Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Michael Russo at the Post-Bulletin,
With moderately priced, top two-line centers at a premium this summer and the Wild in the market for one, don’t be surprised if the team investigates signing the enigmatic Alexei Yashin when free agency begins July 1.
Yashin, who has alternated between superstar and sleepwalker throughout his 11-year NHL career, had the final four years of his contract bought out by the New York Islanders this month.
The buyout was finalized this week, meaning teams are free to talk to his representatives but can’t sign him until July 1.
Although the Wild has not yet called his agent, the Wild likely would be interested in Yashin if it could sign him to a one-year deal in the $2 million range.
Draft order below is subject to changes (for instance, Florida just exercised its option to take Tampa’s #47 pick). The 2nd-7th rounds of the Draft start at 10am EDT and can be watched on the NHL Network (Canada) or on NHL.com’s live stream online.
From the Columbus Dispatch:
Saturday’s Draft Order
31. Buffalo (from PHI)
33. Vancouver (from L.A.)
From George Richards at the Miami Herald,
What a difference a year makes.
At last year’s NHL Draft, the Florida Panthers traded franchise goalie Roberto Luongo. On Friday afternoon, hours before the 2007 draft kicked off, the Panthers got another in return.
The Panthers, kings of draft-time blockbuster trades, pulled off another by sending three picks to the Nashville Predators for goalie Tomas Vokoun.
From Patrick Maloney via Slam!,
This weekend marks a decade since Thornton—one of the best hockey players in the world—was drafted first overall by a rebuilding Boston Bruins franchise in search of a saviour. On his bedroom wall back then was the iconic photo of Bobby Orr flying through the air after netting the 1970 Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Bruins.
Things to come, perhaps.
But now, the image may be just a reminder of Thornton’s rough luck in Boston and the team’s inability to reach the heights so many thought possible that June day in 1997.
From Terry Jones at the Edmonton Sun,
Today Lowe expects to land a veteran who he figures will create a bit of a buzz.
“I’m trying to land a bigger one, no question, but this one is a good player,” he said in a telephone interview from Columbus last night.
“I’m learning not to hold my breath, but we’ve actually agreed to it,” he said of the pending deal.
“The thing is, it’s tied to somebody else,” he said of a third team involved.
Lowe worked to the wire trying to pull off a deal to move up in the draft but watched it come undone.
“I wanted to move up,” he said of picking even higher than the sixth where the Oilers chose Gagner.
“We went down to the final minute before the draft started with three teams involved. We were even walking up to the trade desk when one team started not to do it,” he said.
continued… (*Lowe says he’s still got a “couple of deals pending”)
From Eric Stephens at the LA Times,
A short time after signing the richest contract for a goaltender in the history of the Ducks, Jean-Sebastien Giguere took a moment to wonder how he got there.
This time last year Giguere openly wondered about his future with the Ducks, who had given him his big break seven years ago. A season full of injuries and the challenge from backup Ilya Bryzgalov had Giguere’s name swirling in trade rumors.
From Pat Hickey at the Montreal Gazette,
The Montreal Canadiens opened the National Hockey League draft by selecting two Americans, who are expected to provide “size, skill and grit in the future.”
That’s the word from director of player personnel Trevor Timmins after the Canadiens drafted defenceman Ryan McDonagh with the 12th overall pick and power forward Max Pacioretty at No. 22.
For the second consecutive year, the Canadiens turned to a Minnesota high school for their top pick.
From Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun,
The Senators’ blue line could look vastly different next season.
While GM Bryan Murray continues to listen to offers for Wade Redden and shops Joe Corvo, the agent for Tom Preissing indicated his client won’t return to the club.
“It’s not likely (Preissing) will be back in Ottawa,” Ben Hankinson of Octagon Hockey told the Sun in an e-mail before last night’s NHL entry draft at Nationwide Arena.
An unrestricted free agent on July 1 who made $600,000 (all terms US) last season, Preissing will be priced out of the Senators market in any case.
It’s believed the 28-year-old defenceman will draw plenty of interest on the open market and will attract offers in excess of $2.5 million.
From Kevin Paul Dupont at the Boston Globe,
Cherepanov, a dynamic Russian right winger, sat in the stands until the Rangers selected him 17th overall, roughly 6-12 slots lower than anyone imagined. As the picks ticked off, there sat the 18-year-old Cherepanov, an interpreter at his side.
By the 10th selection, two picks after the Bruins selected Hamill, TSN commentator Pierre McGuire acted as if he were ready to launch an international investigation.
“This is unconscionable and insane,” exclaimed the excitable McGuire. “It’s complete insanity that he hasn’t been picked yet.” And after the No. 13 pick, when the Blues chose the Denmark-born Lars Eller over Cherepanov, Maguire chimed in again over what he labeled a “bizarro pick.”
continued… (*more on Cherepanov, plus looking at the Bruins)
From Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,
Imagine the immense pressure being exerted on Craig Leipold, the man who no longer wants to own the Nashville Predators.
On one hand, the NHL, through misguided commissioner Gary Bettman, is leaning on Leipold daily not to sell the Preds to Waterloo billionaire Jim Balsillie.
Bettman is operating on an ABB (Anyone But Balsillie) basis, uncaring that the Predators are being dismembered, sold off piece by piece, while he tries to make sure the team moves anywhere but Southern Ontario.
Let’s be clear. Bettman doesn’t care if the Preds are turned into a hollow shell next season. He cares only about directing them to Kansas City or Las Vegas or some other place that won’t care about them very much.
Update 9:12am EDT:
More on this situation from John Glennon at The Tennessean.
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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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