Kukla's Korner

Mid-Season Draft Rankings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

It is still the Shane Wright Draft.

For now, anyway.

To be clear, though, the Kingston Frontenac centre’s top-prospect status is by no means a sure thing – even if nine of 10 scouts ranked the Burlington, Ont., native first on TSN’s 2022 Mid-Season NHL Draft Rankings.

“I think [Wright’s] first half-performance has left the door open for someone to unseat him,” said one of the 10 scouts surveyed by TSN to determine consensus rankings aimed at projecting where in the draft players are likely to be chosen.

“[No. 1] is absolutely still up for grabs,” said another scout.

Bear in mind that these two scouts, while voicing some concerns, still currently have Wright atop their lists. But they would like to see more from him. And from the other contenders for No. 1, for that matter.

Two forces appear to be at work here — Wright’s so-so performance thus far this season combined with the other top prospects, who could conceivably challenge him for No. 1, not fully seizing the opportunity.

Wright’s game has been, to varying degrees, viewed as underwhelming, especially when weighed against the high expectations coming into the 2021-22 season.

continued for much more and a prospect list too...

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Listen To Lucas Raymond

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

Raymond is mic'd up for the 4-0 win over Buffalo.

 

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The Battle Of Alberta Continues On Saturday

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Edmonton Oilers host the Calgary Flames on Saturday night and if a team needs a win, it is the Oilers.

Rumors around Edmonton are plenty including fire the coach and make a trade for a top 4 defenseman and a goalie.

Not the easiest thing to do when your team is against the cap and the stars are slumping.

On to the battle between the two teams as explained here-

The Battle of Alberta is one of hockey’s great rivalries.

Ever since the Atlanta Flames moved 1,914 miles north to Calgary in 1980, Alberta has played host to some of the NHL’s fiercest games, most exciting moments, and one of its most famous dynasties.

Although the standard of hockey in Alberta has dipped since the Oilers and Flames won six of eight Stanley Cups between them in the 80s, the rivalry between the two teams remains intense.

n ongoing feud between Matthew Tkachuk and Zack Kassian, along with the shifted schedule for the 2020-21 campaign, which saw them face off 10 times within four months, has really reignited the hatred between the Flames - who are trending upwards in the NHL lines to win the 2022 Stanley Cup - and the Oilers.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Practice Time

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

via Ansar Khan tweet,

practice lines before tomorrow’s game vs. Dallas

Namestnikov-Larkin-Raymond
Bertuzzi-Suter-Fabbri
Erne-Rasmussen-Zadina
Smith-Veleno-Gagner
DeKeyser-Seider
Staal-Hronek
Leddy-Lindstom
Oesterle
Nedeljkovic
Pickard

added 12:30pm, Khan...

power play units:
1. Bertuzzi (net front), Fabbri (bumper), Raymond-Larkin (flanks), Seider (point).
2. Erne (net front), Suter (bumper), Hronek-Zadina (flanks), Leddy (point).

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Video- Stuff Happens In the NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the YouTube page of the NHL,

The Panthers go on an offensive barrage, Hagelin nets the dreaded own-goal on the delayed penalty and a lucky helmet exchange for the Ottawa Senators!

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Discussing A Zadina For Brannstrom Trade

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

Max Bultman and Ian Mendes of The Athletic discuss a Filip Zadina trade to Ottawa for Erik Brannstrom.

Bultman: I don’t think it works for Detroit. Change of scenery trades do happen in the NHL, and Brannstrom is certainly young enough that he could very well pop in new surroundings (or, of course, with more time in Ottawa). But I’m not sure Brannstrom really checks many boxes for the Red Wings right now. For starters, he’s not the profile of defenseman they’ve targeted so far under Yzerman — over the last three years, Detroit has gravitated toward defenseman with long, rangy builds, whereas Brannstrom stands 5-foot-10. Add in that the offense hasn’t actually materialized yet for Brannstrom, and the fit looks tenuous.

But beyond that, Detroit’s left-side defense pipeline is one of the areas the franchise has invested the most draft capital in recent years — using a first-rounder, three second-rounders, and two third-round picks on left shot ‘D’ in the last three years alone. So trading a young player at one of their positions of relative weakness (scoring wing) for a left-shot ‘D’ who is outside their typical profile at the position is just tough for me to see.

The Red Wings will likely need short-term left-side ‘D’ help next year, with some key contracts expiring. But I think it’s more likely they’ll look to add veteran stability to insulate young prospects like Simon Edvinsson and Albert Johansson when they arrive, rather than another relatively unproven blueliner — even knowing Brannstrom’s pedigree.

much more (paid subscription)

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Moving Forward In Montreal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

Rebuild, retool or reset?

“The choice of words is not important,” said Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes during his introductory news conference on Wednesday. “I want to establish a plan that will allow us to compete every year.”

It was a very diplomatic — if not vague — answer. But it was also the correct answer.

Whatever you want to call it, the Montreal Canadiens are headed for a transformation. How big of a transformation will depend on whether Carey Price agrees to be traded, whether the lottery balls fall in their favour at the next two NHL Entry Drafts, and whether a young core that includes Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Alexander Romanov can take a huge step forward after taking a step backwards.

As we saw last year, when the Habs went on an incredible run to the Stanley Cup final, there’s a lot that can go right and help speed things up. But, as evidenced by the team’s plummet to the bottom of the overall standings, there’s even more that can possibly go wrong and slow it down.

“I think there are some really interesting pieces here in Montreal that can be built around,” said Hughes. “There’s a different set of players. We have young, exciting players, whether it be a Suzuki or a Caufield. And we have more established, older veteran players.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Blown Lead For The Toronto Maple Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

The Toronto Maple Leafs have gained and then squandered a 3-1 lead in four of their past five games — but this one hits different.

This one was devoid of a positive post-game spin or excuses about travel or fans or missing bodies.

This one was about a good team losing its structure and its determination, its guts and its goaltending.

“This one should bother us greatly. Because how we played wasn’t nearly good enough,” said coach Sheldon Keefe, after watching a 3-1 lead disintegrate into a 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

“I just thought we got exposed today for being a team that was just soft. Soft and purposeless and just kind of playing the game and just hoping it was gonna work out.”

Mitch Marner admitted that Toronto took its foot off the gas after flying through the first 20 minutes. After two practice days devoted to protecting their net-front and managing leads by establishing a forecheck, the Leafs deviated from the game plan and tried to make the pretty play.

“It’s like we get these leads, and then go into the second thinking it’s going to be just an easy rest of 40 minutes,” Marner said. “And everything’s coming to bite us in the butt.”

continued

Game highlights are below.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

More Grades

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Red Wings aren’t likely to contend for the postseason, trailing the Boston Bruins, who have four games in hand, by five points for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They are still in the rebuild phase, but they have taken another step.

Here are their midseason grades, based on performance vs. expectations:

Forwards
Tyler Bertuzzi: A

GP: 32 G: 18 A: 14 PT: 32

He hasn’t missed a beat after missing all but nine games the previous season due to a back injury that required surgery. He’s playing with the same energy and tenacity he has throughout his career and is on pace for his most productive season while posting a team-best plus-14 rating.

Adam Erne: C

GP: 39 G: 3 A: 6 PT: 9

He has taken a step back offensively after tying for the team lead with a career-high 11 goals. Part of the problem is he has no points on the power play, where he isn’t a regular but has logged 44 minutes. He leads the team in hits on a third line that has provided energy at times.

Robby Fabbri: B-

read on

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

* The Rangers scored five unanswered goals – bookended by tallies from Adam Fox and Ryan Reaves – to rally past the Maple Leafs. Reaves, who scored earlier in the game, recorded his first two goals since being traded to New York on July 29, 2021. 

Nazem Kadri also collected multiple points to eclipse 50 on the season and help the Avalanche blank the Ducks. 

* The NHL announced a comprehensive update to the 2021-22 regular-season schedule, including new dates for 98 games that had been postponed over the two-month period from Nov. 18, 2021 through Jan. 18, 2022, that will see all teams complete the full season by the original April 29 closing date.  


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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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