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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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Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 2:42 PM

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

Central Scouting breaks down league lists

TORONTO -- It's Thursday afternoon and NHL Central Scouting is in the difficult stage of ranking the top North American skaters and goalies for the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

The process will continue at League headquarters in Toronto until the top 210 North American skaters and 30 goalies are finalized.

Lists were made for players in the top three Canadian junior leagues -- the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League -- as well as regional lists for USA East, USA West and Canadian junior/midget leagues.

The six area lists and top goalies, all completed Thursday afternoon, were discussed in detail over the past two days. NHL.com was given permission to provide a rough draft of the top players in each area in alphabetical order. The lists aren't necessarily final at this stage as changes could be made before the final rankings list is released in April.

Without giving away the order, this is the closest thing you'll get to a top 10 from each area at this point.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 10:58 AM

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

Marr: 120 players invited to NHL Scouting Combine

Once NHL Central Scouting finalizes the rankings for the top 2014 NHL Draft-eligible North American prospects, the scouting staff will begin making preparations for the NHL Scouting Combine, which will be held May 25-31 in Toronto.

NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr confirmed for NHL.com that 120 players, including North American and international skaters and goalies, have been invited to the Combine this year. The 2013 Combine had the top 101 players from North America and Europe.

All NHL teams will have the opportunity for 1-on-1 interviews with the invited prospects between May 26 and May 30. The medical examinations of each player will take place May 30 and fitness testing will be May 31.

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Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins