Kukla's Korner Hockey
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
From Brian Biggane in the Palm Beach Post,
This weekend could go a long way toward determining the Panthers’ future, particularly in goal, where coach and GM Jacques Martin is expected to pursue a handful of options. One that hasn’t gotten on the radar as yet deserves mention.
Anaheim figures to be in excellent position to defend its first Stanley Cup next season, as long as it can retain its key players. But recent rumors have had Scott Niedermayer mulling retirement; if that happens, it would leave a significant hole in the Ducks’ defense.
Anaheim GM Brian Burke has likely asked Niedermayer for a decision by this weekend so he can address that potential need. And he may find a trading partner in Martin.
continued… (*Salei for Bryzgalov is considered…)
Yesterday, the UHL announced their name change from United Hockey League to the International Hockey League, at the league’s annual meeting in Las Vegas. But what might be even more interesting is some rules changes they’ve made for the coming season, including these on matters of penalties:
- The instigator penalty has been eliminated except during the final five minutes of a game.
- In regards to secondary altercations, players will receive a 10-minute misconduct as opposed to a game misconduct.
- If a dive and hook occur on the same play, only one penalty is to be called. Diving takes precedence over hooking in that situation.
The UHL (IHL) has always been known as a rough and tumble league with teams that focused on entertainment as much as winning and it’s interesting to note that their attendance numbers have suffered as fighting was reduced in recent seasons, having adopted the NHL’s new standards. So do these rules changes indicate an interest in turning back the clock? It would seem so.
But while the NHL might not be in a hurry to return to the same standards, they might consider that adjustment to the hook/dive penalty call. I’m guessing a whole LOT of hockey fans would like to see that standard in the NHL.
General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that he has named Claude Julien the 28th Head Coach in Boston Bruins history.
Julien, a 47 year-old native of Kanata, Ontario, will be formally introduced to the Boston media today at a 10:30 a.m. ET press conference to be held at the TD Banknorth Garden.
Julien has four years of National Hockey League (NHL) head coaching experience and most recently served as the Head Coach of the New Jersey Devils.
Seems almost anti-climactic. The Worst. Kept. Secret. Ever!
From Scott Morrison via Welland Tribune,
So this is the so-called off season?
Hardly. In the past week ...
- A general manager who got his team three wins away from winning the Stanley Cup gets fired.
- A coach who was told two months ago he would be back next season gets fired.
- Deposits on tickets for a franchise that doesn’t exist go through the roof.
- The future of a franchise remains in limbo while a quiet cold war between the prospective owner and the NHL builds and the team loses two of its best young players.
- A coach who had 43 wins last season gets demoted to assistant coach, his replacement a surprise but quality choice.
And so it goes ... where to begin?
From Darren Dreger at TSN,
Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery will undergo surgery Thursday afternoon at a Cleveland clinic to repair a partial tear of the meniscus in his wrist.
Rather than risk a complete tear, the decision was made to undergo surgery now.
Emery, who suffered the injury in November, is expected to require two to three months to recover.
The Cayuga, Ontario native is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1. He made $925,000 this past year and has arbitration rights.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Nationwide Arena is about to play host to an event unlike anything seen before in central Ohio. The NHL draft, especially the first round, is hours of cheers, jeers and NHL celebrity watching.
“I love the buildup to the draft. You can feel a buzz in the building 30 or 45 minutes before the draft gets started,” said Ken Campbell, a senior writer for The Hockey News who has attended a dozen or so drafts. “And this year it’s especially so because the top end of this draft is so up in the air.
“If you’re a hockey fan whose focus extends beyond the local team, it’s really something to see.”
I am on my way to Columbus. Alanah should be around shortly, keeping you updated on all of the NHL news.
I will be back sometime this afternoon and look forward to keeping the KK readers informed of all the talk in Columbus.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Maxim and Igor Gratchev will leave their Billerica home early tomorrow morning and head to Logan Airport, their flight plan scheduled to take them to Columbus, Ohio, their future—once again—uncharted.
“Whoever takes me, I’m fine with that,” said Maxim, 18, pondering what team might select him in the NHL draft that begins tomorrow night—a day he says he has anticipated his entire life. “I want to get my career started, work hard, get on a roster, and by the time I am 22 or 23 years old, I want to be an impact player in the NHL.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org