Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Acquisition of Jason Arnott doesn't take Devils out of Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes

Acquisition of Jason Arnott doesn't take Devils out of Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes
Richard Chere The Star Ledger June 19, 2010

Jason Arnott brings size, strength, a powerful shot and experience to the Devils.

The veteran center also brings a $4.5 million salary.

But Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said Arnott’s salary doesn’t take the Devils out of the running to possibly sign both defenseman Paul Martin and winger Ilya Kovalchuk. Both can become unrestricted free agents July 1.

“No. You have to do other things to make room,” the GM said. “We didn’t win. We’re going to have to make some changes. There are going to be some changes that might surprise some people.

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Draft Rewind: Tim Erixon

Flames 2009 Draft Rewind
Kristi Hennessy June 21, 2010

Although Tim Erixon was actually born in Port Chester, New York, he began playing hockey in Sweden at the age of five. His father Jan moved his family back to Sweden after he retired from the New York Rangers.

His professional hockey career began with Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Elite League (SEL) at the age of 17. In his first full season with Skelleftea, Erixon recorded seven points in 45 games by the end of the 2008-09 season.

The 6’2”, 190-pound defender represented Sweden at the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championships and the 2009 World Junior Championships where he brought home a silver medal. He made a third Team Sweden appearance at the 2010 World Junior Championships held in Saskatchewan, Canada. He posted a goal and two assists in five games and took home a bronze medal.

Erixon was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the first round (23rd overall) and was ranked as the 5th ranked European skater according to NHL Central Scouting. The Flames consider him a well-rounded player; not expected to be an offensive minded defenseman, but a player with a good vision on the ice.

Erixon attended the 2009 development camp last summer but knew all along that he would return to his team in Sweden for at least one more season. Last season, he recorded 13 assists in 45 games with Skellefea (SEL) and added one goal in 12 playoff games.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kovalchuk and Volchenkov, 1 and 3 respectively in Yahoo! Sports Top 50 Free agents

The NHL's top 50 unrestricted free agents
Sam McCraig Yahoo! Sports June 16, 2010

NHL free agency begins on July 1, the date when most of the league’s general managers leave sanity behind and spend ownership’s money faster than you can say “salary cap.”

Here’s a look at the top 50 players who are eligible for unrestricted free agency:

1. Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, NJ – Goals, speed and superstar street cred. Kovalchuk is easily the most talented player on the open market...

3. Anton Volchenkov, D, Ott – A shot-blocking, bodychecking, stay-at-home stud...few defensemen are more proficient in their own zone than Volchenkov.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Province's UFA of the Day -- Ilya Kovalchuk

Mike Halford The Province June 15, 2010

From now until June 30, we'll be taking a daily look at this year's unrestricted free agency class. Today's UFA of the Day? Ilya Kovalchuk.

Age: 27

NHL seasons: 8

2009-10 team/salary: Atlanta Thrashers/New Jersey Devils, $6.4 million

Why teams might want him: If there's a (goalscoring) problem yo, he'll solve it.

Point blank, Kovalchuk is a consistently elite sniper. He's posted six straight 40-goal seasons (and two 50-plus goal campaigns) which, in terms of goalscoring prowess, puts him in some pretty rarefied air. Since the lockout, only Alexander Ovechkin has scored more goals -- that puts Kovy ahead of snipe shows like Dany Heatley, Sidney Crosby, Marian Gaborik, Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa, to name a few.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

St. Louis Blues Sign 2009 1st-round pick David Rundblad

Posted by Nathan Fournier, The World of Junior Hockey

Press Release June 11, 2010

St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced Thursday the club has signed defenseman David Rundblad (RUHND-blahd), who was the Blues first selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

“By signing David and adding him to the fold, we continue to keep our blueline depth strong,” said Davidson. “We have been impressed with the progress he’s made since we drafted him last year and are looking forward to watching his development towards the NHL.”

Rundblad, 19, has spent the past three seasons with Skelleftea HC of the Swedish Elite League (SEL).

In 2009-10, the Lycksele, Sweden native played in 47 games for Skelleftea posting 13 points on a goal and 12 assists to go along with 14 penalty minutes. In total, the 6’2”, 189-pound defenseman has made 98 appearances for the Swedish side accumulating 23 points including a goal, 22 assists and 24 penalty minutes.

In addition, Rundblad represented Sweden in both the 2009 and 2010 IIHF World Junior Championships, helping the team capture the Silver Medal in 2009 and Bronze in 2010. At the 2009 Championship, he posted a goal and an assist to go along with a plus-3 rating in six games while in 2010 he increased production to a goal, four assists and a plus-9 mark in six appearances.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Insider Draft Video: Frederik Anderson (Goalie, Denmark) - Latvia v Denmark 5:3

Insider Draft Video: Frederik Anderson (Goalie, Denmark) - Latvia v Denmark 1:0

Draft Value: Sergei Zubov Best Return On Investment For NHL Defensemen

Defensive Value Over Two Decades
Alvin Change NHL Draft Blog, ESPN June 10, 2010

1. Sergei Zubov, New York Rangers

1990, Round 5, No. 85 overall
Expected: 0.125 points per game
Actual: 0.722
Difference: 0.597

In the 1990 draft, only seven European players were taken in the first four rounds of the draft. In the fifth round, the floodgates opened with four Europeans in that round -- the first of which was Zubov. The Rangers took a chance on Zubov and fellow Soviet player Sergei Nemochinov, despite getting limited looks at them. After the draft, Rangers coach Roger Neilson told the Toronto Star, "I have never coached a Soviet player so I have no feeling either way about them. I don't see how they can be any different than Swedes or Czechs." For the next two years, the Rangers wouldn't get many chances to watch Zubov in Russia but, in 1992, he came over to North America. The following year, Zubov made it to the NHL to play for Neilson. But after less than 10 games, Neilson was fired. Of players drafted in the last 20 years, Zubov is No. 1 in scoring with 771 points. He played in the KHL last season.

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The Red Line Super Sleeper Pick: Frederik Anderson

The Red Line Super Sleeper Pick: Frederik Anderson
The Red Line Report June, 2010

What initially caught our attention at the Worlds in Germany was his size: Anderson has a huge frame 6-4/220 that NHL clubs are looking for these days. Then we noticed that he had pretty darn good athleticism and made lots of acrobatic saves. Also, he never gives up on a play and is a mentally strong battler who gives his outmanned club a chance to win every game. Plus, he's got a quick glove. Pretty soon, he had our undivided attention.

Frederik Anderson's Complete Stats

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Perttu Lindgren Scores For Texas Stars In Game 4 of Calder Cup Finals

Hershey Ties Series with 4-2 Win over Texas
Our Sports Central June 9, 2010

Stars centers Greg Rallo and Perttu Lindgren each notched a goal, and forward Travis Morin added two assists in the defeat at home. Texas will host Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals on Friday night at 7:30 PM at Cedar Park Center.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Evgeny Kuznetsov The Scouting Report's #16 Prospect For The 2010 NHL Entry Draft

The Scouting Report

#16. Evgeny Kuznetsov RW Traktor (KHL)

Date of Birth: May 19th, 1992
Height: 6.00
Weight: 174lbs.
Shoots: L
Season Statistics: Regular Season | 35GP 2G 7A 9P 10PIM
Playoffs | 4GP 1G 0A 1P 0PIM
TSR Midterm Rank: 17 | Position Rank: 11th Forwards
League Rank: 2nd KHL | Country Rank: 3rd Russia

Despite flying under the radar most of the year, generally the result of playing out of the North American sphere of influence, Kuznetsov has gradually proved that he is one of the most pure offensive talents available in this draft crop.

Kuznetsov has spent his development years working his way up the organizational chart with Traktor-Chelyabinsk, but made his first foray into the international spotlight last season. After a very impressive showing with the Russian U17 team, where he notched 6 goals and 10 points in only 5 tournament games, he was outstanding at the U18’s as an underager, where he managed 6 goals and 13 points in only 7 games played.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

RLD Hockey Talk - Episode 20 - 6/8/10

We will have Anthony Curatolo and Buddy Oakes as our co-hosts. Two great guests will join us! Draft prospect Nick Bjugstad and agent Jay Grossman are scheduled to be our guests. We'll also touch on the ongoing Stanley Cup Final, and whether will skate the Cup tomorrow... or if a Game 7 will be necessary. You don't want to miss this one!

Click Here to Listen to Jay Grossman on RLD Hockey Talk

What Would You Do To Land the Most Prized UFA?

What Would You Do To Land the Most Prized UFA?
Michelle Kenneth, Michelle Kenneth's Hockey and Musings Blog, June 8, 2010

The #1 UFA approaching the market is none other than Ilya Kovalchuk.

While most people think that Kovalchuk will sign in the KHL (because who wouldn’t want to be paid an exorbitant amount of money for a short amount of time), whoever said that Kovalchuk was all about money?

There are elements that people leave out in how Kovalchuk will make his decision. The #1 factor…Kovalchuk is a family man. He wants to go to a FAMILY ORIENTED TEAM.

There are things that Kovalchuk changed about the way he played and the way he was a team member, just to fit into the dynamics of the New Jersey Devils for a few months. What makes you think he wasn’t INTERVIEWING the Devils for the job as his new workplace?

Kovalchuk can go to just about any team in the world right now. But where he ends up going has everything to do with where he wants to relocate his family. Kovalchuk is a family man, so his decisions will be purely based on what team and location will benefit his family the most.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Perttu Lindgren and Texas Stars Take Down Bears And Earn 2-0 Series Lead In Calder Cup Finals


Texas Stars May 5, 2010

The Texas Stars (14-6) defeated the Hershey Bears (12-5) 4-3 on Saturday night in front of 10,872 fans at the Giant Center in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals. Texas forward Travis Morin scored the game-winning goal with 46 seconds remaining in the contest, giving the Stars the victory and a 2-0 series lead heading home for Game 3 on Monday at Cedar Park Center. Forwards Aaron Gagnon and Mathieu Beaudoin also scored as Texas improved to 8-4 on the road in the playoffs. Stars defenseman Garrett Stafford also netted a goal, as Texas handed Hershey the first set of back-to-back regulation losses at home this year (playoffs and regular season). Texas goalie Matt Climie (7-3) made 25 saves, helping the team to its fourth straight victory. Hershey forwards Steve Pinizzotto, Andrew Gordon and Francois Bouchard each scored in the loss. Hershey goalie Michal Neuvirth (10-4) stopped 19 Texas shots in the defeat. Texas will host Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals on Monday night at 7:30 pm at Cedar Park Center.

In the second period, the teams traded goals once again. Texas pushed in front with the first power-play goal of the series at 11:03 of the middle frame. Stars defenseman Garrett Stafford blasted a shot that deflected off a Hershey defender and into the Bears net for the 2-1 Texas lead. Stars defenseman Andrew Hutchinson and forward Perttu Lindgren assisted on Stafford’s fourth goal of the playoffs. Hershey countered to tie the game 2-2 at 11:49. Forward Francois Bouchard blasted a one-timer from the high-slot, beating Texas goalie Matt Climie on the stick side for his fourth goal of the playoffs. Hershey defenseman Patrick Wellar and forward Ashton Rome picked up the assist on the Bears second goal of the night.

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Inside Kovalchuk's value, where he will sign as free-agent star

Dmitry Chesnokov Yahoo! Sports Puck Daddy June 5, 2010

There is no name entering this summer's free agency bigger than Ilya Kovalchuk.

Come to think of it, there has not been a player entering the free agency bigger than Ilya Kovalchuk in the "new" salary cap NHL. Some arguments may be made about players like Marian Hossa or Brian Campbell. But they are just not on the same level.

A few things will come into play when Kovalchuk makes his career choice this summer: He is looking for commitment, which means there will be no 1-year deals for a chance at the Cup. He wants the team he chooses to be a contender throughout his stay there. Compensation is also very important. And the city is important -- Kovalchuk has three children.

What about the money? How could he have turned down $100 million with the Atlanta Thrashers? And how much is he looking to get?

First of all, all that talk about the KHL is just lunacy. There is no chance he is going back to Russia, regardless of how many oil dollars they try to throw at him.

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For Devils, Kovalchuk Means Much More than Goals and Assists

The Devil's Advocate June 4, 2010

On the evening of February 4, GM Lou Lamoriello galvanized the fanbase and his slumping team behind the explosive Russian sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, the league’s most prolific scorer since 2004; and while Kovalchuk did not deliver the astronomical offensive production the Devils hoped for and needed, he did provide flashes of brilliance and a boatload of heart, something his teammates sorely lacked during their swift playoff exit.

Kovalchuk wasn’t flawless by any means, though. He frequently turned over the puck on the powerplay, and his insistence on skating through the entire opposing team was often met by pokechecks and groans from wide-open teammates. Yet his persistence and physicality was admirable, particularly considering the rest of the team looked nauseatingly indifferent. Kovalchuk’s ten goals were not enough to revitalize the Devils’ offense, but he was a point-per-game player in twenty seven regular season games and five playoff contests.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Evgeny Kuznetsov International Scouting Service's #19 Prospect Overall For 2010 NHL Entry Draft

The International Scouting Services announced its final rankings for the upcoming 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

19. Evgeny Kuznetsov (KHL, Traktor Chelyabinsk)

Lindgren dazzling in AHL, looking to take next step

By John Tranchina

By now, everyone knows how Dallas Stars rookie Jamie Benn has been tearing up the AHL playoffs for the organization’s top minor league affiliate, the Texas Stars, who are based in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park.

What Stars fans may not realize is that another significant contributor to the farm club’s storybook run to the Calder Cup Finals has been Finnish center Perttu Lindgren.

Lindgren’s six post-season goals trails only Benn’s league-leading 14 on the squad, while his eight assists give him 14 points in 18 games, including a virtuoso performance when it mattered most. Lindgren scored a goal and two assists in the Stars’ 4-2 win in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals last Wednesday night on the road at Hamilton, ensuring a trip to the Finals. He capped off the club’s comeback from a 2-0 second period deficit by connecting for the game-winning goal with six minutes remaining in the third period.

“Perttu, that guy has got a great set of hands,” noted Texas wingerRaymond Sawada. “He can dipsy-doodle in a phone booth with five other guys in there. He’s a tremendously-skilled hockey player and when he gets out there on the power play, even 5-on-5, if you give him some room, he’s going to do some special things with that puck.”

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Kovalchuk and Volchenkov, 1 and 3 respectively in Fanhouse Top 50 Free agents

NHL free agency begins July 1, as teams begin to wine and dine players hitting the market in hopes of filling holes and landing the guy they think can get them closer to the Stanley Cup.

Below, we rank the Top 50 unrestricted free agents available. Restricted free agents weren't included because their movement is rare. After the first five or six players there's a pretty significant drop in terms of impact players. It's a shallow pool for forwards, and a bit deeper for defensemen. Shot-blocking, stay-at-home defensemen appear to be the strength.

Also note that this list would have included Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne, two unrestricted free agents, but both players are expected to either re-sign with their current team, the Ducks, or retire. Another team seems very unlikely for both


Age: 26 | Experience: 8 years | '09-10 Team: Thrashers/Devils
2009-10 Stats: 41 g | 44 a | 85 pt

The Skinny: There's only a small handful of quality wingers available in this year's free agent market, and Kovalchuk is the easily the best of the bunch. One of the most explosive goal-scorers in the NHL, Kovalchuk is coming off his sixth-straight 40-goal season and is going to command top dollar on the open market. It's not often that a player this talented, this young, becomes available on the open market to the highest bidder.


Age: 28 | Experience: 7 years | '09-10 Team: Senators
2009-10 Stats: 4 g | 10 a | 14 pt

The Skinny: One of the best shutdown defensemen in the NHL and still on the right side of 30, Volchenkov is set to strike it rich on the free agent market, perhaps commanding a deal north of $5 million per season. After seeing the success of players like Hal Gill and Josh Gorges in the postseason, why wouldn't a team want to invest in one of the best defensive-defenseman in the NHL?

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