Kukla's Korner Hockey
From George Richards at the Miami Herald,
What a difference a year makes.
At last year’s NHL Draft, the Florida Panthers traded franchise goalie Roberto Luongo. On Friday afternoon, hours before the 2007 draft kicked off, the Panthers got another in return.
The Panthers, kings of draft-time blockbuster trades, pulled off another by sending three picks to the Nashville Predators for goalie Tomas Vokoun.
The Nashville Predators have traded goaltender Tomas Vokoun to the Florida Panthers for a first-round pick and two second-round picks.
Vokoun, 30, was 27-12-4 with a 2.40 goals against average and .920 save percentage in 44 games with the Predators last season. He missed time in the middle of the season with a thumb injury, and backup Chris Mason ended up putting up even better numbers (24-11-4, 2.38, .925).
Sources tell TSN that the Florida Panthers and Nathan Horton have agreed to terms on a six-year, $24-million contract.
The 22-year old Horton enjoyed a breakout season last year with 31 goals, 31 assists and a +15 rating while playing in all 82 games.
From Brian Biggane in the Palm Beach Post,
This weekend could go a long way toward determining the Panthers’ future, particularly in goal, where coach and GM Jacques Martin is expected to pursue a handful of options. One that hasn’t gotten on the radar as yet deserves mention.
Anaheim figures to be in excellent position to defend its first Stanley Cup next season, as long as it can retain its key players. But recent rumors have had Scott Niedermayer mulling retirement; if that happens, it would leave a significant hole in the Ducks’ defense.
Anaheim GM Brian Burke has likely asked Niedermayer for a decision by this weekend so he can address that potential need. And he may find a trading partner in Martin.
continued… (*Salei for Bryzgalov is considered…)
from the Sun-Sentinel,
Martin added that, “there’s probably a good possibility we’ll get Belfour back” for next season. Despite discussions with Belfour’s agent, the team has held off on re-signing the 42-year-old, who’s set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
By trading forward Chris Gratton on Thursday, the Panthers look like they intend to make a move soon. Not only did they clear $1.5 million in salary, but they also added a second-round pick to their other two second-rounders, one of which was acquired in the Todd Bertuzzi trade.
The Panthers’ most viable trade targets are San Jose’s Vesa Toskala and Anaheim’s Ilya Bryzgalov. Toskala, 30, was 26-10-1 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .908 save percentage last season. He makes $1.375 million, about four times less than the Sharks’ other starter, Evgeni Nabokov, who was 25-16-4 with a 2.29 GAA and .914 save percentage. Nabokov, 31, has a no-trade clause in his contract.
from the Tampa Bay Lightning,
The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired center Chris Gratton from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2007 or 2008 NHL Entry Draft (Florida’s option), Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced.
From George Richards at the Miami Herald,
The Panthers announced Wednesday morning that they signed defenseman Bryan Allen to a five-year contract.
Allen, acquired last June as part of the Roberto Luongo trade with Vancouver, had a very solid season in 2006-07. Allen, who played in all 82 games, tied a career high in points (25) and had a career high 21 assists.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed; Allen made $1.55 million last season. Had he not resigned, Allen would have been a restricted free agent on July 1 and could have become an unrestricted free agent after next season.
from the Palm Beach Post,
“We’ll either go back with the same duo or explore some trades,” Martin said. “There are scenarios we’re studying.”
Ed Belfour, Alex Auld and Craig Anderson, all of whom could become free agents July 1, remain in the mix.
Bringing back Belfour and Auld seems extremely risky. Belfour was excellent last season, but he’s 42, has a history of back problems and has serious off-ice issues. Auld lost his confidence and didn’t win a game after Dec. 7.
Aside from Fernandez, other goalies available in trade include either Evgeni Nabokov or Vesa Toskala from San Jose, backup Ilya Bryzgalov from Anaheim and Jose Theodore from Colorado.
from the Florida Panthers,
Panther captain Olli Jokinen won’t be holding anything back tonight at 7 p.m., when he discusses the past season, wrist surgery, and the promise of the future during the first live chat on FloridaPanthers.com.
Jokinen, the team’s leading scorer the past two seasons, will answer fan questions for approximately one hour. Log on to www.floridapanthers.com tonight at 7 p.m.
via On Frozen Pond,
Panthers D-man Jay Bouwmeester had what the team is calling minor hip surgery today in Vail, Colorado. It was thought he might need some kind of surgery because he was limping around at the end of the year.
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