Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The March 1 trade deadline is less than two weeks away. It’s possible that Cup chasers such as Washington, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota look into roster-finishing rentals for depth purposes.
But based on chatter around the league, the deadline is not shaping up to be a locus of activity involving first-round picks, prospects, and players with term changing teams. The refrain that executives are parroting around the league: The draft-and-develop blueprint is not negotiable.
Part of this is because of current circumstances. The $73 million salary cap is not expected to rise significantly in 2017-18, if at all. The only committed sellers are Colorado and Arizona because of the parity promoted by the cap and the points system. Teams are pursuing compliance for the expansion draft out of fear of losing a first-round pick for not meeting the league’s criteria.
But teams also are finally wising up to the fact that drafting and developing is the most effective team-building approach. If trades happen, they take place before the draft when picks are in play and budgets have yet to be filled. The deadline is more for complementary acquisitions.
more plus additional hockey topics...
STAMFORD, Conn. – NBC Sports celebrates Hockey Day in America this Sunday with an NHL quadrupleheader on NBC and NBCSN, as well as a collection of stories and features that explore hockey’s impact and influence across the U.S.
Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC, when Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers host Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. NBC’s HDIA presentation continues at 3:30 p.m. ET, when Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins host Dylan Larkin and the Detroit Red Wings.
from Gare Joyce at the New York Times,
This is a story about one of those scouts, Fred. I tell Fred’s story whenever I overhear a fan talking about scouting as a dream job.
When I first met him, in the early 2000s at the World Junior Championships in Pardubice, in the Czech Republic, his scouting career was off to a promising start. He was in his early 30s, in his first N.H.L. gig.
As a player, he was short and, to be polite, stubby. On the ice, he had lived by his wits. Scouts grade prospects on “hockey sense,” an intuitive understanding of the way the game should be played. Scouts, of course, would be helpless without it. As a player and scout, Fred had hockey sense in spades.
Though he never played in an N.H.L. game, Fred believed he had found his niche as a scout, and now wanted to get made, to become a part of the fraternity, to have not just a career but a good career, to be a 25-year, maybe a 30-year hockey man.
We got to where we’d call each other up every couple of weeks or so to swap notes. On more than a couple of occasions, we shared rides to games — braving icy two-lane highways on the banks of the St. Lawrence going into the small-town Quebec. We became friends.
Fred was a good scout, industrious, conscientious, always looking for a certain type of player, like he had a favorite flavor.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
This team, well, the parts just don't seem to fit. Some of the players have aged quickly. Others have underperformed and look as if they need a change of scenery.
So what should general manager Ron Hextall do?
At some point before the March 1 trade deadline, sell, sell, sell.
Try to get some draft picks for soon-to-be unrestricted free agents Mark Streit, Nick Schultz, and Michael Del Zotto, three defensemen who don't figure to be here next season. And attempt to get a team to throw in a backup goalie who can be exposed in the expansion draft, enabling the Flyers to protect Anthony Stolarz.
Deal one of the goalies. Michal Neuvirth and Steve Mason also will have the potential to become unrestricted free agents after the season, and playoff-bound Edmonton is shopping for a backup goalie. Neuvirth, who didn't help his value in Thursday's embarrassing 6-3 loss to the Oilers, or Mason could fill the bill....
Listen to offers for one of the core players because the makeup of this team is not working. In other words, nobody should be deemed untouchable if the right offer came along.
Find out why Claude Giroux looks as if he's 29 going on 34.
Maybe Giroux is playing injured, though he denies it. Maybe past injures, including a concussion, have just taken a toll. Maybe he just needs big wingers by his side - he was at his best when he played between Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr - to give him more skating room.
Jaromir Jagr with puck theft against Josh Manson...
Below, the Blue Jackets thought they had a goal...
Home Team in Caps
COLUMBUS 2, Pittsburgh 1 (OT)
Colorado 2, CAROLINA 1 (OT)
Florida 4, ANAHEIM 1
JAGR ADDS TO GAME-WINNING GOAL TOTAL IN PANTHERS WIN
Jaromir Jagr (1-0—1) scored the 135th game-winning goal of his career to extend his all-time record and help the Panthers improve to 6-1-0 in their last seven contests.
* Per Elias, Jagr became just the second player to score a game-winning goal after turning 45 years old. Chris Chelios scored his last game-winner with DET on Feb. 18, 2008 at age 46 (4-0 W vs. COL).
* Florida (26-20-10, 62 points), who has won three straight contests to begin a five-game road trip, moved within a point of Toronto (26-19-11, 63 points) for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
* James Reimer made 35 saves to improve to 7-1-1 in his last nine decisions (2.13 GAA, .930 SV%).
from Jonathan Willis of Sportsnet,
Complex deals are sometimes made at the NHL trade deadline, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Instead, the most common trades made are simple ones: a pending free agent for some combination of draft picks and/or prospects.
It’s easy to see why these kinds of trades are popular. Bad teams with no chance at the playoffs can convert their departing players into something valuable. Middling teams can improve their chances of clinching a playoff spot at a modest cost. Contenders can borrow against the future to improve their chances of winning in the present.
Because these deals are so common, the prices on rentals vary only a little from year-to-year. A seller knows roughly what it should get for its pending free agents. A buyer has an approximate idea of how many futures it’s going to have to cough up to upgrade its roster. But what do those rough estimates look like?
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta underwent successful hand surgery, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
Penguins head team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas of the UPMC Sports Medicine team performed the surgery.
Maatta is expected to be out of the lineup for six weeks, after injuring his left hand in Thursday's game against Winnipeg.
from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,
I’ll throw out another query at you. Did the players give up on Therrien? Is that what happened? Is that why the kindly ol’ coach was fired even though his record during the past five years was 194-121-37 and his team was still sitting in the No. 1 spot in the NHL’s Atlantic Division?
If the Habs players did indeed stop playing for their coach, then maybe all is right in the world for Canadiens fans and, beginning Saturday afternoon against the Winnipeg Jets, Nos Glorieux will go right back to their winning ways. But if in fact they didn’t give up, if au contraire they were still giving their 110 per cent for Mike T, then we — meaning Marc Bergevin, Julien, and all of us who care about the team — have a problem on our hands.
Because no players got fired this week — sadly enough. Phillip Danault is still your No. 1 centre — or maybe the No. 2 guy down the middle if the new bench boss decides Alex Galchenyuk gets the top-centre gig. Andrew Shaw presumably hasn’t become a smarter hockey player since Tuesday.
So which scenario is it? Were they throwing games to oust the coach or are they simply a not-very-good team? I know, neither scenario is particularly great.
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