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A One-Year Extension For Nazem Kadri In Toronto

via the Toronto Maple Leafs,

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Sunday that the club has signed forward Nazem Kadri to a one-year contract extension.

Kadri, 24, finished fourth among Maple Leaf skaters in scoring last season with 39 points (18 goals, 21 assists) in 73 regular season games. The London, Ontario native has appeared in 250 career NHL games – all with Toronto – and has collected 152 points (64 goals, 88 assists) to go along with 134 penalty minutes. Kadri was originally drafted by the Maple Leafs in the first round (7th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

added 3:53pm,

 

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The Philadelphia Flyers Need To…

from Jay Greenberg of PhiladelphiaFlyers.com,

... the Flyers have to make up the 14 points by which they missed the playoffs a year ago. Improvement is going to have to come from within, and here are the means by which it has to happen:

Heed The New Sheriff:

There would not have been a coaching change if Hextall had not felt a lot of young Flyers underachieved a year ago. These were mostly the same players who gave them seven 20-goal scorers in 2012-13, so talent unrealized in 2014-15 has to be realized again to 2015-16.

Dave Hakstol will get more out of some players than Craig Berube did. That’s inevitable in almost any coaching change and hopefully this one specifically raises the production of Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier, players that the organization remains committed to building around. But their usage has to change in some way to unlock more. That could mean linemates, roles, or ice time.

Prioritize Find A Center For:

Wayne Simmonds - Only 14 of his 28 goals a year ago were scored at even-strength, a waste of a big body with a finishing touch. There is ample evidence that Sam Gagner, who was the sixth player taken in a draft on his playmaking ability, has been much more comfortable at center than on the wing,

Could he be this year’s Michael Del Zotto, a lost soul reclaimed with a regular role and a fresh start? Perhaps, but Gagner can’t be a round peg in a square hole, which too often has been the case with Vinny Lecavalier during his two seasons in Philadelphia. The reality is that more of the organization’s future is invested in getting Schenn’s career on the upswing again, which is apparently why Hextall says the Flyers will go to camp thinking Gagner as a winger. But everything is subject to change.

read on

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Problems Still Exist With The Los Angeles Kings

from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,

Everyone knows Kings Coach Darryl Sutter loves to play youngsters. That is sarcasm — but Sutter might have no choice.

General Manager Dean Lombardi has noted that the Kings don't have a lot of cap space to make a big move, which is why they weren't able to keep "rental defenseman" Andrej Sekera, who went to the Edmonton Oilers for a six-year, $33-million deal, or veteran Justin Williams. The forward went to the Eastern Conference, joining the Washington Capitals for a two-year deal worth $6.5 million.

There are two problematic issues for the Kings, the first concerning center Mike Richards, whose contract has been terminated by the club. But the expectation is that the NHL Players' Assn. will appeal that move. Until the matter is resolved, the Kings won't know their options for sure. If worst came to worst, they could always put him in the minors indefinitely.

Equally problematic is the situation revolving around defenseman Slava Voynov. After pleading no contest to a misdemeanor in the wake of a domestic violence charge, Voynov has been sentenced to 90 days in jail, meaning there is a chance he could still be unavailable as the Kings prepare to start their regular season Oct. 7 against the San Jose Sharks.

Complicating matters, he is still recovering from surgery for a torn Achilles' tendon and the league still needs to conduct its investigation into the domestic violence incident.

So the uncertainty over the futures of Voynov and Richards will keep the Kings in limbo for the foreseeable future.

more on the Kings...

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Blaming Brandon Saad

from John Dietz of the Chicago Daily-Herald,

If fans want to place blame anywhere, it should be with Saad, who said he allowed his agent to handle all contract negotiations with the Hawks.

Had he been willing to accept a deal in the $5 million range, he'd probably still be a Blackhawk. He'd hear that earsplitting national anthem 41 times a year, be playing in front of a packed house every night and on a team that figures to compete for the Stanley Cup year after year after year.

Instead, he wanted an extra $1 million a year. And that's his right. So now he's playing in Columbus.

Then there's Andrew Desjardins, who signed a two-year deal with the Hawks on Friday for less than he could have made elsewhere. He stayed for the chance to win and because he loves the city and the players in that locker room.

And he played here for less than four months.

"Obviously the desire for players is to win. That's why they play," Bowman said two days after the Hawks eliminated the Lightning in the NHL Final.

"So there's always that point -- what is enough for them and that's something I can't answer. That's always an individual thing.

"But we know that all of our guys that are here, that have been here for a long time, they all sacrificed. And they all took less money than they could have, because they wanted to be part of something special.

more

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  Tags: brandon+saad

One Thing Still Missing With The Boston Bruins

from Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald,

That missing element? Hunger. It was gone when the Bruins went up to Montreal for Game 6 in that series and seemed quite content from the outset to forget about the business at hand and aim to win Game 7 at home. We all know how that worked out.

Any sense of urgency was missing at key points of last season’s non-playoff campaign. Emblematic was their second-to-last game of the season at Florida when all they had to do was win a period to stay alive in the playoff race, against a Panthers team that had already been eliminated from playoff contention. And we all know how that went down.

That’s not to say everyone quit. Zdeno Chara played the last week on a broken fibula. Brad Marchand battled to the end. Bergeron remained Bergeron.

But that intangible team quality, that desperate drive that was so evident in their two runs to the finals was not there. Sure, the team battled significant injuries all year. But with a little more will, they could have got themselves into the playoffs in that final week.

Why that grit disappeared is anyone’s guess, but there was a slow elimination of the leadership group ever since they lifted the Cup in 2011.

read on

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The St. Louis Blues Have Made Changes, Will They Be Better?

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

Last week, the Blues bid farewell to Barret Jackman and T.J. Oshie, who had combined for 19 years and 1,315 games with the organization.

On the same day that Jackman became an unrestricted free agent, he signed a two-year, $4 million contract with Nashville. A day later, Oshie was dealt to Washington for forward Troy Brouwer, goalie prospect Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in 2016.

Though both moves were anticipated, the departures of Jackman and Oshie represent radical change on a roster that has remained relatively intact over the course of three previous playoff ousters.

The Blues are expected to have Petteri Lindbohm, who will still be considered a rookie, assume Jackman’s role and Brouwer step into Oshie’s spot. In an under-the-radar move, they also signed free-agent center Kyle Brodziak from Minnesota last week to replace Marcel Goc.

Along with Robert Bortuzzo, who will be a regular after arriving late last year from Pittsburgh, the club will have four new starters constituting one-fifth of the starting lineup for opening night of the 2015-16 season.

continued

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Calgary’s #3 Defenseman

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

By acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Flames now have the deepest blue line in the league. On their depth chart, Hamilton is No. 3 behind Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie. Ex-Bruin Dennis Wideman, Kris Russell, and Deryk Engelland round out the six-pack. “In a lot of ways, our blue line carried our team,” Calgary GM Brad Treliving said in a conference call announcing Hamilton’s extension. “Not only just in terms of their play, but a lot of nights, they drove our offense as well. To add a player like Dougie into that mix, you not only look at what he brings, but how it complements the rest of the group. It gives us another tool in the toolbox for the coaching staff to distribute minutes.”

Hamilton is also an internal asset in case negotiations with Giordano go sideways. The No. 1 defenseman will be unrestricted next July 1. He has an average annual value of only $4 million. This will be the 31-year-old Giordano’s final swing at a blockbuster deal. He’ll want big money and term, especially after suffering a season-ending biceps injury in 2014-15. Re-signing Giordano is Calgary’s priority. But talks could always break down. If so, Hamilton is a good Plan B.

many more hockey topics...

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Steve Simmons On A Sunday Morning

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- Teams that could use Tyler Bozak: Arizona, New Jersey, Minnesota, Detroit and Boston, if it could afford him.

- On the greatest day of his hockey career, Phil Housley shouldn’t be in the same Hall of Fame as Sergei Makarov, let alone the same sentence.

- Talked to my mom and my wife this week: They seem to be in the minority. They don’t think I’m the worst person in the sports world ... Amazing how many fans were offended by my column on the Kessel trade and how many hockey people — coaches, GMs, scouts, media — thought it was dead on.

more

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Derek Stepan’s Next Contract

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

It was Christmas in July for Derek Stepan but a lump of coal in Jeff Gorton’s stocking, this gift of Buffalo’s seven-year, $52 million ($7.5 million per) extension to Ryan O’Reilly that kicks in next season and will keep on giving headaches to the Rangers and their newly installed general manager.

In a flash, Friday’s agreement between the needy Sabres and the 24-year-old center they obtained from Colorado last weekend blows to smithereens any hope the Blueshirts had of signing the 25-year-old Group II free agent center Stepan to a long-term deal in the range of $6.2 million to $6.5 million per.

It likely means Stepan, whose numbers are superior to O’Reilly’s in every meaningful category other than faceoff efficiency, not only will file for salary arbitration by Sunday’s 5 p.m. deadline, but could be in line for a two-year award taking him to unrestricted free agency worth well over $7 million per.

continued

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Minnesota Wild Make Devan Dubnyk Extension Official

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has re-signed goaltender Devan Dubnyk (pronounced DOOB-nihk) to a six-year contract through the 2020-21 season.

Dubnyk, 29, went 36-14-4 in 58 games during the 2014-15 season and ranked second in the NHL with both a 2.07 goals-against average (GAA) and .929 save percentage (SV%), T-4th with six shutouts and T-6th in wins. He won the 2015 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, was named to the NHL's Second All-Star Team, and finished third in the Vezina Trophy voting and fourth in the Hart Trophy voting. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound native of Regina, Sask., set single-season career highs in GAA, SV%, games played, consecutive starts (39), wins, shutouts, minutes, assists (2), shots faced (1,625) and saves (1,510).

Continue Reading »

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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