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The Top-Heavy Salary Numbers

from Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

The Penguins' five highest-paid players — Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury — will make $38 million next season. That will fill 53.2 percent of the $71.4 million salary cap.

Add in the other 17 or 18 players on the 23-man roster — even after the Penguins shed third-line center Brandon Sutter and his $3.3 million salary in a trade with Vancouver on Tuesday — and the team is bumping its head on the salary ceiling.

The only teams that will allocate more than half of their cap space to their top five players are the Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks, who are fresh off a Stanley Cup with star forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews making eight figures.

On the surface, that might sound like the Penguins and Blackhawks are in an untenable position. A closer look tells a different tale.

First, top-heavy salary structures are common in the NHL. Sixteen of the league's 30 teams allocate between 40 and 48 percent of their cap space to five top players.

read on

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The Improved Buffalo Sabres

from Joe Yerdon at NHL.com,

Things are about to change for the better for the Buffalo Sabres.

The past two seasons were the worst in Sabres history, so it'd be easy to say things can't get worse, but the arrival of the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Boston University center Jack Eichel, has changed the attitude here.

Eichel's arrival, coupled with the eventual debut of forward Evander Kane, who didn't play for the Sabres after he was acquired in a trade from the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 11 (elbow surgery); center Ryan O'Reilly, acquired from the Colorado Avalanche on June 26; and coach Dan Bylsma, has the Buffalo fan base hopeful the organizational rebuild will bring results on the ice.

The Sabres will have a young and talented group of forwards to try to lift an offense that scored an NHL-low 158 goals last season. The addition of Eichel, Kane and O'Reilly to Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons gives Buffalo a youthful core. If Sam Reinhart, the No. 2 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, makes the roster, it would make the Sabres that much younger and add another potential scorer.

continued

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

Hockey Talk In Early August

via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- This is the perfect kind of hiring for the Phoenix Coyotes: They have brought in the respected hockey operations consultant, Claude Loiselle — and the best part of it, from the Coyotes end — is they don’t have to pay him. The Leafs are still paying Loiselle for two more seasons after letting him go last July.

- The Leafs must relinquish two third-round picks as compensation for the signings of general manager Lou Lamoriello and coach Mike Babcock. For a team trying to rebuild with drafting and developing, that’s a heavy blow. What’s worse — Babcock’s contract was up in Detroit and Lamoriello replaced himself as GM in New Jersey. There was no reason for compensation in either case. The sooner this ridiculous compensation rule goes away in the NHL, the better.

- Barring a trade between now and September, the Leafs will open camp with their top centres as either Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri. New GM. New coach. Same old centres.

- Little more than a year ago, Sergei Berezin, the former Maple Leaf, became certified as an NHL player agent. This week, Berezin had his agent status suspended by the NHL Players’ Association.

The suspension came after Berezin and his wife were arrested in South Florida, for Medicaid fraud. While living in a mansion in Boca Raton, it turns out the Berezins, according to police, were making insurance claims indicating they had no income at all. The claims, over a two-year period, were for more than 50,000 US.

Berezin secured his first NHL client last year when he represented veteran Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov. In fact, Berezin did well getting Markov a three-year extension at just under $6 million a season. It isn’t known if he has added other clients to his business since then.

Undoubtedly, the NHLPA will look further into the Berezin situation while the agent remains under suspension. The PA has strict regulations regarding illegalities. There is no word of when the Berezin matter will go to court or when the PA will further act in this case.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Evening Line- Eric Macramalla On The Mike Richards Contract Termination

I don’t expect the NHLPA and Kings are negotiating settlement. The NHLPA is unlikely to accept the termination of Richards contract in any form. For the NHLPA, it simply cannot allow this precedent to stand as it could adversely impact its members. By allowing the termination to go unchallenged, the floodgates risk opening with teams terminating problem contracts. ‘He’s fat, cut him. He’s slow, cut him.’ Ultimately, expect the NHLPA to see this case as far too important an event and precedent to go unopposed.

-Eric Macramalla at Forbes on the LA Kings/Mike Ricards situation.  Much more at Forbes.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Noah Hanifin Has A Shot To Play In The NHL This Season

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

In September, Noah Hanifin will try the hardest thing he’s done as a hockey player. The Norwood native will report to Traverse City, Mich., to play in the Red Wings’ annual eight-team rookie tournament. The 18-year-old will then graduate to Carolina’s main camp.

The two components will help determine whether Hanifin will make his NHL debut on Oct. 8. Most 18-year-olds are still asking their mothers to wash their dirty socks, not battling men with mortgages.

“If he’s ready to play, he’ll be in our lineup come October,” said Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis. “If he needs more time, we’ll do what we have to do to help in that regard, as well. We want what’s right for Noah.”

Hanifin, who left three years at Boston College on the table by turning pro, will have to fight for his first NHL paycheck. He’ll be competing for ice time against older teammates such as Ron Hainsey. In 2002, when Hainsey made his NHL debut, Hanifin was five years old.

But if anything ensures Raleigh as Hanifin’s landing spot instead of Charlotte, the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate, it is the way he moves.

continued plus more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: noah+hanifin

Questions About The Edmonton Oilers

from Derek Van Diest at NHL.com,

There are a number of factors that will determine the Oilers' fortunes. Here are the three biggest questions for Edmonton heading into the season:

Will Connor McDavid live up to expectations? Not since Sidney Crosby has a player garnered as much attention entering the NHL. McDavid is considered a generational talent, and the focus heading into his rookie season will be on his offensive production. Crosby had 39 goals and 102 points as a rookie with the Pittsburgh Penguins, which might be lofty goals for McDavid.

"My expectations on myself exceed any of those put on me," McDavid said at the draft. "It's something I can't really worry about. Just have to worry about making sure I'm playing my game and doing all that. If I'm meeting my expectations, chances are I'll meet yours as well."

McDavid will have a strong supporting cast, including No. 1 picks Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov, which should take some pressure off him.

more

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Marcus Johansson awarded 1-year, $3.75 million contract

From the Washington Capitals:

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  Tags: marcus+johansson, washington+capitals

On A First Name Basis

from Sports Illustrated,

This inspired us to look at the most common and distinctive monikers in the NHL by generation, starting with team rosters as of the summer of 2015 and working our way back in 30-year intervals to the old tyme hockey days of 1925. The results were indeed revealing.

Although some names such as Mike, Dave, Bill and Bob have remained common, there have been distinct trends through the years. For example, you don't see many Gords, Dicks, Cecils or Wilfreds these days, but there are more Ryans, Jakes, Tylers and Brandons. And based on this year’s most popular names for babies, we’ll likely see more Liams, Noahs, Masons, Ethans and Logans skating around NHL rinks in coming years. Meanwhile the league’ ubiquitous nicknames of yore have given way to initials (P.K., T.J. etc.).

NOTE: For the sake of our tabulations, variations of a name (e.g. Mark/Marc/Marcus, Jon/John/Johnny, Nick/Nicholas/Nicklas) were lumped together. We’ve also included a nod to European, Scandavian and Russian players for they too provide a glimpse into the NHL's ever-changing demographics.

2015

TOP FIVE: Mike (26), John (25), Mark (22), Matt (21), Ryan (20)

PLUS/MINUS: John (+12), Matt (+21) and Ryan (+19) replaced Dave, Bob and Rich/Rick in the top five from 1984-85 when three Mats (Naslund, Hallin, Thelin) but no Matts or Matthews, and one Ryan (Walter), played in the NHL. In the iconic first names department, there is now one Wayne (Simmonds) and one Sid (Crosby) on NHL rosters but no Mario or Gordie. 

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Jack Campbell On His Workout Routine In Port Huron

from Paul Costanzo of the Times Herald,

Jack Campbell is entering a “prove-it” year with the Dallas Stars organization. So to prepare, he came home.

“I love being back home in Port Huron, it just helps my mind so much,” Campbell said. “It’s so relaxing. I’m never in a rush. I’m just kind of hanging out and enjoying the beautiful scenery, so it’s good.”

The 23-year-old goaltender said he’s spent more time in Port Huron this summer than he has since 2010, the summer before his first Ontario Hockey League season in Windsor. It’s not just about relaxing, either. He’s teamed back up with strength and conditioning coach Mike Pearson to prepare for the Stars training camp, which begins on Sept. 19.

“Every time I come out here, I’m getting stronger, faster, more flexible,” Campbell said. “I’ve been really working on my body this summer. More importantly, I come out and work with coach because it really helps my mind. I’ve never felt more at ease and confident at the same time. It’s been a great summer.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jack+campbell

South Korea’s Hockey Team In A Tough Group In The Olympics

from the Korea Times,

When it makes its Winter Olympic debut in men’s hockey in 2018 on home ice, South Korea will have to take on powerhouses Canada and the Czech Republic in the group stage.

Most hockey observers won’t give South Korea even a puncher’s chance, but count Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), as among the more optimistic ones.

“I have a good feeling,” Fasel told Yonhap News Agency on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur, where he will attend the 128th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session as a member of its Executive Board. The IOC on Friday will vote on the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics between Beijing and Almaty.

“In sports, you never know. I think they will be competitive,” Fasel added. “We will help Korea the best we can (so) that they can have a competitive team.”

South Korea was awarded a spot in the men’s tournament as the host nation, with the eastern alpine town of PyeongChang set to stage the country’s first Winter Games. The IIHF seeds countries based on the final 2015 rankings, and the 23rd-ranked South Korea ended up with No. 1-ranked Canada, No. 6 Czech Republic and No. 7 Switzerland in Group A....

The IIHF is “still working” to make sure the world’s top professionals will be in PyeongChang, Fasel said.

“The Olympics are the best stage for promoting our sport,” he added. “I really expect and hope the NHL will be there.”

more

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

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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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