Kukla's Korner Hockey
via the Anaheim Ducks,
The Ducks have signed right wing Devante Smith-Pelly to a two-year contract through the 2015-16 NHL season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Smith-Pelly, 22 (6/14/92), has scored 9-14=23 points with 18 penalty minutes (PIM) in 75 career NHL games with the Ducks. Smith-Pelly set career highs in assists (8) and plus/minus (+5) in his third NHL season in 2013-14, appearing in 19 games with Anaheim. The 6-0, 222-pound winger also made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in 2014, leading the Ducks with five goals (5-0=5) and ranking third with 24 PIM.
from the Anaheim Ducks,
The Ducks have extended the contract of Head Coach Bruce Boudreau for two additional seasons. Boudreau, who had one year remaining on his contract, is now signed through the 2016-17 NHL season.
“Bruce has done a very good job over the last several years, and deserves the opportunity to take this team deep into the playoffs,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. “We’re happy to have this contract complete before training camp, so our complete focus can be on winning hockey games.”
“We made some changes, but the core group is pretty much the same, so we’re looking forward to the opportunity that we have and I know I’m excited for the start of the year and to see what we’re made of.
“We’ve got a lot of good teams out West. St. Louis was definitely a high-profile team that expected to do a lot and they ran into a Chicago team that was so strong.
“That’s kind of what can happen. If you don’t come in first in your division, for us, we’re looking at L.A. or San Jose in the first round. It definitely puts a little more added pressure for the regular season to finish out strong, but you’re going to run into a good team no matter who you face in the first round.”
-Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks after skating with some of the Wings today. More from Fowler by Bob Duff of the Windsor Star.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We’ll take a look at different storylines over the next couple of weeks as camps near, but here are two of the teams that grab my attention right away: the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
This is an important season for this franchise. They’ve been knocking at the door for three years and have one playoff series win to show for it.
Of course, losing to powerhouse Chicago in the opening round last spring is hardly anything to be embarrassed about. And they lost to Los Angeles the other two postseasons. Talk about playoff royalty. It just underlines yet again the imbalance that exists in the NHL right now in terms of the predominance of the Western Conference.
It’s difficult, yes, but the Blues have to figure out how to join the Kings and Blackhawks at that level.
from Curtis Zupke at NHL.com,
How much will Kesler help close the gap between Anaheim and the Kings and Chicago Blackhawks? – Kesler is adept in the faceoff circle and will help the Ducks' 22nd-ranked power play. When healthy, he is good for 10-15 power-play goals per season and is also a shorthanded threat.
Defensively, Kesler has won the Selke Trophy (and was a finalist two other times) and provides size and a 200-foot game that is valuable in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
That said, Kesler alone won't put Anaheim on par with Los Angeles and Chicago. The Ducks had to give up Nick Bonino in the trade and veterans Koivu and Perreault were not brought back, so they aren't as deep down the middle on their third and fourth lines.
How does the goaltending shake out? – Frederik Andersen is probably the No. 1 at the moment but that could change in a heartbeat if fellow second-year goalie John Gibson has an outstanding training camp. Andersen and Gibson both usurped Jonas Hiller, who signed with the Calgary Flames, and there might be times this season when Anaheim realizes how much it misses Hiller. That's why Jason LaBarbera was signed to provide veteran leadership.
"We think we've got two really good goalies and an experienced, veteran goalie," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I think we're OK there, I just don't know how it will shake out."
I’ve gotten to know him pretty well. He lives pretty much in the town right next to me, and we’ve been skating together this summer. I started to get to know him heading into the Olympics, and then I got to know him pretty well there. He’s a good guy and he’s going to be a great teammate. He competes like crazy. The fans are going to love him and his work ethic. Talking to him, he’s really looking forward to a fresh start in Anaheim. It’s going to be great.
-Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks on new teammate Ryan Kesler. More from Fowler in a Q & A by Kyle Shoraha of the Ducks' website.
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club will host “Teemu Tribute Night” on Jan. 11, 2015 vs. Winnipeg (5 p.m.) at Honda Center. The special evening will include the raising of Selanne’s #8 jersey to the rafters at Honda Center. Full details will be made available at a later date.
“Teemu is our franchise icon and deserves to be the first player in club history to have his jersey retired,” said Ducks Owners Henry and Susan Samueli. “His dedication to this franchise and our community is unmatched. We eagerly anticipate Jan. 11, when we pay tribute to a world-class player, ambassador and champion, our own Teemu Selanne.”
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.
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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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