Kukla's Korner

Talking UFAs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Hockeycentral panel at Sportsnet takes a look at some of the top UFAs come July 1st.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Edmonton Veterans May Face Buy-Out

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

Ethan Moreau is on the clock, starting Tuesday. It may be the same story with Patrick O’Sullivan and Robert Nilsson.

National Hockey League teams have a two-week window from June 15-30 to buy out players, but the Edmonton Oilers aren’t going to rush into anything.

They will try to trade their captain first, just as they tried at the deadline in early March. A contending team may be interested in Moreau for a draft pick.

continued plus more Edmonton topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Possible Spezza Destinations

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,

Incoming Panthers GM Dale Tallon watched from a distance as his former Chicago draft picks—Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane—led the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup. He has also said repeatedly that the proper way to rebuild the Panthers is through the draft.

Accordingly, Tallon isn’t likely to give up the third pick and a chance to draft Fowler or Gudbranson. He is, however, interested in cleaning house of veterans if the right deal arrives….

Could Spezza answer Florida’s call for a true first-line centre for the first time since Jokinen was traded away? Horton, 6-2 and 229 pounds, has scored at least 20 goals in all five of his NHL seasons, but hasn’t topped the 31 goals he scored in his second NHL season.

Would a trade to Hockey Country inspire a new attitude? Horton has a salary cap hit of $4 million per season on a deal that has three years remaining. Interestingly, his no-trade clause also kicks in on July 1, the same day as Spezza’s.

more teams mentioned…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jason+spezza

Another Playe From Mimico With The Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,

The venerable Blue Goose Tavern is in need of a revamping this summer.

The popular century-old watering hole in Mimico, Ont. has adorning its walls several pictures of the neighbourhood’s favourite son, three-time Stanley Cup-champion Brendan Shanahan. There also are a few photos of another Mimico native, Dave Bolland, from his days with the London Knights and winning world junior gold with Canada in 2006.

But now that the 24-year-old Chicago Blackhawks centreman has become a Stanley Cup champion, he expects Blue Goose owner Terry Chemij to make room for a picture of Bolland with the prized trophy.

“There better be,” Bolland said. “If there isn’t I’ll be pretty pissed.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brendan+shanahan, dave+bolland

A Simple Fact- Flyers Need Better Goaltending

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

This space has been a big Michael Leighton supporter all season. His regular-season numbers with the Flyers (2.48 goals-against average, .918 save percentage) were as good, if not better, than most of the goalies that are available in the off-season. If you add his Carolina numbers from this season, he finished with an overall 2.83 GAA and .905 save percentage.

Leighton, a waiver-wire wonder, was clutch in the last 2½ games of the miracle comeback against Boston , and was lights-out in the conference finals against Montreal, collecting three shutouts and a 1.41 goals-against average.

But . . . .

In the glare of hockey’s biggest spotlight, the Finals, Leighton played like a journeyman. He became the first goalie pulled from two Finals games since 1991. He had a 3.96 goals-against average and .876 save percentage, and he surrendered bad game-winning goals to Ben Eager in Game 2 and Patrick Kane in Game 6.

Holmgren is in a quandary. Does he re-sign Leighton - who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 - or go after a more-proven goaltender?


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Hockey Notes On A Hot Sunday Morning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• For a long time, the assumption has been that Bill Daly would eventually replace Gary Bettman as commissioner of the NHL. That wind is drifting: Word around is that league COO John Collins, a former NFL executive, is considered heir apparent to the ever-popular commish.

• Toews is the first forward to win the Conn Smythe Trophy without scoring a goal in the Stanley Cup Final. The only other Conn Smythe winner to not a score a goal, other than goaltenders: Scott Niedermayer in 2007.

• Best thing the Leafs could do with Tomas Kaberle is work in concert with agent Rick Curran, trading Kaberle to somewhere where he will sign on long-term. Kaberle’s value is substantially more long-term than with one year left on his deal.

• Vesa Toskala told Calgary GM Darryl Sutter that he wants to be a starting goalie again. Either that or a standup comedian.


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

NHLPA Vote Will Help Determine The Salary Cap Number

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The 2010-11 cap crunch facing the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks and their big- mar ket brethren will be more severe than believed if the Escrow Hawks within the NHL Players’ Association carry the day and the balloting when the 30 player reps vote on whether to trigger the 5-percent inflator at the union’s June 21 meeting in Chicago.

Following a round of PA conference calls conducted during the week, a half-dozen player reps and engaged union members told Slap Shots that the outcome of the vote appears too close to call, though one veteran suggested he thought it remains more likely than not that the union will hold to precedent and enact the 5-percent bump.

f the union votes it down, next season’s cap all but certainly will go down, too, a first for the league that is coming off a blockbuster playoffs. If the cap would increase approximately $2 million, to $58.8 million including the bump, as Gary Bettman previously has suggested, it appears as if the cap would shrink to approximately $56 million if the player reps become consumed with limiting escrow while missing the bigger picture


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Difference Between The Sabres & The Blackhawks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Felser at the Buffalo News,

What Sabres fan didn’t watch the Chicago Blackhawks battle and often batter the Philadelphia Flyers in the final series of the Stanley Cup playoffs and ask himself, “Why couldn’t this be our team, our style, our Cup?”

What made it all the more frustrating for Sabre fans was that one of the men who built the Blackhawks, Stanley Bowman, is a Canisius High School graduate. The goal that won the Cup was launched by Patrick Kane, the most captivating athlete to come out of South Buffalo since baseball Hall of Famer Warren Spahn. Quietly contributing important advice was Scott Bowman, Stan’s father, the Amherst resident who won 10 Stanley Cups in his coaching days.

The difference between the Sabres and the teams that advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs is simple.

The Sabres were an interesting team that survived some peaks and valleys to finish among the elite teams for the regular season. But, as anyone connected with the NHL will tell you, the real season begins when the first puck is dropped for the Stanley Cup playoffs.


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

Thin UFA Market

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

The NHL’s free-agent market hasn’t been this thin in years.

“I haven’t seen it this bad in a long time,” says a league executive.

While the arrival of July 1 will trigger a bidding war for the top unrestricted free agents, there’s not much in the way of forwards. Teams will have a tough time finding a quick fix.

GMs have traditionally used the market to fill empty spots and even change the face of a franchise. But this UFA market lacks big names and impact players. There won’t be the same drama.

continued plus Garrioch selects his top 10 UFAs….

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Teams Still Working

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,

The Stanley Cup has been raised. The parade is over. The only thing left regarding the Cup will be the leaked photos from parties all over the world as the Blackhawks spend the summer celebrating their championship.

But there’s plenty going on in hockey. It will be at least a month before coaches and general managers retreat to their cottages and lake houses for golf, fishing and relaxation.

Before making a splash on July 1, teams will use the next couple weeks to complete negotiations with their own possible free agents. Even without hometown discounts, it’s usually cheaper to agree to terms with your own players rather than hit the open market.

Just look at the deals Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland completed. Tomas Holmstrom got a two-year pact worth $1.875 annually, which is a great deal for a guy who scored 25 goals last season. Nicklas Lidstrom took a pay cut to return, signing a one-year deal worth a reasonable $6.2 million.

San Jose has the biggest decisions. It has two high-profile free agents in goalie Evgeni Nabokov and forward Patrick Marleau. GM Doug Wilson keeps plans close to the vest, but it’s hard to imagine him paying a premium to keep both players.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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