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Posted On Monday, 08.06.2012 / 7:46 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Camp under way

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp got into full swing Monday, with split squad exhibition games against Finland and Sweden.

We'll have reports on those games a bit later. For now, take a minute to familiarize yourself with some of the top junior talent that is using the week-long camp as the first auditions for shots at the 2013 World Junior Championship, which runs Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2013, in Ufa, Russia.

Among the 45 players U.S. coach Phil Housley is evaluating are just three players from last year's team that finished seventh in Alberta.

Sweden will have seven players from last year's team that won the gold medal, including Mika Zibanejad, who scored the championship-winning overtime goal against Russia. Finland's team is led by Alexander Barkov, a top candidate to be taken in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 08.02.2012 / 9:21 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Justin Williams gets his day in the sun

8:50 a.m.: Justin Williams arrived at his offseason home in Ventnor City, N.J., with the Stanley Cup in tow.

It's the second time Williams will spend a day with the Cup, and for this year's celebration, he's got some interesting plans.

The day is starting with some time with family and friends, followed by a pontoon boat ride on the bay.

There also will be a street hockey game with some friends, some time at City Hall, and a party and autograph session at Caesar's in Atlantic City.

Justin Williams' brother-in-law and his girlfriend of six years, Dana, were sipping champagne and orange juice out of the Cup when Pat dropped to one knee, pulled out a ring and proposed. (Photo: NHL.com)

10:10 a.m.: Every marriage proposal is a memorable one, but when you do it with the Stanley Cup as a backdrop, well, that's a tough one to beat.

On a boat ride with family and friends, Justin Williams' brother-in-law and his girlfriend of six years, Dana, were sipping champagne and orange juice out of the Cup when Pat dropped to one knee, pulled out a ring and proposed.

Dana, of course, said yes.

"This is for life," Williams said. "We're a part of the story they're going to tell forever. I'm happy to be a part of it and I'm happy Kelly and I were able to accommodate her brother."

Pat said the plan was months in the making.

"I was thinking the Cup is going to be there, and Justin said, 'OK,' " Pat said.

"I'm just glad she said yes," Williams said.

1:05 p.m.: Playing like a mix of Jacques Plante and Jonathan Quick, Justin Williams backstopped his team to an 8-4 win in a road hockey game on a community tennis court.

Playing without a mask -- shots were kept low, of course -- Williams did his best impersonation of his Conn Smythe-winning teammate.

Williams might not have a future in net, but he impressed his teammates.

"He's got some new bruises, they match his eyes," said longtime friend Nick Bayley. "He didn't wear a mask, so we're going back to the days you didn't have to wear a mask. He just did what he had to do, which was stop the ball."

The only other injury was to Craig Williams, Justin's father, who was cut on the head by an errant stick.

"My team really gave it their all, blocking a lot of shots," Justin said. "My dad got a stick up high, but he stayed after it. My competitive juices come from both my parents, but as you saw he's a competitor."

Like the saying goes, "Because it's the Cup."

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Posted On Thursday, 07.05.2012 / 4:00 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Flyers add Fedotenko and Gervais

The Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday signed forward Ruslan Fedotenko and defenseman Bruno Gervais. Terms of the deals were not released, but ESPN.com is reporting Gervais' deal is for two years at $825,000 per season, while Fedotenko will make $1.75 million on a one-year deal.

Fedotenko, 33, returns to the team he started his NHL career with as an undrafted free agent in 2000-01. He had nine goals and 11 assists in 73 regular-season games with the New York Rangers last season, and two goals and five assists in 20 playoff games.

In 816 NHL games with the Flyers, Lightning, Islanders, Penguins and Rangers, the left wing has 169 goals and 184 assists. He also has a pair of Stanley Cup rings, with the 2004 Lightning and 2009 Penguins.

"I think the opportunity to add Ruslan, and his ability to play a lot of different roles on a team … he can play any wing, he can probably play center if you need," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. "The fact that he's won a couple times, the fact that he’s been here before, both played into the decision to move forward with him. We’ve actually tried to sign Ruslan a couple times over the last few years and we’ve always missed out. I like him, and I think he's going to bring a lot to our team in terms of leadership, and I think he's a winner. I really do."

Gervais, 27, had six goals and seven assists in 50 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season. A 2003 sixth-round pick of the New York Islanders, Gervais has 81 points in 381 NHL games with the Islanders and Lightning.

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Posted On Monday, 07.02.2012 / 9:20 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Jets sign Olli Jokinen

The Winnipeg Jets have found their No. 1 center in Olli Jokinen.

The Jets signed the unrestricted free agent to a two-year contract Monday night. TSN is reporting the deal will pay Jokinen a total of $9 million.

"Olli is someone that we identified when we went through the process of identifying a players that would be available at the free agency time," Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said. "We were looking to get at centerman if we could and we were very fortunate to get him. We're very excited about getting him. He's got the size, a tremendous amount of experience. He had great consistency over the years. With adding the size of [Alexei] Ponikarovsky and now Jokinen, we're a bigger and harder team to play against.

"We're very excited about the opportunity to bring in a front-line player and top-six player into the organization."
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Posted On Monday, 07.02.2012 / 8:59 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Radulov returns to KHL

Free-agent forward Alexander Radulov has chosen to return to the KHL, signing a four-year contract with CSKA. The announcement was made on the team's website.

Radulov had spent the previous three seasons with Salavat Yulaev in the KHL before returning to the NHL with the Nashville Predators late last season. Radulov had spent two seasons with the Predators before jumping to the KHL while still under contract with Nashville.

He had three goals and four assists in nine regular-season games to help the Predators finish fourth in the Western Conference.

In the Stanley Cup Playoffs he had six points in eight games as the Predators advanced to the Western Conference semifinals, but caused controversy when he was suspended for a game against the Phoenix Coyotes for missing curfew, and then made a healthy scratch for a second game.

After the season ended, Predators general manager David Poile publicly said Radulov, a restricted free agent, would not return to the club.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 1:38 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Boucher injury could open door for Peters

With Carolina Hurricanes veteran backup goalie Brian Boucher expected to miss 4-6 months with a shoulder injury, the team could feel extra urgency to re-sign Justin Peters.

The 25-year-old Peters went 2-3-2 in seven NHL games last season, spending most of the season with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. He went 10-13-2 with a 2.77 GAA and .907 save percentage in 28 games.

"Even prior to that injury to Boucher, with the way Peters played last year -- he got to play more games in Charlotte, which is why we signed Boucher, and with the way he played when he came up here -- he has always been in the mix of conversation of being one of our two goalies this coming year," Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford told the team's website.

Rutherford said no decision on the goaltending would come before July 1.

"Obviously this thing with Brian's injury gives Justin a better chance, but the fact that we're this close to July 1, we're probably going to wait a few days into [the free agency period] to make a decision," he said.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 12:09 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Is Schultz's list set?

Coveted free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz reportedly has cut his list of desirable teams to sign with to five.

TSN reported Wednesday that the Canucks, Maple Leafs, Rangers, Senators and Oilers have made the cut. Among those eliminated from the bidding were the Red Wings, Flyers and Blackhawks.

Schultz has been in Toronto the last two days for meetings with his agents and prospective teams. TSN reported that with his final list of teams set, he'll begin another round of talks.

Schultz, a 21-year-old 2008 draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks, became an unrestricted free agent last week when he withdrew from the University of Wisconsin and failed to reach a deal with the Ducks in the team's exclusive 30-day negotiating window.

A two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist at Wisconsin, Schultz is considered by many scouts as the best player not currently in the NHL.

Schultz is eligible for a two-year, entry-level contract, so the financial package from each team is the same. Instead, he's looking for the best roster fit, including a chance to step onto a team and play top-four defense minutes right away. And the native of West Kelowna, B.C., also reportedly would like to play for a Canadian team, preferably in the west.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 9:27 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Schultz rules out Red Wings

Free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz appears to be shrinking the number of teams he's interested in.

The Detroit Red Wings, thought to be a favorite to sign the coveted 21-year-old blueliner, were told Thursday that Schultz would not be signing with them.

"I was told we are not on his list of teams," Red Wings GM Ken Holland told the Detroit News. "We expressed our interest to his agent (Don Meehan). They went over all the information (Wednesday)."

Schultz has spent the last two days in Toronto meeting with his agents and prospective teams, including the Edmonton Oilers.

A native of West Kelowna, B.C., Schultz is eligible for a two-year entry-level contract, which reportedly will contain a base salary of $925,000, and with bonuses can reach $3.77 million. So while the financial offers are the same from each team, Schultz is basing his decision on where he could fit on a team's roster -- he reportedly wants to play for a team that can offer him top-four defense minutes.

He also reportedly is hoping to play for a Canadian team, and preferably stay in the west. That means the Canucks, Flames and Oilers -- who sent a delegation led by team president Kevin Lowe to meet with Schultz on Wednesday -- could be front-runners. Other reported possible landing spots are the Maple Leafs (Wisconsin teammate and close friend Jake Gardiner plays there), Rangers, Flyers, Blackhawks and Senators, but their hopes could be dwindling like the Red Wings.

Selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the 2008 draft, Schultz blossomed in three seasons at the University of Wisconsin. He was a two-time conference defensive player of the year and a Hobey Baker finalist the past two seasons. He led all NCAA defensemen last season in goals, points and power-play goals.

He withdrew from school after his junior year, and when he didn't sign with Anaheim during a 30-day window of exclusivity that ended last week, he became an unrestricted free agent.

Schultz is considered by many to be third on the list of most desired free agents this summer, after New Jersey's Zach Parise and Nashville's Ryan Suter.

While some are questioning why so much attention is being paid to a player yet to skate in an NHL game, Schultz is considered by many to be the best player not currently in the League.

"His foundation of skating is excellent," NHL Network analyst Craig Button told NHL.com. "He has speed, quickness and agility and is able to use his abilities to beat pressure defensively and to move into advantageous positions and be a threat offensively. … Overall, he's a player who is capable of controlling the pace and tempo of play when he has the puck. He's a player who wants to make a difference in the game. I think he has a chance to be a top-end defenseman."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 9:27 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Schultz rules out Red Wings

Free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz appears to be shrinking the number of teams he's interested in.

The Detroit Red Wings, thought to be a favorite to sign the coveted 21-year-old blueliner, were told Thursday that Schultz would not be signing with them.

"I was told we are not on his list of teams," Red Wings GM Ken Holland told the Detroit News. "We expressed our interest to his agent (Don Meehan). They went over all the information (Wednesday)."

Schultz has spent the last two days in Toronto meeting with his agents and perspective teams, including the Edmonton Oilers.

A native of West Kelowna, B.C., Schultz is eligible for a two-year entry-level contract, which reportedly will contain a base salary of $925,000, and with bonuses can reach $3.77 million. So while the financial offers are the same from each team, Schultz is basing his decision on where he could fit on a team's roster -- he reportedly wants to play for a team that can offer him top-four defense minutes.

He also reportedly is hoping to play for a Canadian team, and preferably stay in the west. That means the Canucks, Flames and Oilers -- who sent a delegate led by team president Kevin Lowe to meet with Schultz on Wednesday -- could be front-runners. Other reported possible landing spots are the Maple Leafs (Wisconsin teammate and close friend Jake Gardiner plays there), Rangers, Flyers, Blackhawks and Senators, but their hopes could be dwindling like the Red Wings.

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.26.2012 / 11:48 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Avs elect not to extend qualifying offer to Mueller

When Peter Mueller has been healthy, he's shown himself to be a highly-skilled NHL forward.

Staying healthy, however, has been a major issue the last three seasons, and likely was part of the reason the Colorado Avalanche on Monday declined to give the restricted free agent a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Taken by the Phoenix Coyotes with the eighth pick of the 2006 Draft, Mueller broke into the NHL the following season. His 22 goals as a rookie were second only to Chicago's Jonathan Toews, and his 54 points trailed only Chicago's Patrick Kane and Washington's Nicklas Backstrom.

He slumped to just 13 goals the following season, and after a slow start to the 2009-10 season, the Coyotes traded him to the Colorado Avalanche on March 3, 2010.

The change of scenery lit a fire under Mueller, who had nine goals and 11 assists in 20 games. That hot run ended April 4, 2010, when he suffered a concussion on a hit by the San Jose Sharks' Rob Blake.

He was close to returning when the 2010-11 season started, but he suffered another concussion in his first preseason game -- Mueller said he was hit by a stick in the left temple, the same place he was injured on the Blake hit -- and that led to him sitting out the entire 2010-11 season.

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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players