Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Sunday Hockey Talk

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

• St. Louis Blues winger Chris Stewart should be sending general manager Doug Armstrong a gift basket and a nice bottle of wine for giving him $3 million in a new one-year deal after his disappointing 15 goals and 30 points, a pay cut of just $250,000. Stewart has way more ability than those meagre numbers. If Stewart gets $3 million for 30 points, there’s not a chance the Oilers’ restricted freeagent forward Sam Gagner should take a penny less after his 47 points. They’re the same age, 22. Gagner makes $2.275 million right now.

• Do the Oilers have enough salesmanship in them to get Justin Schultz as a free agent, knowing they don’t have an ex-University of Wisconsin teammate like the New York Rangers (Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan) or Toronto Maple Leafs (Jake Gardiner) to entice him? They can sell top-four minutes for the Hobey Baker finalist and, being close to his home in Kelowna, B.C., but this is really going to be crunch time for the Oilers. They need this kid badly.

• I keep hearing the Los Angeles Kings don’t want to deal little-used but very marketable backup goalie Jonathan Bernier until they’ve got playoff MVP Jonathan Quick locked into a long-term extension ($6 million a year for, say, seven years). Quick is due $1.8 million next season, the best bang for the buck in the NHL. Now that the Predators have dealt Pekka Rinne’s backup Anders Lindback to Tampa Bay for two second-round picks (Nos. 37 and 50) in June’s draft, that sets the parameters for Bernier in a deal. The Blue Jackets were also in there pitching hard for Lindback (maybe offering the 30th and 31st picks - the Kings’ pick for Jeff Carter and their own in Round 2), but the Preds weren’t going to trade him within the division….

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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