Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
And with the first round of the draft set to go in prime time on Friday night in Columbus, Ohio, rumors are thick that this draft weekend will see plenty of wheeling and dealing (the following six rounds take place beginning Saturday at 10 a.m. ET).
With a draft that is chock-a-block in offensive possibility, but short in star quality, at least impact star quality like Sidney Crosby, Erik Johnson, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Jack Johnson (the gems of recent drafts), the potential for all kinds of wacky things is great.
“It’s going to be fascinating come Friday night,” predicted St. Louis Blues president and former player and broadcaster John Davidson in an interview this week. “There are going to be some creative things happening. I just have a sense of that.”
from the Star Tribune,
Brett Hull is leaving NBC after only one season as an NHL studio analyst.
An NBC spokesperson confirmed the former NHL star has decided to depart the network after working with host Bill Clement and analyst Ray Ferraro. Hull is expected to take on an increased front-office role with the Dallas Stars. He has been serving as a special assistant to Stars’ President Jim Lites since April 2006….
NBC executives will now begin to explore their options for replacing Hull. One potential scenario could see NBC pursue Jeremy Roenick, who could retire after spending 18 seasons in the NHL. Roenick, like Hull, always has been known for speaking his mind.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
“There’s certainly enough talk going,” confirmed Carolina Hurricanes’ general manager Jimmy Rutherford. “I would suspect there’ll be deals at the draft – and teams are sitting there, with extra picks because of trades they’d made at the deadline, so that also leads to the possibility of more moves.”
Tom Thompson, the Minnesota Wild’s assistant general manager, also zeroed in on the teams with extra picks, saying: “I can never recall a year when six days before the draft, so many teams had multiple picks in the first round, including two teams with three picks each.”...
Things are starting to roll and after all those years when draft-day moves were limited and without much impact, there is only one thing left to say.
Isn’t it great?
from Brian Costello of the Hockey News,
It’ll soon become known as the Scott Hartnell theory.
When NHL teams are faced with the decision of keeping an 18-year-old draftee on the roster or send him back to the development ranks, they’ll consider what happened regarding Hartnell.
Hartnell cracked the Nashville lineup as an 18-year-old rookie in 2000-01 even though he had two more seasons of junior eligibility remaining with the Western League’s Prince Albert Raiders.
He had just two goals and 16 points in 75 games that season, but has since evolved into a top-six forward who, according to TSN, signed a six-year, $25.2-million contract with the Flyers Monday.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
-If Ryan Smyth is smart and gets the same sort of money to sign in either Detroit or Colorado, it’s a no-brainer. He should take the Wings.
They’re always in the playoff hunt and he talks about winning being important. It should be at 31. Plus, does Smytty want to play for the Avs, which means playing against the Oilers eight times a year in the Northwest Division? That might be a little uncomfortable.
-Chris Pronger apparently offered up $5,000 to any Ducks’ player who got the winning goal the night he was suspended in the finals against Ottawa. Dustin Penner was the lucky recipient.
much more NHL talk…
Spector at his Fox Sports Blog has all the talk regarding the big time UFAs.
On a sidenote and my one prediction per year is Drury is a lock to go to the LA Kings.
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
This Jim Balsillie is really starting to become a pain.
How dare he attempt to bring his maverick money into the staid old National Hockey League (twice) and dictate how things are done?
How dare he recklessly disregard due process and try to circumvent the rules?
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Akim Aliu isn’t the most-gifted prospect available in the NHL entry draft that starts Friday and continues Saturday.
Or the fastest. Or—even though he checks in at a chiseled 6 feet 2, 200 pounds—the largest.
But he likely is the most intriguing.
In large part because Aliu, a center-right winger who plays for Sudbury in the Ontario Hockey League, is a native of Nigeria who did not skate until he was about 10 years old and is fluent in English, Russian and Ukranian.
Aren’t many guys in the Class of 2007 who can claim that.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The Rangers’ Plan B in the event of a Nylander defection - a hypothetical the front office never envisioned even as Glen Sather knew he would need No. 92’s agreement on the three-year, $11.25 million deal the GM struck preliminarily with since-fired agent Paul Theofanous - will be to try to convince Scott Gomez and Chris Drury to each accept less than they could get elsewhere to join forces on Broadway.
It won’t be an easy trick to pull, not with ravenous hordes set to pounce on Gomez and Drury both, which is something Sather might want to seriously consider whenever it is he sits across the table from Nylander’s new agent.
much more NHL talk, Larry is all over the hockey map…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The great panacea that was a more liberalized version of free agency hasn’t worked out that way for most of the National Hockey League’s big spenders.
In fact, a whopping majority of long-term, big money free-agent contracts signed after the NHL lockout have turned out to be gigantic wastes of money.
If teams could do it all over again, would they be throwing large money at Adrian Aucoin, Adam Foote, Mike Rathje or Alexei Zhamnov?...
Mike Keenan may not be perfect, but give him a great forward, a pair of great defencemen and top-flight goalie, as he has in Calgary, and watch him ride the Flames to great success. This is his kind of team.
many more NHL bits…
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.
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