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Posted On Monday, 09.22.2014 / 2:33 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com 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 -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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 -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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 -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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 -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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 -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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 CapGeek.com. 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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Posted On Tuesday, 06.24.2014 / 9:49 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Awards Blog

Canadiens GM plans to keep Subban for 'long time'

LAS VEGAS -- Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin wouldn't discuss the contract negotiations with soon-to-be restricted free agent defenseman P.K. Subban other than to say what his goal is for the team and the 2012-13 Norris Trophy winner.

"He's a big part of our team, and we'll make sure he's with us for a long time," Bergevin said Tuesday from the red carpet at the NHL Awards, where he was a finalist for the GM of the Year Award.


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Posted On Tuesday, 06.24.2014 / 8:40 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Awards Blog

Red Wings' Babcock hopes Alfredsson returns

LAS VEGAS -- If 41-year-old forward Daniel Alfredsson takes care of his back problems this summer, the Detroit Red Wings will welcome him back next season. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Tuesday that the order can't be the other way because of the uncertainty regarding Alfredsson's injury.

Alfredsson can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but Babcock said if he plays next season he will play for the Red Wings.

"[Alfredsson] had a tough time last year staying healthy, so it's real hard to commit to a guy when he doesn't know for sure," Babcock said from the red carpet for the 2014 NHL Awards. "We'd love to have him. We'd love for him to get healthy, but at this point things haven't turned in the right direction for him. We'll see what happens."


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Posted On Monday, 06.23.2014 / 9:16 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Awards Blog

DeKeyser excited to represent Red Wings at Awards

LAS VEGAS -- Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser may one day gain entrance into the NHL Awards show for what he did on the ice. For now, though, he'll have to settle for a free trip to Las Vegas to be a presenter at the 2014 NHL Awards (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).

"Why not?" DeKeyser told NHL.com on Monday. "This is pretty nice."

DeKeyser is representing the Red Wings in presenting the Jack Adams Award during the show Tuesday at Encore Theater in Wynn Las Vegas. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is one of the three nominees for the award, along with Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy and Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper.

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Posted On Monday, 06.23.2014 / 7:41 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Awards Blog

Marleau hopes to remain with Sharks

LAS VEGAS -- San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau is prepared for general manager Doug Wilson to attempt to make changes to the club's roster, leadership hierarchy and dressing-room culture this offseason.

He isn't prepared to be a victim of those changes.

"I want to play in San Jose," Marleau said Monday at Media Day for the NHL Awards, where he is up for the Lady Byng Trophy. "I want to win there."

Marleau said he and San Jose captain Joe Thornton, the Sharks' longest tenured players, have already discussed next season and getting back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs to make amends for the team's collapse against the Los Angeles Kings. San Jose blew a 3-0 lead and lost to the Kings in seven games in the Western Conference First Round.

"We're looking forward to next year," Marleau said of him and Thornton. "It's going to [stink] having to go through all the 82 games to get back in the playoffs to get to that point to actually do something about it."


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