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Hockey Talk On A Sunday Morning

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

- The NHL did not do the teams’ hockey operations groups any good with its scheduling and locations of the GM meetings (Tuesday, Las Vegas) and the draft (Friday and Saturday, Sunrise). Bruins GM Don Sweeney, for example, took a red-eye from Las Vegas to South Florida after the meetings. The decision didn’t just place GMs on the other side of the country from their colleagues heading into the most important weekend of the year, it also taxed the GMs by forcing them to fly from one coast to the other. With draft boards, trades, and RFA/UFA interviews on their agendas, GMs needed to be at their freshest physically and clearest mentally. The travel schedule did not allow that to happen.

- Three GMs did not consider Carey Price worthy of their first-place Vezina votes. Pekka Rinne, Devan Dubnyk, and Henrik Lundqvist each nabbed one apiece, keeping Price from sweeping the voting. Price should have been a unanimous selection given his dominance (44-16-6, 1.96 goals-against average, .933 save percentage, nine shutouts) on a flawed Montreal team. Price saved 36.51 goals above a replacement-level goalie, according to http://www.war-on-ice Cory .Schneider was No. 2 in that category, saving 29.93 goals above replacement level. Schneider, meanwhile, did not even qualify among the top nine in the Vezina ranking. Andrew Hammond, Jonathan Quick, and Cam Talbot tied for seventh place. None of those three came close to approaching Schneider’s performance. Perhaps the GMs did not have enough time to study the results closely enough. For that reason alone, they did not do the voting justice.

- If your local fireworks seem a little weak on Saturday, you can blame the Bruins. They used them all up by trading Lucic and Dougie Hamilton.

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Notes From Larry Brooks

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

- Trading Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic within hours for a pair of No. 1s, a couple of other draft choices and a backup goaltender doesn’t represent a rebuild or retool in Boston, it reflects management’s belief something was very amiss in the room last season when the B’s missed the playoffs.

And by management, we’re suggesting the younger Mr. Jacobs and Cam Neely, not necessarily newly hired GM Don Sweeney.

Mark the Bruins as a bubble team as well.

- Peter Chiarelli better be careful, or else the new Oilers GM isn’t going to be picking first next June.

- Finally, Chris Pronger, on career LTI with two years still remaining on his contract at over $4.91 million per, was traded to the Coyotes so Team Evicted can reach the floor.

Apparently Alexei Yashin was unavailable.

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The Latest Rumor Talk

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

- There is a strong belief that given the fact the Arizona Coyotes have $18 million in cap space, that UFA centre Antoine Vermette, who won a Cup with the Blackhawks, will simply return to the desert on July 1. He is comfortable there. Makes sense.

- One of the bigger surprises this weekend is the inactivity by St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong. After deciding to keep coach Ken Hitchcock and the club’s staff, there was a strong belief the Blues were going to be aggressive in making changes. The Blues have made the likes of forwards T.J Oshie and Patrik Bergland available, but haven’t been able to get anything done and that has to be disappointing for Armstrong. After making an early exit from the playoffs (again), the Blues can’t afford to go back with same old, same old. A league executive told me in the weeks leading up to the draft that the Blues were one of the most aggressive teams in trying to make changes. That certainly didn’t happen this weekend.

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Now What Toronto?

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

The damage of this past Maple Leafs season lingers and cannot be easily undone.

The Leafs went to Florida hoping to trade more than draft picks and came away wondering where they proceed from here.

The market for Phil Kessel was thin and only marginally active.

The market for Tyler Bozak, Kessel’s centre of choice, was non-existent. The Leafs did not receive a single phone call inquiring about Bozak’s availability.

The two players that Brendan Shanahan would most like to move remain with his club and now a strategy revision of sorts is likely underway.

The Leafs would like to move Kessel, who apparently wants to stay. And they want to keep captain Dion Phaneuf, who apparently wants to leave. And since Shanahan talked avidly about changing the culture and the leadership group of the club, not one player of consequence has been moved out yet.

An alteration of management’s strategy has now become a work in progress and all bets are off about the roster being blown up before September.

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You Can Call It “Creative Bookkeeping

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Don Maloney nearly slipped out of the building unnoticed. The sly fox had already completed a mind-bending trade that was as much about salary cap gymnastics as hockey, but he played coy when I approached him just off the draft floor.

“I made a deal,” Maloney said. “A small one.”

While that characterization was technically true, the ramifications for the Arizona Coyotes and Philadelphia Flyers were rather large: Sam Gagner and a conditional draft pick to the Flyers for defenceman Nicklas Grossmann and Chris Pronger’s contract.

The perpetually capped-out Flyers will realize a savings of $7.28-million next season — assuming they buy out Gagner, which isn’t guaranteed — while Arizona moves $7.194-million closer to the cap floor, adds a defenceman and only takes on about $125,000 in actual salary commitments.

Working through the components of the trade, which included the Flyers retaining $500,000 of Grossmann's salary while dealing a future Hall of Famer who hasn't played since 2011, requires some heavy duty math.

What it all added up to is a creative bookkeeping maneuver for both teams.

continued

from Frank Seravalli of TSN,

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The Latest On Eric Staal And Kevin Bieksa

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

- General manager Ron Francis made it clear that the priority at this point is to try and sign Staal to an extension.

"I’ve had a general and open and honest conversation with Eric’s agent on things," Francis said Saturday. "We’ll continue to have those as we move into the summer. Eric has indicated he wants to be part of the Hurricanes moving forward, and we’ll see if we can get that worked out."

- General manager Jim Benning shed a bit more light on the deal that wasn’t completed with San Jose for Bieksa on Friday. It fell apart because the Canucks wanted a second-round pick in this year’s draft and the Sharks were only willing to provide a second-rounder next year.

"Going in, the market place dictates that Johnny Boychuk went for two second-round picks," Benning said, citing last fall’s deal between the Boston Bruins and the New York Islanders. "Kevin is a little bit older. That’s what our asking price was [a second-round pick this year]. I don’t think it’s too much, I think it’s fair. That’s what we were trying to get if we were going to move Kevin."

But for now, Bieksa remains a Canuck, although sources suggest Vancouver is talking to other teams.

"He’s still part of our team. We’ll continue to explore options and see where it goes," said Benning.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+staal, kevin+bieksa

Afternoon Line- Tony Gallagher On The Vancouver Canucks

They say they want to get younger, but they’re not in the Dougie Hamilton trade talks and instead were pursuing Milan Lucic? They already have a younger, albeit poor man’s Lucic in Zack Kassian, but they won’t give him the slightest chance to succeed.

We’re a year into this regime and that’s way too early to be reaching any conclusions, particularly given Benning has a scouting background and his strength should be at the draft table. But to borrow a phrase from Harry Neale, the overall impression so far is of two guys trying to carry three pounds of bleep in a two-pound bag.

-Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province on the Vancouver Canucks.  Read more on the Canucks and the Eddie Lack trade.

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Arizona/Philadelphia Trade

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – Arizona Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have acquired defenseman Nicklas Grossmann and the contract of defenseman Chris Pronger from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for forward Sam Gagner and a conditional fourth round draft choice in 2016 or a third round draft choice in 2017.

The 30-year-old Grossmann registered 5-9-14 and 32 penalty minutes (PIM) in 68 games with the Flyers in 2014-15. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound native of Stockholm, Sweden has recorded 10-69-79 and 288 PIM in 531 career NHL games with the Flyers and Dallas Stars. Grossmann was originally drafted by the Stars in the second round (56th overall) in the 2004 Entry Draft.

Gagner collected 15-26-41 and 28 penalty minutes in 81 games with the Coyotes last season.

added 4:03pm,

 

added 4:20pm,

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+pronger, nicklas+grossman, sam+gagner

Notes From The 2015 NHL Draft

SUNRISE, Fla. (June 27, 2015) – A total of 211 players from 14 countries were selected at the 2015 NHL Draft, which concluded today at BB&T Center.

Following is a breakdown of draft selections by birthplace:

Canada    79
United States    55
Sweden    19
Russia    17
Finland    13
Czech Republic    11
Slovakia    5
Switzerland    4
Latvia    3
Belarus    1
China    1
Germany    1
Netherlands    1
Ukraine    1
TOTAL    211

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Chicago Blackhawks Trade Antti Raanta To The New York Rangers

via the Chicago Blackhawks,

The Chicago Blackhawks announced today they have acquired forward Ryan Haggerty from the New York Rangers in exchange for goaltender Antti Raanta.

Haggerty, 22, totaled 33 points (15G, 18A) in his first professional season with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League last season. His seven power-play goals were third most on the team. Haggerty then recorded six points (2G, 4A) in 14 postseason games.

The Stamford, Conn., native previously registered 84 points (47G, 37A) over three seasons at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Haggerty also participated in the United States National Team Development Program from 2009-11.

Raanta, 26, posted a 7-4-1 record, including one shutout, a .936 save percentage and 1.89 goals-against average in 14 games for the Blackhawks last season. The Rauma, Finland, native also notched an 8-1-1 record, including two shutouts, a .918 save percentage and 2.39 GAA in 11 games with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League last season.

Raanta owns a 20-8-5 record in 29 career NHL regular-season games, all with the Blackhawks. He signed his first NHL contract as a free agent with Chicago on June 3, 2013.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: antti+raanta

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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