Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
“We’ll be active, but we might have a different set of targets than other teams,” Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said as the NHL draft wrapped up Saturday, “But I don’t know if we’ll be the headline stealers.”
Shanahan then caught himself.
“We’re Toronto, so somehow there’ll be headlines,” he said with a laugh. “So let me re-phrase that, I don’t think we’ll shake the hockey world.”
Names and salaries that might have enticed interest in the pre-cap era have little allure in 2015. Martin St. Louis and Sergei Gonchar are long in the tooth. If looking at players under 30, the list includes defenceman Mike Green, Toronto-born right winger Chris Stewart, left winger Michael Frolik, centre Derek Stepan, defenceman Andrej Meszaros and a couple of goalies, including Michal Neuvirth. Green would be taken quickly, though he’d need to be part of a dynamic team as he was with the Washington Capitals.
If you look deep enough, there’s even a few former Leafs who could be looking for homes this summer, led by Nashville’s Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli — both let go in trade deadline deals four months ago. And at the end of the season, 36-year-old Eric Brewer was dropping hints that he wanted to return full-time after playing out the schedule in T.O.
But that was Nonis, this is now. In the absence of a full-time general manager, Shanahan has his own visions and his unorthodox quartet making the personnel decisions now features himself, Mark Hunter, Kyle Dubas and Brandon Pridham. Two recent junior hockey execs, a capologist and his own acumen from years on the ice and as a league exec.
What a weekend it was for the Boston Bruins, who dealt away Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton for a bunch of draft picks.
To an onlooker it looks like the B's are setting up for a rebuild. But Kevin Paul Dupont maintains that they are simply "retooling."
"If you stay on Twitter all day or listen to the fans all day, this is death and destruction," said Dupont. "They still have a handful of very good guys who frankly, some of them are overpaid. I still like Rask, I still like Chara, I still like Bergeron. There's a lot of teams out there that don't have that.
"I don't call it a rebuild because they're still going to end up with five core guys who are here. So it's retooling around those guys."
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from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
After improving his forward and goaltending situations, Murray’s next challenge is rounding out Buffalo’s roster with a defenseman.
“I probably need a veteran UFA defenseman or I have to trade for one,” Murray said. “I’ve been talking to teams about a left-shot D.”
The Sabres are scheduled to enter the 2015-16 season with Zach Bogosian, Josh Gorges, Rasmus Ristolainen, Mike Weber, Mark Pysyk and Chad Ruhwedel on the blue line, with Jake McCabe looking to graduate from the minors. Pysyk and Ristolainen are 23 and 20, respectively, while Ruhwedel has just 32 games of NHL experience.
Though this summer’s class of unrestricted free agents is underwhelming, a highlight is actually among left-handed defensemen. Here’s a look:
• Johnny Oduya: After winning two Stanley Cups in three years with Chicago, the 33-year-old would bring a championship attitude into the dressing room. He just completed a contract that paid $3.375 million per season.
A reliable defender, Oduya wouldn’t help the Sabres’ offense. He had two goals and 10 points in 76 regular-season games and recorded five assists in 23 playoff appearances. He averaged 20:17 of ice time and blocked 123 shots.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL goaltender market got unstuck Saturday, the annual game of musical chairs producing seven trades in a 48-hour period, with the two most-watched teams at the entry draft, the Edmonton Oilers and the Buffalo Sabres, both landing the netminders they hope will move them up the standings next season....
Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli went into the weekend with a shopping list that included both help on the blueline and between the pipes. Ultimately, he landed Cam Talbot as his next goalie, surrendering second- and third-round draft choices, plus a swap of seventh-round picks, to acquire his rights from the New York Rangers. Chiarelli was in there swinging on Robin Lehner, too, but Lehner ended up going to the Sabres on Friday, a high-risk, high-reward talent that Buffalo hopes can do for it what Ben Bishop did for Tampa – stabilize a young team as it moves through its formative years.
Other goalies moving on include Martin Jones (to Boston from Los Angeles); Eddie Lack (to Carolina from Vancouver); Anton Khudobin (to Anaheim from Carolina); Antti Niemi (to Dallas from San Jose); and Antti Raanta (to New York from Chicago). Additionally, the Minnesota Wild took Devan Dubnyk off the market in signing him to a six-year, $26-million (U.S.) contract extension.
Only the Sharks were left looking for a bona fide No. 1 goalie. The Sabres were still in the market for a backup, with Michal Neuvirth and Karri Ramo possible candidates. Both players hit the open market July 1.
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Fans in South Florida brought the heat Friday night, doing their presumed duty and echoing boos throughout BB&T Center when the NHL commissioner took center stage to open the annual showcase for hockey's future.
Gary Bettman smiled, as he always does, before pointing to a packed upper concourse. He shouldn't have had to say another word. That point was enough.
On the last Friday of June in a sun-soaked city, Floridians had come inside to watch unknown teenagers take their NHL baby steps.
For Bettman, the full house in South Florida surely was more enjoyable than a private round of golf at a nearby club. If the Florida Panthers' run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final marked the South Florida market's equivalent of a hole in one, the support South Floridians showed for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft was at least a double-eagle.
Bettman doesn't play to a golf crowd. His is hockey, a crowd equally rough and unreasonable.
Certainly, hockey fans everywhere are justified to hold a grudge against Bettman for the three work stoppages that stain the first page of his resume. But that resume is thick with other accomplishments, too.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
A look at the top 25 unrestricted free agents:
1. Defenseman Mike Green (Washington Capitals): Several teams are looking for an offensive defenseman and Green is the best one available. He's 29 and he could be a 50- to 60-point defenseman if he signs with the right team. Good fit: New Jersey Devils. Having a puck-mover like Green would make them more dangerous.
2. Center Antoine Vermette (Chicago Blackhawks): With centers in short supply, Vermette, 32, should have a number of suitors. When he was traded by the Arizona Coyotes to the Blackhawks, he had trouble adjusting last season. But he scored two game-winning goals in the Stanley Cup Final. He's a strong two-way center who can win a big faceoff. Good fit: Coyotes. Vermette played his best hockey there.
3. Center Mike Ribeiro (Nashville Predators): Considering the Predators gave Ribeiro a chance after the Coyotes dropped him because of off-ice behavior, it was assumed he would re-sign with them. But it hasn't happened yet, and Ribeiro, 35, might end up as a free agent. He had 62 points last season. Good fit: Carolina Hurricanes. They need an offensive spark.
via Don Cherry tweets,
Calgary has the best defence in the League now after getting Dougie Hamilton from Boston. Think about it, TJ Brodie from Chatham, Ontario
Mark Giordano from Toronto; Kris Russell from Caroline, Alberta; Dennis Wideman from Kitchener Ontario and of course one of my
favourites Deryk Engelland from Edmonton is there to keep guys honest. Their defence is now better than Chicago’s.
from Chris Westcott of EdmontonOilers.com,
Peter Chiarelli moved through the tables on the draft floor on Saturday as a man on a mission. On Friday night, the Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager acquired a defenceman — Griffin Reinhart — and on Saturday, he was looking to again bolster the backend, this time between the pipes.
About five picks into the second round, Chiarelli walked over to the end of the draft floor to have a discussion with player agent George Bazos. He then walked over to the New York Rangers table and tapped GM Glen Sather on the back and the two engaged in a discussion. Chiarelli left the Rangers to chat with his own organization toward the stage. The dance continued.
Oilers Assistant GM Bill Scott approached the Rangers table, trade card in hand. Together, he and Rangers Assistant GM Jeff Gorton had further discussions. Talks went back and forth with phone calls between tables and eventually the two team representatives, Scott and Gorton, retired to the exit leading to the NHL Central Registry and Trades table.
Shortly thereafter, the trade was announced. Cam Talbot was an Oiler, and for the price of the 57th, 79th and 184th overall picks in the 2015 NHL Draft.
“It’s just a matter of the communication,” said Chiarelli. “Keep going with the communication and see where the market is going. I wanted to use the 33 in that other deal. I always think there are more goalies than teams right now. 'Slats' was good to deal with. He was a little difficult but he was good and he was good to us.”
continued (good read)...
from Antony Bruno of Broadcasting & Cable,
Both aired in the same timeframe, with the NBA’s championship series running from June 4 through June 16 and the NHL’s games from June 3 through June 15. Both were aired on major broadcast networks, with ABC presenting the NBA games (along with ESPN) while NBC owned the NHL series (along with NBC Sports). And both best-of-seven series lasted only six games.
But the similarities end there. The NBA Finals massively outpaced the NHL Finals in terms of advertising revenue, generating over $220 million in estimated spending compared to the $43.6 million the Stanley Cup Finals attracted, which has implications both in terms of network revenue impact and brand advertiser effect.
The impact on the different networks airing these finals is striking. The NBA series contributed nearly 60% of ABC’s total advertising haul for the timeframe they aired. Meanwhile the NHL series contributed just over 17% to NBC’s ad revenue over their airing dates (yet was about 50% of NBC Sports’ revenue).
These figures will likely come into play when it comes time for the networks and the leagues to negotiate new carriage contracts. The NHL in particular has only recently returned to network TV after several years of cable banishment. While its advertising take looks paltry compared to basketball, baseball, and football playoffs, the NHL has seen an increase in revenue over the years. Last year was particularly lucrative as the Finals featured teams from two huge media markets—the LA Kings and NY Rangers. Whether relatively smaller markets like Chicago and Tampa Bay can continue the trend to NBC’s approval is a factor worth following.
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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