Kukla's Korner

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Matt Duchene Finally Lands In Nashville

Duchene was introduced in Nashville today...

from Robby Stanley at NHL.com,

Matt Duchene got a present during his first visit to Nashville since signing a seven-year, $56 million contract with the Nashville Predators on July 1.

In addition to his No. 95 Predators jersey, the forward received a custom-made Predators-themed guitar from Nashville mayor David Briley at Ford Ice Center.

"It's kind of surreal," Duchene said. "We talked for years of, 'If we end up in Nashville,' or that kind of thing over and over. Now we have and it's like all those things that we were talking about or dreaming and fantasizing about, we actually get to do now. It's really cool for us. We're trying to put some roots down here. It's a place that we've always thought would be a great place to raise a family. We're very excited for that prospect. We'll take care of all of that stuff so when the season comes around it's game on and all about the hockey."


Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: matt+duchene

An Earlier UFA Day?

from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,

One way or another, the date for the start of free agency will almost certainly be moved by the NHL away from July 1. What will likely happen in the near future is that the “interview period,” which appears to have taken any of the intrigue out of free agency and shows that GMs can’t have nice things, will be tied to the date of the draft and significantly reduced.

Amen to that. Who wants to spend Canada’s birthday in front of a television or computer monitor waiting to hear what players have signed contracts while their non-hockey-loving friends are enjoying the most pleasant holiday of the year? (And who wants to spend the entire day stuck inside writing about it? Amirite?)

It’s pretty clear the situation needs at least some tweaks. This year’s free-agent courting period began June 23, which gave GMs and prospective free agents eight days to cook up deals, and that’s exactly what they did.


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

A Two-Year Extension For Jared Bednar In Colorado

DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the organization has signed head coach Jared Bednar to a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2021-22 season.

Bednar completed his third season as Colorado’s head coach in 2018-19, leading the Avalanche to its second straight playoff berth, the first Avs team to make back-to-back postseason appearances in 13 years.  The Avalanche defeated Calgary—the Western Conference’s top team during the regular season—in  five games during the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the club’s first postseason series win since 2008.

“Jared has done a tremendous job behind the bench and has earned the opportunity to continue leading this team,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President / General Manager Joe Sakic. “He is an outstanding coach who has the full trust of his players, coaches and staff.  He has guided this franchise to two straight playoff appearances and we are excited with what this group can do moving forward.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jared+bednar

Buffalo/Chicago Trade


Buffalo Sabres release is below.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Changing Landscape Of Hockey

from Dan Szczepanek of Grandstand Central,

Hockey culture is evolving. Minority fans, LBGT fans, women, and low-income fans are gaining a voice in hockey fandom through organizations like the Black Girl Hockey Club. The traditional hockey market is changing and, with it, the entire landscape of hockey. Although change is difficult and oftentimes unwanted, anticipating and encouraging this shift toward inclusion is a move that will benefit institutions and hockey fans alike. Embracing diversity and working toward equity in hockey is the best way for the National Hockey League to move forward into the future of hockey....

In my opinion, the NHL needs to continue to build relationships with ethnic minority hockey organizations, as this provides a way for the different communities to get involved in hockey. While conducting a South Asian event for the Edmonton Oil Kings, I met a group of kids that were wearing Jujhar Khaira Oilers jerseys. Jujhar is the only current player of South Asian descent in the NHL, and when I asked the group what it means to them to see a fellow Sikh hockey player in the NHL, they responded by telling me that they themselves had started to play hockey because of him – a very powerful statement. Our organization’s goal is to have male and female hockey players playing at elite levels and have more representation in the NHL. I firmly believe that to diversify the NHL’s fan base, the players in the league must be diverse as well.

much more

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Team Defense Will Be A Key For The Florida Panthers

from Walter Villa of the Miami Herald,

There were seven times last season when the Florida Panthers lost a game in which they scored four or more goals.

Had they won all seven games, they would’ve had 100 points, qualifying for the playoffs.

Defenseman Anton Stralman, who last year helped the Tampa Bay Lightning tie an NHL record with 62 regular-season wins, is now part of the Panthers, signing as a free agent. Stralman figures that goalie Sergei Bobrovsky — also signed as part of Florida’s much-hyped free agent class of 2019 — will go a long way toward fixing the Panthers’ defensive issues.

“Defense is a team thing,” Stralman said. “It’s how you play as a unit and as a structure. It’s also determination, mentality and attention to detail....

“Coming up with a system — which [Quenneville] will do — and nailing it down takes time, effort and buy-in from everyone.

“We want to be a team that’s great in all three zones. But it has to start from the goalie on out. It can’t start from [offense first].”

The trick, Stralman said, will be focusing on defense while not losing the offensive flow that allowed the Panthers to rank fifth in the Eastern Conference in goals last season. 


Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Free Agency Leads to Changes in Stanley Cup Odds

Sascha Paruk of SBD:

"The biggest movers in the 2020 Stanley Cup futures are, unsurprisingly, the teams that made the biggest splashes in free agency, the trade market, and the draft. No team has seen its odds improve more this offseason than the New Jersey Devils, who lucked into #1 pick Jack Hughes, dealt for 2013 Norris-winner PK Subban, and signed aging power forward Wayne Simmonds. Even though Simmonds is past his prime, his net-front presence coupled with Subban's big one-timer have the potential to boost a New Jersey PP that finished 21st in the NHL last year. Questions remain, between the pipes in particular, but the Devils' odds have nonetheless moved from +8000 in mid-June to +4000 in early July.

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Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

Evening Line- Jim Matheson On The Kevin Labanc Signing Today


from the San Jose Sharks,

San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) general manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has re-signed forward Kevin Labanc (@Str8ToTheBanc) to a one-year contract. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Kevin took a big step forward in his production last season and has grown into an important part of our team here in San Jose," said Wilson. "He's always had a dangerous shot but really stepped into a playmaking role for us last season and improved his 200-foot game as well. We think he still has even more potential to tap into and we're excited to see what he can do with an elevated role with this talented group."


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kevin+labanc

Will Five Forwards On The Power Play Become A Thing?

from Travis Yost of TSN,

While a five-forward power play sounds like a unicorn against a traditional four-man penalty kill, we have seen spots where coaches have experimented.

Just last season, the Philadelphia Flyers tried out a five-man unit in a game against the Minnesota Wild. The New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers also tried it in spots. Sadly, we have only seen it in very limited quantities over the years (and yes, that’s years – there are great examples of teams from two decades ago trying these setups out, usually out of desperation), which makes it very hard to test its feasibility.

We do have access to some underlying data points that might suggest it’s worth experimenting with. Consider: the shift from three forwards to four forwards saw a spike in shot volume of about 12 per cent and an increase in shooting percentage by about 13 per cent. Even when controlling for the drop in team save percentage, four-forward lineups generate about 1.4 net goals more than their three-forward counterparts do.

Then, start considering what we are seeing in other game states. At even strength, a significant portion of the increase in goal scoring can be tied to forwards converting on a higher percentage of their opportunities, whereas defenders – impeded by natural shooting talent, distance from the net and other factors – haven’t seen a change in their conversion rates for over a decade.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Afternoon Line- Brendan Kelly On The Sebastian Aho Offer Sheet By The Canadiens

In the end, there are only two options. Either they thought Carolina would crumble under the weight of this offer, in which case the Habs managers are out of it. Or they orchestrated the whole ploy as a distraction. Neither scenario is particularly encouraging.

-Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette where you can read more on this.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sebastian+aho

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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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