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Golden Knights GM willing to take on big contracts ‘for the right price’

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A hectic offseason in the NHL may get a jump-start at the beginning of next week.

The expansion draft for the Vegas Golden Knights is approaching on June 21, but the organization’s general manager George McPhee appears open for business well before that critical date.

On Saturday, he suggested that trades with other clubs could soon be made official, as Vegas continues to build its roster for next season and beyond.

“We’re far enough along with a few teams that my plan is to sit on the phone all day Monday, Tuesday to see what we can accomplish,” McPhee said, per the Associated Press. “We’ve had some real good discussions and I expect some things will start happening next week.”

The addition of another team in the league may also provide other clubs with an opportunity to shed some salary against the cap. McPhee certainly seems open to the idea of acquiring some bigger contracts. But in doing so, he would also demand willing teams add in a draft pick to the deal, as well.

“We are willing to take on a couple of contracts that people would like to move,” he said, per the Boston Globe.

“We have a lot of teams that are offering us big contracts. And I know what it’s like to be on the other side and be tight on the cap. It’s hard to move contracts. So they are looking at us as an opportunity to move a contract. We’ll take a few of those — for the right price.”

There have already been rumblings that Vegas and Chicago could work out a deal, with a report from TSN’s Frank Seravalli indicating the Blackhawks could allow the Golden Knights to take Trevor van Riemsdyk in the expansion draft on the “consideration” they also take Marcus Kruger in a trade. Kruger enters the second year of a three-year, $9.25 million contract, with a modified no-trade clause that kicks in for next season, per CapFriendly.

“Well, I don’t think there is anything that’s not on the table when it comes to a situation like this,” said Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to TSN.

Related: Key dated for Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft

Canucks name new head coach of AHL affiliate

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The Vancouver Canucks have finally settled on a head coach for their AHL affiliate.

Today, Trent Cull was named new bench boss of the Utica Comets.

Cull replaces Travis Green, the new head coach of the Canucks.

“Trent is a passionate head coach with significant AHL experience,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said in a release. “He understands the development path of a young player, including the challenges they face, and has been a part of many successful organizations. Trent is a teacher with a positive, energetic work ethic. We’re excited to welcome him and his family to our organization.”

The past four seasons, Cull has been an assistant coach for AHL Syracuse. The Crunch made it all the way to the 2017 Calder Cup Final, where they lost to Grand Rapids.

Cull, 43, has never been a head coach in the AHL, though he did hold that role for three years with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves from 2010-13.

It’s believed the Canucks’ first choice for the Utica job was Rocky Thompson. However, Thompson chose instead to become head coach of Vegas’ AHL affiliate in Chicago.

Construction worker dies after fall at Detroit arena

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DETROIT (AP) A worker has died after falling 75 feet at the Little Caesars Arena worksite north of downtown Detroit.

Deputy Detroit Fire Commissioner David Fornell says the 46-year-old man was in cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived about 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Other workers had started cardiopulmonary resuscitation which first responders continued. The man was taken to a Detroit hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Fornell says officials were told the man was an electrical worker and may have fallen from a catwalk. He says the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration likely will investigate.

The arena will be home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and the NBA’s Pistons. It is scheduled to open this fall.

More on the story from the Detroit Free Press

Habs extend De La Rose — one year, $725,000

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Montreal secured some forward depth on Wednesday, agreeing to terms with Jacob De La Rose.

De La Rose, 22, was taken 34th overall at the 2013 draft and has appeared in 64 games for Montreal over the last three seasons. He had a nice debut for the club in ’14-15 — appearing in 33 regular-season contests, and 12 playoff games — but has since spent the majority of his time in AHL St. John’s.

That might not be the case moving forward, however.

De La Rose’s deal is worth $725,000 (per TSN) and, importantly, is of the one-way variety. There could be more opportunities at forward next season. Montreal has already said it’ll pass on bringing back UFAs Brian Flynn and Dwight King, and it’s unclear if the club will get a deal done with Alexander Radulov.

It’s also unclear what GM Marc Bergevin plans to do with Alex Galchenyuk, who’s been the subject of numerous trade rumors.

Even after bad season in Buffalo, Kulikov generating strong interest as UFA

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Dmitry Kulikov had a bad season in Buffalo. There’s no debating that.

Not only did the defenseman struggle statistically, finishing minus-26 with just two goals and three assists, he also had trouble staying healthy, appearing in just 47 games for the Sabres.

But despite all that, Kulikov seems to be generating plenty of interest as an unrestricted free agent. Presumably, the hope among his many suitors is that he can bounce back, so long as he’s put in a better situation.

Kulikov is still just 26. And before he was traded to Buffalo a year ago, he’d had a number of respectable seasons with the Florida Panthers.

It’s why the Sabres were so happy to get him.

“He’s a good player,” then-GM Tim Murray said last June, per NHL.com. “I like guys that are honest, I like guys that are hard to play against, I certainly like guys that can make a tape-to-tape pass, and with our forwards, I think if he can make a tape-to-tape pass, good things are going to happen in transition with the skill and speed we already have here, so he’s just a great fit.”

Of course, it wasn’t a great fit, and Murray is no longer the GM.

As for Kulikov, there’s “about a dozen” interested teams, according to his agent. Ottawa and Winnipeg are believed to be among them.