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Posted On Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 1:00 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Oct. 1, 2014

Here is the Oct. 1, 2014 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday during the season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

Will Jiri Sekac make the Montreal Canadiens roster, and if so is he worth picking up? -- @swandad

All indications are that he will make the roster and be in the opening night lineup Oct. 8 at Air Canada Centre against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sekac appears targeted to play with Rene Bourque and Lars Eller to start the season. If he can make it work with those two, that should be a good line for the Canadiens. And I'm very high on the Canadiens this season.

As for the fantasy part of your question, it's a risky pick. I'm not an expert in this, though I am playing fantasy hockey this season for the first time in a long time. Sekac never has played a real game against NHL competition and it's unlikely that he'll receive time on the power play. If he's available in the later rounds and you like your team and are willing to take a risk then go for it.
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.01.2014 / 10:05 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Parise likes Wild's top-six forward group

Zach Parise feels the Minnesota Wild will enter the season with a defined top-six forward group for the first time since he's been on the team. Parise is entering his third season in Minnesota.

The group features Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund.

"It's great for us, and there's a few guys even that if something does happen that can slide right in there and do well," Parise said. "We do have a pretty definitive top six right now, which is going to be really good for us."

The Wild appear ready to enter the season with Koivu and Parise playing apart from each other. They were regular linemates last season. Koivu (6-foot-3, 222 pounds) has been centering a big line with Vanek (6-0, 217) and Coyle (6-3, 221) throughout preseason.

"We needed some size up front and that'll be a good line for us," Parise said.

Parise has been on the left side of a line with Granlund (at center) and Pominville, but his history with Koivu will give coach Mike Yeo the confidence to move Vanek and Parise back and forth between the top-two lines whenever he wants to.

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.30.2014 / 6:41 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Bettman: World Cup talks with players ongoing

NEW YORK -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday that discussions between the League and the NHL Players' Association about bringing back the World Cup of Hockey are ongoing, but he didn't have an update as to where they stand.

The World Cup hasn't been contested since 2004.

"At this point to announce we were doing a World Cup would be silly," Commissioner Bettman said. "We want to be in a position to have an agreement on essential terms so if and when we're ready to announce it we can give you details because you're going to have lots of questions. We want to make sure we have as many answers as possible."

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.30.2014 / 11:58 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Maple Leafs' Kadri looking to take next step in career

For all the publicity he's received and the controversy he's been in over the five years he's been with the Toronto Maple Leafs, center Nazem Kadri has technically played one full, lockout-free NHL season, and even then it was 78 games last season, not 82.

Maybe that's why on the first day of training camp general manager Dave Nonis said for Kadri to be successful this season he "has to be prepared to compete for 82 games. If he is then he's going to have a very good year."

Nonis' words suggested he doesn't think Kadri has shown a level of consistency commensurate with his ability and the hype he has gotten since he was selected with the seventh pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. It's a fair assessment, one even Kadri would agree with.

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Posted On Monday, 09.22.2014 / 2:33 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - NHL Training Camps blog

Capitals' biggest battle at second-line center

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Arguably the most intriguing internal competition in the Washington Capitals training camp will be on display Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia: Marcus Johansson vs. Evgeny Kuznetsov for second-line center.

"They're going head-to-head in my mind [Monday]," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said before boarding the bus for Philadelphia.

Johansson and Kuznetsov are among four players who are vying for the No. 2 center position to start the season. The other two are Brooks Laich and Andre Burakovsky, neither of whom will be in the lineup against the Flyers.

Kuznetsov is No. 3 on the Top 60 prospect ranking and got one first-place vote. Burakovsky is No. 14.

Burakovsky scored the only goal in Washington's 1-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday at Verizon Center, but he's the longshot of the group to be the No. 2 center because he didn't start playing center until Washington's development camp in July and because he's a 19-year-old who has yet to play a professional game in North America.

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Posted On Friday, 09.19.2014 / 1:22 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - NHL Training Camps blog

Maple Leafs' offseason made Reimer excited to return

TORONTO -- With a two-year, $4.6 million contract in his back pocket and a vote of confidence from his coach, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer sounds like a player ready to settle in with a team he wondered if he'd ever play for again after last season.

"Obviously there was some doubts about where I stood or what the direction would be going forward," Reimer said. "Over the course of the summer I really liked what was going on here. I think good things have gone on here. I'm pretty excited."

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Posted On Friday, 09.19.2014 / 1:04 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - NHL Training Camps blog

Maple Leafs' Booth hoping to make most of chance

TORONTO -- With good health and the chance for extended ice time, two things that have eluded him in recent seasons, forward David Booth has the potential to be to the Toronto Maple Leafs this season what Mason Raymond was to them last season.

Raymond came to Toronto on a professional tryout contract, played well enough in the preseason to earn a roster spot, and then had 19 goals and 45 points in 82 games. He signed a three-year, $9.45 million contract with the Calgary Flames on July 1.

Booth already has a contract with the Maple Leafs, for one year and $1.1 million after receiving a compliance buyout from the Vancouver Canucks. However Booth is one of 17 forwards Toronto has signed to one-way contracts. General manager Dave Nonis was clear Thursday when he said there will be players on one-way contracts who do not make the final roster.

"There are no guarantees here," Booth said Friday.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 11:59 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - NHL Training Camps blog

Maple Leafs' Robidas taking cautious approach

TORONTO -- Although he said his leg feels "great," Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Stephane Robidas will take a cautious approach through training camp with the goal of being ready to go Oct. 8, when the Maple Leafs open the season against the Montreal Canadiens at Air Canada Centre.

Robidas, 37, sustained a broken right leg while playing for the Anaheim Ducks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. It was the same leg he had broken earlier in the season while playing for the Dallas Stars.

He signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Maple Leafs on July 1.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.18.2014 / 11:33 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - NHL Training Camps blog

Leafs' Lupul feeling good after training changes

TORONTO -- Coming off yet another injury-riddled season, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul said he worked on his body during the offseason with the idea of training to avoid muscular injuries that lead to something worse.

Lupul missed the final three games last season because of knee surgery, but said he was playing hurt for a while before that.

"I took some different classes with stretching, learned some different things about my body and I feel great going into the year," Lupul said. "Obviously there is always potential for those injuries that are bad luck, but for me I don't want any injuries that are muscular. Last year I had a groin strain and a knee problem that I tried to push through until the end of the year and ended up needing surgery."

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.17.2014 / 3:00 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Sept. 17, 2014

In what year do you believe the Islanders will be a serious playoff contender? -- @samfeygin

Why not this season? No, I'm serious. Why not this season? OK, I'm not sold on the Islanders being a serious playoff contender this season either (I assume you're not by your question, Sam). However, I do think the Islanders are heading in the right direction, finally, and I do expect them to be better than they were last season. I think it would be a disappointment if the Islanders are not at least in the playoff hunt come late March and early April this season. They may not be able to get in, but they should be in the hunt. They have the goaltending and the high-end scoring to be in the mix in the Eastern Conference.

The Islanders, though, still need to bide their time for Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, Calvin de Haan and Griffin Reinhart to develop before I can say for sure they're going to be a serious threat. Coming behind them are Michael Dal Colle and Sebastian Collberg. You can't build through the draft and not have your top draft picks work out. It's wait-and-see still, but this is a big year for Strome, Nelson, de Haan and Reinhart, and really for the Islanders at large.

Which defenseman do you see the Bruins trading away? -- @ZigFracassi

Johnny Boychuk. It has to be him. He's entering the final year of his contract, so he's the most tradable, and the team that gets him will be getting a solid top-four, right-handed defenseman with a booming shot from the point. I wonder if Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli would trade with an Atlantic Division rival, because the Detroit Red Wings could use Boychuk.

If he does trade Boychuk, Chiarelli likely won't bring back a NHL player because the idea is to clear salary-cap room to sign restricted free agents Torey Krug and Reilly Smith. Boychuk's contract carries a salary-cap charge of approximately $3.3667 million, according to The Bruins might have enough space to sign Smith and Krug if they clear Boychuk's contract and put center Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve, which will happen.

Chiarelli could trade Adam McQuaid, but it wouldn't clear the cap space the Bruins need to sign Smith and Krug. McQuaid's contract carries a $1.5667 million cap charge.

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