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Posted On Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 2:34 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Grier excited to return to Buffalo for prospects game

BUFFALO -- Mike Grier wasn't happy when informed that opposing coach Ed Olcyzk was seen spying on his practice in preparation for the third annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at First Niagara Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, NHL Network).

For Grier, it's a homecoming of sorts since he played three-plus seasons as a right wing for the Buffalo Sabres. He's not only excited to have an opportunity to coach 21 of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, but to be back behind the Sabres bench.

"[Olcyzk] has got to ask for permission to come out and scout things," Grier said with a big smile.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.25.2014 / 1:17 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Werenski took his time in determing his future

BUFFALO -- University of Michigan defenseman Zachary Werenski is one of three college freshmen competing in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game hoping to hear his name called in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft on June 26.

The 6-foot-1, 201-pound left-handed shot joins center Jack Eichel (Boston University) and defenseman Noah Hanifin (Boston College) as legitimate first-year collegians with plenty to offer NHL scouts. Werenski will play for Team Mike Grier, alongside Eichel. Hanifin will play for Team Ed Olczyk.

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.24.2014 / 4:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Eichel has busy day on eve of prospect game

BUFFALO -- Boston University center Jack Eichel, a likely top-two pick at the 2015 NHL Draft, concluded a busy nine-hour day Wednesday that included various interview requests, a press conference, a USA Hockey Twitter takeover and a video shoot with NHL Network.

He took it all in stride and now is looking forward to doing what he does best Thursday in the third annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at First Niagara Center (7 p.m. ET, NHL Network).

"I expect this year to be enjoyable for me and my family and my friends," Eichel said. "I've worked pretty hard in my life for this opportunity to potentially get drafted. It's an exciting time and I'm just going to try to enjoy the ride and make sure that I work hard every day to try to make myself better. It's an exciting time and it only happens once, so you've got to make sure you're enjoying it."

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.24.2014 / 2:02 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Training Camps blog

Sabres' Pysyk could miss two weeks with injury

BUFFALO -- Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk could be out as long as two weeks with an upper-body injury, coach Ted Nolan said Wednesday.

Pysyk was hurt blocking a shot on his first shift of the first period of a 2-0 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

"It's not a real serious thing and it's probably day-to-day," Nolan said. "But it could be a week or two."

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.16.2014 / 9:07 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Fleury and Nedeljkovic earning praise for Carolina

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Haydn Fleury and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic certainly have a lot working in their favor based on their performance at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament at Centre Ice Arena this week.

Both players, selected over the first two rounds of the 2014 NHL Draft, haven't appeared out of place, are getting a lot of exposure and are coming up big in pressure situations. Fleury, who was the second defenseman chosen in the first round (No. 7) last June, has three assists, all on the power-play, and has taken six shots.

"My [realistic] goal is to make the big club when I'm 19," Fleury said. "I've got one more year of junior [with the Red Deer Rebels] but at the same time I'm going to main camp with the thought I'm going to make it tough for them to send me back. Realistically I think I need that one more year of junior to get stronger and more mature and next year maybe I can step in and start making contributions."

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.16.2014 / 8:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Red Wings' Sproul making a case in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Detroit Red Wings prospect Ryan Sproul knows opportunity is knocking after a productive rookie season in the American Hockey League with the Grand Rapids Griffins last season.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman, selected in the second round (No. 55) of the 2011 NHL Draft, has been one of Detroit's most impressive players on the back end in the Traverse City Prospect Tournament this week.

"He's big, mobile, can handle the puck and has a rocket for the shot," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "He capped off a very good junior career [in 2012-13] by winning defenseman of the year in the Canadian Hockey League and then had a nice rookie year in Grand Rapids."

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 10:31 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Red Wings prospect doing well after scare

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Detroit Red Wings prospect Brandon Robinson is alert and feeling well at a hospital after crashing into the boards in the third period of his team's victory against the Minnesota Wild on Monday in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland informed the media after the game that Robinson, who was removed from the ice on a stretcher before being taken to Munson Medical Center, is scheduled to have an X-ray taken for precautionary reasons.

"I was talking to him before he left for the hospital and his mother went with him," Holland said. "He is fine and doing well. He is moving well and talking, but they will take an X-ray."

The Red Wings will play in the third-place game of the tournament on Tuesday. It is not known whether or not Robinson, a free-agent invitee from the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League, will play in the game.

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 6:05 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Wild pleased with solid pipeline on defense

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Minnesota Wild have quietly accumulated a formidable stable of defense prospects in the pipeline, including Matt DumbaChristian Folin and Gustav Olofsson.

All three players have been on display here at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament under the tutelage of coach Kurt Kleinendorst. Dumba, a first-round pick (No. 7) of the Wild in the 2012 NHL Draft, is making his third appearance at the tournament.

Dumba (6-foot, 183 pounds), who played in 13 games for Minnesota in 2013-14, is looking to stick with the big club this season. Kleinendorst, the coach of the team's American Hockey League-affiliate, the Iowa Wild, acknowledged that Dumba just needs to play a simple game.

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 3:07 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Kevin Hayes excited to be back on the ice

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes is just happy to be back on the ice and playing hockey.

Hayes was a primary topic of discussion over the summer after signing an entry-level contract with the Rangers on Aug. 20. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward became an unrestricted free agent when he and the Chicago Blackhawks, who selected him in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft (No. 24), could not agree to a contract.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.14.2014 / 1:26 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Future on display for Blues in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The immediate and not-so-distant future is on display for the St. Louis Blues at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament this week at Centre Ice Arena.

Forwards Ty Rattie (second round, No. 32, 2011), Robby Fabbri (first round, No. 21, 2014) and Ivan Barbashev (second round, No. 33, 2014), and defenseman Thomas Vannelli (second round, No. 47, 2013), head that impressive list.

Rattie, who scored 31 goals and 48 points as a rookie with the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League last season, would seem to have the best shot at earning an immediate roster spot out of training camp.

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Quote of the Day

I think everyone left it out there. Every game this season, regular season and playoffs, we played as hard as we could. We're not out of the playoffs right now because of lack of effort, and that's all that we can ask of each other.

— Predators defenseman Seth Jones after Nashville was eliminated by Chicago in Game 6 on Saturday