Kukla's Korner Hockey
From CP via TSN,
Amid the nervous prospects counting down the hours to the NHL drafts, the busy chatter of NHL GMs and agents filled hotel lobbies.
The Vancouver Canucks were among a number of teams trying to move up in Friday’s first round of the draft with GM Dave Nonis inquiring about the top few picks.
‘‘Yeah, Dave asked me: `Would you guys consider moving down?’ And I said, `Yes we would,’‘’ Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, with the No. 2 overall pick, said Thursday. ‘‘But I’ve had five or six calls like that.’‘
The Canucks hold the No. 25 spot.
‘‘I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t inquiring what it would take to move up not just to No. 2, but No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 as well,’’ Nonis said, while adding that nothing serious was in the works.
From the AP via SacBee,
They wouldn’t name names, but developers are telling city officials that several billionaires are behind a $9.5 billion proposal to reshape 85 downtown acres into a development including a sports arena.
The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved measures to let developer REI Group continue trying to acquire the land needed for a 22,000-seat arena, plus hotel, condominiums, casino and retail space toward
“This is a very quiet group. They’re not anxious to broadcast who they are on television,” Jon Weaver, an REI Group principal, said following the vote. He said he would privately identify project backers for Mayor Oscar Goodman.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
One of the more attractive unrestricted free agents in the game, Anaheim Ducks’ goaltender J.S. Giguere, is set to go off the market later today.
Sources indicate that the Ducks have signed Giguere to a multi-year contract, guaranteeing that he will stay with the NHL team that he led to the Stanley Cup earlier in July.
GM Brian Burke told Giguere earlier this season of the negotiations: Make it as tough on me as possible. Giguere did just that – and now he’s being rewarded.
Update 4:58pm EDT
The Anaheim Ducks have announced the signing of goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere to a reported four year, $24 million contract extension.
“J.S. Giguere has been an instrumental part of this franchise for the last six years,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke said in a statement. “We view him as one of the top goaltenders in the NHL today, one with tremendous character and competitive fire, traits we value greatly in this organization.”
From the AP,
The Carolina Hurricanes aren’t looking for a quick fix in the NHL draft. Good thing, too. With the 11th pick, they probably wouldn’t find one.
Instead, the Hurricanes _ who have been busy re-signing several potential free agents to multiyear contracts _ are looking to restock their organization with prospects during the two-day draft that begins Friday in Columbus, Ohio.
“There’s not going to be many players out of this draft that are going to step right in and play, which is not a bad thing _ (it) gives them more time to develop,” general manager Jim Rutherford said Thursday. “But you really don’t know. It’s more of a first round once you get past (picks) five and six where a lot of the players are equal in talent at this point…
From Wes Goldstein at CBS Sports,
Think of what the Philadelphia Flyers did this week as getting in on the ground floor of a hot IPO.
With cap room and draft picks to spare after the worst season in franchise history, the Flyers were able to parlay their situation into a major trade, getting two desirable pending free agents and then signing them to long-term contracts before they hit what is expected to be a busy open market.
From CBC, an interruption from the usual…
Rankin Inlet has been abuzz this week with sightings of a celebrity couple — hometown hockey hero Jordin Tootoo and his girlfriend, American Idol finalist Kellie Pickler.
The NHL player has been dating the country singer since January and has brought her home to Nunavut to meet his family.
Most of Pickler’s northern time has been spent at the Tootoo cabin, far from noisy gadgets and her condo in Nashville.
“[There’s] no cellphone service here, so that’s a big plus. No one probably knows what a cellphone is here, do they?” she joked in a CBC interview.
continued… (Alas, young love. Why must it annoy me so?!)
E.J. Hradek at ESPN The Magazine,
In the days leading up to the July 1 opening of the NHL’s free-agent market, clubs will be working frantically to re-sign key personnel.
The Stanley Cup champion Ducks, for one, will do whatever it takes to keep franchise stopper Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the Pond. While nothing is certain, figure Anaheim GM Brian Burke to get his man.
But while Giguere might not hit the market, more than 100 players will. Here are five guys who will get, and deserve, a lot of attention:
And you just know that one or two of these boys is about to get seriously overpaid…
Sources tell TSN that the Florida Panthers and Nathan Horton have agreed to terms on a six-year, $24-million contract.
The 22-year old Horton enjoyed a breakout season last year with 31 goals, 31 assists and a +15 rating while playing in all 82 games.
From Ben Kuzma at The Province,
Patrick Kane is the top-rated prospect for the NHL entry draft, but Vancouver Canucks chief amateur scout Ron Delorme doesn’t see the diminutive OHL sniper as a slam-dunk selection.
“This year’s draft for sure lacks a consensus top pick,” said Delorme. “There’s nobody close to playing in the NHL and James VanRiemsdyk might be the only one because he’s a big kid. But he’s not pro ready and needs a couple of years.
“But I still believe there’s enough depth in this draft to find some quality prospects.”
continued… *Issues being faced in Canuck-land
Update 1:10pm EDT
Jim Matheson at CanWest presents another point of view:
COLUMBUS - So many have said this is a bad draft crop it makes you wonder why NHL teams are bothering to show up for this weekend’s name-calling.
Damien Cox in The Spin,
Tomorrow night in Columbus, the Maple Leafs will acquire a player who will, possibly, join their roster by the 2009-2010 season.
In 10-12 days, however, Leaf fans are sure hoping the club will announce the acquisition of a significant player – or maybe two – that will have a defining impact on the team starting in October.
There’s no question this is John Ferguson’s biggest off-season as GM, one in which he doesn’t have to sign a bagful of unrestricted free agents on July 1st, but one in which he must, through his decisions and player moves, articulate a bold vision for this team beyond waiting for Jiri Tlusty and Justin Pogge to develop.
continued… *the challenges for Toronto, plus this week’s mailbag
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