, left winger Michael Frolik, centre Derek Stepan, defenceman Andrej Meszaros and a couple of goalies, including Michal Neuvirth. Green would be taken quickly, though he’d need to be part of a dynamic team as he was with the Washington Capitals.

If you look deep enough, there’s even a few former Leafs who could be looking for homes this summer, led by Nashville’s Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli — both let go in trade deadline deals four months ago. And at the end of the season, 36-year-old Eric Brewer was dropping hints that he wanted to return full-time after playing out the schedule in T.O.

But that was Nonis, this is now. In the absence of a full-time general manager, Shanahan has his own visions and his unorthodox quartet making the personnel decisions now features himself, Mark Hunter, Kyle Dubas and Brandon Pridham. Two recent junior hockey execs, a capologist and his own acumen from years on the ice and as a league exec.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

It’s A Retool Of The Boston Bruins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from CSNNE,

What a weekend it was for the Boston Bruins, who dealt away Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton for a bunch of draft picks.

To an onlooker it looks like the B's are setting up for a rebuild. But Kevin Paul Dupont maintains that they are simply "retooling."

"If you stay on Twitter all day or listen to the fans all day, this is death and destruction," said Dupont. "They still have a handful of very good guys who frankly, some of them are overpaid. I still like Rask, I still like Chara, I still like Bergeron. There's a lot of teams out there that don't have that.

"I don't call it a rebuild because they're still going to end up with five core guys who are here. So it's retooling around those guys."

continue, includes video...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Buffalo Sabres Looking For A Veteran Defenseman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,

After improving his forward and goaltending situations, Murray’s next challenge is rounding out Buffalo’s roster with a defenseman.

“I probably need a veteran UFA defenseman or I have to trade for one,” Murray said. “I’ve been talking to teams about a left-shot D.”

The Sabres are scheduled to enter the 2015-16 season with Zach Bogosian, Josh Gorges, Rasmus Ristolainen, Mike Weber, Mark Pysyk and Chad Ruhwedel on the blue line, with Jake McCabe looking to graduate from the minors. Pysyk and Ristolainen are 23 and 20, respectively, while Ruhwedel has just 32 games of NHL experience.

Though this summer’s class of unrestricted free agents is underwhelming, a highlight is actually among left-handed defensemen. Here’s a look:

• Johnny Oduya: After winning two Stanley Cups in three years with Chicago, the 33-year-old would bring a championship attitude into the dressing room. He just completed a contract that paid $3.375 million per season.

A reliable defender, Oduya wouldn’t help the Sabres’ offense. He had two goals and 10 points in 76 regular-season games and recorded five assists in 23 playoff appearances. He averaged 20:17 of ice time and blocked 123 shots.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Goalie Trades

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The NHL goaltender market got unstuck Saturday, the annual game of musical chairs producing seven trades in a 48-hour period, with the two most-watched teams at the entry draft, the Edmonton Oilers and the Buffalo Sabres, both landing the netminders they hope will move them up the standings next season....

Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli went into the weekend with a shopping list that included both help on the blueline and between the pipes. Ultimately, he landed Cam Talbot as his next goalie, surrendering second- and third-round draft choices, plus a swap of seventh-round picks, to acquire his rights from the New York Rangers. Chiarelli was in there swinging on Robin Lehner, too, but Lehner ended up going to the Sabres on Friday, a high-risk, high-reward talent that Buffalo hopes can do for it what Ben Bishop did for Tampa – stabilize a young team as it moves through its formative years.

Other goalies moving on include Martin Jones (to Boston from Los Angeles); Eddie Lack (to Carolina from Vancouver); Anton Khudobin (to Anaheim from Carolina); Antti Niemi (to Dallas from San Jose); and Antti Raanta (to New York from Chicago). Additionally, the Minnesota Wild took Devan Dubnyk off the market in signing him to a six-year, $26-million (U.S.) contract extension.

Only the Sharks were left looking for a bona fide No. 1 goalie. The Sabres were still in the market for a backup, with Michal Neuvirth and Karri Ramo possible candidates. Both players hit the open market July 1.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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