Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Wes Goldstein at CBS Sports,
Think of what the Philadelphia Flyers did this week as getting in on the ground floor of a hot IPO.
With cap room and draft picks to spare after the worst season in franchise history, the Flyers were able to parlay their situation into a major trade, getting two desirable pending free agents and then signing them to long-term contracts before they hit what is expected to be a busy open market.
From Ben Kuzma at The Province,
Patrick Kane is the top-rated prospect for the NHL entry draft, but Vancouver Canucks chief amateur scout Ron Delorme doesn’t see the diminutive OHL sniper as a slam-dunk selection.
“This year’s draft for sure lacks a consensus top pick,” said Delorme. “There’s nobody close to playing in the NHL and James VanRiemsdyk might be the only one because he’s a big kid. But he’s not pro ready and needs a couple of years.
“But I still believe there’s enough depth in this draft to find some quality prospects.”
continued… *Issues being faced in Canuck-land
Update 1:10pm EDT
Jim Matheson at CanWest presents another point of view:
COLUMBUS - So many have said this is a bad draft crop it makes you wonder why NHL teams are bothering to show up for this weekend’s name-calling.
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 Columbus Dispatch,
Nationwide Arena is about to play host to an event unlike anything seen before in central Ohio. The NHL draft, especially the first round, is hours of cheers, jeers and NHL celebrity watching.
“I love the buildup to the draft. You can feel a buzz in the building 30 or 45 minutes before the draft gets started,” said Ken Campbell, a senior writer for The Hockey News who has attended a dozen or so drafts. “And this year it’s especially so because the top end of this draft is so up in the air.
“If you’re a hockey fan whose focus extends beyond the local team, it’s really something to see.”
I am on my way to Columbus. Alanah should be around shortly, keeping you updated on all of the NHL news.
I will be back sometime this afternoon and look forward to keeping the KK readers informed of all the talk in Columbus.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Maxim and Igor Gratchev will leave their Billerica home early tomorrow morning and head to Logan Airport, their flight plan scheduled to take them to Columbus, Ohio, their future—once again—uncharted.
“Whoever takes me, I’m fine with that,” said Maxim, 18, pondering what team might select him in the NHL draft that begins tomorrow night—a day he says he has anticipated his entire life. “I want to get my career started, work hard, get on a roster, and by the time I am 22 or 23 years old, I want to be an impact player in the NHL.”
from the Buffalo News,
The NHL free agency period starts July 1, and for the first time people are looking at all the available names, not just the ones on the unrestricted list. There’s a belief Clarke’s offer will be mimicked.
“The rules are there, and I think other teams will start using them,” Clarke said by phone last week. “Why wouldn’t you? Your responsibility is to do what’s right for your team, to help your team as a manager, and if you’re willing to give up draft picks and probably pay a little more to get a player, then why shouldn’t you use the rules? I think it will be used a lot more now.”
Kesler’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, agrees. He said a handful of teams inquired about Kesler before Clarke made his offer in September, and he feels the interest in restricted free agents will turn into action now that someone has made the first move.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The most reasonable process for Bettman to follow would have been to invite Balsillie to Manhattan yesterday to make a presentation to the board and answer a few questions. Nothing formal. No vote on the ownership of the Predators.
Instead, Bettman avoided dealing with the issue at all. The biggest news of the day then became that Jeremy Jacobs, Bettman’s No. 1 supporter, who has singlehandedly remade the once proud Boston Bruins into a failed franchise, is now chairman of the board.
The battlefield is now well-defined. Three Americans – Bettman, Daly and Jacobs – dedicated to defeating Balsillie’s bid to bring hockey to the world’s richest hockey market.
And never having to really explain why.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
On Friday and Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, the first-guessers (scouts and GMs) will complete more than a year of hard work. They won’t have the luxury of hindsight when making their selections.
With the Blackhawks on the clock, we second-guessers figured it would be a good time to look back at some of the best and worst selections in draft history.
Five best value picks (active players)
• Nicklas Lidstrom, D, Detroit, 1989 (53rd overall): In 1989, teams still were weary about European players. In that regard, Detroit’s management was on the cutting edge.
I am happy to report KK will be updating live from the 2007 NHL Draft in Columbus.
I will be arriving in Columbus on Thursday so start looking for updates from there late afternoon.
Alanah will be holding down the Kompound and who knows, we just may be having a bit of fun.
I am looking forward to meeting the MSM that I have frequently pointed to, spoke with and interviewed. The same holds true regarding many of the folks affiliated with all of the NHL teams.
As important, I anticipate meeting the large contingent of bloggers that are attending the event. Who has the first round?
It should be a great experience and we look forward to giving you an inside look at the NHL Draft.
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL hierarchy right now seems determined to do anything in its power to prevent a blue-chip potential owner from moving a moribund franchise in a dead American market to a Canadian city where folks are falling all over themselves to offer up deposits on season’s tickets.
To that end, various league sources have started trying to demonize Jim Balsillie, referring to him off the record as “a clown,” sending out the message that he’s a Mark Cuban in waiting, perhaps an Al Davis, that he’d be a destructive influence on the league. (Unlike, say, the various former NHL owners who have been led away in handcuffs.)
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