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The Way Early Power Rankings

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

So, it seems like the perfect time to assess all of the wrangling and shifting of pieces that has taken place in the past two weeks with our offseason Power Rankings.

28 Carolina

It's going to get worse before it gets better in Carolina while GM Ron Francis wades through tricky contract waters with netminder Cam Ward and captain Eric Staal.

29 Toronto

You can't spell rebuild without the letters c-e-l-l-a-r, and it's hard to imagine the Leafs being anywhere but the basement of the NHL next spring. Too early to start talking about the Auston Matthews sweepstakes?

30 Arizona

Not sure how the Coyotes avoid ending up here at the end of next season, even with Boyd Gordon returning to the desert and Zbynek Michalek and Antoine Vermette being repatriated after deadline trades last season. What are the chances both are on the block again next March?

the other teams...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Three-Year Entry Level Contract For Connor McDavid

Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, the club has agreed to terms with centre Connor McDavid on a three-year entry level contract.

McDavid, 18, has spent the past three seasons with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters, recording 285 points (97G, 188A), 104 penalty minutes and a +83 rating in 166 career games. His 285 points are second most in Otters franchise history.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: connor+mcdavid

After Their Moves, Are The Washington Capitals Better?

from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,

By adding Williams and Oshie and losing Brouwer, the Caps now have $13.89 million in cap space, according to www.generalfanager.com. If we stick with the premise that Braden Holtby will earn roughly $6 million in his new contract and Evgeny Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson combine for roughly $6 million, the Caps would enter next season with about $2 million in cap space, a perfect cushion to account for injury call-ups and trade deadline acquisitions.

But the big question is this: Are the Caps better today than they were when they were eliminated by the New York Rangers in Game 7 on May 13?

My answer is “yes” at the forward position and “no” on the blue line.

If you ask me if I’d rather have Williams and Oshie over Joel Ward, Troy Brouwer and Eric Fehr, my answer is “yes.”

If you ask me if I’d rather have Nate Schmidt, Dmitry Orlov and Taylor Chorney over Mike Green and Tim Gleason, I’d take Green and Gleason.

But we all knew the Caps couldn’t afford Green at $6 million and Gleason battled injuries through the playoffs.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Calgary Flames Preparing For The Future

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

“You’re planning for things. You’re aware of things,” Treliving said. “You can’t operate in a world of fear, thinking the sniper’s behind the bush, but you also have to be wise to the ways of the world. And I think we’re in a new world.

“You’re always planning for beyond the next season, planning for things on the horizon and how you’re going to address them.”

In Calgary’s case, the first step would be to sign Gaudreau and Monahan before they become RFAs, which could happen on Canada Day 2016.

To protect themselves, though, they’re making sure they have enough salary-cap space.

As of now, forwards Jiri Hudler and David Jones (both with US$4-million salary-cap hits) are in the final year of their contracts. Same thing goes for goalies Jonas Hiller ($4.5 million) and Karri Ramo ($3.8 million) and defencemen Mark Giordano ($4.02 million) and Kris Russell ($2.6 million).

They won’t be able to — or maybe even want to — keep all those players in the fold beyond next season.

To think, for the past couple of years, the Flames have openly talked about taking on salary for an asset with all their salary-cap space.

“It’s a good thing we didn’t do that,” Treliving admitted. “We’ve hit that stage now (with less cap space on the horizon), and it’s by the play of those young players, they’re going to need new contracts.

“We’ve positioned ourselves where we’ve not got into a pinch.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Los Angeles Kings Should Say No To Slava Voynov

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

Those who say it's punishment enough that Voynov was suspended most of last season and must serve jail time and probation, perform community service and go through a domestic violence prevention program should focus on the nature of the incident. If the Kings give him another chance, they would be making it a "gimme" and diminish its magnitude.

Varlamova told Redondo Beach police Voynov punched her in the jaw, choked her three times, pushed her to the ground, kicked her and shoved her into the corner of a flat-screen TV, resulting in a 1.2-inch gash above her left eye. He accepted responsibility for his actions, remember? That should not be forgotten.

The Kings can terminate his contract, trade him, or keep him with the team. Here's a vote for one of the first two options.

That he's a top-four defenseman isn't reason enough to keep him. It's irrelevant. He doesn't deserve to wear their uniform and they shouldn't grant him that privilege.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: slava+voynov

T.J. Oshie Trade Finally Happens

from Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

“I thought something would possibly happen at the draft,” Oshie said. “After a couple of days, I just figured that I’d be staying in St. Louis. I got a call from (Blues general manager Doug) Armstrong today and my initial reaction was a little bit of shock, even though that I knew it was a possibility.”

The Blues’ ongoing search for a deal ended in Washington, where they found a forward in Brouwer, who they believe better fits their style.

Brouwer, 29, is a rugged 6-foot-3, 215-pound winger who has 132 goals and 255 points in 531 games with Chicago and Washington. He tied a career-high in points with the Capitals last season with 43, including 22 assists.

“Troy is a power forward in today’s game ... plays the way the Blues are looking to play moving forward,” Armstrong said. “We’re getting a different style of player. We’re getting a consistent 20-goal scorer. Those are valuable in the league. We’re getting a big body that can play. His minutes are high. It’s a different style of player than T.J. We probably have more players in our group like T.J. and less like Troy. That’s probably the easiest way to explain it.”

Brouwer, like Oshie, voiced some shock over the trade, but said he’s looking forward to his new chapter as well and hopes the Blues will benefit from the move.

“I’m an honest player,” Brouwer said. “I’m a guy that works hard. I’ve got some skill, I can make some plays. I’ve been able to score some goals. But I’m a big-body power forward, I like to play in front of the net, in the corners, play a hard-nosed game, I’ll fight when I need to. I like to (think) I’m a pretty well-rounded player with the ability to score 20-25 — hopefully 30 — goals but still be able to finish my checks and be a very reliable guy.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: t.j.+oshie, troy+brouwer

Ryan Miller With An Assist

Wife Noureen DeWulf credited with one too.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+miller

Phil Kessel Did Not Fit In The Toronto Mold

from Bill Harris of the Toronto Sun,

It’s trickier when your most talented player isn’t driven.

But in Toronto, this scenario isn’t just a disappointment.

It’s a train wreck.

As I’ve watched the Chicago Blackhawks in their various playoff runs over the past few seasons, I reached this vague conclusion: Phil Kessel is Patrick Kane.

Toronto wanted Kessel to be Jonathan Toews. But the key isn’t turning Kessel/Kane into Toews, because that never works.

The key is getting a Toews, too.

There’s an extra layer of complication in Toronto.

Since 1993, when the Leafs made their magical playoff run and came within a game of reaching the Stanley Cup final, Gilmour and Clark have combined to form the star template that we crave in Toronto.

Gilmour, looking more like a skeleton with each game, so vicious about winning that he would do absolutely anything.

And Clark, having survived many dark seasons in Blue and White when he had to be the scorer AND the fighter AND the hitter AND the leader, wringing every last morsel of energy out of his battered body, and rising to the occasion.

If you don’t fit that model in Toronto?

You are greeted with annoyed bafflement.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: phil+kessel

Still Quiet In Chicago

from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,

With 12 forwards, five defensemen and two goaltenders, the Hawks have more than $71 million committed already, and a few spots left to fill. Talks with Kruger continue to inch along slowly, though Bowman said Tuesday that the two sides were “close” to a deal. Defenseman prospect Stephen Johns is the front-runner to make the team out of camp, so that’s another $800,000. And the Hawks want to add another veteran defenseman, whether it’s bringing back Oduya somehow (his cap hit was $3.375 million this past season) or Kyle Cumiskey, or signing someone such as Christian Ehrhoff.

Next year’s salary cap will be $71.4 million, so salary-shedding trades are still coming. The Brandon Saad trade did little to prevent that, as Artem Anisimov and Marko Dano gobble up the salary earmarked for him. Sharp and Bickell still are the leading candidates to be dealt, as they combine for a $9.9-million cap hit, each with two years left on his contract.

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Anaheim Ducks/Kevin Bieksa Agree To Two-Year Extension

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed defenseman Kevin Bieksa to a two-year contract extension through the 2017-18 NHL season. Per club policy, no financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

Bieksa, 34 (6/16/81), was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a second-round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft on June 30, 2015. Bieksa collected 56-185=241 points with a +22 rating and 879 penalty minutes (PIM) in 597 career NHL games with Vancouver. Among all-time franchise defensemen, the 6-1, 198-pound blueliner ranked sixth in scoring, assists and games, and fourth in PIM. Among franchise playoff leaders for defensemen, he led in goals (10), ranked third in appearances (71) and sixth in scoring. Bieksa helped lead Vancouver to Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final vs. Boston, earning 5-5=10 points in 25 postseason games.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kevin+bieksa

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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