Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,
Stoner, 31, is making $3.25 million for this season and next. With the team already stacked on the blue line, the Ducks could be making this move to free up a possible roster spot and gain some added salary cap space if a team claims him by Friday.
The cap savings would be only $950,000 and not the full $3.25 million, as that has now changed with the most recent collective bargaining agreement. Previously, well-heeled teams could gain substantial cap relief by burying a contract in the minor leagues....
Cap space is coveted by the Ducks these days. The Ducks had about $7.5 million available under the ceiling, but getting defenseman Hampus Lindholm and forward Rickard Rakell under contract figures to eat up that space.
They've also got at least two forward openings to fill on the 23-man roster and need to have money available to add those who win the jobs. Mason Raymond, who's on a two-way contract, appears to be on the inside track for one as veteran Sean Bergenheim was released from his pro tryout.
from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,
Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell are still in Sweden and won’t report to camp until they are under contract, which their representatives and the Ducks have been unable to work out. The one point of agreement appears to be that long-term deals are desired on both sides.
How much to pay Lindholm and Rakell and their value to the Ducks and potential worth comparable to other young, accomplished contracted players at their positions have been significant sticking points. Term lengths as long as eight years for Lindholm, 22, and six for Rakell, 23, have been discussed.
Rakell’s agent, Peter Wallen, said no progress has been made so far this week. Lindholm’s agent, Claude Lemieux, previously said that his client won’t report until a contract is signed. As a top-four defenseman and a skilled goal-scoring forward, Lindholm and Rakell respectively are among the Ducks’ top players.
Both are among prominent restricted free agents who are withholding their services, with their talent and positions on their teams the main point of leverage they can use. Calgary star Johnny Gaudreau, Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba and Buffalo blue-liner Rasmus Ristolainen are also unsigned, with Trouba the only one to request a trade.
from Eric Stephens of the OCRegister,
Nowhere on his tattoo-laden torso does Jonathan Bernier have one that contains the saying “I Survived Toronto” on it, but you couldn’t blame him if he had that added in permanent ink.
You also couldn’t blame Bernier if he feels renewed these days. He is a member of the Ducks now, no longer having to carry the weight of the Toronto Maple Leafs and their expansive, critical fan base on his shoulders.
Bernier is no longer seen as the “franchise goalie” for the Leafs. He’s definitely not that with the Ducks, as John Gibson wears that label. That may be a good thing at this stage for the 28-year-old, who started his career as a can’t-miss first-round pick of the Kings.
“I think there’s less pressure overall,” Bernier said. “In this market, probably, it’s a lot different. It was a great experience in Toronto but it’s fun to be back here in Cali. Obviously I’m used to it a little bit with the Kings. It’s a completely different mindset and lifestyle as well.”
from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,
“It’s hard to watch the playoffs,” the veteran defenseman said Friday. “You don’t want anybody to win. It feels like you get punched in the gut every time you watch a game.”
Punched in the gut … or some place even worse, the Ducks, for the fourth consecutive season, experiencing the stun-gun zap of being eliminated in Game 7 at Honda Center.
Such punches certainly can knock out your wind. But dropping the deciding, do-or-don’t game four straight times at home turns on its head the concept of breathtaking.
Being eliminated this way – and repeatedly so – can take away more than just your breath. Portions of your heart and soul can go, too.
“Without having much success last year in the playoffs, guys are a little bit snarlier,” Bieksa said. “Guys are little bit more (ticked) off, a little bit more focused, I think.”
That’s a good sign this early, on the opening day of training camp. It’s also a good sign that the Ducks have upped their level of snarly and Corey Perry isn’t even here yet.
“This is what I do. I was a hockey player for 18 years and now I’m a coach. That’s what I do. That’s my job. I want to go to work. I want to work.”
-Randy Carlyle, head coach of the Anaheim Ducks. More from Eric Stephens of the OC Register.
“If you ask me, I’m going to play as long as I feel good and feel I can contribute. My body feels great right now. Training has gone really well. I don’t feel like I’m 35 years old physically.
“Who knows? If we had won a Stanley Cup back in 2011, maybe my perspective would have changed. I’m at the point in my career where I really want to win a Stanley Cup and I’ve wanted to win one for 30 years and I’ve dreamed about it for 30 years and I’ve been as close you can get.
“I’m going to keep playing for that. I’ll take whatever role it takes to help my team get there.”
-Kevin Bieksa of the Anaheim Ducks. Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province has more on Bieksa.
via the Anaheim Ducks,
The Ducks have signed center Antoine Vermette to a two-year contract through the 2017-18 NHL season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Vermette, 34 (7/20/82), has scored 211-260=471 points with 546 penalty minutes (PIM) in 910 career NHL games with Ottawa, Columbus, Phoenix/Arizona and Chicago. A veteran of 78 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, Vermette helped lead the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup championship in 2015 and the Senators to a Stanley Cup Final appearance against the Ducks in 2007. Since making his NHL debut with Ottawa in 2003-04, Vermette ranks second among all active NHL players in faceoff win percentage at 55.8% (min. 13,000 FO) and fifth in faceoff wins (7595). He has posted a faceoff win percentage of 50.0% or higher in 11 consecutive seasons and ranked in the NHL’s top 10 for faceoff leaders in each of the last four seasons.
Selected by Ottawa in the second round (55th overall) of the 2000 NHL Draft, Vermette scored 17-21=38 points with 93 PIM in 76 games with Arizona last season. Vermette led the Coyotes in faceoff wins (754) and paced team forwards in blocked shots (57). The 6-1, 200-pound center led Arizona in scoring, goals and power-play points (2-3=5) from Mar. 1 through the end of the regular season, collecting 7-7=14 points with a +6 rating and 41 PIM in 19
from Tal Pinchevsky of ESPN,
"I was expecting [the trade], it's a tough business. I was ready mentally for that," Bernier said. "I knew they were going to get someone. But to be honest I didn't expect a long-term deal like Freddy signed. At that point I knew it was better for me to go somewhere else because I wasn't in their future plan. That's why I'm excited."
It's a new challenge for Bernier, who has suddenly gone from being an undisputed No. 1 to battling for crease time with John Gibson, a potential franchise goalie who is four years Bernier's junior and is entering the first year of a three-year extension. But after a whirlwind three-year Toronto tenure that began with playoff hopes and ended with a top-to-bottom rebuild under new management, he hasn't been this close to a title since hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2012 as a backup with the Los Angeles Kings.
"They are big and physical and a skilled team. You need a team like that to go deep in the playoffs," Bernier said of the Ducks. "That's your goal as a hockey player: to be in the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup every year. I just feel I'm a lot closer with Anaheim than I was with Toronto."
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