Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tyler Dellow at Sportsnet,
On a great possession team, you can find guys to, in effect, serve as Iginla’s legs. He doesn’t drive possession anymore, but the hands are still there. In the right place—on a great possession team—you can incorporate him and expect to do well with others doing the possession work for him. Your possession numbers won’t be as high as they might be with another player but Iginla’s still a pretty gifted finisher.
All of which makes Colorado a pretty curious landing spot for Iginla. The Avalanche are seen by people who pay attention to the numbers as one of next season’s hot candidates to fall off badly. They finished only five points behind Boston in 2013-14 but, unlike the Bruins, they aren’t a great possession team—they’re a bad one.
The Avs did not have the best time of it as free agency opened July 1, either. They lost Paul Stastny, their only forward to post a Corsi% north of 50 percent last year, and they weren’t able to make any significant upgrades to the defence. Absent some significant internal growth, it’s hard to see them improving in terms of possession.
from James A. Conley of Shnarped,
While there is still the matter of the rest of the roster to be figured out — the team has six pending RFAs and most aren’t ineligible to be demoted without hitting the waiver wire — the picture is coming into focus in Pittsburgh. That picture could conceivably include one more big trade and another free agent or two before training camp hits in September.
Again, on paper, the Penguins have had a brilliant last few days.
It remains to be seen how that plays out on the ice.
from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,
The issue: Your favorite team signed a guy in free agency. Yay!
The outrage: Wait, for how much? Boo!
Is it justified? Not really. As we all know by now, there’s no point getting worked up about the first few days of free agency because all the deals are always terrible. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take this opportunity to do a quick rundown of the best and worst deals of the past few days.
The five best:
5. Ales Hemsky, three years, $12 million, Dallas: Hemsky’s a divisive player, but he’s skilled and the Stars got him relatively cheap. Best of all, the deal came on the heels of the Jason Spezza robbery, and Hemsky looked great on Spezza’s wing last year in Ottawa.
4. Paul Stastny, four years, $28 million, St. Louis: Stastny was arguably the best player available and he got paid like it, earning the highest per-season average. But it’s the term that makes this a winner for the Blues, who got the player who could help them the most without having to commit to six or seven seasons.
more plus other hockey topics...
I’m among thousands of friends letting him know that I’m thinking of him and wishing him a speedy recovery. Knowing him, he’ll approach cancer like a minor nuisance before returning to work. He may be back with a different voice but, mark his words, he will be back.
And we’ll be listening.
-Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News on Rick Jeanneret. Read more from Gleason...
from Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News,
The Rangers have lost five key contributors from last season's Eastern Conference championship team through trade, buyout or free agency, including two capable centers in Brad Richards and Brian Boyle, even if Boyle played left wing most of last season.
The Blueshirts again will have Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard and Dominic Moore down the middle, once restricted free agent Brassard re-signs, but they will need to be deeper and more imposing at that position if they wish to return to hockey's ultimate series and compete with the best in the West.
Unfortunately, Glen Sather didn't have the money to throw at a top free agent center such as Paul Stastny (four years, $28 million, Colorado Avalanche), and the rest of the pool either has been underwhelming (Mike Ribeiro after his Coyotes buyout) or overpriced (Mikhail Grabovski on four years, $20 million to the Islanders).
So instead, the Rangers seemingly are planning to fill their need internally, which means they would be counting heavily on lefthanded rookie Swede Oscar Lindberg, 22, to take the next step.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking overseas to bolster their depth at centre.
Sportsnet has learned that the team is on the verge of signing free agent Petri Kontiola to a one-year contract. Sources indicate that the deal will be completed as soon as the player gains his official release from Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL.
Kontiola is a former seventh-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks and spent the last five seasons playing in the Russian-based league. The 29-year-old Finn also won a bronze medal while representing his country at the Sochi Olympics and earned a silver at the IIHF World Hockey Championship in May.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Vernon Fiddler took less money Wednesday to come back to the Dallas Stars, and that’s what the “culture” of Jim Nill’s makeover can create.
“Honestly, I had better offers. But I wanted to stay with this team and finish the job,” Fiddler said after signing a two-year deal that will pay him $1 million next season and $1.5 million in 2015-16. “There is a real attraction to playing here and playing to win, and seeing this through. I think this is going to be a really good team, and I want to be a part of that.”
Fiddler completes the off-season for Nill. The general manager said he is done with acquisitions after trading for center Jason Spezza and signing winger Ales Hemsky, goalie Anders Lindback and forwards Patrick Eaves and Fiddler as free agents. The Stars have a full roster, with the only thing to be determined is how many kids from the AHL-champion Texas Stars earn a spot on the team in training camp.
RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Tim Gleason on a one-year contract. The deal will pay Gleason $1.2 million for the 2014-15 season.
“We obviously know well what Tim brings to our team on and off the ice and how he fits in our organization,” said Francis. “We are happy that he is choosing to return to Raleigh.”
Gleason, 31, split the 2013-14 season between Carolina and Toronto, totaling six points (1g, 5a) and 65 penalty minutes in 56 games. The Clawson, MI, native was traded to the Maple Leafs on Jan. 1 in exchange for John-Michael Liles and Dennis Robertson, after more than seven seasons with Carolina.
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
The Islanders waited until Day 2 of free agency to make their splash. It was a double cannonball.
After missing out on some top targets on Tuesday, GM Garth Snow landed two quality forwards at once Wednesday afternoon, signing former Leafs wing Nikolai Kulemin to a four-year, $16.75-million deal and center Mikhail Grabovski, late of the Capitals, to a four-year, $20-million deal.
"To me, free agency is like fishing," Snow said. "You put your line in the water and you hope you get some nibbles. We got two big bites today."
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Last weekend, Ryan Johansen told The Dispatch that the Blue Jackets’ offer of a bridge contract was a “slap in the face.” Let us think on this.
A bridge contract is a short-term deal designed to set up a lucrative, long-term deal down the road. Johansen is 21. He will be eligible for unrestricted free agency when he is 26. If he signs a two-year bridge contract, he can pump up his resume and use the specter of looming, unrestricted free agency as leverage in 2016.
A slap in the face is when someone opens his or her hand and uses said hand to swiftly smack the cheek of a surprised victim.
Ah, contract negotiations. They are a hoot.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
Now that negotiations between the Blue Jackets and their leading scorer, Ryan Johansen, have dragged into July, the 21-year-old center is free to negotiate with all 30 NHL teams.
That sounds terribly risky for the Blue Jackets, and nothing worries fans or agitates general managers more than the thought of a budding star — a player they drafted and developed — signing an offer sheet with another team as a restricted free agent. Johansen had 33 goals and 30 assists last season.
But here’s the reality: Offer sheets are rare, and they are rarely successful at poaching another team’s player.
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