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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 5:04 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Canada names roster for U-18 World Championship

Forwards Jake Virtanen and Brendan Perlini and defenseman Haydn Fleury, all projected to be selected in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, highlight the roster of players that will represent Canada at the 2014 IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship beginning Thursday in Finland.

Virtanen of the Calgary Hitmen, Perlini of the Niagara IceDogs and Fleury of the Red Deer Rebels were all ranked among the top 10 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the North American skaters eligible for the 2014 draft. Defenseman Roland McKeown, No. 27 on Central Scouting's final ranking, is the only returning player from last year's gold medal-winning performance. Canada is the defending U-18 World Championship gold medal winner.

The Canadian roster includes three goalies, seven defensemen and 13 forwards. There are 12 players representing the Western Hockey League, six from the Ontario Hockey League and five from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The roster includes 18 players eligible for the 2014 draft and five more eligible for the 2015 draft.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 12:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Kingston's Bennett turns focus to NHL Draft

Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett watched with great interest the Florida Panthers win the NHL Draft Lottery Tuesday evening in Toronto.

Bennett is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft.

"It was really exciting," Bennett told NHL.com. "It's really interesting but there still are a lot of questions, so whatever happens in June will happen, but I'm really excited."

Bennett acknowledged that as the teams were revealed one by one by NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, he couldn't help but envision where he might land on June 27 when the first round of the draft is held at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

"It's all up in the air, no one knows who will go where and it's hard to figure out, but I'll admit I was trying to guess and see where I might go," Bennett said.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.15.2014 / 2:26 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Fabbri powers Guelph into Western final in OHL

The Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League have advanced to the Western Conference final for the first time in eight seasons.

The Storm will play host to the Erie Otters in Game 1 of the best-of-7 series beginning Thursday. Not surprisingly, center Robert Fabbri, No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, has played a huge role for the Storm this season.

Fabbri was named the OHL Player of the Week for the playoff week ending April 13 after posting four goals, seven points and a plus-5 rating in three victories. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Fabbri helped lead the Storm to a five-game series win against the London Knights in the OHL's Western Conference semifinal with three multi-point performances last week.

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2014 / 6:51 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Brodeur in goal for Devils, possibly for last time

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur will make possibly his final start for the team against the New York Islanders at Prudential Center on Friday.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer wouldn't commit to a starter for Sunday against the Boston Bruins in the regular-season finale at Prudential Center, leaving open the question of whether this will be Brodeur's last game for the Devils. Brodeur can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

"Marty will start [Friday] like we have done all year and we'll talk about Sunday on Sunday," DeBoer said. "We'll talk about [the end of the season] at the end of the season. Those are all hypothetical questions. I'm not prematurely going to talk about the end of anyone's career right now. I'm worried about winning a game."

Brodeur, who turns 42 on May 6, has been noncommittal about his future when asked about a possible return to the Devils in 2014-15.

"I don't expect [the Devils] to come running after me," Brodeur said earlier this week. "We'll see. Again, that's a situation I have to be OK with regardless of it it's here or somewhere else. But I have to talk to a lot of people in the offseason and make my own decision. Regardless of if I stay or leave, the Devils are in unbelievable hands with [Cory Schneider]."

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POSTED ON Monday, 04.07.2014 / 1:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils still without injured forwards; Schneider starts

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider is expected to make his fourth straight start Monday against the Calgary Flames at Prudential Center.

Schneider (16-14-11), who made 24 saves in a 2-1 win against the Washington Capitals on Friday and 26 saves in a 3-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, has allowed two or fewer goals in five straight starts (3-0-2). He has a 1.22 goals-against average and .948 save percentage over that stretch, and ranks third in the NHL with a 2.02 GAA.

The Devils extended their point streak to a season-high seven games (4-0-3, 11 points) to keep alive their hope of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They trail the Columbus Blue Jackets by three points for the second of two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 1:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Ritchie powers Peterborough to Game 7 win

Peterborough Petes left wing Nicholas Ritchie, No. 7 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, certainly had a tournament to remember against the favored Kingston Frontenacs in the opening round of the Ontario Hockey League's Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Petes, who fell behind 0-3 in the best-of-7 series, capped a remarkable comeback on Tuesday with a 2-1 overtime victory against the Frontenacs in Game 7 in Kingston. Ritchie assisted on the tying goal by Hunter Garlent 2:40 into the second before ending the game and the series 12:17 into overtime.

Peterborough became the fourth team in OHL history to rally from an 0-3 hole in a playoff series.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 12:10 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Milano, Eichel top U.S. roster for World U-18

NHL scouts will have a great opportunity to see some of the best American-born prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, to be held April 17-27 in Finland.

Among the players picked for the United States team are two players in the top 30 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters for this year's draft.

Leading that group is Sonny Milano, a 5-foot-11.5, 183-pound left wing who had 24 goals and 73 points in 50 games with the United States National Team Development Program's under-18 team. He's No. 16 on Central Scouting's list.

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.31.2014 / 1:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils' Larsson recalled following injuries on defense

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils defenseman Adam Larsson will be in the lineup for the first time in four months Monday when they play host to the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center (7:30 p.m. ET, RDS2, NBCSN).

Larsson, who was recalled from the Devils' American Hockey League affiliate in Albany on Sunday, was second among defensemen in scoring for Albany with 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 32 games. He will replace Jon Merrill in the lineup. Merrill is out with facial injuries sustained on Saturday during the third period of a shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

Larsson last played with New Jersey on Nov. 23, a 2-1 loss against the San Jose Sharks. He would sustain a lower-body injury against the Sharks, preventing him from returning to the lineup for an extended period. In 20 games with the Devils this season, he has three points, a minus-4 rating and eight penalty minutes.

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.28.2014 / 3:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Scouts' challenges: rough winter, unpredictable draft

TORONTO -- As if the life of a scout isn't unforgiving enough, the tireless job of viewing the hundreds of prospects eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft in June was made more difficult this season with the brutal weather that hovered over most of North America like a dark shadow.

It's something NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr acknowledged when asked for his final assessment of the meetings at the NHL offices here this week to determine the final rankings of the top North American skaters and goalies eligible for this year's draft.

"This has proven to be an exceptionally difficult winter," Marr told NHL.com. "All travel was affected. Storms left scouts stranded and unable to get to viewings or games. We have a job where we have to try and maintain our coverage, but it was a struggle and guys had to go the extra mile to make sure they got to the games and saw the players.

"So when our final list is determined and we dot the I's and cross the T's, it's going to be a job well done because when you think about it, the winter that hit all of North America never seemed to subside. It's a credit to our staff."

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.28.2014 / 11:24 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

2015 shaping up as battle between McDavid, Eichel

TORONTO -- It's never too early to begin to compare, contrast and ultimately predict who the better pick will be when the 2015 NHL Draft takes place at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

In a draft that looks to be loaded with offensive and defensive talent across the board, there are two headliners starring at center for their respective teams in Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League and Jack Eichel of the United States Under-18 National Team Development Program in the United States Hockey League.

NHL.com asked nine scouts in attendance at NHL Central Scouting's final meetings this week for their personal choice between the two. The impromptu poll had McDavid earning a slim 5-4 victory.Both players possess two qualities that are tough to teach: work ethic and big-game ability. They each represented their country at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden; McDavid for Canada and Eichel for the United States.

"You're talking about two wonderful players who are going to be a big part of the NHL in the future," USA Hockey director of hockey operations Jim Johannson told NHL.com.

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For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory