Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

As Always, Too Early To Rate Detroit’s Draft And Fan Finds Larkin


from Jamie Samuelsen at the Detroit Free Press, When Steve Yzerman walked to the stage at the NHL draft and selected defenseman Moritz Seider with the sixth pick in the draft, it was a head-scratcher for most Red Wings fans. Not because they thought Seider was going to be a bust or because they covet some player instead. No, they were angry because Seider was selected higher than he “should have been” and as a result, it constituted a “reach” by Yzerman. Was it a reach? We’re all certainly entitled to our opinions. I, speaking as someone who has never seen Seider wear a pair of skates, much less compete at high levels of hockey, will refrain from judgement. Yzerman has scouted Seider plenty and viewed him as the sixth best player in the draft and the available player that best fit the Red Wings' needs. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Time will tell. And time might take the shape of a four- or five-year wait. More: NHL draft winners and losers: Canadiens get a steal with Cole Caufield at No. 15 Which brings me back to grades. How is it humanly possible to know how good a class is within 48 hours of it being put together? It may take 48 months before we know just how good these players are. Yzerman came on the radio with us on Monday and said it could be four or five years before we can expect some of these players to arrive in the NHL. That’s the nature of drafting in hockey and baseball. read on from Jared Purcell of Mlive,

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Colorado-Arizona Trade


DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has acquired defenseman Kevin Connauton and a third-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for forward Carl Soderberg.  Connauton, 29, skated in 50 games for the Coyotes during the 2018-19 season, tallying eight points (1g/7a).   Selected by Vancouver in the third round (83rd overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft, Connauton has registered 76 points (27g/49a) in 310 career NHL games for the Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets and Coyotes.  The Edmonton, Alberta, native appeared in his 300th NHL contest this past Feb. 12 at Vegas.  “I’d like to thank Carl for everything he has done for the Avalanche both on and off the ice,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President / General Manager Joe Sakic.  “This trade allows some of our young centermen to have a chance to play a more prominent role on our team while adding an experienced defenseman to our roster.”  Connauton established career highs in games (73), goals (11) and points (21) with the Coyotes in 2017-18.  The 6-foot-2, 205-pound rearguard made his NHL debut with the Stars in 2013-14, dressing in 36 regular season games (1g/7a) and four playoff contests (0g/0a).  He was selected to the 2011-12 AHL All-Star Game with the Chicago Wolves in a season in which he had 33 points (13g/20a) in 73 games.  Prior to turning pro, Connauton was named to the WHL (West) First All-Star Team and Canadian Major Junior All-Rookie Team with the Vancouver Giants in 2009-10.

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Draft Recap And UFA Time Soon


from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News, Right now, maybe some of the Red Wings’ 11 draft picks might be viewed as a bit of a reach, maybe bit of gambles. But you get the sense that if any of them reach their potential, the Wings might have hit the jackpot. “That’s our job really,” said Tyler Wright, the Wings’ director of amateur scouting. “It’s not to pick the best player today, but who is going to be the best player at age 21, 22, and 23 foremost. “Some of these kids might not play and that’s just the nature of the beast we deal with. But at the end of the day, we’re trying to build something with what can they bring to the table that can excite us. We’re happy with the draft. We didn’t put an emphasis on saying we’re going to continue to take defensemen or take wingers. "We got good size, we got good people who can skate and are real competitive kids.” The Wings took five defensemen, five forwards and a goaltender — they obtained an extra seventh-round pick from Buffalo late in the day — and came away with several players who are generally considered to have large, untapped upsides. “The only emphasis was trying to do our homework and make sure we knew all these kids well and pick the best possible prospects we could,” general manager Steve Yzerman said. “We’re drafting kids who we hope have a lot of upside. continued Below, Ansar Khan and Helene St. James with more on the Wings.

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Adding To The Talent Pool


Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News looks at the draft for the Wings (Pistons too), This is the first chance to see the new guy running the Wings, kid by the name of Steve Yzerman, whose team-building acumen is well-established.... It’s understandable if the Wings aren’t interested in risk, not yet. They have the No. 6 overall pick, three more in the second round and five of the first 66. They have a chance to shake it up — Yzerman was a willing draft-day dealer with the Lightning and could be so Friday — but they don’t need to, not with plenty of talent available at No. 6. They like the direction of their rebuild and Yzerman has time and leeway.... The Wings are in a difference place, flush with talented young forwards such as Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi. They need a goalie for the future and they definitely need defensemen, via the draft or free-agency starting July 1.... “We have spots on the roster available, but before doing it through trade, I’d look at free-agency to fill those spots,” Yzerman said. “I also want to have some opportunity for our younger players. I’m not gonna sign a free-agent just to sign a free-agent.” The Wings should get a very good prospect at No. 6, as they did a year ago when Filip Zadina fell to them. It’s unclear if Yzerman will go bold or safe, and there are intriguing possibilities. Russian winger Vasily Podkolzin might be the third-best prospect overall, but he’s under contract in the KHL. An NHL team could take him, let him develop, then have a seasoned player in two years, as long as he’s willing to leave Russia. Another fascinating player is winger Cole Caufield, the most-prolific goal-scorer in the draft, although he’s only 5-7. more