Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kyle Shohara at the Anaheim Ducks website,
The Ducks made several offseason moves, including the acquisition of Ryan Kesler from Vancouver. What were your thoughts when you heard the news?
I think that everybody’s thought on the team was that the Ducks are all in. We were absolutely disappointed with how last season ended. Bob Murray went out and got the best player he possibly could, a move that will absolutely make us a better team. This puts pressure on the players. This is our time to win. We felt we had all the pieces last year, and this year we’ve upgraded even more. From Day 1, I expect – and I know the whole team expects – to win.
You guys were a game away from advancing to the Conference Finals last year. What needs to change in order for the Ducks to take that next step?
We had an incredibly successful regular season, but we didn’t play our best in Game 7 when it mattered most. We can talk all we want about being really good to start the season, or being really good down the stretch, but it won’t matter until it comes down to crunch time. Guys will have learned from the mistakes we made in the playoffs. We need to have more of a killer instinct. We need to knock teams out when we get the chance. We’ve had that problem the last two seasons. We can say all the right things, but until we do it, it doesn’t matter.
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed defenseman Sami Vatanen to a two-year contract through the 2015-16 NHL season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Vatanen, 23 (6/3/91), scored 6-15=21 points with a +9 rating and 22 PIM in 48 games with the Ducks last season. Among rookie NHL defensemen, Vatanen ranked tied for fifth in goals, fourth in points-per-game (.44) and sixth in plus/minus.
The video is just over two minutes in length...
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Heatley, 33, represents a low-cost gamble — a bargain-basement one-year contract worth $1 million. A two-time 50-goal scorer — both times with the Ottawa Senators — Heatley is a reclamation project in the truest sense of the term. As recently as 2010, he played for the Canadian men's Olympic hockey team that won the gold medal in Vancouver.
"He's a guy, over the years, I've always liked," Ducks General Manager Bob Murray said. "He's been intriguing because he is a pure goal-scorer. He's much better away from the puck than people think he is.
"He's struggled the last couple of years for different reasons. A great opportunity presented itself. We're a good match for each other at this moment.… I think he's a very proud athlete. It hasn't gone quite right and I think he knows that somewhere down the line the end is coming. And I don't think he wants it to end like this."...
"I feel good," Heatley said. "I feel leaner. I know the knock on me is that I'm not quick enough anymore. I disagree with that. I can still play this game. I'm still quick enough, fast enough, and I can score goals.
added 5:56pm, Ducks release is below...
Tomorrow kicks off the free agency period but Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is wasting no time between the Draft and the Open UFA market to start setting up for things to come.
Last night the Lightning was wheeling and dealing to free up cap space and managed to snag another pick in the 2015 draft which is to be stronger than the one we just watched in Philadelphia.
After the Tampa Bay Lightning sent Teddy Purcell to the Edmonton Oilers for Sam Gagner they flipped Gagner out to the Arizona Coyotes along with B.J. Crombeen for a 6th round pick in the 2015 draft. Gagner’s night was summed up beautifully by Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo on Twitter.
⛄️ -> �� -> �� @89SGagner— Strombone (@strombone1) June 30, 2014
Tampa was just getting started. Around midnight the Lightning would acquire both a fourth and a seventh round pick for the 2015 draft from the Anaheim Ducks while the Ducks would receive forward Nate Thompson in the deal. Yzerman collected an additional three picks for the Lightning in the next draft and off loaded cap space.
With the 3 trades tonight, TB saved $5,583,333 in cash and $5,650,000 in cap space; plus added a 4th, a 6th and a 7th round pick.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 30, 2014
Tomorrow the Free Agent Frenzy starts and Tampa looks to have a plan.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Canucks had been targeting the Ducks’ other first-rounder, 10th overall in Friday’s draft, a pick that originally belonged to the Ottawa Senators but went to Anaheim last year in the Bobby Ryan deal. The Ducks held firm there, believing that they can get a quality prospect at that early juncture in Friday’s draft.
From the Canucks’ perspective, it is a good starting point for new general manager Jim Benning. Sbisa has the potential to be a top-four defenceman in the league, but is mostly known for his defensive work. He was limited to only 30 regular-season games this season because of injury, which paved the way for Lindholm to emerge. The year before, he played almost 20 minutes a game for the Ducks.
Bonino was Anaheim’s third-leading scorer last season, behind Getzlaf and Corey Perry and was second on the team in power-play goals with seven. He generally played on the first power-play unit, but in the playoffs, was used mostly as the team’s fourth-line centre at even strength, coach Bruce Boudreau flipping him and Mathieu Perreault frequently up and down the depth chart, depending upon the match-ups he was looking for.
With an extra pick in Friday’s draft, the Canucks could theoretically use it as a means of moving up from the No. 6 spot in the draft order, which they currently hold.
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
There have been six changes in general managers since the end of the NHL regular season — seven if you go back to January and include Tim Murray, who got the Buffalo Sabres job.
"The middle group took it hard," said Lombardi, lamenting the fates of some of his peers.
The rapid reshuffling has changed the dynamic of how the managers do business with one another. With so many new faces in new places, it has forced holdovers such as Lombardi and Ducks General Manager Bob Murray to forge new relationships.
At a time when there is expected to be a lot of high-profile moves at the NHL entry draft Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia, it has taken them out of their comfort zones.
"The GM meeting [in New York] was a little awkward because there were so many new faces," Murray said. "I don't mean that in a bad way. You've got to be respectful of these guys. You've got to give them time to get into the position, to figure out what they're doing, and it's a process for them."
from Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register,
The conditions might never be more ripe for a trade to land the critical big piece. Now it is up to the Ducks to pull it off.
Fifty-four wins and 116 points set franchise standards but all the Ducks were left with were memories of an awful Game 7 against the Kings and then watching them pass the Stanley Cup around to each other. Second-round exits don’t amount to very much.
And the Kings aren’t the only ones they are chasing, if you listen to one Bob Murray. “We're behind a bunch of teams,” the Ducks' general manager said.
So the Ducks are carrying around the 10th and 24th selections in the first round of the NHL draft that starts Friday in Philadelphia. They've also got two second-round picks. And they have their 2015 first-rounder to go with a bevy of young talent, all of which are “assets” as Murray's word of usage.
"I don't know if he's going to retire or not but I know he went home to think about it. I just felt we had younger players coming along that we had to move into the lineup. I thought it was best for this organization that we move forward a little bit.
"It was just time for me. And that [Koivu] was the hardest decision of the three, as you can well imagine. Again, Jonas did so much for us. But we have pretty good kids there, so the writing was on the wall there.
"But Saku, I had to do a lot of soul-searching on that one."
-Bob Murray, GM of the Anaheim Ducks when announcing Saku Koivu, along with Jonas Hiller and Daniel Winnik, would not be re-signed by the Ducks. More from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times.
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.
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