Kukla's Korner Hockey
“We’ve got two good lines that we feel like he’ll complement either one — whichever one (Head Coach Patrick Roy) wants to put him with. And really with that power play and in front of the net he’s still got a great shot. And that leadership — you can’t have enough leadership in the dressing room and he’s definitely going to bring that.”
“Our core guys are young and we try to surround them with great veteran leadership that can help them get to the next level.”
-Joe Sakic, President of Hockey Operations for the Colorado Avalanche on Jarmome Iginla, via CBSDenver.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Wednesday in some office room in Toronto, the Avalanche will face off against Ryan O’Reilly, pun intended.
It really does look like they are going to arbitration, folks. No last-minute settlement – as often happens between player and team right before an arbitration date – is likely. Both sides in this matter don’t like it when I say there is “bad blood” between the two sides, that this is all just business and nothing more.
But I wasn’t born yesterday. If they don’t like “bad blood”, how about “perceived differences in value that has gotten a bit personal.”
The Avs didn’t like it when I wrote in the middle of last season that, hey, why not get something done with Ryan O’Reilly long-term right now, why risk going into the summer without a new deal between them and O’Reilly and potentially have things go sideways like they did before and during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season? The Avs told me that things were good between them and O’Reilly, and that they had peacefully agreed to postpone serious talks until the summer — and gave me the indication that it would be a foregone conclusion that a new, long-term deal would happen.
Silly, gullible me. Because, here we are on July 18, with no long-term contract between Ryan O’Reilly and the Avalanche.
... I like big-name guys on my team. I like it when teams get guys like Iginla - aging guys, yes, but box-office draws who still have something in the tank.
Iginla is a future Hall of Famer, one of the best right wings in league history.But not quite in the same level of stardom as Bourque. He scored 30 goals last year with the Bruins. I can't see him doing much worse on a line with either Nathan MacKinnon or Matt Duchene.
-Adrian Dater of All Things Avs where you can read more of Dater answering some emails...
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
Negotiations toward a new, long-term contract between the Avalanche and left wing Ryan O'Reilly proved fruitless, so the parties are headed to arbitration on July 23, an NHL source said.
While the Avs and O'Reilly could still avoid arbitration by agreeing to a deal before that, such a prospect appears unlikely.
What it means is this: O'Reilly will have the terms of his next contract dictated by an arbitrator, who will present the 23-year-old forward with the choice of either a one-year or two-year binding contract, and O'Reilly will have to decide one or the other.
O'Reilly's base salary of $6.5 million last season means that the arbitrator cannot award him anything less than 85 percent of that figure, which guarantees O'Reilly at least a $5.525 million salary with the Avs for 2014-15.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It is fair to conclude therefore that Iginla’s No. 1 priority in selecting the Avalanche over a handful of other suitors - including of all teams, the Vancouver Canucks - was not the money. Iginla was always like that, come contract time. In his years with the Calgary Flames, he wanted a fair deal, but he wasn’t trying to squeeze maximum dollars out of them either. For eight years in a row, he made $7-million per season – the going rate for players of his stature (two Rocket Richard trophies, three first-team all-star berths).
No, the lure of Colorado was the chance to finally win a Stanley Cup on what is likely to be the final contract of his NHL career (and which will leave him just shy of $100-million in lifetime compensation). You can buy a lot of waterfront property in Belize for that kind of dough.
Iginla took a long hard look at where the best opportunities to win might be and based on conversations with both long-time teammate Alex Tanguay and the Avalanche’s president of hockey operations, Joe Sakic, came away convinced Colorado was that team. Iginla made the point to the Denver Post on the weekend that Colorado’s raw youth was not a hindrance in his mind – that the Pittsburgh Penguins won their one-and-only championship of the Sidney Crosby era when Crosby was 21 and Evgeni Malkin 22; and that the Chicago Blackhawks won the first of two with the current core group when Jonathan Toews was 22 and Patrick Kane 21. The point is, if the talent is precocious enough, then the age on the birth certificate is not necessarily an impediment to winning. On the contrary, it might be an asset.
read on plus more hockey topics...
The heated rivalry that developed between the Avalanche and Blues last season, involving coaches Ken Hitchcock and Patrick Roy and leaking out onto the ice, was an element in the St. Louis signing of Stastny. I’m convinced of that. These are Central Division rivals, the Blues blew the division title last season by losing six straight to finish the regular season, and lost to the Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong wasn’t publicly drawn into the bitterness that developed between the two franchises, but it all adds up to a perfect storm — Stastny’s St. Louis roots; the Blues not only adding Stastny, but taking him away from a division rival; and perhaps a one-finger salute from Hitchcock to Roy in the wake of their bitter and even profane exchanges last season.
-Terry Frei of the Denver Post where you can read more on the Avalanche losing Paul Stastny to the Blues in free agency.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Trading Stastny at the deadline in a remarkable season would have been ripped as sending the "wrong" message. But I doubt Sakic and Roy will worry about that again.
Colorado is nudging up toward the NHL salary cap, which was inevitable when the extensions kicked in. But with attendance down, this team also has been operating on a "budget" the past few seasons. Ownership has accepted the increasing payroll, especially since the playoff flameout can't obscure the progress in the past year.
So, again, the issue here isn't just money. Sakic and Roy, among the best in the game as players, worked the system themselves. But they believe they are building something, including a culture that involves an acceptance of a generous but "fair" salary hierarchy within the cap system. In that sense, "structure" is synonymous with "culture."
Thanks to the Stastny Lesson, I'm convinced that from now on, it's going to be ...
You'll prove that you're with us.
Or we'll see that you're not.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
He comes to Colorado via Boston, in search of his first Stanley Cup after nearly two decades in the NHL. He is considered one of the game's classiest players, which makes it hard not to root for him as a sentimental favorite. Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy will help try to get him that first Cup.
This is the story line for Jarome Iginla, almost identical to the one Ray Bourque had when he came to the Avs in 2000 from the Bruins. A year after his acquisition, Bourque was handed the Cup by Sakic after the final game of his career, the definition of the storybook ending.
If Iginla ever raises a Stanley Cup with the Avs, he probably would receive the handoff from team captain Gabe Landeskog — just as Sakic did for Bourque after Game 7 of the 2001 Finals.
"That's a hope one day," Iginla said after signing a three-year, $16 million contract with the Avs last week.
But is it just a fantasy? Iginla wouldn't have chosen the Avs over several other suitors — including the Eastern Conference regular-season champion Bruins — if he thought it was.
from Tyler Dellow at Sportsnet,
On a great possession team, you can find guys to, in effect, serve as Iginla’s legs. He doesn’t drive possession anymore, but the hands are still there. In the right place—on a great possession team—you can incorporate him and expect to do well with others doing the possession work for him. Your possession numbers won’t be as high as they might be with another player but Iginla’s still a pretty gifted finisher.
All of which makes Colorado a pretty curious landing spot for Iginla. The Avalanche are seen by people who pay attention to the numbers as one of next season’s hot candidates to fall off badly. They finished only five points behind Boston in 2013-14 but, unlike the Bruins, they aren’t a great possession team—they’re a bad one.
The Avs did not have the best time of it as free agency opened July 1, either. They lost Paul Stastny, their only forward to post a Corsi% north of 50 percent last year, and they weren’t able to make any significant upgrades to the defence. Absent some significant internal growth, it’s hard to see them improving in terms of possession.
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