Kukla's Korner

To trade, to trade?

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I don't believe that he Red Wings are going to trade Jimmy Howard, as Ken Holland has told us all as much, and I don't believe that the Red Wings should simply trade their prospects because they have "too many," because--and get this, I'm saying this from a development camp--not everyone develops into a superstar, but the Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen believes that Ken Holland's summer is not over until Jimmy Howard is not on the roster and one of the Wings' forward prospects is no longer a Wing:

Here are two modest proposals about moves he should or could consider between now and September when the team heads north to Traverse City.

First, find a taker, any taker for Jimmy Howard. That's easier said than done and the Red Wings would have to take on a chunk of Howard's salary if he played elsewhere next season. But Petr Mrazek established himself as the Wings best option in goal in the playoffs. He was the biggest reason that the series even went seven games and the biggest reason that the Wings had a chance to win Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Mrazek will make $738,000 next season. Howard will make 5.5 million. You know this. I know this. Holland knows this. Every team in the NHL knows this.

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A Two-Year Contract For Evgeny Kuznetsov In Washington

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

ARLINGTON, VA. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed center Evgeny Kuznetsov to a two-year, $6 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

Kuznetsov, 23, earned 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 80 games with Washington last season, marking the most points a Capitals rookie has registered in a season since John Carlson (37) in 2010-11. The 6’2”, 204-pound center also became the 13th rookie in franchise history to earn 25 assists in a season. Kuznetsov registered five multi-point games last season and scored on four consecutive shootout attempts in 2014-15, matching the longest streak in the NHL. He led all Capitals rookies in goals (11), assists (26), points (37) and games played (80) and ranked eighth among NHL rookies in assists (26) and ninth in points (37). Kuznetsov was selected by Washington in the first round, 26th overall, in the 2010 NHL Draft.

 

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Impressions from the fourth day of the Red Wings’ summer development camp ‘15

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I had a conversation with Grand Rapids Griffins equipment manager Brad "Dogg" Thompson that was really enlightening today: Brad and I talked about the players that have impressed us both at the camp and the level of the try-outs' play, and we both agreed that the truth of the matter regarding those who've received short shrift in this blog is simple:

There simply is no vast gulf between the try-outs and the pro prospects any more. Everybody attending the Wings' summer development camp, which wraps up tomorrow with an 11 AM scrimmage, is really good. Everybody can keep up with both the team systems drills and Jiri FIscher's skating drills, no matter how difficult they might be.

Nobody taking part in this camp has stood out in a negative manner, and whether you're talking about 6'9" Jarret Meyer or Korean "exchange prospects" Won-Jun Kim or Jin Hui Ahn, each and every participant has acquitted himself very, very well.

The difference between the tryouts and the pro prospects is simple: they have at least some aspects of their game that are elite, not just professional, but elite, and through a combination of natural gifts and hard work, they can bring their skill levels to heights that are truly at or near AHL or NHL levels.

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Open To Expansion

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Frank Seravalli of TSN,

Do you want to be the owner of an NHL expansion franchise?

If you and your buddies cobble together enough cash, you, too, could put in an application to own the league’s 31st or 32nd club.

You should probably have a sound financial plan in order, though. We’re not talking about beer money here.

The NHL began distribution of application materials for parties interested in expansion on Monday. They are due back to the league by August 10. The fee to apply for an expansion franchise is seven figures - north of $1 million U.S. - and only a portion is refundable.

On top of that, interested parties must demonstrate the ability to pay an expansion fee north of $500 million, prove the viability of their proposed market and evidence the availability of an arena for the team to call home.

continued

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Afternoon Line- Mike Heika

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Mike Heika, Dallas Stars beat writer when asked this question in an online chat today...

Which team in the West improved the most in the first 5 days of FA, and who took steps back? (cough STL)

Calgary is a team to be feared right now. Dougie Hamilton and Michael Frolik are big adds, and the team has plenty of young players getting better. The Blues are in a strange place, where the pressure will make them better or make them crack. But I think Vancouver is the team that could really slide this season.

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Grand Rapids Griffins re-sign Hoggan and Paetsch, re-sign Grant

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:

GRIFFINS RE-SIGN HOGGAN AND PAETSCH, WELCOME BACK GRANT

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Monday announced that they have re-signed left wing Jeff Hoggan and defenseman Nathan Paetsch and have signed left wing Triston Grant, who returns to the team following a one-year absence. Paetsch inked a two-year deal while Hoggan and Grant each signed one-year contracts.

The trio led the Griffins to their first Calder Cup championship in 2012-13 and will again provide the team’s veteran foundation in 2015-16 under new head coach Todd Nelson.

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Nicklas Lidstrom’s Hall Of Fame Case

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

It was about a week ago when we learned who will be inducted in the 2015 Hall of Fame class.  It includes four male players in Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Pronger and Phil Housley.  Now that the craziest days of the free agent frenzy are over, I will begin to give the Hall of Fame cases for these players.  I use the Keltner List which is borrowed from baseball but does a very good job of characterizing what it should take to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

Although Lidstrom never was a serious Hart Trophy finisher, it can be argued that he should have been.  I would have argued that he should have won the 2008 Hart Trophy.  I would argue that he was the best player in hockey around that time and some considered him as such.  Defencemen have often been overlooked for the Hart Trophy (as only 3 have ever won it).  He won the 2002 Conn Smythe Trophy which is a lesser claim to being the best player in hockey (did anyone really believe Justin Williams was close to the best player in the NHL?).  I would argue this is a yes, but it isn't the strongest yes that might be offered for a few generational players.

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Afternoon news: An unusual UFA rumor, ‘fantasy Green,’ an ECHL award for Toledo & prospect profiles

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Among this afternoon's Red Wings-related news stories:

You'll have to pardon me for raising an eyebrow at this note from the Fourth Period:

Unrestricted free agent forward Alexander Semin would like to find a long-term home in the NHL, but as his agent explains, he's open to a one-year contract.

Mark Gandler, Semin's agent, told Russian media outlet Sport Express that "we have no problems signing up for one year."
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings have reportedly expressed some interest in Semin, who was bought out by the Carolina Hurricanes last week.

In fantasy hockey news, NHL.com's Eric Goodman suggests that poolies pick up a certain new Red Wings defenseman:

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Wings Need More Size And Grit

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Pat Caputo of the Oakland Press,

There are other ways for the Red Wings can move among the NHL’s elite other than adding size. Waterford Township’s Dylan Larkin is an outstanding talent, who is unlikely to blink at the move up in level of competition. He is on the fast track to contribute more significantly than imagined when he was taken in the first-round in ‘14.

There have been vivid flashes suggesting Petr Mrazek is special, and a truly top-end goalie can carry a team a long way.

But size and grit – the Red Wings haven’t had nearly enough of it the last few years.

It’s time to use their deep pool of developing players, and/or perhaps goalie Jimmy Howard, to acquire it via trades.

Doing so would make an encouraging off season so far even better.

more

Personally, I feel Caputo should have wrote this a few years ago.  Look at the Blackhawks and Lightning, lack of size and grit were not an issue for both teams.

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Off-Season Topics

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

In reality, the NHL offseason is painfully short once you get through free agency, factor in development camps and count down the days to rookie camps.

That said, there's a lot of stuff percolating to keep hockey on the front burner as we head into the dog days of summer.

1. Will Steven Stamkos sign an extension?

Is there anyone who doesn't expect a long-term deal to get done to keep the Stanley Cup finalist Tampa Bay Lightning intertwined for the long haul with their dynamic captain, Steven Stamkos? OK, Leafs fans put your hands down. Still, the last thing general manager Steve Yzerman wants to do is have this become a "thing" by stretching it into training camp or beyond. Surely this will get done, but the longer it doesn't, the longer there will be rumblings that somehow Stamkos might consider an exit plan.

2. How will Mike Richards situation resolve itself?

The Los Angeles Kings are charting dangerous territory here by looking to dissolve Richards' contract rather than buy him out, especially as they continue to wait out Slava Voynov's situation in the face of domestic abuse charges. We get that it's a business, but the Kings' reputation, already on the rocks given the multiple off-ice issues in the past year, has the potential to take a real hit depending on how this plays out. 

continue for 8 more topics...

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