Kukla's Korner

What To Pay Devan Dubnyk?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,

I got some Twitter questions asking if Andrew Hammond’s three-year, $4 million contract with Ottawa establishes the market. Simple answer: Not at all. Hammond has played 24 NHL games. Dubnyk has played 231 and has been a No. 1 in Edmonton and Minnesota.

The Wild will not be offering Dubnyk $1.3 million per year. The market for Dubnyk is basically whatever another team will pay him as a free agent (couple that with the fact there’s no obvious answer for the Wild if Dubnyk leaves).

Now, maybe Dubnyk takes less to stay in a place where he was a solid fit, but this was a $3.75 million goalie in Edmonton. For the Wild to sign him, the deal will obviously average well north of $3 million per.

The final figure will depend on term. Give him three years, the average salary/cap hit is probably more. Give him four or five years, and the Wild can probably get the average salary/cap hit to a more comfortable number. Two years makes little sense to me. 1) Why would he take two years? 2) Two years basically means you have to talk to him about an extension next summer if he has a big year.

As I mentioned recently, the biggest concern is that free-agent interview period in late June. I’d think the Wild would want to avoid it getting to the point where Dubnyk says, “Let me see what else is out there, and I’ll circle back to ya.”

more on Dubnyk and the Wild...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: devan+dubnyk

On Re-signing Joel Ward In Washington

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,

If the Capitals decide to spend some of their remaining cash to re-sign Joel Ward, who will otherwise enter unrestricted free agency for the third time in his career, the versatile forward would welcome returning with open arms. According to his agent, speaking via telephone Tuesday, the proverbial puck sits in Washington’s end.

“Washington is his first choice over going to unrestricted free agency,” Peter Cooney said. “We would like to re-sign with Washington and come back. Our door is open for the Capitals, absolutely first and foremost.”

Coming off a starring postseason role in which he tied for the team lead with nine points, facing the end of a four-year deal annually worth $3 million, Ward figures to receive a raise, regardless of his destination. At 34 years old, this could be Ward’s last deal structured longer than two years, and MacLellan already predicted that term length would “be an issue,” provided Ward for asks for a three- or four-year contract, which seems all but certain.

With forwards Jay Beagle and Eric Fehr also entering unrestricted free agency, the Capitals likely won’t bring back both of them and Ward, while still satisfying MacLellan’s stated offseason desire to acquire a top-six winger.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joel+ward

The Tampa Bay Lightning Know What They Have To Do

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Cooper was adamant about ensuring no feeling of complacency had settled in around his group.

"We can't just sit here and say we played a pretty good game in Game 5, that'll just carry us into a win tonight," he said. "If we don't play better than we did in Game 5, we won't win tonight. That's kind of my message."

The affable coach has won five championships during his career, but has never experienced a game as big as this one.

"For me it's excitement, nervousness, fear, anticipation," said Cooper. "I can whip through a bunch of things. It's really an exciting time."

more on both teams...

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Patrick Maroon’s Turnaround

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tal Pinchevsky of the New York Times,

Maroon’s is a unique hockey journey which shifted the day the Flyers told him to pack his bags.

“The organization made a decision to send him home,” said Greg Gilbert, who delivered that message to Maroon as the coach of Philadelphia’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms.

“He wasn’t committed to himself,” Gilbert said. “In Patrick’s case, I don’t really think he knew how to train and play at that level.”

At the time of his unceremonious exit, Maroon led the Phantoms with five goals in the team’s first nine games. He was emboldened the previous summer by his first overseas tournament, a gold medal performance at the 2010 I.I.H.F. InLine World Championship.

Playing alongside two of his oldest friends, Maroon scored seven goals and 14 points in six games at the in-line worlds. He even notched a goal and an assist in the gold medal game in Karlstad, Sweden, against the Czechs.

“It was the best time of my life,” Maroon said. “You got away from everything. You got away from all the stress and worries about other things. I went there to have fun and just enjoy my time with those guys and meet new people and enjoy Sweden.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: patrick+maroon

Dylan Larkin discusses his pro debut on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

On the heels of his successful pro debut, Dylan Larkin joined Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery on Monday, discussing his comfort level with AHL hockey, his decision to turn pro and Ken Holland's advice for him, his peers on the Griffins and more during a ten-minute interview:

If you missed it, Larkin scored 2 goals in the Grand Rapids Griffins' 4-2 win over the Utica Comets last night:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Players The St. Louis Blues Could Move

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was a huge disappointment, but his contract makes moving him difficult.

T.J Oshie seems like an obvious target, given his high trade value, significant salary and unproductive playoff.  He also had the temerity to suggest that maybe, just maybe, the team was subjected to information overload.

Patrik Berglund had a couple of big playoff moments, but that scarcely helped fans forget his ineffective regular season. As Armstrong looks for ways to create payroll flexibility, Berglund's roster spot would be a good place to start.

It would be great to see venerable defenseman Barret Jackman finish his career where it started, but there is no room for sentimentality when a team keeps coming up short in the playoffs.

Armstrong could do something much bigger and trade previously untouchable players.Again, the core group of this team is clearly in transition.

An interesting summer awaits this franchise now that Hitchcock is back on board to start another year.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Free Press’s Seidel: young coach, developmental league, older players no conflict for Jeff Blashill

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Free Press's Jeff Seidel asked Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill an intriguing question--and a slightly obtuse one given that Blashill spent a year as an assistant coach in Detroit--but it's worth asking (via RedWingsFeed):

Blashill is just 41 years old, which would create an interesting dynamic considering that Pavel Datsyuk is 36 and Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall both are 34. So I flat out asked him: "How do you think you will handle older players?"

He paused, sitting in his office at Van Andel Arena.

"I don't like talking about stuff that is hypothetical," he said. "But the one thing I would say is, the best thing about the Red Wings' job is you have what I would call three of the best winners in hockey, in your captains there, in Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall. There are three of the best winners, not just hockey players, winners."

Four years ago, Blashill saw them in action when he spent a season as an assistant under Mike Babcock.

"I got to see that firsthand, how hard they work every day, how they lead every day, their attention to detail, their calmness in pressure situations," Blashill said. "I think, when you have guys that are of that quality character and that great of leaders, to be honest with you, those guys are easy to coach. It's no different from here."

Jeff Hoggan, Nathan Paetsch and Brennan Evans aren't spring chickens, but they've been the Griffins' leadership group under Blashill, and the coach seems to deal with them quite well.

Seidel continues, discussing Blashill's relative youth and his work with Brian Lashoff, who insists that the "nicer guy" coach is no pushover:

"When he has something to say, he doesn't hold back," Lashoff said. "You know where you stand with him. I think that's a big thing with players."

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Keys To Game 6, Eastern Conference Finals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

The difference between these two teams during the first five games? Tampa Bay’s best players have made a difference. New York’s have not.

The Lightning have scored 16 goals in the series, all of which can be attributed to their top-six forwards. Steven Stamkos has tallied in each of the past four games and is playing his best hockey when his team needs him most. Nikita Kucherov has six points. So does Tyler Johnson. No. 1 defenseman Victor Hedman has four assists in the series. They’ve been like shark teeth. If one falls out, another is in place to continue tearing the Rangers to shreds.

It hasn’t been so easy for New York’s finest. Rick Nash was great in Game 4, but was back to settling for perimeter chances in Game 5. Martin St. Louis has one goal and should probably stand up and wave at the camera at some point so we can verify that he’s shown up. Chris Kreider apparently needs to hire a Sherpa to guide him to the Lightning’s crease and a friendly reminder that he’s at his best when he’s making the other team angry. Derick Brassard has had his moments (that Game 4 pass to St. Louis who put it away) but they’ve been too few and too far between.

The Rangers need a stand-up effort from their blueline as well. The Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi pair has been an inconsistent answer to The Triplets of Tampa Bay.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Sights And Sounds, Game 5 Tampa Bay Lightning Against The New York Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Watch and listen....

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

On losing as building a foundation for playoff success

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

ESPN's Craig Custance penned an intriguing Insider-only entry discussing how teams learn from playoff losses, speaking with Ken Hitchcock about the way that the Wings bounced back from the famous Langenbrunner-on-Osgood-from-center-ice goal in 1998 and Ryan Getzlaf about the Ducks' learning curve...

Detroit, a team that looked tired in the overtime loss, shut out the Stars 2-0 in Game 6. Osgood, after letting in that memorable goal, was perfect. Dallas’ season was over. The Red Wings went on to win another championship.

“I’d never seen a team play with that type of ferociousness in their competition, in their game – shift-by-shift, man-by-man,” Hitchcock said when we chatted on Monday. “That game in 1998 set us up for three years. We thought we were at a level, there was a whole other level out there that no one had experienced other than a few guys who had played for Montreal. We had never seen it before.”

And the article includes quite the quote from Kirk Maltby:

[It] can’t just be some of the players -- it has to be all of the players competing with that sense of detail in every moment.

“How many times have you seen in the playoffs where guys that try to get out of the way of the puck in a regular season game are blocking a puck in the playoffs?” said former Red Wings forward Kirk Maltby, winner of four Stanley Cups. “They’re taking a hit, making a hit. It’s just like making an Olympic team -- you might be a 50-goal scorer on your team but you take a different role on a national team. It’s about adjustments and learning and buying in to achieve.”

This sounds campy, but the Red Wings' "next generation" players have received over the last two years have learned a ton about the kinds of efforts they need to bring to the table through the Wings' losses to Boston and Tampa Bay, and as much as it's stank watching Nyquist, Tatar, Sheahan, DeKeyser and now Mrazek come up short against their opponents, this past year's first round in particular was chock full of learning about the levels at which everyone has to play, produce and "buy in" to stepping up to win four games out of seven each round.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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