Kukla's Korner

Jaden Schwartz Still Unsigned In St. Louis

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Blues forward Jaden Schwartz, 22, is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level deal and remains unsigned.

Because Schwartz has played only two NHL seasons (which includes the lockout-shortened year) and doesn't have arbitration rights, obviously there's only so much he can ask for.

While neither side in the negotiation wanted to comment on what's transpiring, I'm guessing given that Ondrej Palat got three years with an average cap hit of $3.33 million with the Tampa Bay Lightning, that's a comparable on some level, especially since Palat only had one NHL season under his belt.

Because it's believed both the Blues and agent Wade Arnott of Newport Sports are focusing on a two-year, bridge deal for Schwartz, I'd shave off a bit of money on the shorter-term deal. Could $2.5 million or $2.75 million a year make it work? My guess is Newport would want as close to $3 million as possible and the Blues are likely in the low-$2 million range. Both sides need to bridge the gap here but I don't sense there's as much of an issue here compared to the Johansen-Blue Jackets situation. 

more topics including the latest on Martin Brodeur...

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jaden+schwartz

Bryan Murray Talks Contract Status Of Bobby Ryan And Marc Methot

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray is confident he'll be able to sign two of his top players, but nothing seems to be imminent.

Murray spoke to CTV Ottawa regarding the contract status of forward Bobby Ryan and defenceman Marc Methot, two players entering the final year of their deals.

"In both cases, I think they want to be in Ottawa, they certainly want to get paid according to the marketplace in their minds," said Murray who is entering his eighth season as GM in the nation's capital.

Murray noted that they will not speak to Ryan regarding a new deal until the season gets underway. Last year, Ryan tallied 70 points during his first season in Ottawa.

"I think he [Ryan] wants to see how important of a role he can play in Ottawa and he tells me he likes it and will do a deal, but he wants to figure out where he's going as far as his career and his opportunity in Ottawa," explained Murray.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bryan+murray

Glenn Healy On The Toronto Maple Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Katie Strang of ESPN,

"I think they have certainly reshaped their team in a huge way," Healy told ESPN.com in a recent phone conversation. "They've added some players, particularly in the bottom-six position, to give them more balance and more depth. The players they picked up are Western Conference players. They've reshaped their focus."

Healy thinks they've also bolstered their defense -- the Leafs acquired Roman Polak via trade and added Stephane Robidas in free agency -- a necessity given the fact they spent too much time in their own end "whether that was systems [related] or execution."

Healy thinks they have more mobile, puck-moving players who should help in terms of lessening the load on captain Dion Phaneuf and star forward Phil Kessel, who played monster minutes throughout the season only to see their productivity decline when they needed it most.

That drop-off wasn't exclusive to those two, considering the entire team seemed to wilt down the stretch to fall in stunning fashion out of a playoff spot. 

read on

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: glenn+healy

Previewing The Florida Panthers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

Biggest story line to watch: Tallon on the hot seat. To think, just two years ago Tallon was a finalist for General Manager of the Year. Now he’s seemingly down to his last lifeline, having dismissed three head coaches during his attempt to rebuild the Cats the way he gradually helped steer the Blackhawks back to life in the 2000s. Having overhauled the roster and bringing Luongo, a true No. 1 goaltender, back to the Sunshine State, Tallon is officially in win-now mode. Pressure from new owner Vinnie Viola dictates it. Can his new players and coach save his job?

2014-15 prediction: The Panthers have only qualified for the playoffs once in the last 13 seasons. Come April, make that 14. Despite Tallon’s best efforts, Florida just doesn’t have the talent to outduel eight teams and steal a spot in the East.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

“Red Army” Review

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,

It’s story about hockey, but it’s also a story about a country, an ideology and a culture and how a sport became intertwined with the changes all three went through with the fall of the Soviet Union.

It’s also a story about Slava Fetisov, the face and the heart of the film who steals the show with his funny, frank and combative turn in front of the camera in what Polsky revealed was a marathon six-hour session.

All of that’s in there, and it’s all worth seeing. I consider myself a hard marker when it comes to film, but this is the rare hockey doc where it’s hard to find fault.

read on

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

What Do These Players Have In Common?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Forwards Henrik Zetterberg, Dany Heatley, Pavel Datsyuk, Carl Hagelin, Niklas Kronwall, Derek Stepan, T.J. Oshie, Evander Kane, Ryan Johansen and Gustav Nyquist, and defensemen John Moore, Justin Faulk and Alex Pietrangelo.

The answer...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Winnipeg Jets Need More Players Like Blake Wheeler

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun,

Blake Wheeler told it like it is.

He said something just about everyone who has watched the Winnipeg Jets over the last three years would agree with.

Evander Kane needs to step up his game and be a leader.

Good for Wheeler. This is a player who has developed into leader himself over the last few seasons. He led the Jets in scoring last season and was the team's best player down the stretch, showing a great deal of character in the process. It would be a surprise if he’s not named an assistant captain this season.

The Jets need players who aren't afraid to speak their minds, even if they are stating the obvious, and they need players who are going to hold one another accountable. The Jets have missed the playoffs every year they've been in Winnipeg and the players should be demanding of each other if they ever hope to change that trend.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

No More Home Town Discounts For Curtis Glencross

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

With his family ties to the area and nearby ranch, it's been the perfect blend of his personal and professional life.

It's why in the summer of 2011 the Flames left-winger signed a below-market-value contract, a four-year, US$10.2-million pact.

But as Glencross readies for the coming campaign -- the final year of that contract, after which he's due to become an unrestricted free agent -- he's well aware what he's possibly facing. That includes in-season negotiations, being part of the rumour mill and maybe even having to approve a deal, since he has a no-movement clause.

However, the 31-year-old veteran is vowing he won't give another home-town discount.

"I love Calgary. I love the Flames organization. My last contract proves that I love this organization," he said after skating at WinSport at Canada Olympic Park with the collection of players in town. "But I've seen the contracts that are going out now and the comparables, and I'm not going to sell myself short.

"When it comes down to it, I'm an unrestricted free-agent come July 1st and I have a no-move clause in my contract. I'd like to get something done before the season started, but in the long run, the longer we wait, unrestricted free-agency's July 1st."

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: curtis+glencross

Shane Doan Working On Being In Top Shape

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,

After catching Rocky Mountain fever last season and losing 12 games while he attempted to restore his energy and strength, Coyotes captain Shane Doan could have given his body more downtime this offseason.

But he didn't.

Instead, the 37-year-old began his summer training even earlier than normal – starting in early May as opposed to the end of the month when he usually resumes workouts.

"I didn't like, obviously, the way last year went not making the playoffs," he said.

Rectifying that, it seems, is a top concern for Doan. When asked about his health, Doan answers with a simple, "Good," and a smile that closes the conversation. Of course, he hasn't forgotten about the way the bacterial disease sapped his stamina and left him fatigued.

In fact, improving his cardio has been an objective this summer and remains a priority as he skates at the Ice Den in Scottsdale with teammates before training camp opens in a week.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: shane+doan

Assistant GM And Coaches Job Continue To Evolve

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

As the NHL expanded toward 30 teams and the Cup race intensified, so the masthead of assistant coaches and managers increased. Now they’re often referred to as associate coaches with more say in team strategy and dressing room climate than ever before. The AGMs, meanwhile, juggle everything from contracts, cap management, scouting, trades, free agents, farm teams and media.

Which leads to Brendan Shanahan’s hiring blitz of support staff with the Leafs. Rather than swing the wrecking ball completely through the Bay St. hockey office, the new president supervised a surgical strike. He lopped off both of GM Dave Nonis’ wingers, Claude Loiselle and Dave Poulin, in favour of youth and numbers. Enter 28-year-old Kyle Dubas, a proponent of analytics as part of his player-evaluation duties, and long-time NHL central registrar Brandon Pridham, 40, who will handle cap and contracts.

Behind the bench, Randy Carlyle’s long-serving lieutenant, Dave Farrish, was let go, along with Ron Wilson holdovers Greg Cronin and Scott Gordon. Steve Spott was promoted after his first-year success with the farm team, joined by Peter Horachek, whose career climb in the minors included a recent mop-up role as head coach of Florida.

It’s certainly unusual that Shanahan took the lead in changing what is usually the province of a GM or coach. Yet few will argue if it sets the Leafs back on a contender’s course the next couple of years.

more

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

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