Kukla's Korner

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Eric Staal Expected To Sign Extension

from the News & Observer,

In 2002, Jim Rutherford felt obligated to bring everybody back for the season following the run to the Stanley Cup finals. "Last time, I made too many decisions with my heart and not my head," Rutherford said Friday. "This time, we've got a plan and we're sticking to it." The next step in that plan is to lock up their franchise player and leading scorer, 21-year-old center Eric Staal. Under the league's collective bargaining agreement, the Canes could not re-sign Staal, who had not completed his entry-level contract, until today. That three- or four-year deal is expected to be announced this afternoon with Staal, who became the franchise's first player with 100 points since 1989-90. He will become the team's highest-paid player at an excess of $4 million annually.
read on update 12:32pm, from TSN,
Sources tell TSN that Eric Staal has agreed to a new three-year contract with the defending Stanley Cup champions. Sources say the deal will pay him $4 million in the first year, $4.5 million in the second year and $5 million in the third year.

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Looking At…

from the Toronto Star,

There is little doubt the Leafs must bolster a blue line that has only two legitimate NHLers in Kaberle and Bryan McCabe. They'll certainly explore the Chara possibilities, but a more likely scenario could see them go after the likes of Jay McKee and/or Willie Mitchell, who will each command upwards of $3 million. Another large defenceman they appear to be interested in acquiring is 6-foot-7 Hal Gill of the Boston Bruins, whom they could get for about $1.5 million a year. "We're going to take advantage of the space we have under the cap," Ferguson said.
from the Buffalo News,
The Sabres are overstocked at forward, as only 15 of their 23 will make the team. Most of those not making the club would have to clear waivers in order to play in Rochester - an unlikely scenario - so the team may have to trade a few in order to bolster its weakest position. That, of course, is defense. "We've had some young guys have tremendous years [in junior hockey], but they're probably a couple years away. And the guys we drafted are even further," Ruff said. "We'll be looking."
from the San Francisco Chronicle,
If Wilson chooses to dip into the free-agent market, it might be for a forward. The top line could use a more consistent left wing to complement major individual award winners Joe Thornton (most points, MVP) and Jonathan Cheechoo (NHL's top goal-scorer). And the playoffs suggested for a second time in a row that another battle-tested, strong-character forward or two wouldn't hurt. "With the UFA market, high-end guys will do well," Wilson said. "But the flooding of all the other guys in there, there is the issue of supply and demand. Teams will have to make big decisions."
added 10:40am, from the Arizona Republic,
Defensemen such as Jay McKee, Brendan Witt and Pavel Kubina may be more realistic options for Phoenix. Free-agent forwards Jason Arnott, Patrik Elias, Jamie Langenbrunner and Alyn McCauley are believed to be on Phoenix's radar. But if the Coyotes can't afford or lure any of them, don't be surprised if Barnett makes trade inquiries to Colorado about right wing Dan Hinote and/or Vancouver for center Brendan Morrison, if he hasn't already. Also, Ottawa right wing Martin Havlat has been linked to the Coyotes in rumors.

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Changes To The Game Made Domi Expendable

from the National Post,

Tie Domi once jokingly worried that a rib-mashing hit he threw at new Toronto Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice when the two were junior hockey opponents might one day come back to haunt him. "I hope he doesn't hold that against me," said Domi in early June of the hit he laid on Maurice. There is no cause for concern now.
continued

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As Expected- Pisani Stays With Oilers

Fernando Pasani agreed to a four-year, $10 million deal last night. The deal will be announced sometime today.

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We Have It All Wrong

Many of us are keeping our eyes and ears open throughout this holiday weekend, trying to find out who signed where, any trades yet, etc. We do this with great passion while the players that are actually involved are at their summer home or cottage, on the golf course, at the World Cup or relaxing at their favorite resort. Should if not be the other way around? Players should have to suffer and gnaw their teeth along with us, trying to tune into three streaming web radio stations at once; a trick I can teach them in a few minutes. I'd like to see Chara opening five websites up at once, refreshing them every 30 seconds to see if there is any hint of movement. If all the GMs would just email me when they sign or trade someone and the player agents do the same, I could get on with my life. I have better things to do, maybe I can watch the 7th game of the SCF in peace, watch my 3 DVD set of the Wings or re-paint the Winged Wheel logo on my garage door. On second thought, maybe a few Wings who live nearby can come over and re-paint the logo- and please make a beer run for me too!

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One Stays, One May Be Gone

from the Ottawa Sun,

How hard did the Senators work to keep Chara? As hard as Redden? How much did Chara even want to stay? Is money more important to Chara than winning a Stanley Cup here? Redden, who was frustrated after the Senators were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Sabres, made it sound back then that if he didn't get the answers he wanted from management, he might hit the road himself. But he wound up putting his money where his mouth was to try and fit both himself and Chara in the Senators' payroll structure. As near as can be figured, the Senators had about $12 million (all terms US) to spend on both of them. Redden apparently offered the Senators this deal: He would take $6 million if they could convince Chara to do the same.
read on

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Oh Happy Day Canada

Is it a coincidence that Canada Day and the opening of the UFA market are the same day? I personally hope every Canadian reader of KK enjoys the day and the weekend. Stay safe! image

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Rangers Like Guerin - Rucinsky Talks Hit A Snag

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post (reg. req.),

While they will check in on Devils elite left wing Patrik Elias, and on Senators high-end defenseman Zdeno Chara - who both at least are expected to ask for more than the Blueshirts are willing to invest in any player - the Rangers are entering the market with the clear intention of adding more north-south athletes to their arsenal; North Americans, by any other culture. The Rangers are believed to be interested in 36-year-old right winger Bill Guerin, a free agent by virtue of his buyout by the Stars. he Post has learned that negotiations aimed at bringing Martin Rucinsky back to Broadway have hit a snag. Sources report that the 35-year-old winger is seeking a two-year deal while the Rangers are holding fast to a one-year offer. Rucinsky earned $3 million last year.

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Modin Excited About New Opportunity

from the Columbus Dispatch,

"I have some coaches who are upset with me because, as much as they’re excited about Marc Denis, they didn’t want to lose Fred Modin," Feaster said. "Doug MacLean and his people did their homework. They knew who they wanted. We have no reason to believe that Fred Modin won’t go ahead and have another 30-goal season and be the excellent twoway player he has always been. "We’ve always said that if he played in Canada or a major market, he’d be a finalist for the Selke Trophy every year. Calling him (and telling him about the trade) was one of the most difficult phone calls I’ve ever had to make. He’s an outstanding hockey player and an outstanding human being." "It takes awhile for the news (of the trade) to sink in," Modin said from his home in Sweden. "I had a great time in Tampa, but I’m not going to be there anymore — and I’m very excited about a new opportunity in Columbus. I’m openminded about it, and hopefully we’ll make the best of it. It’s going to be fun. It’s a new place to play, the people I’ve talked to speak highly of the organization and I hope to fit right in."
more

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All Wings

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Holland said he hasn't talked to Steve Yzerman in weeks and believes the 41-year-old captain continues to struggle with his decision on whether to retire. "I think his passion and desire is driving him to want to play, but I think he really has to decide about his (surgically repaired and often sore) knee, if he's prepared to go through all the pain he has to go through to play,'' Holland said. "Steve wants to feel if he's coming back he's going to contribute, he doesn't want to just be back.'' Holland doesn't believe Yzerman is waiting to see what other moves the team makes before deciding. He said not knowing Yzerman's plans will not affect any moves Holland can make during free agency. And he will not set a deadline for a decision.
read on...Lidstrom did not ask for the max, Ozgood was to inform Wings of decision today and Shanny wants to see what his valie is on the open market...

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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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