Kukla's Korner Hockey
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League club has agreed to terms with RW Nino Niederreiter on a three-year contract.
Niederreiter, 22 (9/8/92), recorded 36 points (14-22=36), a plus-12 rating and 44 penalty minutes (PIM) in 81 regular season games during his first season with Minnesota in 2013-14. He established career highs in every statistical category and ranked second on the team in hits (175), tied for third in goals, fourth in plus-minus rating and fifth in shots. The 6-foot-2, 209-pound native of Chur, Switzerland, added six points (3-3=6) and led the team with 40 hits in 13 playoff games. Niederreiter tallied the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 7 at Colorado on April 30 to become the third player in NHL history to register his first two playoff goals in a Game 7 and the second youngest player in Stanley Cup Playoff history to record an overtime goal in Game 7. He also netted the game-winning goal in Game 4 vs. Chicago on May 9. Niederreiter skated in four games with Switzerland at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
via the Minnesota Wild PR department...
The sudden loss of my father has been difficult for myself and our family - my dad was my hero and he taught me about life, hockey and what was truly important - family. He will be missed greatly and his legacy and spirit will be with us every day. He lived with the motto “it’s all about the kids” and forever he will be remembered by this.
My family and I also want to say thank you for the tremendous outpouring of support we have received from the hockey community around the world. It means a lot to us to know how much he was loved and will be missed.
from Michael Russo of Russo Rants,
There were several moving tributes and words expressed yesterday on the tragic loss of Bob Suter, Ryan's dad and the Wild scout.
Bob Suter, who died at the rink he co-owned with his son, was, as ESPN's John Buccigross so poignantly said below, a rink rat.
In a story last year, Ryan Suter told me he never grew up dreaming of playing in the NHL. He figured he would go to the University of Wisconsin like his dad and uncle, Gary, and then work at the rink with his dad. His father was always at that rink, whether it was sweeping the locker rooms, resurfacing the ice or devoting his time to the kids who love to skate down at Capitol Ice.
continued and included the video tribute to Bob Suter from John Buccigross of ESPN or you can watch the video below...
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
“That’s going to be a topic around here, especially as training camp rolls around, but I’m not nearly as concerned with the goaltending scenario as most people,” Walz told ESPN.com in a recent phone conversation.
Why is that? Walz said that, from the people he has spoken with, Harding is reportedly in an “excellent place right now.” Moreover, he believes Backstrom is in much better shape following the second surgery to repair his groin issues. And Walz was thoroughly impressed by what he noticed in Kuemper last season, saying that the 24-year-old has “tremendous potential.”
If Kuemper begins the season with the team’s AHL affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa, and Harding and Backstrom are healthy to start the season, the club should be in good shape.
“If those two start the season, I think both goaltenders will be among top 10 in the league,” said Walz, who now works as an analyst for Fox Sports North on Wild broadcasts.
Walz thinks the biggest challenge for the Wild is not defending the net, but filling it.
from Tamira Madsen of the MadisonMagazine,
The Suter name means hockey in Madison.
So it’s no surprise that Madison native and National Hockey League superstar Ryan Suter is involved with the Madison Capitols, a new team that competes in the United States Hockey League starting this season. The Capitols drop the puck this month and will play their home games at the Alliant Energy Center.
While Suter is a member of a nine-man ownership contingent of the franchise, the twenty-nine-year-old was motivated to get involved with the Capitols to lend support to a sport that’s given him and his family so much enjoyment over the years.
“It kind of honors my dad, my whole family—bringing the USHL back here and putting the Madison Capitols on the jersey, that’s a huge honor for my family,” says Suter, who played one season at the University of Wisconsin in 2003–04. Now a defenseman with the Minnesota Wild, Suter has played in the NHL for nine seasons and signed a $98 million, thirteen-year contract with the Wild in 2012.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
Fletcher has also spent the month dialing up some veterans to check in. Two include the goalies, Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding.
Backstrom had season-ending abdominal surgery and hip surgery last season and Harding didn’t play in 2014 due to complications with multiple sclerosis. Fletcher has talked with both the past two weeks to ensure that they’re still both well and that he doesn’t need to go out and sign a free agent, like Ilya Bryzgalov, who remains unsigned despite going 7-1-3 down the regular season’s stretch to guide Minnesota into the playoffs.
“Everything’s a go with both goalies,” Fletcher said of Backstrom and Harding. “Everybody seems to be feeling pretty good, and at this stage, knock on wood, all of our players who were banged up at the end of the season is feeling better. Josh has felt good. Right now we’re not expecting any issues for anybody with respect to passing training camp medicals.
“Now’s the time of the year, with about a month to go, you want to reach out and make sure there’s no issues you don’t know about so if there is something you have time to help the process. With Josh and Nik, you’re just trying to reach out and see how they’re doing. They’re both doing really well.
“There’s still some quality goaltenders out there. Ilya’s out there and a few others, so there’s that type of option out there. But we’re happy with the quality of our goaltending.
I can finally access KK after almost 9 hours of down time.
The problem was not with our host, but something much more major than that.
Numerous ISPs had issues today and it was hit or miss if you could get to a website or now.
Things seem to be ok now, so on with the show...
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
Who's the goalie? -- Niklas Backstrom, Josh Harding, Darcy Kuemper, Ilya Bryzgalov and John Curry (who won his lone late-season start) all had at least one victory in a season of tumult for Minnesota goaltenders . Harding was 18-7-3 with an NHL-best 1.65 goals-against average, but he didn't play after Dec. 31 because of the effects of his battle with multiple sclerosis. Backstrom struggled all season and played a total of 22:25 after Jan. 11 before season-ending abdominal surgery. Minor-league call-up Kuemper (12-8-4, 2.43 GAA) and Bryzgalov (7-1-3, 2.12 GAA), acquired in a trade on March 4, got the Wild to the playoffs.
The question now is who fits where this season. Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo said they are content to go into training camp without a designated starter and see what happens in a competition between Backstrom, Harding and Kuemper (Bryzgalov remains a free agent).
"We have three guys who are quality goaltenders, three guys who at points in the season have been our starting goaltender and played very good hockey," Yeo told NHL.com. "We're expecting some good competition in camp."
more on the Wild...
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
WHEC-TV in Rochester, N.Y. is reporting (and has video) that recently-signed Wild winger and former Buffalo Sabre and Rochester Amerk Thomas Vanek was in federal court today in upstate New York as part of an ongoing gambling investigation.
According to the station, Vanek's appearance stems from the June arrest of three owners/managers of the Marina Restaurant and Bar in Charlotte, N.Y. on gambling and money laundering charges. The three men were allegedly conducting an illegal gambling business out of the bar since January 2012 (see above links and this article).
The TV station reports, "Vanek is not charged with any crime and he voluntarily came to the federal court building with his lawyer."
continued including Russo contacting Bill Daly on this subject...
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
The Wild still needs a physical defenseman to replace Clayton Stoner, who hit the mother lode today with a four-year deal worth, wait for it, $3.25 million annually. The wanted Willie Mitchell, but the Florida Panthers wooed the ex-Wild and two-time Cup champ with crazy money $4.25 million a year for two years. Then take into consideration the no state income tax in the great state of Florida, and it’s easy see why he sprinted for the humidity.
The Wild also lost gritty forward Cody McCormick, who went back to Buffalo, although there may not be a sprint to replace his role immediately if at all.
So, what to do? What to do, particularly because the list of physical defensemen still available is pretty yucky.
“Well, certainly we'll have to look at it,” GM Chuck Fletcher said. “We're probably still looking at a defenseman as well to maybe round out our group. Right now it's been insanity out there. I think this is the biggest spending day, if not the history of the world, the history of the NHL. I mean, it's just been crazy. So my first thought is to just go home and come back tomorrow and maybe the tide will turn and management will get the upper hand and we'll get some better deals.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
The draft is over, no player trades were made, so whether it’s Sunday or Monday, bet that Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo will try to get together in Minnesota with pending free agents Matt Niskanen and Thomas Vanek.
While those have been the most well-publicized names surrounding Wild interest in advance of the market opening across the NHL Tuesday, the Wild has other lines in the water, too.
The Wild has been in contact with Jarome Iginla’s camp, according to multiple sources. It’s unclear if the interest is mutual, but it’s definitely clear that the Wild is interested in potentially signing the future Hall of Fame winger and, ironically, all-time leader in basically every offensive category against the Wild....
Iginla wants to return to Boston, but the Bruins would need to clear cap space to re-sign him. That hasn’t happened, meaning unless Iginla is patient and waits them out, he may need to move on. Wouldn’t it be something if Iginla landed on a Wild team he has roasted for years with 37 career goals and 67 career points?
The Wild, which ranked 24th offensively last season with 199 goals, desperately wants to improve offensively.
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 email@example.com