Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
If you were to ask Ken Holland, GM of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, to identify the quality his scouts look for when it comes to the annual entry draft, his answer would be succinct.
“Skill,” he’d say, just as he’s said it many times before.
Nine teams followed that mantra when it came to making selections with the top 10 picks of the NHL entry draft on Friday night.
One did not.
That team would be your Maple Leafs.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
The Predators are very close to reaching an agreement with defenseman Shea Weber, and could finalize the deal as early as today, according to Weber’s agent, Don Meehan.
Weber is expected to sign a multi-year deal with the team.
“All I know is that things are going good so far,’’ Weber said of the negotiations. “Hopefully we’ll get something done soon.’’
Updated 1:18pm ET: From TSN:
Defenceman Shea Weber has signed a three-year, $13,5 million contract with the Nashville Predators, avoiding restricted free agency.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
The rest of the NHL, it seems, isn’t keen to have Gillis succeed. More to the point, they’d love to see him fail.
Moving forward, then, the question isn’t so much who the Canucks will bring in as their first-line centre but who will do business with the Gillis administration. That question will also bear repeating in the next little while because the early indications are troubling for Canucks fans.
By now, the circumstances of Gillis’s hiring are common knowledge around the NHL, and let’s just say there are mixed feelings about him. Dave Nonis, for starters, was a popular figure in hockey circles. He’s also a member in good standing of the Pat Quinn-Brian Burke confederacy, and the influence of those two men can be found in several organizations.
from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press via the Santa Barbara News,
‘We’ve got Chris Osgood,’’ Holland said. ‘‘Who is going to be the goaltender with him? We like Jimmy Howard. Do we sign more of a veteran guy? I want to talk to our people about that. I want to give Jimmy Howard a chance to make the team.’‘
On defense, the Wings have 10 players, assuming they can re-sign Brad Stuart, Andreas Lilja and Chris Chelios, but only eight spots.
Holland said he recently spoke to the agents for Lilja and Stuart and plans to meet this week with Chelios.
‘‘I would say we’re close on Lils,’’ Holland said.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In a largely uneventful weekend that featured more tweaking than blockbuster dealing, the Canadiens emerged with top-six forward Alex Tanguay and the possibility of perhaps adding Mats Sundin, two pieces that may help them derail the emerging powerhouse coming out of Pittsburgh.
In the end, the greatest gains may have come in – of all places – Phoenix, where the Coyotes picked up a new No.1 centre, Olli Jokinen, and then landed three prospects with famous pedigrees, one of whom they believe can play almost right away.
from Mike Boone at Habs Inside/Out,
Are your Montreal Canadiens a better team today than they were when the weekend began?
For sure. The acquisition of Alex Tanguay saw to that.
Are your Montreal Canadiens poised to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup in their centennial season?
They need three autographs on contracts: Mats Sundin. Andrei Kostitsyn. Jaroslav Halak.
from Pierre LeBrun of the CP via the Globe and Mail,
The free-agent market isn’t terribly deep in talent this year, a product of many younger players opting for the security of long-terms deals since the end of the lockout. That’s a huge bonus to players like Hossa and Malone, who will probably fetch more than their actual worth this summer because the demand will outweigh the supply of Grade A talent.
The salary cap is expected to rise by $5 million to $7 million, not only giving big-market teams more financial capital to dispense but also forcing low-payroll teams to reach the minimum floor under the cap. The cumulative effect is that a lot of teams will be spending.
“We need to add a couple of defencemen, either through free agency or trade,” Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said in identifying his potential shopping spree.
from Sean Allen at ESPN,
With those thoughts in mind, let’s look at the teams that likely will change the most, go over the holes they have—- or will have—and how they could go about filling them, with a fantasy twist:...
Colorado Avalanche: To reassemble the 1996 Stanley Cup team yet again or to not reassemble the 1996 Cup team? That is the question. Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote and captain Joe Sakic will be on the open market July 1, but it’s more likely all three would retire before moving to another franchise. Also hitting the free-agent list is top defenseman John-Michael Liles, goaltender Jose Theodore and top-six winger Andrew Brunette. Yes, the Avalanche have some serious decisions to make before they can consider some of the other players on the market, and some of those decisions rival the decision fantasy owners will have to make with respect to these players.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
But what Cherry should be wondering—and what we should be wondering—is why he has not yet been recognized by the Hall. Like him or hate him, there is no disputing the impact Cherry has had on hockey.
In a country that is all about hockey, he owns the loudest voice and the most recognized face.
more and other NHL bits…
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Burke could find out about Niedermayer’s status today, as to whether he will play next season or retire. “His wife had a baby yesterday,” Burke said. “I’m pretty sure talking to me is not high on his list of things to do.”
Then there’s the other veteran defenseman in Southern California, captain Rob Blake. Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi says he already has met with the 38-year-old Blake and will have additional discussions with him this week.
Blake will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, as will another former Kings’ defenseman, Brad Stuart, who was sent to the Stanley Cup champion Red Wings at the trade deadline in February.
The Kings can’t say whether they would make a run at Stuart yet because of tampering rules, but he was considered a good fit in the dressing room.
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.
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