Kukla's Korner

Oh Those Rumors

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Buffalo News,

Usually, NHL trade rumors aren't worth their salt. And while they offer little substance, they're tasty enough to pass around. Fans eat 'em up. Get this: leading scorer Maxim Afinogenov and goalie Martin Biron to the St. Louis Blues for the No. 1 overall selection. Or this: unreliable-but-potent winger Thomas Vanek to the Calgary Flames for defenseman Jordan Leopold. Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier denied both rumors, but admitted this time of year can be fun. "People on the outside seem to have more fun than the people on the inside," Regier said. "You hear some real beauties out there. And some deals that actually get done are never talked about."
read on

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“The Plan” Shrinking

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Teams now hold the rights to their drafted players for fewer years. Under the terms of the old collective agreement, a player would be drafted at 18 and usually remain the property of a team until he turned 31. Now, the clock begins to tick as soon as a player signs his first NHL contract. Since all but the most precocious of NHL talents require one or two (or more) developmental seasons in the minor-leagues, the window of opportunity to maximize a return on their investment is far narrower than before. Just about everyone will concede that the draft will always be important as a means of stockpiling talent, but the ability of teams to hold on to their homegrown stars appears to be diminishing. The three finalists for the 2005 Hart Trophy -- Joe Thornton, Jaromir Jagr and Miikka Kiprusoff -- all switched teams within the past two years. The days of a player maintaining a cradle-to-grave relationship with the team that drafted him are quickly disappearing. "In the past, you always operated with a five-year plan," said Ray Shero, the Pittsburgh Penguins GM, who owns the No. 2 overall pick today. "Now, that five-year plan might be a three-year plan and depending upon ownership, maybe it's only a one-year plan.
more

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Phoenix Tries To Move Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Arizona Republic,

"We've held discussions with all of the teams above us," General Manager Mike Barnett said. "They will get a talented prospect. We don't hold much optimism that we can move up. For the same reason, we likely won't move down. We will also get a great prospect at No. 8." Barnett declined to discuss details of discussions with the other teams, but there are indications the Coyotes may be shopping a package that includes defenseman Paul Mara to the first five teams - St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Washington and Boston.

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Finding The “Right” Players For Edmonton

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

You can hear a loud, large chorus of jaded fans already: "Here we go again, back to the future and the old 'catch-and-release' system of talent acquisition." Just when the New NHL seemed so tailor-made for small-market Edmonton, here comes another slap in the face, real or imagined -- big-time players love the Oilers, but their families don't necessarily love the hockey-mad city they play in. Anyway, late on Friday night, Pronger's agent, Pat Morris, confirmed that his client, far and away Edmonton's best player all year, and the Oilers' leading Conn Smythe Trophy candidate, wanted to be traded. ...The high-energy analyst urged Oilers fans not to panic, that Lowe, assistant GM Scott Howson and their staff would leverage the asset that is Pronger into "something big and helpful" on the trade market. That assumes the rumour is true. And that any trade involving Pronger, especially under forced circumstances, could possibly fetch anything like equal value. It does not address a more sensitive issue: that in the New NHL, Edmonton may well remain, in the eyes of some players, an undesireable destination.
more

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Talking Redden & Chara

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

The Senators are closing in on a new deal with defenceman Wade Redden. And while sources say the club could announce the re-signing of Redden as early as today, the team has also made progress in talks with blueliner Zdeno Chara. One source indicated Redden will likely sign a two- or three-year deal in the range of $6.25-million-to-$6.5-million (all terms US) per season, while it's believed Chara is being offered a similar deal.
continued

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Wings Waiting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mlive,

"We had good conversations," Holland said (regarding Lidstrom). "We've gone back and forth the last couple of weeks with different ideas and numbers. I'm trying to convince Nick on a number, he's trying to convince me on a number. We're trying to find a compromise. I'd like to get something done (next) week." Holland also hopes to speak to the agents for forward Brendan Shanahan and goaltender Chris Osgood today at the draft. He made Osgood an offer last week and is waiting to hear back. Trade talk, as expected, is heating up as the league's 30 general managers have a chance to meet face-to-face. "I don't have anything going on," Holland said. "I've talked to a lot of managers. They're aware of what I'm trying to do and I'm aware of a lot of people who may be available."
more

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Breaking Down The Trade

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

The excuse bank is now empty for the Vancouver Canucks. n one bold move, Nonis rid himself of a dressing room problem and big salary cap hit in Bertuzzi, who is due $5.27 million, and added what many believed has been the missing piece of the Canucks' Stanley Cup puzzle: an elite starting goaltender. The move was no less bold for Panthers GM Mike Keenan, who could not come to terms with Luongo in spite of offering him a five-year, $30-million deal that would have made him one of the highest-paid netminders in the game. Presumably, Nonis is prepared to make Luongo an offer that will make him happy enough to turn his back on a date with unrestricted free agency next summer, somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million annually. If Nonis cannot pull that off, this trade is fraught with even greater risk for Nonis.
read on

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Lowe Responds To Pronger Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via Canada.com,

"I think they're more rumblings than anything,'' Oilers GM Kevin Lowe responded Friday evening. "I'm pretty focused on the draft right now I don't want to get too much into player personnel stuff.'' When asked if Pronger had asked to be traded, Lowe responded: "He hasn't' asked me. I'll just leave it at that.'' "We just got over a seven-game series in the Stanley Cup finals and there seems to be a lot of discussion about this and I'm not sure where it's coming from,'' added Lowe. "Let's put it this way. Why would we want to trade Chris Pronger?'' "One thing I've learned in my five or six years as a manager is that stuff tends to out of right field for whatever reasons. It can be agendas, hidden agendas, certain motivations, so nothing surprises me.''
more..including mention of the Luongo trade, then mention of Luongo still not traded, so the story needs to be edited, plus more goalie talk...

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San Jose Preparing To Trade Goalie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Mercury News,

So don't be too shocked if Saturday's NHL entry draft in Vancouver, British Columbia, becomes the backdrop for a deal that could have serious ramifications when it comes to San Jose's goal of winning the Stanley Cup. If nothing changes, the Sharks have the 20th overall pick and at least nine selections over seven rounds. But that's a significant "if." "Are we going to be able to keep two No.1 goalies? No, probably not," General Manager Doug Wilson told a fan forum Monday, adding that a decision would be made "in the very near future."
more

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Luongo To Vancouver

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via TSN,

The Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers have completed a multi-player trade involving Roberto Luongo and Todd Bertuzzi, sources have told TSN. Netminder Luongo is amongst a package that is going to Vancouver in exchange for a package that includes Bertuzzi.
more to come added 9:53pm, Sportsnet reporting the same, nothing concrete yet... update 9:56pm, Sportsnet now reporting the package is Luongo, Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round draft pick to Vancouver for Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen and Alex Auld. Follow the same Sportnet link... update 10:12pm, TSN confirms the same deal, but without the 6th round pick...follow the TSN link for updated information. added 10:30pm, from the Florida Panthers,
Florida Panthers General Manager Mike Keenan announced today that the club has acquired RW Todd Bertuzzi, D Bryan Allen and G Alexander Auld from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for G Roberto Luongo and D Lukas Krajicek. “This is a trade that addresses a number of needs for our hockey club,” Keenan said. “We’ve added an experienced and talented forward, a skilled goaltender and a strong defenseman that we expect to help our team immediately.”
more

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