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Free Agents a Wings Priority

From Ted Kulfan at Detroit News,

Beyond the draft, the Wings are trying to assess the free-agent market. Teams can sign unrestricted free agents beginning July 1.
In the meantime, the Wings continue to negotiate with their players, who are eligible to become free agents.
Holland expects to be busy talking with the agents for defensemen Mathieu Schneider and Danny Markov, goaltender Dominik Hasek and forward Todd Bertuzzi.
Holland and Hasek’s agent, Ritch Winter, are expected to work out a one-year contract long before July 1—possibly even this weekend.
It gets a bit dicey with the other free agents.


Filed in: Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Draft Day Just a “Blip” for Toronto

From Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,

In an ideal hockey world in which people were fairly recognized for their diligence and hard work, this would be Dave Morrison’s day.
In case the name doesn’t ring a bell, Morrison is the chief scout of the Maple Leafs, hardly a position that has been repeatedly crowned with glory over four decades of generally mediocre Leaf drafting, but a notable posting all the same.
Somewhere around, oh, 9 p.m. tonight, after 12 other teams have hemmed and hawed and thanked the city of Columbus for its Ohio hospitality and congratulated the Anaheim Ducks on winning the Stanley Cup, Morrison will call out a name of some young man who will immediately be deemed the newest next great hope.
For a fleeting moment, Morrison and that young man will matter. But only for a fleeting moment.


Filed in: Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Rumors Overshadow the Big Day

From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail,

The National Hockey League general managers who sit on their thumbs in the next day or so may wind up as the big off-season losers.
With the Stanley Cup having been won by the Anaheim Ducks only 16 days ago, there is a race going on among the 30 general managers to improve their teams. There was so much chatter and gossip buzzing around that the usual debate on which young talent would be drafted when and where took a back seat on the eve of the 2007 NHL entry draft.
“We’re in a hurry, aren’t we?” one general manager said. “I got in here late [Wednesday] afternoon and there already was a tremendous buzz, and I think we all expect a lot of movement here.”

continued… (*looks at the swirl of rumors yesterday)

Filed in: NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Keenan’s Aucoin Gamble

From Eric Duhatschek,

If there was any doubt that coach Mike Keenan will have a say in Calgary Flames’ personnel decisions, it was put to rest with Friday’s first transaction of the NHL team’s new Iron Mike era.
Keenan, like his boss, general manager Darryl Sutter, has a habit of collecting his former players and the two were at it again, bringing in 33-year-old Adrian Aucoin from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Andrei Zyuzin.[..].
Aucoin a hefty $4 million for two more years. If he’s healthy, it might be money well spent. If not, then an area that was once a Calgary strength - defence - may soon become its biggest question mark.


Filed in: Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Wade Redden a Wanted Man

From Bruce Garrioch at Slam!

Wade Redden has declared he wants to stay with the Senators, but it hasn’t stopped teams from knocking on Bryan Murray’s door.
While the Senators GM confirmed yesterday he’s had “a couple” of inquiries about the future of the veteran defenceman in Ottawa, sources say Murray has been holding intense discussions with Oilers GM Kevin Lowe.
With Round 1 of the NHL draft set for tonight at Nationwide Arena, there was talk the Senators could send Redden and winger Antoine Vermette to the Oilers for centre Shawn Horcoff and defenceman Jason Smith. It’s believed the Senators would prefer winger Joffrey Lupul over Horcoff.


Filed in: Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Adrian Aucoin Exiting Chicago

From TSN,

Sources tell TSN that Chicago defenceman Adrian Aucoin has agreed to waive his no trade clause to permit a deal that would send him to the Calgary Flames.
But sources said the paperwork and formal approval of the transaction will not be completed until Friday. The deal, therefore, cannot be deemed official until then. But Aucoin is prepared, the sources said, to be a Flame and the Blackhawks and Flames have agreed on the terms.
The Flames were in the market for a defenceman and zeroed in on Aucoin.
At $4 million a season, Aucoin carries a price tag the Blackhawks were looking to shed.


Filed in: Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Atlanta Thrashers on the Sidelines

From Craig Custance at AJC,

What’s harder than predicting where an international cast of hockey prospects will end up during this weekend’s NHL draft in Columbus? Easy. Hosting a three-hour Thrashers draft party and radio show on a night when the Thrashers aren’t scheduled to make a single selection.
That’s the challenge Dan Kamal, Jeff Odgers and Darren Eliot face tonight as hosts of the Thrashers draft party at Jillian’s.
Elite prospects like center Kyle Turris, forward Patrick Kane and forward Alexei Cherepanov are expected to go early in tonight’s first round. But thanks to two trades — the deal with St. Louis for Keith Tkachuk and the trade with Anaheim for Vitaly Vishnevski — the Thrashers don’t pick until the third round. On Saturday. Long after those three prospects are gone.

continued… (*noting that GM Waddell has made deals during the Draft every year since 1999)

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon Thinks Positive

From Erick Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,

Hope needs to turn into performance, and performance into success before they’re playing in front of packed houses again, but Tallon is keeping his fingers crossed.
“We sent out an e-mail about a draft party on Friday and I think we have close to 3,500 people coming,” Tallon said. “That’s new. That’s good, and there’s a buzz about it. It’s certainly not where you want it to be.
“You’re competing heavily with so many different entities here. Our owner [Bill Wirtz] is not the most popular guy in the world because of the television deal [Blackhawks home games are not broadcast locally] and not making the playoffs. So we’re trying to be positive.


Filed in: Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Disinterested Agents Now Paying the Price

From CP via the Prince George Citizen,

If an NHL team wanted to start contract talks with Pat Kane, they’d have to negotiate with him.
Kane, a possible first overall pick in the NHL draft Friday, doesn’t have an agent.
The 18-year-old forward from Buffalo, N.Y., said agents ignored him early in his career and he carries a chip on his shoulder about that.
‘‘The reason I don’t was because when I was a younger kid, the agents would come up to the bigger, stronger kids and talk to them,’’ Kane said Thursday at a prospects lunch with the media.
‘‘I felt that I was kind of left out. The last couple years, they’ve started to come around and really hound me. I got here by myself. I don’t need an agent to represent me now.’‘


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Vancouver Looking to Move Up

From CP via TSN,

Amid the nervous prospects counting down the hours to the NHL drafts, the busy chatter of NHL GMs and agents filled hotel lobbies.
The Vancouver Canucks were among a number of teams trying to move up in Friday’s first round of the draft with GM Dave Nonis inquiring about the top few picks.
‘‘Yeah, Dave asked me: `Would you guys consider moving down?’ And I said, `Yes we would,’‘’ Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, with the No. 2 overall pick, said Thursday. ‘‘But I’ve had five or six calls like that.’‘
The Canucks hold the No. 25 spot.
‘‘I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t inquiring what it would take to move up not just to No. 2, but No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 as well,’’ Nonis said, while adding that nothing serious was in the works.


Filed in: NHL Talk, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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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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