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Decision Time For The NHLPA

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

Eventually The Minnesota Wild Will Need To Rebuild

from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The Minnesota Wild are burdened by their gigantic contracts with defenseman Ryan Suter and winger Zach Parise, who will count a shade more than $7.5 million against the cap each season until 2025.

Previous general manager Paul Fenton gave free agent winger Mats Zuccarello, 32, five years and $30 million this summer before getting the axe. Then new GM Bill Guerin one-upped him by giving defenseman Jared Spurgeon, 29, a seven-year deal for a shade over $53 million.

(That contract reminds us that Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo will get paid for real on his next contract. Lesser defensemen are getting crazy money in the league.)

The Wild could surprise this team by making the playoff bracket this season and winning a round or two. But at some point a total rebuild will become inevitable, given the advancing age up and down their roster.

more topics include the RFAs and around the league notes...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

James Neal Looking Forward To Edmonton’s Power Play

from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,

Being on any power play is fun, but joining one that boasts Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is pretty much any goal scorer’s dream.

“They’re a different level of skill,” said Oilers winger James Neal, who skated on the first unit in practice Sunday. “They have that ability to draw guys in and dish pucks out when you’re all alone.

“You know when you’re on the power play that (the PK) focus is trying to get the puck out of their hands, so there are going to be a lot of opportunities for open ice.

“For me, that’s a great thing. Being able to get open and put the puck in the net is one of my best attributes.”

continued

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

Signing Brock Boeser May Have Become Harder

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

There are a number of ways to look at the Mitch Marner contract — and various media outlets in Toronto have examined them all — but this is what it looks like from Vancouver.

The Maple Leafs didn’t make the Brock Boeser negotiation any easier on the Canucks....

Marner is coming off a breakthrough 94-point season which placed him 11th among all NHL scorers last season. Boeser had 56 points in 69 games....

Marner has been the more productive player. But, if you believe the Canucks are trying to bring Boeser in at $7 million per, is that difference worth $4 million a year?

Let’s look at it another way. Even if it’s worth $2 million a year, that puts Boeser in the $9-million ballpark and that will impact the negotiations for Elias Pettersson in two years and Bo Horvat two years after that.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brock+boeser

A Motivating Factor For Jonathan Toews

from John Dietz of the Chicago Daily-Herald,

Jonathan Toews set career highs in goals (35), assists (46) and points last season (81).

He also averaged a career-high 21 minutes of ice time, won 56.3% of his faceoffs and centered the Blackhawks' top line each and every night.

Yet, when NHL Network unveiled what it believes to be the league's top 20 centers, Toews failed to make the cut.

Asked if he will use the omission as motivation, the Hawks' captain said: "Honestly, kind of. Yeah. If I saw my name at the top of the list, I wouldn't really key on it too much. But the fact that it's been a few years since our team's had playoff success, you kind of start losing a little bit of focus and attention (nationally).

"There's no doubt in the back of your mind you want to prove yourself as one of the best players in the league and on the team. So when you see that, it definitely sinks in a little bit for sure."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonathan+toews

Rickard Rakell Could See His Offensive Numbers Increase Under Dallas Eakins

from Elliott Teaford of the OC Register,

Rickard Rakell didn’t enjoy playing in Randy Carlyle’s old-school offensive system. It was too predictable, too restrictive and led to a significant drop in the left wing’s production last season, when he scored only 18 goals after consecutive seasons of 30 or more.

The Ducks scored an NHL-low 199 goals, which helped to explain why they finished sixth in the eight-team Pacific Division and failed to advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2012. It also helped to explain why Carlyle was fired as coach and replaced by Dallas Eakins.

Change has been good, according to Rakell.

“It’s a different energy around the whole team, getting this practice facility and all the seriousness about everything when it comes to food, sleep, recovery and practice,” Rakell said. “You can really notice the difference. They’ve given us all the tools. For us, everybody is just excited.

“We don’t have anything to lose.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rickard+rakell

Charlie McAvoy Agrees To A Three-Year Deal With The Boston Bruins

 

added 11:03am, Boston press release is below.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: charlie+mcavoy

Robert Thomas Is The Future For The St. Louis Blues

from Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

His name is Robert Thomas.

He is the future, earmarked to be the best player on the Blues in, say, 2023. Even though, really, the future was part of the past – he was a key player on last season’s Stanley Cup run. But the future is also the present, and the future is wow.

Robert Thomas is no longer a rookie or a teenager or, if this was ever said in any sort of negative tone, just a third-liner. Robert Thomas is the Blues player who will take the biggest strides in this coming season.

I’ve been pretty lucky my whole career to see some really good young players,” said veteran Tyler Bozak, who centered Thomas’ line last postseason. “In Toronto with (Auston) Matthews and (Mitch) Marner and with Thommer here. It’s fun to see how good these kids are at such a young age.

“And even watching him skate out here now, he even looks like he took another step.”

The Blues returned to practice this weekend, and there was No. 18, no longer 19. Thomas turned 20 in July, though he shared Saturday that guys in the locker room still call him “kid.” Though in hockey terms, he is a kid, considering he might again be the youngest player on St. Louis and because he cannot drink. Well, we know he physically can drink – he famously paraded around the parade with a celebratory beverage brewed locally.

continued

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

Evgeny Kuznetsov Could Use Some Support

from Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post,

What Evgeny Kuznetsov needs right now isn’t wrath or scorn but support. The three-game suspension the NHL handed the Washington Capitals forward Saturday was a punishment. What he needs is a path forward. The good news for Kuznetsov: He — and no one else — will determine whether that path is a direct line to becoming a consistent, accountable, productive professional or whether it’s the meandering and (occasionally) maddening route his career has been on thus far.

Even after Kuznetsov faced questions from the media and spoke for the first time since he tested positive for cocaine during the world championships in May, there’s only so much we can know. Is he someone who used the drug once, regretted it and moved on? Or does he have a problem for which he needs help?...

Forget that he didn’t address that issue in his statement. This isn’t a time for condemnation, because whether he dabbled and put it down or was a regular user, he has been outed. That has the benefit of being good for Kuznetsov personally and professionally because he can get himself right. It also, in a roundabout way, can be good for the Capitals. Regardless of the magnitude of the problem — minuscule or major — exposure was the best route to making sure Kuznetsov acts, each and every day, not only like one of the centerpieces of an organization that has entrusted him with much money and responsibility but also like a 27-year-old father of two, a more important role.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evgeny+kuznetsov

The NHL Preseason Starts Today On The NHL Network

via NHLPublie Relations...

September 12, 2019 – NHL Network™ today announced its game schedule for the 2019 NHL® preseason, featuring more than 25 live matchups in 16 days, beginning with the Arizona Coyotes at Vegas Golden Knights Sunday, Sept. 15 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

NHL Network will also televise the following games throughout its preseason schedule:

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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