Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Brian Hutchinson of the National Post,
Debbie Weiss lives with her partner and four children in Beverly Hills, on a narrow, tranquil street with spectacular views. An art dealer who likes hockey, she claims a soft spot for Canadians. “I think Canadians are nice,” she says. Even Justin Bieber, who rented a house on her street last winter.
There were “no issues at all” with the notorious Biebs, says Weiss.
She can’t say the same of another Canadian, Francesco Aquilini, a wealthy Vancouver-based businessman and developer.
With his two younger brothers, Aquilini manages his family’s vast real estate holdings and a “global conglomerate portfolio” that includes the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. Aquilini is the club’s chairman and a National Hockey League governor....
He also has property in Beverly Hills, a two-acre lot on Loma Linda Drive, right next to Weiss’s home, in fact. After buying the spread for a reported US$7.2-million, he had the 60-year-old, 3,700 square-foot residence pulled down.
Last year, he announced plans to build a 26,000 sq.-ft. house on the property, partially cantilevered over a steep hillside and featuring an indoor basketball court, bowling alley, two bars, two swimming pools and underground parking for 10 cars. And, according to the Beverly Hills Courier newspaper, “moat-like water features protruding over” downslope homes and a pre-school.
Weiss and other residents were appalled. Aquilini’s proposed “megamansion” was too big for the neighbourhood, they agreed.
from Kevin Woodley at NHL.com,
Is there enough scoring after the top line? Doubts about trade acquisition Brandon Sutter's ability to play a more offensive role at center would be moot if Bo Horvat can continue last season's late scoring push and grab the second-line job. The Canucks more than likely will rely on depth and versatility with two units behind the Sedins that are better suited for third-line duty.
Vancouver should have enough depth on the wings to spread around, whether Alexandre Burrows or Radim Vrbata plays with the Sedins at even strength, but the pressure is on 22-year-old Sven Baertschi and possibly 19-year-old Jake Virtanen to score following the departure of Matthias, who scored 17 of his 18 goals at even strength, and Kassian, who scored nine of his 10 goals at even strength.
Is there enough depth on defense? The Canucks have never really had a bona fide No. 1 defenseman, and they usually need to go well beyond their top six to get through each season. In 2014-15, Vancouver used 10 defensemen, including 27-year-old Alex Biega, who played his first seven NHL games during a run of injuries in mid-February.
With Bieksa and Adam Clendening traded, and their lone free agent addition of Matt Bartkowski offset by the departure of Ryan Stanton, the Canucks defense looks thin going into the season. Rookie Frank Corrado should give them seven NHL-ready defensemen to start, but 5-foot-10, 187-pound Biega could be called up from Utica earlier this season.
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
Fair money. Debatable term.
Brandon Sutter received an expected market-value contract extension Tuesday, a five-year commitment that carries an annual average value of $4.375 million US. It includes a no-trade clause in the year existing on his current contract, a no-trade in the first three years of his extension and a modified no-trade in the final two years.
That says a lot about where the Vancouver Canucks are now and where they hope to be in three, four or even five years after tying up $21.875 million on a centre who could be an old 32 when his new deal expires, especially from matchup war wounds in a brutal Pacific Division.
Canucks general manager Jim Benning labelled Sutter “a foundation piece” and doesn’t foresee any problems with him delivering in a second-line role, regardless of the considerable competition he’s going to face in the next six years. His expiring contract next season carries a $3.3-million salary cap hit.
“I’m comfortable with it,” Benning said Tuesday of the contract term.
Vancouver, B.C. - Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the club has signed forward Brandon Sutter to a 5-year contract extension at an average annual value of 4.375M through end of the 2020.21 NHL season.
Sutter, 26, recorded 33 points (21-12-33) and 14 penalty minutes in 80 games with Pittsburgh during the 2014.15 season. His 21 goals tied a single season career-high and was the sixth consecutive season he has recorded 10 or more goals. Sutter also finished with a team-leading 50.6 percent faceoff efficiency and tied for second in the League with four shorthanded goals. In 495 career NHL games, Sutter has scored 98 goals, 87 assists (98-87-185) and 94 penalty minutes with Pittsburgh and Carolina. He has also recorded 12 points (8-4-12) in 33 playoff games with the Penguins.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When the Vancouver Canucks were able to augment their centre position through the Brandon Sutter trade this week, they hit upon one of the proven formulas of improving a team in the NHL.
The difficulty in pulling this off more often, of course, is getting yourself into the right position and then finding a team which has the assets you covet, and having stumbled into same the position the Pittsburgh Penguins found themselves in before this trade.
Positioning yourself to take advantage of teams that are over the salary cap and must pare down before the start of the season is something the Canucks have done successfully in the past, and other teams as well have found this a winning formula.
After all, when you are making a trade with a team that has to make a trade, the odds are very much in your favour that success will be forthcoming.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
For the first time since the Vancouver Canucks originally picked up Adam Clendening, the team finally made a trade where the immediate reaction isn’t to tear out one’s own hair.
Not that this deal is by any means one which will put the Canucks into the playoffs for sure, because at this point that’s looking to be a long shot at best. What it does is get them some insurance at the second-line centre spot in case Bo Horvat can’t seem to make anything happen with his expected promotion — a strong possibility given the wingers he’ll be playing with bear no resemblance to Mike Bossy.
Brandon Sutter gives the Canucks a right-handed centre to take all the key defensive draws on the right side of the ice, which can be handy, and it makes them a little bigger and tougher down the middle, which is certainly an asset in the Western Conference. Canucks general manager Jim Benning considers Sutter a fellow who will be the leader of the young group of players he hopes to assemble here, being slightly more experienced yet still within hailing distance in age of the likes of Horvat, Jake Virtanen, Sven Baertschi, Brendan Gaunce, Jared McCann and the rest he hopes will adorn the roster.
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Adam Clendening and a 2016 second-round pick from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Brandon Sutter and a 2016 third-round pick, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The second-round draft pick acquired by Pittsburgh is Anaheim’s 2016 second-round selection.
The third-round choice that Pittsburgh is sending to Vancouver is the compensatory pick awarded from Buffalo for hiring Dan Bylsma as head coach earlier this summer.
Bonino is signed through the 2016-17 season and carries an average annual value of $1.9 million. Clendening is signed through the ’15-16 campaign.
added 11:39am, Vancouver release is below...
“We can’t control that Edmonton drafted Connor McDavid and Calgary got Dougie Hamilton and L.A. got Milan (Lucic). We have to stick to the plan of drafting and developing and we have to be patient. That’s going to be difficult in this market but that’s our plan, and we’re going to stick to it.”
-Trevor Linden, President of the Vancouver Canucks. More from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province.
from Jason Botchford of the White Towel at the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks could have traded Ryan Miller. They passed. This stunner was dropped at the team’s raucous Summer Summit with season ticket holders.
It wasn’t exactly greeted with a warm hug.
Trevor Linden and Jim Benning took on a series of pointed questions from fans still riled up over recent moves.
None more controversial than the Eddie Lack trade. It took all of nine minutes before we got our first post-Lack era “Eddie” chant. Just wait for that the Hurricanes visit this year.
Up to now, most believed the Canucks didn’t have many options when it came to their goalies. Turns out, they had all the options.
“We could have moved Ryan Miller,” Benning revealed matter-of-factly. “There were teams calling on Ryan Miller.” Benning was cut off by boos. Something that happened a couple of times.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks are set to start this season with five players on expiring contracts, four of whom would be valuable trade assets around the deadline.
But if the Canucks are in the mix for a post-season spot, are they really going to risk it at the deadline and by trading a regular or three?
You could make the case they should have done it a few months ago. With no intention of signing Shawn Matthias, the Canucks could have explored acquiring a pick for him around the deadline.
It would not have changed the way the season ended, or the playoffs.
Radim Vrbata is one of the players on an expiring contract. His signing is seen by many as one of GM Jim Benning’s best moves.
The team had a chance this summer to sell high on Vrbata, which would probably have been a shrewd, long-range move....
Yannick Weber, and Brandon Prust are others who could get mid-round picks at the deadline. So, too, is Chris Higgins, who does not look like a player who fits the long-term plans of the Canucks.
But no other player will have the value Dan Hamhuis could have around the deadline.
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.
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