Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/29/13 at 10:34 AM ET
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
- The Kings drafted Jonathan Quick, Slava Voynov, Anze Kopitar, and Drew Doughty. They traded for Ben Scrivens, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Robyn Regehr, and Justin Williams. Of their core group, the only players they signed as free agents were Martin Jones, Willie Mitchell, and Jake Muzzin. For those three UFAs, according to www.capgeek.com the Kings committed just $5.05 million toward their salary cap. The LA approach is ideal: Hit on your draft picks and develop them correctly, use existing assets with trades, and fill in the roster with complementary players via the free market. The latter is a relatively new development around the league. There were times — think Zdeno Charaand Marc Savard in 2006 — when teams could land foundation players through free agency. Now, those players rarely hit the market. When second-tier players reach UFA, teams overpay (see Nathan Horton and David Clarkson). Rebuilding teams such as Calgary and Florida will not be successful if free agency is their preferred route toward organizational makeovers.
- Of the five top teams in the Western Conference, Chicago’s run-and-gun approach contrasts with the heavier, meaner styles of Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, and St. Louis. But the Blackhawks move and control the puck so efficiently that it doesn’t matter if they’re thinner in the beef department. With Patrick Kane elevating his game even more, the Blackhawks could claim their third Cup in five years.
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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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