Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
While the Canucks were trading for Bernier and chasing Sundin, every other team in the Western Conference was also making significant changes. You can argue about the merit of a lot of those changes. But you can’t argue the West won’t be vastly different next season, which raises the question: Have the Canucks done enough to stay competitive?
Decide for yourself.
The Ducks’ big move was adding old pal Morrison, who’ll try to recreate the Andy McDonald role on the second line. They also had four of the first 43 picks in the amateur draft.
from the CP,
The Canucks signed the 33-year-old Slovakian to a two-year, US$8-million NHL contract Thursday. Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis said Demitra’s versatility is something the Canucks need.
“We saw a premium forward who could play all three forward positions,” said Gillis, who used to be Demitra’s agent. “He’s coming off a season that wasn’t his most productive but he has been a consistent point guy through his career.
“I felt as we were moving along here we wanted a player who could play multiple positions at forward. He seems like a proper fit. He wanted to play here.”
more on the Canucks and the action around the NHL today…
from the Vancouver Canucks,
Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis today announced that the team has signed free agent forward Pavol Demitra. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Throughout his NHL career, Pavol has proven himself to be an offensive contributor where ever he has played,” said Gillis. “Pavol is a strong two-way hockey player with excellent quickness and finish. His play making abilities will be an asset on our power-play and make him a great addition to our top six forwards.”
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
I’m still very good friends with Pavol and talk to him all the time,” (Geoff) Courtnall, a former Canuck, said Wednesday from Victoria. “I hadn’t seen him in a year and he came out before he went back to Slovakia.
“We only had one day and night together and he told me he loves coming to Vancouver. I told him if the Canucks are one of the teams that comes around July 1 [free agency], you should definitely think of playing there.”
Demitra has done just that.
Not only has the former Minnesota Wild forward stated that the Canucks top his wish list—a Slovakian newspaper has reported he’s close to signing a three-year, $12-million-US deal—general manager Mike Gillis has acknowledged contract dialogue with his former client.
The only problem might be term, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Gillis is trying to get Demitra to commit to two years instead of three.
from TV JOJ and translated by KK friend Roman,
Pavol Demitra will play for Vancouver next 3 yrs. His contract is 4mil per season.
Vancouver contacted Demitra shortly after he said he would not play in Minnesota next season. There is speculation in overseas media that the Canucks contacted him before July 1 which is prohibited. Now it is up to NHL if there will be some investigation.
added 3:34pm, from TSN,
In an interview with Vancouver radio station CKNW, free agent forward Pavol Demitra confirmed that the Canucks are his preferred destination and expects to sign with the team.
“I think there is a good chance,” Demitra said.
“[Current Canucks GM Mike Gillis] used to be my agent for a long time. We are very good friends. I am very interested in playing for [the Canucks].”
from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,
Roberto Luongo’s agent said the uber goalie is in a good frame of mind preparing for the coming season. Gilles Lupien last spoke to Luongo on Friday.
“I said ‘how are you and blah, blah, blah’ and he told me ‘I was pissed off during the season but now I’m cooled down and I’m happy and I want to go out and play,’” Lupien said. “Roberto is a nice kid. Sometimes he gets frustrated and all that because he wants to win.
“The people in Vancouver don’t have to wonder,” added Lupien. “For Roberto, it’s another season and let’s go for it. He’s happy, he has his daughter, he’s coming to Montreal in three weeks to show everyone his daughter and, after that, he’s going back to Vancouver.”
more on the Canucks…
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
“Why panic?” Gillis said. “I think we will be better when the season rolls around because we’re actively working on a number of things now.”...
Gillis said his offence hasn’t yet improved, and still needs work, notably a front-line centre.
“We’re going to be patient and try and make smart moves and not put ourselves in a position where we are boxed in with long-term contracts with players who might not fit,” he said.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
If the Canucks strike out in the Sundin sweepstakes, look for Gillis to take another swipe at adding to his roster through a restricted free agent offer sheet.
Best bet? Detroit winger Valterri Filppula. The Red Wings tend not to lose players they want to keep—and Filppula definitely fits that category—but they are running out of cap space. It might take an offer in the $4 million dollar range to force them to pass
more and some UFAs that are still unsigned…
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
There are still plenty of players available and the Canucks still have plenty of money to spend. See, there’s Stephane Yelle. And Jim Dowd. And Kevyn Adams hasn’t signed, has he? Then there’s Mark Rycroft. Oh, and Randy Robitaille. And Sergei Brylin. And so many others….
When Mike Gillis was announced as the new general manager, he said his goal was to make the Canucks a winner right away and he would build the team in that direction. But, two months later, as virtually every other team in the West has improved themselves significantly, he’s lost Naslund; is about to lose Brendan Morrison; he’s added three insignificant fourth-liners; and he waits helplessly as the enigmatic Sundin decides if he’ll play in Vancouver for $20 million.
Vancouver GM Mike Gillis used to be Pavol Demitra’s agent, but that doesn’t mean the free-agent forward is automatically headed to the Canucks. His current agent, Keator, said it’s far from a done deal. “If Pavol Demitra was going to Vancouver, then why did he hire me?” asked Keator. “It’s ridiculous.” That said, Vancouver would be a nice fit for the 33-year-old right winger.
via Craig Custance of the Sporting News...
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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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