Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Devils left wing Zach Parise has more than a passing interest in the never-ending Ilya Kovalchuk saga.
Another quiet day passed as Kovalchuk remains unsigned despite the Devils being the only NHL team that is still saying publicly that it is trying to sign the unrestricted free agent left wing.
Parise said he’s followed the proceedings from a far in Minnesota. Friends have texted him and called him about the same rumors many of you have read….
One is about whether Kovalchuk will be his teammate again next season. The other concerns nothing less than his future with the team.
If the Devils commit financially to Kovalchuk with the kind of money he is apparently seeking, there might not be enough salary cap space to sign Parise to a long-term extension. Parise, who will turn 26 on July 28, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent next summer and is two years away from unrestricted free agency.
from Jeff Arnold of AnnArbor.com,
Each summer, the fourth-year Los Angeles Kings defenseman returns to Ann Arbor, enrolls in summer school and continues to chip away at his general studies degree. Although he hasn’t experienced life as a full-time student for three years, Johnson relishes his time on campus.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Johnson said on Thursday. “If it was easy, everyone who left would do it. I’m not in a race to get it, but I know if I stop, it will be hard to start up again.
“I can’t play hockey forever, unfortunately. I will have the second half of my life ahead of me, and I want that degree.”
During the NHL season, Johnson, who is 23, takes classes online, using off-days to study and complete coursework. Technology, including video conferencing and Web tutorials, has made distance learning easier, but balancing school with an NHL career isn’t easy.
The fact Johnson continues to work toward a degree impresses Berenson.
from Edward Fraser of The Hockey News,
Here are the 10 best, for both immediate and future help, by my eye:
9. Maxim Afinogenov
It’s a gamble with the 30-year-old waterbug Russian. You don’t know if you’re getting the man who scored 24 goals and 61 points last season in Atlanta or the boy who averaged eight goals and 24 points over his final two campaigns in Buffalo.
10. Jose Theodore
Another early playoff pull aside, the 33-year-old ‘02 Hart Trophy recipient put together a solid season in 2009-10, especially in light of the family tragedy that led to his acknowledgment as the Masterton Trophy winner.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
The Oilers are getting rid of Sheldon Souray — he cleared waivers last Saturday — and, with that big booming shot and his toughness, he’d look good in a Senators jersey.
Souray is a $5.4-million cap hit for the next two seasons, however, and was limited last season to 37 games after breaking his hand and suffering a post-surgery infection. But he’s also proven to be an offensively dangerous defenceman.
Kuba, a veteran who moves the puck well and is decent defensively, is not a physical player and, with the arrival of Gonchar, is very much expendable. Or redundant, as someone put it Friday. With a cap hit of $3.7 million, the Oilers would be lightening their load in a swap for Souray. Ottawa would have to throw something else into the pot — at least $1.7 million worth of assets, in fact — and the Oilers have room for it, as they are more than $14 million under the cap.
Would you trade Kuba, Lee, and maybe a Nick Foligno or a Kuba, Campoli and Ryan Shannon for Souray? Or maybe Kuba, one other player and a draft pick?
more Sens talk…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
LeBron James may have snubbed Jim Dolan’s NBA team on the country’s national sports television network, but the Garden CEO still can be the star of the show if the Rangers declare on Ilya Kovalchuk, the NHL’s Jamesian free agent.
The Post has learned that one of Canada’s national outlets formally has proposed that Kovalchuk, the 27-year-old goal-scoring machine who is the most luminous prime-time star in NHL free agent history, announce his Decision during a one-hour network special based on LeBron’s precedent-setting episode on ESPN.
And if Kovalchuk makes the decision to go prime-time, isn’t it about time that Dolan and general manager Glen Sather offer this marquee athlete who has spent the first eight years of his career toiling off-off Broadway and off-Broadway in Atlanta and Newark, respectively, the biggest marquee there is, the one in New York?
from Chuck Gormley of th eCourier-Post,
In the pre-salary-cap world, the Flyers’ signing of enigmatic right winger Nikolai Zherdev to a one-year, $2 million contract would have made perfect sense.
After all, the Flyers are in desperate need of a talented right wing who can score goals on a top line with center Mike Richards and left wing Simon Gagne. And Zherdev, 25, has netted 99 goals in his five NHL seasons.
But this is a salary-cap world, and the only way for the Flyers to fit Zherdev’s contract under the NHL’s $59.4 million ceiling is by shedding salary, and Gagne’s $5.25 million cap hit appears to be the most likely target.
By signing Zherdev, the Flyers moved $1.4 million over the salary cap. With offers to restricted free agents Dan Carcillo and Darroll Powe pending, that figure could swell to $3.5 million over the cap.
Carcillo has filed for salary arbitration and will be seeking at least $1.5 million after making $900,000 last season. Powe, who earned the NHL minimum $500,000 last season, is believed to be seeking about $800,000.
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
Martin Brodeur has never been an unrestricted free agent, but the Devils goalie thinks he knows what Ilya Kovalchuk is going through.
Like Devils management and most fans, he is anxious to hear the winger’s decision about where he will play next season.
“I’m sure Kovy is not feeling good about what is going on right now,” Brodeur said today after another day without a decision from Kovalchuk. “I don’t know for sure, but it can’t be something that is comfortable, because if something is comfortable, you get it done right away.
“When you’re torn between two things or three things, it cannot be something that is fun. The pay day is going to be fun, but regardless of what is coming, you have to think about all of this.
“We’re still moving forward, we’re not finished. There are other opportunities still out there, moves we’d like to make. There have been constant phone calls everyday for probably a month. We’ve been hard at it.”
-New York Rangers GM Glen Sather today after making one trade and signing RFA Dan Girardi. More from Andrew Gross of Rangers Rants.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune at Chicago Breaking Sports,
The Blackhawks’ salary cap difficulties took another hit Friday, as the San Jose Sharks signed defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a four-year, $14 million offer sheet.
The Hawks have seven days to match the offer of $3.5 million per season but with negotiations continuing with fellow restricted free agent goaltender Antti Niemi, the team may have to choose between two players who helped them capture their first Stanley Cup since 1961.
“It always comes as a surprise when you get an offer like that, especially from a team such as San Jose,” said Kevin Epp, Hjlamarsson’s agent. “It’s a great opportunity. I’m sure we’ll still talk to Chicago. They do have seven days to match. At this point we haven’t spoken with them in regards to the offer sheet.”
The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have signed 6’2’’, 203-pound free agent right wing Nikolai Zherdev to a one-year contract, according to club General Manager Paul Holmgren. Per club policy, financial terms were not disclosed.
“Nik is a highly-skilled player who, at 25-years-old, we feel will be a good fit to our core of forwards,” said Holmgren. “Prior to playing last season in Russia, Nik ranked as one of the top young point-producers in the NHL. We are pleased to add him to our team.”
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.
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