Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

VGK Trade Ryan Reaves To The NYR

(7/30/2021)

I go out for the first night in six months to ave a burger and a few pops.  Of course a trade is made. NEW YORK, July 29, 2021 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury announced today that the team has acquired forward Ryan Reaves from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Reaves, 34, skated in 37 games with Vegas this past season, registering one goal and four assists for five points, along with 27 penalty minutes. He led the NHL (min. 20 games played) in hits per 60 minutes of ice time in 2020-21 (23.02), and he also led the Golden Knights in hits (141) this past season. Reaves skated in 12 games during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs while helping the Golden Knights advance to the Semifinals. The 6-2, 225-pounder has skated in 686 career NHL games over parts of 11 seasons (2010-11 – 2020-21) with St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Vegas, registering 49 goals and 52 assists for 101 points, along with 937 penalty minutes. Since the start of his first NHL season in 2010-11, Reaves ranks third in the NHL in hits (2,322), ranks seventh in the NHL in major penalties (75), and ranks eighth in the league in penalty minutes. He has averaged at least 20 hits per 60 minutes of ice time in each of his 11 NHL seasons, and he led the NHL in hits in back-to-back seasons in 2018-19 (305) and 2019-20 (316). Reaves has helped his team advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the last 10 seasons, and he has skated in 84 postseason games in his NHL career. He helped Vegas advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017-18, and he also helped the Golden Knights advance to at least the third round of the playoffs in three of his four seasons with the team. Reaves was coached by current Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant for parts of three seasons with Vegas (2017-18 – 2019-20). The Winnipeg, Manitoba native was originally selected by St. Louis in the fifth round, 156th overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

A Small Blurb On The UFA Signings

(7/29/2021)

from Justin Bourne of Sportsnet, When I agreed to write two sentences on every signing from UFA day in the NHL – something I’ve done numerous times in the past – I hadn’t banked on there being 63,000 signings. We got our work cut out for us here folks, so let’s dive in. We’ll start with the first registered deal, and work our way up to most recent. Brandon Montour, D, Florida Contract: Three years, $3.5 million AAV Florida made a similar bet to the one they made with Sam Bennett here. That’s that the player who excelled for them over a small post-deadline sample is indeed that player, and not the guy he had more commonly been in the years prior. Blake Coleman, RW, Calgary Contract: Six years, $4.9 million AAV When you hire Darryl Sutter to coach your team, you’re not putting him in a position to succeed if you don’t get him some players who play the brand of hockey he wants to play. This is too much money, but Coleman’s exactly what they’re looking for, so in a way it’s like smart clothes shopping – you’re better off spending more for something you’ll actually use than less for something you won’t wanna put out there. Frederik Andersen, G, Carolina Contract: Two years, $4.5 million AAV Andersen became polarizing to Leafs fans, but I’ve long been Team Freddy. He’s a big, solid, quiet, bonafide NHL starter, and while there are real signs of decline there, he’s as good a bet as any UFA goalie out there to have a good season in 2021-22. continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Is The Goaltending In Toronto Good Enough To Win The Cup?

(7/29/2021)

from Michael Traikos of the National Post, While the Tampa Bay Lightning won back-to-back championships with four-time Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy as their unquestioned starter, the line between elite No. 1 goalie and flavour-of-the-month has never been so blurred — or so confusing. Maybe that is why so many teams are now treating the position as though it is the NHL’s version of a bullpen. It’s all about quantity — not quality — these days, with teams preferring tandems and riding the hot hand for all it’s worth, before discarding it once it goes cold. And so, Mrazek replaces Frederik Andersen as the Leafs’ 1B on a three-year deal where he and Campbell will presumably share the net. In a division that includes Vasilevskiy, Montreal’s Carey Price and Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky, you’d be hard-pressed to say that the Leafs have improved their chances of getting out of the first round. “It never felt for us like we had a tandem,” Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said of Campbell and Andersen, who evenly split the net last season. “It was just whoever was healthy was playing. Mrazek has done (a tandem) in Carolina, but also carried the ball as a starter. We think they will push each other.” At the same time, Dubas admitted that it’s not like the Leafs had the cap space to go “big-game hunting” for a big-name goalie. Even they did, why would they waste the money on a position where you don’t necessarily get what you pay for. read on

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Pieces Are Falling Into Place For The Wings

(7/29/2021)

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit Red Wings added a trusted veteran and a promising late bloomer to their lineup on the opening day of free agency. Forward Sam Gagner’s one-year extension clocked in before the NHL's so-called "silly season" began, continuing a relationship that began at the 2019-20 trade deadline. After his acquisition from Edmonton, he became a leader in the locker room and a calming, versatile presence on the ice. Later, in the afternoon, forward Pius Suter was signed for two years and a total of $6.5 million. A former juniors teammate of Tyler Bertuzzi and Robby Fabbri, Suter didn’t reach the NHL full-time until he was 24, posting 27 points in 55 games last season. The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t tend the 5-feet-11, 176-pound Swiss native a qualifying offer, but there was a fit for him with the Wings, who are desperate to improve their offense. Suter, a former Swiss League MVP who turned 25 in May, is expected to battle for a spot in the Wings' top six. Suter scored 14 goals last season, with five coming against the Wings. His first three of the season one game, Jan. 24 in a 6-2 Blackhawks win over the Wings in Chicago. After scoring 11 goals in Chicago's first 35 games, he only had three in their final 21. Suter wasn’t immediately available to media Wednesday. Gagner, who turns 32 in August, has shown how he can impact a rebuilding team. “I think when you’re going through something like that as an organization, you need veteran players that can help lead the way, but you need to be able to play,” Gagner said. “I think I still have a lot of game left. I kind of found myself in a new role last year that I really enjoyed — being able to play on the penalty kill and the power play, kind of anywhere in the lineup, in different positions, is something that I would consider an asset. “I’m looking forward to getting back there and helping the team grow in any way I can. We have a really good group, a great group of guys. I think we’re closer than people would expect. We’re a better team than people would expect.” continued ($$$)