Kukla's Korner Hockey
From the Thrashers:
The Atlanta Thrashers have traded defenseman Mike Vernace, forward Brett Sterling and a seventh-round selection (188th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft to the San Jose Sharks for future considerations, according to General Manager Rick Dudley.
Vernace, 24, appeared in 62 American Hockey League games last season for the Chicago Wolves and Hamilton Bulldogs, tallying 13 points (two goals, 11 assists).
The 6-2, 200-pound defenseman appeared in 12 NHL games with Colorado during the 2008-09 season and has posted 71 points (nine goals, 62 assists) in 236 career AHL games with the Albany River Rats, Lake Erie Monsters, Chicago Wolves and Hamilton Bulldogs. Prior to his professional career, Vernace recorded 124 points (23 goals, 101 assists) in 138 career games with the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League
The Chicago Blackhawks lowered their payroll significantly today, trading Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu to the Atlanta Thrashers for the #24 overall pick (originally New Jersey’s), the 54th overall pick, Marty Reasoner and Jeremy Morin.
From the Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika:
The NHL is going through a big transition stage right now as teams get ready for the draft and free agency _ and Western Conferece teams are really seeing big movement.
So let’s track a few of the recent changes.
First of all, the NHLPA on Tuesday extended the CBA so that there will be no labor unrest until after the 2011-12 season at the earliest. They also decided to not change the automatic escalator, meaning the salary cap next season will probably be around $59 million. That’s important for every team. In the meantime, several player movements have changed the landscape.
From the Calgary Herald’s Scott Cruickshank:
OK, what would you do?
Your team has zero selections in the first two rounds of this week’s National Hockey League draft in Los Angeles.
Your team was the third oldest, and the most senior of the non-playoff outfits.
Your team produced the fewest goals in the entire league.
From the Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh:
As notions go, they come no more romantic in hockey than the one Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has heard posed often in the two weeks since his team won the Stanley Cup.
According to the too-good-to-be-true scenario, team captain Jonathan Toews, 22 going on 50, selflessly would approach the GM about deferring the $1.3 million bonus Toews received for winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. That way, the salary cap-strapped Hawks could hold on to one of the good players whose salaries they otherwise would have to dump and keep the gang together.
Cue the sappy music. The gesture would have been better than when Paul Konerko gave Jerry Reinsdorf the ball after the 2005 World Series parade.
From the Buffalo News’ Bucky Gleason:
Anyone can look at the Philadelphia Flyers’ incredible run to the Stanley Cup finals and rationalize about the Sabres being equally capable of doing the same. The Flyers provided evidence that anything can happen if a team comes together at the right time and has everything fall into place.
The Sabres finished four spots ahead of the Flyers in the conference standings. The Sabres had much better goaltending, which is huge in the postseason. They had more depth than the Flyers did. Buffalo, if it had beaten Boston, also would have had home-ice advantage after Washington and New Jersey were knocked out.
So it easily could have been Buffalo in the finals, right? Well, it’s not that simple.
From the Ducks:
Scott Niedermayer officially announced his retirement from professional hockey at a press conference attended by various media, Ducks staff and family members at Honda Center.
“It’s been a tough decision, but after plenty of reflection, I’m here to announce I’m retiring from professional hockey,” Niedermayer said to lead off lengthy remarks in which he thanked numerous teammates, coaches, management and staff members from both the Ducks and New Jersey Devils. Niedermayer remained composed until he thanked his family (wife Lisa and four boys), during which he became noticeably emotional.
“It has been a difficult decision, but I feel it is the right time,” Niedermayer said. “I am excited about experiencing new opportunities, as well as pursuing my other interests. The last 18 years have been filled with more than I ever could have dreamed. There are many wonderful things I will miss about the game, especially the challenge of competing with my teammates. I wish them the best of luck in the future.”
Per various sources, the Montreal Canadiens have re-signed Tomas Plekanec to a six-year deal. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the deal is worth $30 million, with a $5 million annual cap hit.
Per CNIC’s Eliotte Friedman’s tweet, former Rangers coach Tom Renney is now the Edmonton Oilers’ head coach, with former coach Pat Quinn being named as a senior advisor.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s tweet, the rumored deal of the Panthers’ Nathan Horton to the Bruins is a “done deal”.
UPDATE: Per Bob, the deal is Horton and Gregory Campbell for Dennis Wideman, 15th overall pick and another draft pick.
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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