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Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 12:58 PM

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

Capitals' Walker aims to be first Aussie to reach NHL

PHILADELPHIA -- The third time was the charm for Australian-trained left wing Nathan Walker.

Walker, passed over in the previous two NHL Drafts, moved one step closer to realizing his dream on Saturday when the Washington Capitals selected him in the third round (No. 89) of this year's event at Wells Fargo Center. This was the final year of draft eligibility for Walker.

The first Australian to be drafted, Walker is now hoping to take it one step further and lock up a roster spot right out of training camp. The Capitals' managerial team is very familiar with the 5-foot-9, 185-pound forward.

Walker, 20, was one of 40 forwards invited to the Capitals' training camp last fall on a tryout basis.

"I had a good rookie camp and then got the invite to the main camp, so it went well," Walker told NHL.com last September. "I thoroughly enjoyed it."


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Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 9:17 AM

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

Islanders trade up to draft outspoken Ho-Sang

PHILADELPHIA -- Joshua Ho-Sang of the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League might be the most outspoken of any of the top prospects eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center.

That didn't discourage New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow from trading his two second-round picks (No. 35 and No. 57) to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for the No. 28 pick and the opportunity to choose Ho-Sang.

"A lot of people question why I'm so outspoken and question my confidence," Ho-Sang said. "Hockey is definitely one of those sports where quiet confidence is encouraged as opposed to the other sports like the NFL or NBA where it's a little bit louder.

"People that speak their mind are people who change the world and can change hockey. Look at guys like P.K. Subban and Patrick Kane, and even Ryan Getzlaf. I'm willing to do whatever the Islanders ask, and if they want me to clean stuff up I'll do it because I just want to play in the NHL."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 9:04 AM

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

Islanders' Dal Colle gets special call after selection

PHILADELPHIA -- As if being selected with the fifth pick of the 2014 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders wasn't exciting enough, Oshawa Generals left wing Michael Dal Colle had one other reason to crack a huge smile Friday at Wells Fargo Center.

The special moment came minutes after Islanders general manager Garth Snow announced Dal Colle as the team's first draft pick and came courtesy of captain John Tavares.

"It was literally two minutes after I was picked when Tavares called," Dal Colle said. "He was the first call and welcomed me to the New York Islanders. He said the organization is happy to have me aboard.

"It was really pretty cool."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.24.2014 / 4:29 PM

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

Hextall focused on building Flyers through draft

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall is a staunch advocate of building an organization by way of the NHL Draft.

"Your core pieces, or your homegrown pieces, are big," Hextall said during a pre-2014 NHL Draft press conference at the Flyers practice facility on Tuesday.

The 2014 NHL Draft will be held at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia with the first round on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN) and the remaining six rounds on Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHL Network).

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Posted On Monday, 06.23.2014 / 2:58 PM

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

German-born Draisaitl set for draft, soccer match

Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl is scheduled to arrive in Philadelphia on Wednesday to prepare for all the pomp and circumstance that will accompany the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center this weekend.

Draisaitl, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for this year's draft, is projected to hear his name in the early stages of the first round on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS). Considered a power-forward with good touch around the net, Draisaitl finished with 38 goals and 105 points in 64 regular-season games in the Western Hockey League in 2013-14. He also played for Germany at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship and IIHF World Championship.

"I'm so excited and I can't wait for [draft] day," Draisaitl told NHL.com. "The last couple of weeks have gone by so quick and this will be pretty much the most exciting time of my life."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.19.2014 / 5:10 PM

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

Sabres GM feels Panthers will take Ekblad at No. 1

Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray acknowledged Thursday that he expects Ontario Hockey League defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts to be the first player chosen at the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

The Florida Panthers currently have the No. 1 pick in the draft, and the Sabres hold the No. 2 selection.

"I believe that Ekblad is going to go one and then we pick who we have left; the next guy on our list," Murray said at his pre-draft press conference. "If he doesn’t go one, I'd be surprised, I guess, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."


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Posted On Thursday, 06.19.2014 / 12:36 PM

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

Swedish prospects Kempe, Englund earning praise

Left wing Adrian Kempe and defenseman Andreas Englund are two intriguing blue-chip prospects from Sweden who could be playing in the NHL sooner rather than later with the proper development.

Born on Sept. 13, 1996, Kempe is not only the youngest European skater among the top 30 on NHL Central Scouting's final rankings of international skaters, but also the youngest among the top 30 skaters on the North American list.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound left-handed shooter is No. 6 on Central Scouting's final ranking of the top international skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27-28.

Kempe, a power forward type, is considered a first-round pick by many NHL scouts. Some have compared him to Loui Eriksson of the Boston Bruins as an exceptional skater with a two-way approach to the game.

"He's a big, strong, bullish forward who can play center or wing," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb said. "He likes to drive hard for the net, using his strength and skating to his advantage. He plays the body and is aggressive when forechecking. He has a good defensive game for a player with his offensive skills; mobile, solid and strong."

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Posted On Monday, 06.16.2014 / 3:29 PM

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

Capitals' new assistant GM experienced at draft table

Don't expect the 2014 NHL Draft strategy of the Washington Capitals to change now that Ross Mahoney has been promoted to assistant general manager.

Mahoney, who will aid new general manager Brian MacLellan, had served as Washington's director of amateur scouting the past 16 years before his promotion was announced Monday.

Mahoney confirmed that in addition to his new duties, he will continue to head the table at the draft in addition to coordinating the club's developmental programs to establish a solid foundation for the future of the organization.

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Posted On Friday, 06.13.2014 / 11:11 AM

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

Canucks like local prospects Reinhart, Virtanen

Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden feels the organization might target a skilled forward with its first pick at the 2014 NHL Draft, currently No. 6.

In an interview with the Global News last month, Linden acknowledged how thrilled the organization is to be selecting No. 6. It is the highest draft slot for the Canucks since choosing Daniel and Henrik Sedin with the Nos. 2 and 3 picks in 1999.

"The fact the top of the draft is thin on defensemen … it would appear there are good, big power forwards available," Linden said.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.11.2014 / 1:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Stanley Cup Final blog

Rangers' St. Louis finds motivation to keep pushing

NEW YORK -- There are two things that keep New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis motivated at a time when the odds appear slim for his hockey team.

First and foremost, it's the lessons and inspirational anecdotes he learned from his mother, France St. Louis. There's not a day that goes by that St. Louis isn't thinking or reflecting on the life she led and the love she provided. France died of a heart attack at the age of 63 on May 8. The support St. Louis has gotten from his teammates has bonded the group during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The one other motivating factor is this:

"Winning the Stanley Cup and the fact we're still alive … that's what motivates me," St. Louis said.

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Quote of the Day

I might have blacked out. I was pretty pumped.

— New Jersey Devils rookie goalie Keith Kinkaid on his first NHL win Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning