Kukla's Korner

Shocking Signings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

D James Wisniewski, CBJ (6 years, $33 million): GM Scott Howson is on the hotseat and this could be the deal that gets him fired at the end of the season. Wisniewski is going to help the Columbus power play, but you’d think Howson would have learned when he signed Mike Commodore. Nope, not a chance and Howson can’t afford many more mistakes.

D Ed Jovanovski, FLA (4 years, $16.5 million): There were a few teams hoping that at 35, Jovanovski might want to take a one-year deal to win a Stanley Cup. He could never have imagined that a team desperate to get to the salary cap floor would allow him to cash in the way he did. GM Dale Tallon can’t even buy out Jovanovski and escape the cap hit if this doesn’t work. This one is shocking.

four more stupid signings…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Hockey Talk On The First Sunday Of July

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• Most of the analysis of overpaying for NHL players is nonsense. Begin with this premise: Everyone in the NHL is overpaid. The second fact: If the league mandates that teams spend to the floor of the salary cap, you have to spend the money. It meant Dale Tallon in Florida was acting like an outlet mall shopper with gift certifcates throwing money at everybody who said yes, and a whole lot of new Panthers said yes. And for the record, the Panthers play their games beside a giant outlet mall. 

• Let’s see if we have this straight. Tomas Vokoun was available without compensation and Semyon Varmlamov cost the Colorado Avalanche a first- and second-round draft pick (and quite possibly a lottery pick this coming season). And the Avs, under general manager Greg Sherman, chose Varlamov.

• The 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame class includes a sure-thing in Joe Sakic and two excellent candidates in Mats Sundin and Brendan Shanahan, which means Pavel Bure may again be left at the altar, which would upset the easily upsettable Vancouver fans and his tweeting brother, Valeri Bure, the fine figure skater.

more hockey notes…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Better Buffalo Sabres

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

Call it a Pegulapalooza….

In short order, the Sabres have re-signed McCormick, Drew Stafford and Nathan Gerbe, while also adding Leino as well as defensemen Robyn Regehr in a trade with Calgary and Christian Ehrhoff in a trade-and-sign deal that was completed Thursday.

The Sabres are expected to be relatively quiet in the coming days, although General Manager Darcy Regier said Friday trade options will continue to be explored. For this week, the focus will be mostly on the team’s young players as the annual summer development camp will open Tuesday at Niagara University’s Dwyer Arena.

“We’re all happy,” coach Lindy Ruff said Friday. “We’ve added to positions we feel make us a Stanley Cup contender. Regehr on the back end is a big physical defender and Ehrhoff fits how we want to play. He’s a tremendous north-south skater, has a great shot and obviously can join the rush. He’s a big asset to how we want to play.

“We’ve filled some of the pieces. We feel those pieces should make us a better team.”


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

Red Wings overnight report: replacing Rafalski by committee

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

There was no way that the Red Wings would or could have been able to replace Brian Rafalski via the unrestricted free agent market, not in one of the available players, anyway, but Ken Holland managed to both plug the gaping hole on the Wings’ blueline and save a significant amount of cap space for the Wings’ future endeavors over the course of the past three days, first re-signing Jonathan Ericsson to an inflated contract to stave off another subtraction and then making amends for it by retaining Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller and adding bite to the Wings’ defense via depth defenseman Mike Commodore and would-be journeyman Ian White.

For a grant total of $1.25 million more than Rafalski earned last season, Holland’s investments signal a bit of a shift in terms of philosophy in the best sense of the term, and to put the theory bluntly: when you’re missing an element from your team, it is best to pursue the players that annoy you the most.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Did Stan Bowman’s Blackhawks take a calculated risk in dissembling themselves?

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa fills in for Kevin Dupont in the hockey notebook department on Independence Day weekend, but he doesn’t disappoint in terms of content, suggesting that Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, who very knowingly stated that he knew he’d have to jettison half a dozen Blackhawks within weeks of capturing their Stanley Cup championship a year ago, might instead have his franchise prepared for a rebound after a season’s worth of necessary roster purges:

Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien are in Winnipeg. Brian Campbell was traded to Florida June 25. Troy Brouwer was dealt to Washington June 24. Tomas Kopecky was shipped to Florida last Monday. Colin Fraser was traded from Edmonton to Los Angeles last Sunday.

Antti Niemi is in San Jose. Kris Versteeg is in Philadelphia. Adam Burish is in Dallas.

Ben Eager, who had joined Ladd and Byfuglien in Atlanta before he was traded to San Jose, signed with Edmonton as an unrestricted free agent. Brent Sopel finished last season with Montreal and is an unrestricted free agent. John Madden, who played last year in Minnesota, is an unrestricted free agent. Nick Boynton, a healthy scratch for Philadelphia during the playoffs, is an unrestricted free agent. It was not much more than a year ago that all 13 players, while wearing Blackhawk sweaters, were lifting the Stanley Cup at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.


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Arguing for the least common denominator

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

More than a few fans and executives aren’t exactly delighted by the fact that the Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres have jacked up the free agent marketplace’s asking prices by paying through both nostrils—in the form of front-loaded and signing-bonus-loaded contracts—to attract marquee talent, but the New York Post’s Larry Brooks essentially makes an argument for both the salary cap floor and its inevitable rise forcing general managers to at least attempt to make their teams competitive:

[T]he willingness shown by franchises in Columbus, Buffalo, Florida and Calgary to spend and then spend some more if necessary is a good sign for the league, which instead of seeking to use the next round of labor negotiations to pound every team down to the lowest common denominator by reducing the cap and eliminating critical tactics such as front-loading on long-term deals, should be seeking ways to direct more revenue to small-market teams with small-minded owners who live for charity and sympathy.

Overspending for overspending’s sake, which is what it appears the Panthers did to reach the floor, is silly, especially when the spree concludes with Jose Theodore as the team’s No. 1 goaltender, but at least general manager Dale Tallon seems to recognize that the onus is on management to build a winner in order to get people to come to the building.


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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

How things will work from here—an into-July-we-go unrestricted free agency primer

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The math adds up as usual, in both personnel and term. On July 1st, about sixty players signed with new teams as unrestricted free agents, following up two high-profile trade-and-sign moves (Ehrhoff and Wisniewski)  and half-a-dozen guys beating the deadline to re-sign with their own teams. On Saturday, I rolled out of bed early after a 16-hour day because while the fireworks happen on Canada day, and while my co-worker Alanah so wisely noted that signings happen but aren’t necessarily reported on the 2nd and 3rd because reporters in the U.S. and Canada are taking time off for our respective national holidays, the moves that make your eyebrows rise happen on the second day, usually including the biggest-profile player of the bunch (Richards) making up his mind, as well as a mix of subtle (White, Bergenheim), shocking (Vokoun) and just plain silly (Connolly) signings hit the wires in staccato fashion.

From here on out, however, all bets are off. There are some years when July 3rd yields an, “Okay, the biggest guy (Richards) signed and the other guys have made their, ‘If we didn’t get the guy(s) we want, we’ll go with plan B, C or D moves’ (Connolly, Gagne, White), so it’s time for us to get the best of what’s left” day, and other years, it seems like the GM’s go golfing until the fifth or sixth.

A solid assessment of the “Where we go from here” state of things comes from the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby, who spoke to Maple Leafs assistant GM Dave Nonis about the shape of things to come for the Kaberles, Arnotts, back-up goalies and attractive restricted free agents still out there…

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Thoughts On Free Agency

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

I have stayed out of the way for the first couple days of the crazy free agent market in part to wait and see what would happen and in part because I was enjoying a nice Canada Day Weekend outside. 

My biggest reaction is that this is much ado about nothing.  A reasonable number of players changed hands and often at inflated prices.  Very little occurred that changed my opinions of how well teams might do next year.  Mostly it is depth players getting a lot of money.

The most highly regarded player wound up in New York City.  Brad Richards is a New York Ranger.  That is exactly what the salary cap system is intended to do.  Sure it was argued that salary cap would prevent one big market team from buying all of the free agents, but no team needs that.  They only need to sign the best free agent or two.  The most popular markets will get the best players and this helps them to win.  It is good for the NHL`s revenue when big markets win.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Signs Entry Level Contract With Oilers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Edmonton - General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on a three-year NHL entry level contract.

Nugent-Hopkins, who was drafted first overall by the Oilers on June 24th at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minnesota, will put on an Oilers jersey for the first time starting Monday when he participates in the Oilers 2011 Development Camp at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+nugent-hopkins

Red Wings may be looking at a Conklin redux

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As mentioned in the Ian White post, both MLive’s Ansar Khan and the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness confirmed that the Red Wings are kicking the tires regarding possibly bringing Ty Conklin back to Detroit as Jimmy Howard’s back-up, and Pleiness discusses the possibility thereof in detail:

“Obviously that’s our top priority over the next few days,” [Red Wings GM Ken] Holland said. “We’re not close on anything.”

Holland said that he had been in talks with a possible backup, but he felt that [the] goalie was going in a different direction. A source told The Macomb Daily the Wings have been talking with Ty Conklin, one of the few remaining viable options.

“You’re always looking to upgrade,” Holland said. “Are we comfortable once we get a goalie signed going into training camp? Yes. But we’d also like to upgrade if we could.”

Conklin played one season with Detroit, 2008-09, and went 25-11-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. He played the last two seasons with the St. Louis Blues in a backup role, struggling last year with a record of 8-8-4 and a 3.22 goals-against average GAA and .881 save percentage.

The options out there are relatively scant in Conklin, Marty Turco, Ray Emery, Curtis McElhinney and the perpetually-injured Pascal Leclaire, so it might behoove the Wings to get a deal done with Conklin unless they want to bring Chris Osgood back. I don’t see the Islanders giving away Nabokov at this point (and the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek confirmed this morning that the Isles no longer have to worry about waivers when moving Nabokov), so the best “free” goalie available is probably Conklin or Emery.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

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