Kukla's Korner

Follow Along On UFA Day

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Today at 12:00pm ET the fun begins and may I remind you this is a start of a marathon and not a sprint.

Sure, some of the top UFAs could sign today but the UFA period continues throughout the summer and signings can happen at any time.

TSN Tracker and Sportsnet Tracker

Below, find embedded tweets from some of the key people in the hockey world.

This post will remain at the top of KK today.

Continue Reading »

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Should The Wings Target David Backes?

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Why he would interest the Red Wings: He would fill their need for a top-two center who can provide offense and their desire for a big, physical forward.

How he could fit in with the Red Wings: He would be their second-line center and play in all situations (power play, penalty killing).

What it might take to get him: Term could be the sticking point. The Red Wings would be hesitant to give more than three years and he probably wants four or five, perhaps at between $5 million and $5.5 million per season.

Three key questions: 1. How risky is it to sign a 32-year old with a lot of hard miles on him to more than three years? 2. He stepped up in the playoffs, but how concerning is his decline in production during the regular season? 3. Is it a red flag that the Blues didn't re-sign their captain – at least not yet?

more

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Panthers extend Ekblad

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From the Miami Herald's George Richards:

The Florida Panthers’ intriguing offseason continued late Thursday night.

On the eve of the free agent market opening up, sources within the team confirmed the Panthers and emerging star Aaron Ekblad came to an agreement on an eight-year, $60 million contract extension.

Ekblad, 20, cannot sign a new deal with Florida until the NHL’s new fiscal year begins Friday at noon. Although Ekblad isn’t expected to formally sign anything Friday because of the opening of the free agency period, he will in the coming days.

The new Ekblad deal will not kick in until the 2017-18 season. Ekblad will be in the final year of the three-year entry-level deal signed after he was the top overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft.

Continued

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  Tags: aaron+ekblad, florida+panthers

Happy Canada Day And Happy UFA Day Too

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Enjoy your long weekend Canada and probably many in the US too for the 4th of July.

Teams can start signing UFA players at 12:00pm ET today.

Who is the first signing?

Filed in: KK Website Business, NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Garrioch: Fireworks remain in store for July 1

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch prefaces free agency with one last rumor column for our perusal:

Don’t fret, folks, there’s still plenty of players to choose from and lots of money to be spent as the free agent frenzy gets underway at noon Friday.

“I think there’s going to be lots of action,” predicted one NHL insider Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the market was set to open. “It’s going to be busy and lots of guys are going to get lots of money.”

A lot happened Wednesday with Steven Stamkos remaining with the Tampa Bay Lightning along with two major trades — including Montreal defenceman P.K. Subban to Nashville for Shea Weber — but that doesn’t mean the amount of action should dry up, because teams have money to spend.

In fact, there will be free agents that will benefit from those deals because it means the pool of players will be smaller for those who want to use their cash to try to improve their teams.

There’s always mistakes made on July 1 but when teams have players signed on the dotted line they’ll all smile for the cameras.

Continued

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‘Three Things’: Free agency talk and promotional chatter

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Via RedWingsFeed, hockey was on the 6 PM news this evening as WXYZ's Brad Galli wondered what the Wings should do after not landing Steven Stamkos...

There is no free agent close to Stamkos' skill set, but the Red Wings must find alternative, secondary ways to improve.

On Thursday, I ran a Twitter poll to see which free agent people thought Holland should pursue.

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Wings Should Focus On Defense

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,

A difficulty presented by the Red Wings roster last season was too many players featuring similar skills. Holland and Blashill have talked about a more diversified group, hence the pursuit of big, tough forwards like Okposo and Troy Brouwer.

Similar players on a roster provides opportunities for trades.

While the cost of Kevin Shattenkirk of the Blues and Cam Fowler of the Ducks is high, some patience might bring it down.

The Bruins, Canucks, Flyers, Oilers, Rangers and Sabres all have expressed an interest in Shattenkirk, who moves the puck with aplomb, shoots well, scored 43-45 points in three of the past four seasons, and plays 20 minutes per game.

Edmonton reportedly offered Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — and was told it was not enough.

Fowler has similar skills, although he is not quite as sound defensively. The Ducks reportedly are looking for a top-six forward or a top-nine and perhaps a mid-draft choice.

more

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Action Ahead

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottaw Sun,

Don’t fret, folks, there’s still plenty of players to choose from and lots of money to be spent as the free agent frenzy gets underway at noon Friday.

“I think there’s going to be lots of action,” predicted one NHL insider Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the market was set to open. “It’s going to be busy and lots of guys are going to get lots of money.”...

- There isn’t a lot of happiness after a difficult season in Colorado and it certainly sounds like the Avalanche are trying to make changes. There’s a lot of interest in restricted free agent defenceman Tyson Barrie, but GM Joe Sakic has insisted he isn’t available. A name that surfaced Thursday is centre Gabriel Landeskog, who has a cap hit of $5.571 million through 2020-21. Anything can happen but it would be difficult to believe the Avs would give up on the 23-year-old Landeskog. For that to happen it would require a massive deal.

- There has been plenty of talk about the future of New York Islanders forward Frans Nielsen as he prepares to hit the market at noon, but the possibility exists he won’t go anywhere because he should be a priority for GM Garth Snow. Sure, teams like the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals may show interest in Nielsen, but the word is with a lengthy, rich contract offer on the table from the Islanders he might just stay put in the end....

more

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Detroit Sports 105.1 FM never got the chance to get off the ground floor

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As a hockey fan, I had high hopes for Detroit Sports 105.1 FM, and they were mostly fulfilled--at least when Drew Lane was on the airwaves interviewing Mickey Redmond on a weekly basis, and when Sean Baligian landed a show and made hockey a priority--so it was disappointing to hear that the station dropped its sports-talk format last night...

Most disappointing because the good folks at the station never really got their chance to establish themselves as a true alternative to the Flagship Station. The Detroit Free Press's Carlos Monarrez spoke with Baligian and Tom Mazwey about the station's struggles:

[Tom] Mazawey said he heard rumblings Tuesday about an imminent change. At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the station’s full-time staff gathered for the formal announcement from WMGC vice president and market manager Steve Chessare.

“He felt bad. He honestly felt bad,” Mazawey said. “And they just told us that (Greater Media) pulled the plug on us maybe five days ago and he was trying to fight for us, but couldn’t talk them into it to save us. Said we lost some $2 million, I think he said, the first couple years. This year, I don’t know.

“We were showing some growth. We really were and you could tell. I’ve been in the radio business 20 years. You can tell between the texts and the tweets and the phone calls, people listened, people were talking about the shows. There’s always the combustible few haters that are out there, but you can’t pay any attention to them. I can’t tell you how many hundreds — hundreds — of e-mails and texts and stuff I’ve gotten. I can’t even keep up with people wishing us well.”

They did a helluva job in my opinion, but between canning Drew Lane and shifting their hosts around, they were mismanaged.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Evening UFA talk from Burnside, Khan

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 3x at 7:33 PM: ESPN's Scott Burnside has a theory about the Red Wings' free agency strategy...

The Detroit Red Wings have cap room and had been expected to make a play for Stamkos. They could now turn their attention to some of the other forwards on the market (more on that below), but Red Wings GM Ken Holland also needs to find out what his current core of young players is capable of following the departure of Pavel Datsyuk and the wake of waning productivity from captain Henrik Zetterberg. Detroit will move into a new building in October of 2017, and that's when the team needs to be arcing upward -- so Holland may be more conservative this time around because he's keeping his powder dry for next summer.

And he continues...

Meanwhile, MLive's Ansar Khan has other theories regarding the Wings' free agent spending, at least in terms of the "bottom of the roster":

Continue Reading »

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