Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Tony Gallagher at The Province,
With the salary cap expected to be just a nudge over $50 million US this season, virtually all the clubs will have more money to spend than many had expected; the league’s efforts to keep the cap around $48 million evidently meeting with ice from the NHLPA in whose best interests it is to have it rise as high as possible. Given the stagnant growth in revenue in the game of late, it’s likely to mean escrow payments in the 7 to 9 per cent range when all is said and done next year, but that is just something the players will have to live with given they themselves handed the league that hammer.
more… (*with a listing of “deals likely to happen”)
From the AP via Orlando Sentinel,
Kyle Turris and Patrick Kane, expected to be two of the top picks in the NHL draft, skated around the ice on Thursday afternoon, trying to sidestep a collision with any of the 25 mites and pigtailed power forwards joining them at a hockey clinic.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the baby-faced Turris and Kane were about the same size and skill level as the 10-year-old kids who were flopping and teetering around them. Now they’re about to step onto the big stage and carry the hopes of a franchise.
Updated 4:03pm EDT:
More on Kane via USCHO,
If Scotty Bowman gave you career advice, would you take it?
The winningest coach in NHL history told one young man from Buffalo, N.Y., to play college hockey, but Patrick Kane — favored to be the top pick in the opening round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft — had other plans. With Boston University and the University of Michigan vying for the future pro star, Kane chose a third option.
From Craig Custance at AJC,
What’s harder than predicting where an international cast of hockey prospects will end up during this weekend’s NHL draft in Columbus? Easy. Hosting a three-hour Thrashers draft party and radio show on a night when the Thrashers aren’t scheduled to make a single selection.
That’s the challenge Dan Kamal, Jeff Odgers and Darren Eliot face tonight as hosts of the Thrashers draft party at Jillian’s.
Elite prospects like center Kyle Turris, forward Patrick Kane and forward Alexei Cherepanov are expected to go early in tonight’s first round. But thanks to two trades — the deal with St. Louis for Keith Tkachuk and the trade with Anaheim for Vitaly Vishnevski — the Thrashers don’t pick until the third round. On Saturday. Long after those three prospects are gone.
continued… (*noting that GM Waddell has made deals during the Draft every year since 1999)
From CP via the Prince George Citizen,
If an NHL team wanted to start contract talks with Pat Kane, they’d have to negotiate with him.
Kane, a possible first overall pick in the NHL draft Friday, doesn’t have an agent.
The 18-year-old forward from Buffalo, N.Y., said agents ignored him early in his career and he carries a chip on his shoulder about that.
‘‘The reason I don’t was because when I was a younger kid, the agents would come up to the bigger, stronger kids and talk to them,’’ Kane said Thursday at a prospects lunch with the media.
‘‘I felt that I was kind of left out. The last couple years, they’ve started to come around and really hound me. I got here by myself. I don’t need an agent to represent me now.’‘
From CP via TSN,
Amid the nervous prospects counting down the hours to the NHL drafts, the busy chatter of NHL GMs and agents filled hotel lobbies.
The Vancouver Canucks were among a number of teams trying to move up in Friday’s first round of the draft with GM Dave Nonis inquiring about the top few picks.
‘‘Yeah, Dave asked me: `Would you guys consider moving down?’ And I said, `Yes we would,’‘’ Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, with the No. 2 overall pick, said Thursday. ‘‘But I’ve had five or six calls like that.’‘
The Canucks hold the No. 25 spot.
‘‘I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t inquiring what it would take to move up not just to No. 2, but No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 as well,’’ Nonis said, while adding that nothing serious was in the works.
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.”
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