Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

30 Trade Targets

(7/23/2021)

from Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff, Happy NHL Draft Day 2021. There’s plenty on the move, so hurry up and dive in to read about the 30 Trade Targets in play before everything changes. 1. Jack Eichel Center, Buffalo Sabres Age: 24 Contract: 5 years remaining at $10 million AAV Scoop: The asking price for Eichel seems to be “fantastical” by all accounts. Teams are on high alert in the hours leading up to the first round of the NHL Draft. The Rangers, for one, were calling around to teams inquiring about a pick inside the Top 10 – believed to be part of the ask from Buffalo to get into the Eichel ballpark. Buffalo wants a futures-type transaction with multiple picks and prospects. It’s still difficult to imagine a scenario in which Eichel returns to the Sabres next season, but this weekend should be a strong indicator of the odds on that. 2. Seth Jones Right Defense, Columbus Blue Jackets Age: 26 Contract: 1 year remaining at $5.4 million AAV Scoop: There is no doubt the Chicago Blackhawks are working hard to pry Jones loose from Columbus. The belief is Chicago is not willing to part with either Alex DeBrincat or Kirby Dach in a deal. The leverage Chicago has is there are few markets where Jones is willing to sign long-term – and that have the ability or interest in trading for him. Chicago is one of them. The difficulty for Columbus is teams do not want to pay twice, both the acquisition cost to get him, then the cost to sign him. continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Why The Carolina Hurricanes Moved Alex Nedeljkovic

(7/23/2021)

from Sara Civian of The Athletic, Nedeljkovic was in a unique situation as a 25-year-old pending RFA goalie with only so many NHL games under his belt. The way he swooped in during Petr Mrazek’s injury and excelled had potentially earned him a big payday. He was arbitration-eligible and asking for a contract with a $3.5 million average annual value. That was already high from the Hurricanes’ perspective, and if they went to arbitration, there was some risk of the salary being set even higher. The lack of comparables to point to — goaltenders who had made it to the NHL on similar paths — made it hard to predict the outcome. “We tried to get a contract done with Ned, and we couldn’t get one done. The agent was playing very hard,” Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said in an exclusive interview with The Athletic on Thursday. “He’s got an arbitration case that (could have paid him) somewhere around $3, $4, $5 million.... But why couldn’t the Hurricanes have avoided arbitration by just paying the $3.5 million he was seeking? While Nedeljkovic has tons of potential and is coming off a great season, the Canes weren’t ready to take a big-money chance on a player with a relatively small sample of success. Let’s remember that Nedeljkovic has only played 29 regular-season NHL games. Yes, he has a .928 save percentage over that span and was in the top five in goals saved above expectation this past season, but he also has a .904 save percentage across a concerning larger sample: 154 games in the AHL. And in his only NHL season with more than one game played before 2020-21, he had an .887 save percentage and 3.05 GAA. more (paid sub.)

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

The Draft And The New Goalie In Town

(7/23/2021)

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News, "It's going to be an interesting day and an interesting weekend," general manager Steve Yzerman said Thursday.... "In some cases you're talking about players that didn't play this year," Yzerman said. "For our scouting staff, it was a challenge for them to see some of the players and travel to get to certain locations was challenging, interesting. "But Kris (Draper, the Wings' director of amateur scouting) and his staff have been very diligent and thorough and done the best they could. Ultimately, this draft class, moving forward, is the most unpredictable, generally, of a very unpredictable process."... The Wings have been linked with Swedish forward William Eklund, Michigan forward Kent Johnson, junior forward Mason McTavish, or defensemen such as Luke Hughes (United States National Team Development Team) or Simon Edvinsson (Sweden). And the pool of players who could go to the Wings at 22 is even wider and deeper. Yzerman and his scouting staff are ready. "I don't want to say we have no clue (of how things will shake out), we have somewhat of a clue, but that remains to be seen," Yzerman said. "It's going to be very unpredictable. I don't know what other teams, what their lists, are (like)." With the Wings still in the midst of a rebuild, expect them to go after the best player available, and not for need at a particular position. more (paid) from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

The Seattle Kraken Picked Players With An Eye Towards The Future

(7/22/2021)

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, The Seattle Kraken looked at Carey Price, Vladimir Tarasenko, James van Riemsdyk, Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene and others during the expansion draft process and said ‘No thanks, I’m good.” In doing so, the NHL’s newest franchise put itself in pole position to race towards a new epoch of roster construction. The easy takeaway from Friday’s made-for-TV event was that Ron Francis left talent on the table. But the most significant thing he did was avoid putting a bad contract on the books. “We think that's a valuable thing to have right now, especially in a COVID environment with the flat cap,” said Francis, the Kraken's general manager. “We went through our choices and there were some good players that were out there; maybe we weren’t comfortable with the cap hit on some of them, so we tried to draft the best team possible we could and still keeping our cap space available just to hopefully do some things as we move forward.” In the very near term that will mean spending some money when the free-agent market opens next Wednesday. They staked claim to defencemen Jamie Oleksiak and Adam Larsson, plus goaltender Chris Driedger, during this week’s UFA interview period and are expected to take a run at Jaden Schwartz, among others, on the open market. But Seattle showed patience during the 72-hour period where the rest of the NHL sat and waited on the sidelines while it selected 30 players. read on

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Not Much Trade Talk Involving The Seattle Kraken

(7/21/2021)

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, • It’s strikingly quiet. Those who worked through the 2017 Vegas expansion say that process was “much louder” than this one. There’s been much less communication with other teams from Seattle than there was from the Golden Knights. Does that mean Seattle has fewer trades planned? We’ll see. But, they’ve definitely not been as active across the league. • They’ve targeted some free agents. What’s going to be interesting is if that means those players are going to be Seattle’s selection from other NHL teams, or the Kraken are going to know they have a deal “in the drawer,” and take a second player from certain clubs. Two teams to watch for — Florida and St. Louis. The Kraken are locked-in on Panthers goalie Chris Driedger. Do they also add someone like Frank Vatrano, or is Driedger the pick? They’re also interested in Jaden Schwartz. If they’re convinced they’ve got something, do they add Schwartz now, or take Vince Dunn and add the winger later? No confirmation on this, but a couple teams think the Kraken like Blake Coleman, too. • On Carey Price: boy, this is so close to call. They’ve done their deep dive and know everything there is to know. The Canadiens seem to think it’s possible they lose a defenceman (Cale Fleury, Brett Kulak) instead. What a wild story this turned into. At the very least, the Kraken wanted Montreal to sweat and if they’d pay to keep Price. read on

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

History Of NHL Expansion Through One Man’s Eyes

(7/20/2021)

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun, The Seattle Kraken, the National Hockey League’s 32nd team. will be unveiled Wednesday, another chapter in the league’s eventful expansion saga: PAY TO PLAY On June 2, 1967, league president Clarence Campbell was proudly walking around the ballroom of Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel at the expansion draft with six cheques for $2 million each in his breast pocket. By 1970, Vancouver paid $6 million for the Canucks, then the fee went up to $7.5 million when the defunct World Hockey Association Oilers, Nordiques, Whalers and the original Jets merged. Ottawa and Tampa Bay paid $45 million to come aboard in 1991, rising $5 million later that decade for the Predators, Wild, Blue Jackets and Thrashers. In today’s world of arena perks and broadcast rights, compare those ‘67 bargains to $500 million US that Bill Foley paid for the Vegas Golden Knights in 2016 and the $650 million the Kraken just ponied up. NOT-SO-ORIGINAL SIX A few serious hockey buffs refuse to call the Leafs, Canadiens, Bruins, Red Wings, Rangers and Blackhawks ‘the Original Six’, as Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton and Ottawa were established by the early 1920s and prior to ‘The Six’, the NHL was a two-division 10-team outfit. The Montreal Maroons, meant to appeal to the city’s anglophone fans, came into the four-team league with Boston in 1924, with the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Americans the next year among other entries. After a few relocations, including to St. Louis and Philadelphia, teams began falling by the wayside. With the demise of the Brooklyn Americans in 1942, it left six clubs who played exclusively the next 25 years. continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

What Is Adam Larsson Going To Do?

(7/19/2021)

from David Staples of the Edmonton Journal, Good-bye to Adam Larsson? Say it ain’t so. There’s been rumblings all week from Bob Stauffer on Oilers New that a new contract between Larsson, 28, and the Oilers is no sure thing. These rumblings only grew louder over the weekend with first the Cult of Hockey’s Kurt Leavins reporting the Oilers may now be looking at signing Tyson Barrie and not Larsson. Wrote Leavins: “I do get mixed signals on the status of the (Larsson) negotiation. One source that would have an opportunity to speak with both sides in that negotiation thinks Larsson may in fact hit the UFA market, if for no other reason that to see which way the wind is blowing. When Philadelphia acquired Ryan Ellis on Saturday, I believe that subtracted Larsson’s most likely suitor from the equation. But there could be others, including Seattle. Edmonton is also still talking with Tyson Barrie. I wonder if in the event that Larsson walks, does Barrie sign here instead and fill that hole at 2RD? The price tag may not be much different.” Next, US hockey weriter Frank Seravalli said much the same on the Daily Face-off podcast. As the OilersAccess account on Twitter put it: “Frank Seravalli says that at this point, the Oilers and Adam Larsson are unlikely to get something and Larsson will head to the market. He adds that Tyson Barrie has a real chance to stay in Edmonton.” continued or...   Though deal is not done, Adam Larsson should come in at 4 x $3.9 M if/when he signs w/EDM. If he went to market, could probably push near Chris Tanev numbers ($4.5 M AAV). Suspect he’ll stay as a leader and core player in EDM tho. — Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) July 17, 2021

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Now It Is Up To Seattle

(7/18/2021)

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, There was no way to completely trade your way out of trouble with these expansion-draft rules. That’s why Ron Francis remained so upbeat even after watching a flurry of transactions designed to limit options for his Seattle Kraken. “We certainly think there’s going to be some good players available,” said Francis. When the anxious wait ended Sunday morning with the NHL’s protection list release, Francis and his staff found themselves with a group of potential players that included former all-stars, current team captains and promising young pros. They also had more big names with contracts to match available than the Vegas Golden Knights saw during their expansion draft process in 2017. Chalk that up to a tight-money, flat-cap environment and the fresh memory of mistakes made four years earlier. The fundamental question now facing the Kraken before submitting their final expansion selections on Wednesday morning is how many big contracts to take on. Francis has the green light from ownership to spend to the $81.5-million cap -- and must select players making at least $48.9-million in this draft -- but protecting available space is an advantage they can maintain over most of the league for months and years to come. “The one thing we think is extremely, extremely important in this environment is cap space,” said Francis. There will be some tricky calls. Here’s a look at the 10 most intriguing players left unprotected for the Seattle expansion draft: continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Talking Hockey In Mid-July

(7/18/2021)

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, - The eight-year deal worth $8.45-million per season signed Saturday by Dallas defenceman Miro Heiskanen is just the latest example of how much the Leafs overpaid for Mitch Marner at $10.9 million per season and how much the Sabres overpaid for Jack Eichel at $10 million a year. Heiskanen had 26 points in Dallas’ Stanley Cup run of 2020. Marner has 25 career playoff points. Eichel has none. - I asked an NHL coach if he was surprised by how often the highly skilled Tampa Bay Lightning dump and chase the puck in their offensive structure. His answer surprised me: “Even the elite ‘possession’ teams are still dumping it in 60-70% of the time. It’s the reality of the NHL,” the coach texted. - More than one NHL forward has told me: You don’t want to go into a corner with Shea Weber. Or stand around the Montreal net, for that matter. You can’t quantify what all that means in a hockey game, but you will see a difference when Weber is missing from the Montreal lineup next season. - Zach Bogosian could become the first NHL player to change teams because of COVID-19 restrictions. Bogosian wants to return to an American-based team where his family won’t have to face the kind of restrictions it faced in his first season with the Leafs. But all that could change as Ontario opens up ever so slightly and the Blue Jays story certainly helps. - For reasons not completely explained, the Leafs have virtually ignored drafting and developing goaltenders in the Brendan Shanahan era.... more on the last topic plus other hockey notes...

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Talking Player Movement

(7/18/2021)

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, - Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving didn’t make any deals but we’re told it’s not for a lack of trying. A league executive told this newspaper Saturday afternoon that Treliving has a “a lot of balls in the air” and another added that the Flames are “open for business.” Naturally, the name everybody is keeping an eye on is winger Matthew Tkachuk. His future with the Flames is clouded at best and the indications are the St. Louis Blues are making a hard run to acquire Tkachuk, the son of legendary former winger KeithTkachuk, who still makes his home there. The Blues aren’t the only team in pursuit by they are considered by many to be the frontrunner because Keith works as a scout for St. Louis and would be 100% behind this move. St. Lous will expose forward Vladimir Tarasenko in the expansion draft and if Seattle does select him that will take money off the books. However, Tkachuk isn’t the only name being discussed. The talk is the Flames are also trying to find out what the market is for centre Sean Monahan. This is the second straight summer the Flames have tried to trade the under-performing Monahan, who had 10 goals and 28 points in 50 games last season. There are several teams looking for help in the middle, including the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators, so Monahan may be a fit if those two clubs want to make a move.... - The Chicago Blackhawks are trying to acquire Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets and that’s left GM Stan Bowman trying to clear up roster space. The word Saturday was the club is trying to move RFA D NikitaZadorov to make room for Jones. more