Kukla's Korner

Chicago Still Dealing With Cap Issues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,

“I don’t know if it’s over (in Chicago) or not,” Burish, 27, said Wednesday night. “I’m hoping something can be worked out. I’d like to stay. It’s so much fun in Chicago right now.”

The Hawks traded forwards Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager and defenseman Brent Sopel this offseason to clear room under the salary cap. But they still face the task of re-signing goaltender Antti Niemi, winger Andrew Ladd and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, restricted free agents who were all tendered qualifying offers and are in line for raises after the team’s run to the Cup.

“(The Hawks) told most of the guys and our agents that they have to figure out — and they are — what their plan is and … who they need to sign first,” said Burish, who returned from a serious knee injury suffered during the preseason to play in 13 regular-season games and 15 in the postseason as a physical presence on the ice. “I’m guessing Niemi is probably at the top of their priority list. They probably have to figure out a way to make him work first and see what’s left for the other guys.”

Other unrestricted free agents from the Hawks include veterans John Madden and Nick Boynton, with Madden likely seeking more money than the Hawks can pay.

more

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

Another UFA Day Is Right Around The Korner

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

UFA players can officially sign with a team beginning tomorrow at noon ET.  Who will be the first big name to sign on the dotted line?

Will there be some surprises and maybe even some trades?

We are about to find out.

July 1st is always a fun time here at KK.  I will be around all day and probably deep into the night, just waiting for the next official signing.

I hope your UFA dreams are answered and your team signs that key player or two you have targeted as key acquisitions.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Moreau Sees A Fit In Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,

Veteran left winger Ethan Moreau, claimed off waivers by the Blue Jackets early today, told The Dispatch today that he was not disappointed to have his date with free agency cancelled.

Moreau was set to be bought out by Edmonton on Wednesday, which would have sent him into Thursday’s free agency as a free man.

Instead, the Blue Jackets claimed his contract—one year remaining at $1.75 million—with plans to play him on the No. 3 line, with center Sammy Pahlsson and right winger Derek Dorsett or Chris Clark.

“It’s actually a perfect fit for me in Columbus,” Moreau said. “It’s easy to say now, but even if I was looking at it on Thursday (in free agency), the Blue Jackets are a team I would definitely consider.

continued

Reading some of the Edmonton media today on Moreau, I would say the majority feels his prime years are behind him and he will find it difficult to rebound from some disappointing years in Edmonton.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ethan+moreau

Paying Kovalchuk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,

He is the most unique free agent ever. Already with 338 goals at the age of 27, Ilya Kovalchuk has a chance to become one of the greatest scorers in NHL history. And, as more and more good young players choose to sign long-term extensions with their teams, it’s possible Kovalchuk will be the biggest game-breaker to hit the market for a long time.

There is no one available this year - or potentially next year - with his ability to impact a game.

Undoubtedly that will be agent Jay Grossman’s pitch (he declined to comment for this blog). But, the biggest issue in finding a new home will be a sticker shock. Kovalchuk reportedly turned down offers of $70 million US (over seven years) and $101 million (over 12) in Atlanta, which eliminates many teams who have the cap space, but not the will, to go there.

“He’s not going to get that,” one GM said. “I don’t even see a team offering $8 million a year for eight years.”

All it takes is one team to prove everyone wrong.

continued plus many more topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuk

Larry Pleau Says Goodbye To The Blues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

...as Pleau sat at the Blues’ draft table in Los Angeles last week, it hit him like a Bobby Plager hip check. His final day under contract as GM is Wednesday.

“It’s kind of sad, there’s no doubt about it ... because you’ve been there for a long time,” said Pleau, who is the third-longest tenured GM in the NHL. “But we did it for the right things. It’s going to give me a lot more time with (his wife) Wendy. I’ve got no complaints, 13 years here, it was a great run.”

In 1997, Pleau became the 10th GM in Blues history, succeeding Ron Caron. Pleau “is ready to manage in the NHL,” Caron declared at the time.

read on

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

Where The UFAs May End Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

We might not see the frenzy of signings that has been the hallmark of July 1 in the past, but there are enough teams with money to spend that we should see some big names, or at least some important names, switching sweaters over the next 72 hours.

The easy thing to do at this point is just sit back and see who grabs which chair when the music stops, but where’s the fun in that? With an eye on helping the right team hook up with the right player, here are my annual matchmaker recommendations.

Minnesota Wild, meet Olli Jokinen and Matthew Lombardi.

The Wild have admitted a need for top-six help, preferably a center. Problem is, it’s a lousy time to be in the market for a pivot. It’s an illustration of how shallow the center crop is when Lombardi, a player who has topped 20 goals and 50 points just once, is the premier option at the position. That said, he’s the sort of player you can rely on to keep the tempo high, which would seem to fit well within coach Todd Richards’ system.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Panthers Have Cash, Will They Spend It?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,

“I don’t know how aggressive we’re going to be, but we’re going to try to get better and find players who make sense for us at this time,’’ said general manager Dale Tallon, whose team has 17 NHL regulars under contract for next season.

“I don’t think we’re going after the top guys, but good guys that can help us and not affect our future.’‘

The Panthers were about $7 million under the salary cap last season and are currently about $12 million under this year’s cap of $59.4 million. Florida still needs to sign a couple of its restricted free agents, but are said to have a budget under what was spent last season.

So, even thought the Panthers are flush with cash under the cap, that doesn’t mean they are going to spend it.

more

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

Report- Leighton Re-Signs With Flyers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Nick Kypreos tweet,

Scratch one goalie off the UFA list. Sportsnet has learned Michael Leighton has come to terms on short term 2 year/ 3.1M with the Flyers.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: michael+leighton

The Latest UFA Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

It would appear one of the NHL’s most prolific offensive defensemen of this era is headed to the free-agent market.

Sergei Gonchar, coming off his ninth career 50-point season, had nothing going with the Pittsburgh Penguins as of Wednesday afternoon with the clock ticking toward the start of free agency Thursday at noon ET.

“We have nothing scheduled today, so I have to assume we will be going to the market tomorrow,” Gonchar’s agent, J.P. Barry, told ESPN.com Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. ET….

Elsewhere Wednesday:

Bob Murray, the agent for Bill Guerin, told ESPN.com on Wednesday morning that it appeared the veteran winger was headed to the market. Things can always change, but that was Murray’s gut feeling. Guerin was such a good fit in Pittsburgh the past two seasons, helping the Pens win the Cup in 2009. But it might be time for Pittsburgh to upgrade the winger position.

more names mentioned…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Olli Jokinen Motivated To Have A Bounce Back Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,

Does Olli Jokinen get a bad rap? He’s only 31, and since 2001-02, he’s scored 36, 26, 38, 39, 34 and 29 goals.

Last year was the first year since 2001-02 that he scored fewer than 26 goals—15 with Calgary and the Rangers.

I talked with Jokinen this morning from his home in Parkland, Florida. The former Panthers captain said he simply had one bad year, is training hard and is determined to once again prove himself to the NHL. He also maintains he’s not the cancer he’s sometimes portrayed to be.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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