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Posted On Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 11:46 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Lightning excited to have two first-round picks

TORONTO -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are one of two teams, along with the Anaheim Ducks, currently holding two first-round picks in the 2014 NHL Draft. That's a pretty nice place to be, according to Lightning director of amateur scouting Al Murray.

"It's always a good year to have two first-round picks," he told NHL.com. "If you look at any draft, there's always 45 to 55 [players], depending on the year ... that become regular NHL players. It's our job to make sure we find at least two of those guys in the first round."

The Lightning have their pick at No. 19 and will also have either the 28th or 29th pick, depending on how the New York Rangers fare in the Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning acquired the pick from New York in the Martin St. Louis trade.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 11:30 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Blues' MacInnis excited to watch son at Combine

TORONTO -- Al MacInnis, a Hall-of-Fame player who now serves as senior advisor to the general manager for the St. Louis Blues, was keeping a close eye on the prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft as they made their way through the testing floor at Toronto International Centre on Saturday.

But he followed one prospect a bit closer than others: his son Ryan, a center with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. MacInnis is No. 20 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2014 Draft.

"It's a good process to go through," Al MacInnis told NHL.com. "Obviously he knows a lot of these kids. He had a pretty good idea coming in here what to expect. He's been working at it. ... It's an exciting week for the boys."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 10:42 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Kimball Union's Bird kicks off Combine workouts

TORONTO -- Forward Tyler Bird is used to working hard in the gym at Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire. But he rarely attracts an audience during his workouts.

It was a far different vibe Saturday when he entered the testing room at Toronto International Centre for the fitness testing portion of the NHL Scouting Combine.

"Nobody's looking at you when you're at school," Bird told NHL.com. "You've got guys from 30 NHL teams watching [at the Combine]. It's a little bit more pressure."

Bird was the first player to go through the testing Saturday. That can be intimidating for some, but the 6-foot-2, 202-pound right wing didn't have a problem with it.

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Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 5:07 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Top-ranked Kapanen puts tough season behind him

TORONTO -- Kasperi Kapanen is happy to be the top player in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of European prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft.

That was about the only thing that went well for the Finnish forward this season.

Kapanen had seven goals and 14 points in 47 games with KalPa in Liiga, Finland's top professional league. KalPa won 15 of its 60 games, finished last in the league and scored 101 goals.

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Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 2:09 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

MacLellan embraces top role for Capitals at Combine

TORONTO -- In his role as assistant general manager of the Washington Capitals for the previous seven seasons, Brian MacLellan was part of the club's annual amateur scouting meetings and draft preparation, but it wasn't one of his main jobs.

Now that he's become the Capitals' general manager, he's gone from observer to the final authority.

"You have more responsibility to accept than [in] the previous position," MacLellan told NHL.com. "I think we have a good staff so I think the transition should be pretty smooth. It should work out well."

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Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 11:44 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Dumba's legacy helps Red Deer's Fleury at Combine

TORONTO -- Red Deer Rebels defenseman Haydn Fleury feels pretty comfortable this week at the NHL Scouting Combine. He has a former teammate to thank for that.

Fleury, No. 9 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, and No. 2 among defensemen, learned a lot from Matt Dumba, a first-round pick by the Minnesota Wild (No. 7) in 2012.

"He just tells me not to listen to all the outside influences," Fleury told NHL.com. "There's going to be a lot of critics during a year like this. Just play your game and showcase yourself as much as you can."

Dumba and Fleury were teammates in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, and kept in touch after Dumba started the season with the Wild and then was traded to the Portland Winterhawks prior to returning to the Western Hockey League.

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Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 11:33 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Florida GM Tallon open to options in No. 1 slot

TORONTO -- There are many advantages to being the general manager of the Florida Panthers. For Dale Tallon, who has held that position since May 2010, one of his favorites is getting to meet some of the top draft prospects at the NHL Scouting Combine.

"One of the great perks of this job is getting to meet all the young kids and see how they handle this pressure," Tallon told NHL.com. "It's not easy coming into meetings at this age. I don't know if when I was 17 or 18, I certainly wasn't capable of doing this. It's great to see the maturity process and the development of these young people. Every year seems to get better and better."

The Panthers won the NHL Draft Lottery and hold the No. 1 pick, but Tallon said he's open to moving the selection if the right trade came along.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.24.2014 / 4:38 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Frontenacs' Bennett named top CHL prospect

There might not be a consensus top pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, but the Canadian Hockey League award voters made their choice Saturday, naming Samuel Bennett the top prospect in the league.

Bennett, a center with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League, was ninth in the OHL with 91 points in 57 games. He led his team in points, goals (36), assists (55), plus/minus rating (plus-34) and power-play goals (10). He had a league-best 25-game scoring streak in which he scored 17 goals and 46 points.

The 6-foot, 178-pound forward is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 Draft.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 7:05 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Glass in, Bennett out of Penguins lineup

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tanner Glass will return to the lineup for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers.

Glass replaced Beau Bennett in the lineup and took line rushes during warm-ups alongside Brandon Sutter and Lee Stempniak. Glass last played in Game 1 against the Rangers. In seven games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Glass has four penalty minutes and 10 shots on goal.

The Penguins changed their top two lines, putting Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on separate lines for the first time in the series. Crosby skated with Chris Kunitz and Brian Gibbons, and Malkin was between Jussi Jokinen and James Neal.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 6:05 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers embrace winner-take-all mentality of Game 7

PITTSBURGH -- When New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault looked at what his team would be facing against the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Eastern Conference Second Round series, beating the Penguins four times in a seven-game span appeared to be a daunting task.

"If you had asked me before the series started against this opponent, with the firepower they have and the strength that they have, if I'd prefer to play four out of seven or one game, winner take all, I would have taken the one game, winner take all," Vigneault said.

Vigneault got what he wanted. The Penguins and Rangers will play Game 7 of their series on Tuesday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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