Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: matt niskanen
From the Associated Press:
Count Washington Capitals defenceman Matt Niskanen among those around the NHL taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to the league’s new 3-on-3 overtime.
A few things do seem clear about the setup: It will make goalies’ stats uglier, result in fewer shootouts and force coaches to decide whether to focus on defence or an all-out attacking style.
"I wasn’t really sure about it at first," said Niskanen, whose team hosts the New Jersey Devils in a season-opener Saturday. "Now I think it’s probably going to do what it was designed to do: Teams are going to get ‘grade A’ chances, and if that’s what people want to see, then let’s do it. Fans are going to love it and the forwards are going to love it. Goalies and ‘D’? Maybe not as much."
As the hockey season gets going this week, how teams deal with the switch from 4-on-4 in OT to one fewer skater per team could wind up having a real effect on the standings.
Consider this: A year ago, with 4-on-4 rules, 44 per cent of overtime games were decided by a goal before they got to a shootout, according to STATS, about the same percentage that it's been in the 10 years since that format began in 2005-06.
But during this preseason, the first NHL test of 3-on-3 after it was tried in the AHL, 72 per cent of OT games ended before a shootout, STATS said.
Factor in that nearly a quarter of all regular-season games over the past decade went to overtime, and what might seem like a minor rule change takes on more significance.
Continued, and here was Jason Garrison's OT winner from last night's Bolts-Flyers game:
from Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly,
The Flyers' rookie center has a suspected concussion after getting blindsided by Washington’s Matt Niskanen during Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to the Capitals at Verizon Center.
Niskaken elevated himself slightly before burying his shoulder into Laughton’s upper chest area, striking him on the chin and face in the second period.
The hit was so hard, Laughton lost his helmet. He picked himself up off the ice, skated to the dressing room area and did not return.
The hit resembled some of the more infamous ones thrown by Scott Stevens (see Eric Lindros) during his days.
Niskanen didn’t receive a penalty on the hit and no one on the Flyers targeted Niskaken or dropped the gloves, though Wayne Simmonds smacked him hard on the side boards.
Interestingly, Flyers coach Craig Berube wasn’t sure if the hit was dirty and didn’t think it necessary for the team to retaliate while general manager Ron Hextall was vocal in saying the hit needed to be dealt from the Flyers and while attempts were made toward that end, nothing was carried out on the ice.
a bit more
Watch the hit below...
The theory was that very few free agent players were actually going to meet with teams' coaches or general managers during the "wining and dining period"--which ends today--because the draft's location in Philadelphia would yield too much of a hubbub (see: players being chased down by the media as they go from hotel to hotel and meeting room to meeting room)...
But the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo reports that the seemingly inevitable marriage between Thomas Vanek and the Minnesota Wild will get a meet-and-greet kick in the pants on Monday:
With the free-agent market set to open Tuesday at 11 a.m. [Central Daylight Time], pending free agent Thomas Vanek was scheduled to sit down with Wild coach Mike Yeo late Sunday. General Manager Chuck Fletcher was not expected to be at the meeting.
For more than a year, Vanek has seemed destined to sign with the Wild. The 30-year-old former Gophers star turned down lucrative long-term contracts last season with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders in order to become a free agent.
However, the Wild appears set to offer Vanek only a short-term contract, so he likely will have a tough decision to make Tuesday because it’s expected that he’ll have the chance to sign longer-term deals for more money with other teams.
But wait, there's more, especially in the, "WILD WILL SIGN EVERYBODEYZ" category:
As Paul noted, the Tampa Bay Lightning went and snagged Sam Gagner from the Edmonton Oilers for Teddy Purcell, sending Purcell's $4.5 million cap hit to Edmonton for Gagner's $4.8 million deal (all figures from Capgeek). Then the Bolts flipped Gagner to the Arizona Coyotes (who were likely looking to replace the behaviorally-challenged Mike Ribeiro), and shuffled B.J. Corombeen's $1.15 million salary off to Arizona as well, receiving all of a sixth-round draft pick in return.
The team did bring in Jason Garrison's $4.6 million cap hit during the first day of the draft, but it looks like the Lightning are trying to do something big, but ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reports that there be cap weirdness afoot:
This stuff happened so quickly that even Capgeek hasn't had a chance to catch up, but the Bolts have a little short of $9 million in cap space now. Who are they going after? Sportsnet's Chris Johnston believes it might be a familiar name...
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Tags: anton+stralman, b.j.+crombeen, christian+ehrhoff, dan+boyle, dominic+moore, edmonton+oilers, jason+garrison, martin+brodeur, matt+niskanen, mattias+ohlund, phoenix+coyotes, sam+gagner, teddy+purcell, tim+thomas, tomas+vokoun
You are probably familiar with the dynamics of the Joe Thornton situation (seems like the theory is, "Take the 'C' away, see if he waives the no-trade," as ESPN's Craig Custance reported), you are probably familiar with the dynamics of the Ryan Kesler trade (he says he's going to where deserves to be, and in Vancouver, it's, "Everybody thought he was a dick"), so:
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch pulled double-time in covering the Sens' picks, Jason Spezza's situation (what's so bad about a guy turning down a trade to a team that's on his no-trade list? Emo GM Bryan Murray will tell you) and positing a Sunday rumor column, and he addresses a situation we haven't necessarily talked about as of yet:
There has been a lot of controversy in Chicago over whether the Hawks have been trying to deal forward Patrick Sharp or not. While it was heavily denied by Sharp’s agent Rick Curran that his client was on the move, Sharp’s name has been popping up all over the place in trade talks. Several teams say he’s available, so it will be interesting to see if he’s still there when push comes to shove after this summer. The Hawks are already over the salary cap and will have to cut money somewhere.
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Tags: boston+bruins, chicago+blackhawks, chris+kelly, colorado+avalanche, joe+thornton, matt+niskanen, patrick+sharp, paul+stastny, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+kesler, san+jose+sharks, thomas+vanek, vancouver+canucks
Mid-afternoon pre-draft round-up: on Kesler Watch, Vanek Watch, Board of Governors stuff and Stastny
Updated 3x at 4:24 PM: Amongst this afternoon's news from the Board of Governors' meetings and the Trade-and-wine-and-dine-a-palooza...
1. It's time for Kesler watch to kick into an even higher gear?
2. Thomas Vanek is in demand:
3. Sportsnet's Mark Spector reminded us that quite a bit of this draft-day-draft-pick-trade talk is...talk...
When player agent Neil Sheehy's left International Falls, Minnesota prior to the draft, you know the wining and dining period is underway. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo reports that the WIld plan on speaking to the agent who once got a free flight back home (after the Wild and Red Wings made their pitches to Ryan Suter) by owner Craig Leipold on Thursday in Philly, and it sounds like the Wild are aiming for the free agent stars:
It’s not believed the Wild had any formal sit-downs yet, but General Manager Chuck Fletcher contacted at least the agents of defensemen Matt Niskanen and Willie Mitchell, goal scorer Thomas Vanek and center Paul Stastny, NHL sources confirmed. At a minimum, Fletcher is expected to meet with Niskanen’s agent, Neil Sheehy, and Vanek’s agent, Steve Bartlett, while they’re all in Philadelphia this week for the NHL draft.
Vanek, 30, the former Gophers star who lives in Stillwater, might have to consider a one- to three-year deal from the Wild if he wants to play at home in Minnesota.
That’s because it’s clear the Wild has significant interest in Niskanen, who lives in Tower, Minn. The 27-year-old right-shot blue-liner had a career year with the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring 10 goals and finishing 13th among defensemen with 46 points. He led all defensemen with a plus-33 rating.
The question is whether Vanek would forgo potential long-term security elsewhere for the opportunity to stay in Minnesota. After all, he turned down a seven-year, $49 million contract offer from the Islanders last season and an even more lucrative offer from the Sabres.
Continued with talk about Willie Mitchell returning to Minnesota, and again, Russo reported that the players represented by top agents probably won't be in Philadelphia (though it would not surprise me if a little man in a top hat calling himself AnDay OyleBay makes an appearance ), it appears to be time for each and every team interested in a free agent to talk contract...Cheesesteak.
Ken Daneyko appeared on the NHL Live on Wednesday afternoon, and he made some surprising remarks.
As far as Daneyko is concerned, Matt Niskanen may turn out to be some team's modern-day version of the Rangers signing Bobby Holik to a $9 million-a-season contract as a 3rd-liner--Daneyko believes that Niskanen is not necessarily a top-two defenseman, and he feels that someone is going to overpay significantly for Niskanen having a career year. He suggests that, "Just because other teams sign outrageous contracts, it doesn't mean you should," so he feels $5-6 million is too much for Niskanen...
Daneyko also suggests that Brooks Orpik is a "complementary" stay-at-home, physical defenseman, not a puck-mover, and he wonders how much Orpik "has left in the tank" (as such, Daneyko feels that Orpik's health = term is a concern);
Updated 2x at 9:19 PM: Paul did a helluva job of covering the "gist" of the GM's meetings, but here are some items that I noticed on Twitter and feel merit mentioning, starting with Craig Custance's chat with Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman...
In Penguins and Maple Leafs news, from Sportsnet's Chris Johnston...
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Tags: brooks+orpik, bryan+murray, buffalo+sabres, chicago+blackhawks, dale+tallon, dan+bylsma, dave+nonis, david+poile, florida+panthers, gerard+gallant, james+neal, jason+spezza, jim+rutherford, jonathan+toews, marc+crawford, matt+niskanen, nashville+predators, ottawa+senators, patrick+kane, pittsburgh+penguins, ron+wilson, shea+weber, stan+bowman, tim+murray, tom+renney, toronto+maple+leafs
The New York Post's Larry Brooks was very busy on Saturday evening, pondering the fates of Brian Boyle and the Rangers' unrestricted and restricted free agents-to-be, as well as positing a thorough set of NHL notes. The main topic of his latter work may be a well-tread-upon (trodden-upon?) subject, but it bears repeating.
On July 1st, we know that Thomas Vanek will earn a boatload of money. What we don't know is how much he's going to earn, nor do we know whether his spectacularly mediocre playoff run with the Montreal Canadiens has changed NHL general managers' minds as to whether Vanek is in fact a game-breaking player, or whether he's the kind of "specialist" player who needs to be placed amidst both a strong supporting cast and a set of doing-the-hard-work-for-him linemates who must pave the way for someone who might not be the natural goal-scoring machine everyone thought he was prior to his trade to the Islanders last December.
Is Vanek worth the investment that somebody is more likely than not to put into someone who either is a game-breaker or is in fact the modern-day Ray Sheppard? Brooks isn't sure:
[There's no] evidence at all the winger is remotely worth the seven-year, $50 million deal he rejected from the Islanders before being sent to Montreal at the deadline. No evidence he is anyone’s missing piece to a playoff puzzle.
And yet, the rule of the NHL market is — or has been: Players don’t pay a price for having underperformed and teams indeed will pay the manufacturer’s sticker price, regardless.
See: Semin, Alex for a prime example. Another: Thornton, Joe.
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Tags: brad+richards, dan+boyle, marian+gaborik, matt+moulson, matt+niskanen, mike+cammaleri, minnesota+wild, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, paul+stastny, ryan+callahan, thomas+vanek
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
The open market begins July 1, and Niskanen, 27, appears to be exactly what the Avalanche needs. He is a coveted right-handed shooter with elite power-play skills, good size (6-foot, 209 pounds) and significant Stanley Cup playoff experience (53 games and counting). He will undoubtedly double his $2.5 million salary wherever he signs.
"Right-shot defensemen are at a premium in the league, and I mean ones that can play on the point on the power play and get points," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told Detroit reporters. "We'd like to get a right-handed shot defenseman. Can we make it happen? We'll find out."
Will the Avs be shopping along with the Red Wings?
The Avs figure to go after Niskanen, or another marquee free-agent defenseman, if they choose to upgrade their back line, which essentially means one or more of the following:
from the Pittsburgh Penguins website,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed defenseman Matt Niskanen to a two-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
The deal runs through the 2013-14 campaign, and has an average annual value of $2.3 million.
via Bob McKenxzie tweet,
DAL trades James Neal and Matt Niskanen to PIT for Alex Goligoski.
Frisco, Tex. – Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced today that the NHL club has acquired defenseman Alex Goligoski from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for left wing James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen.
Goligoski, 25, has appeared in 60 games for Pittsburgh this season, scoring nine goals and 22 assists for 31 points. Averaging 20:45 minutes of playing time per game, he shares the Pittsburgh lead for plus/minus rating (also Sidney Crosby) with a +20, and has a +34 rating for his career. Goligoski leads the Penguins in game-winning goals this season with four. A native of Grand Rapids, Minn., he was Pittsburgh’s second round selection (61st overall) at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
“We’re very excited to add Alex Goligoski to our hockey club,” said Nieuwendyk. “Alex is a legitimate top-four defenseman who will have a positive impact on our entire crops of blue-liners. He has averaged over 20 minutes per game and can play in all situations.”