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Posted On Wednesday, 09.17.2014 / 3:48 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Training Camps blog

Ducks' Kesler thrilled with move to Anaheim

After 10 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, Ryan Kesler felt he needed a change.

With a new front-office regime put in place this summer, Kesler felt it was the right time to ask for a trade; his wish was granted in June when he was sent to the Anaheim Ducks.

"I think changes needed to be made with the new management coming in and the new coaches," Kesler told the Orange County Register on Tuesday. "I felt I was stuck in a rut there. I needed a change.

"Talking with management, they were going into a rebuild, or that's what they told me. I just thought it was best to move on."

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.16.2014 / 10:12 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Flames' Bennett, Gaudreau OK after injury scares

The Calgary Flames took a deep breath Monday night when highly touted prospects Sam Bennett and Johnny Gaudreau pronounced themselves fine after injury scares during a rookie tournament victory against the host Vancouver Canucks in Penticton, British Columbia.

Bennett, the No. 4 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, missed the third period with a sore groin. Gaudreau, the reigning Hobey Baker Award winner, was injured on a hard hit from Vancouver defenseman Frank Corrado, who received a five-minute elbowing penalty and a game misconduct on the play.

"They were a little worried about me, but I told them it's no big deal," Bennett said, according to the Calgary Herald. "My groin was acting up a little bit. But it really wasn't anything serious. Obviously, I wanted to get back out there. I was ready to go."

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 4:54 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Panthers' Ekblad positive he can play in NHL now

Aaron Ekblad had a summer, but it wasn't much of an offseason for him. The first pick of the 2014 NHL Draft had a development camp with the Florida Panthers, a Hockey Canada national junior evaluation camp, and he's currently with other Panthers prospects at a rookie tournament hosted by the Nashville Predators.

However, Ekblad told the Panthers website the end goal is what he's focused on, and that's playing in the NHL this season.

"I have my own expectations of myself," Ekblad said. "I have goals that I set for myself that I keep to myself. I hold myself accountable for those goals. My expectations are high. I have high standards for myself. It's going to help me put myself in a good position this year."

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 4:46 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Red Wings' Pulkkinen feeling more comfortable

Detroit Red Wings forward Teemu Pulkkinen learned a lot last season, including how unprepared he was for his first NHL training camp experience.

"I wasn't ready," Pulkkinen told the Red Wings website. "I was in good shape but … it's a different game in Europe than it is here. I wasn't ready for the American game. There's more rink, the speed is higher. But now I think I'm going to be ready."

Pulkkinen figured it out fast and had 31 goals and 59 points with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League, and also got into three late-season games in Detroit. Pulkkinen also is No. 60 on NHL.com's Top 60 prospect rankings for this season.

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 3:31 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Stars' Honka turning heads in Traverse City

Derek Laxdal saw enough of Julius Honka when they were in the Western Hockey League last season, Laxdal as coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings and Honka a slick, offensive-minded defenseman with the Swift Current Broncos.

Now they're on the same side as Laxdal, the coach of the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League and Dallas Stars coach at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament, gets to enjoy having Honka on his team.

Dallas chose Honka with the 14th pick of the 2014 NHL Draft.

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 12:56 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Coyotes' Lessio hoping for extended NHL stay

Arizona Coyotes forward Lucas Lessio made the team's opening night roster last season, but his stay in the NHL lasted three games.

The second-round pick (No. 56) in the 2011 NHL Draft is working toward a longer stay this season. He spent the rest of the season in the American Hockey League, where he had 29 goals and 54 points in 69 games.

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 12:51 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Capitals' Vrana will get chance in preseason games

The Washington Capitals likely will have Jakub Vrana, their 2014 first-round pick (No. 13), spend at least one more season with his team in the Swedish Elite League, where he will play with and against more physically mature competition.

First, though, they'll see how he looks against those kind of players on NHL-size ice. That starts Tuesday when the Capitals rookies face a team of Philadelphia Flyers rookies. Vrana also likely see action in preseason games, which start for Washington on Sept. 21.

"We'll see how I look," Vrana told CSNWashington.com. "When I play those games I'll see what I need to improve on. I don't really know because I haven't tried. I will see when I'm with those guys on the ice and I play a game."

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 10:30 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Predators' Forsberg hoping to meet high expectations

Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg has been surrounded by high expectations since he was a 2011 first-round draft pick. Now the Predators are hoping he can live up to those levels.

What might help him is having spent all of last season in North America, the first time the Swedish forward has done that.

"[Last] year helped me a lot and getting more comfortable here," Forsberg told NHL.com correspondent Josh Cooper. "Hopefully I can show how much that year meant to me."

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 9:58 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Flames' Gaudreau hoping to make big impression

Johnny Gaudreau never will be mistaken for Zdeno Chara. But with his skill and work ethic, he believes he can be a contributor for the Calgary Flames this season.

"It's just keeping working hard; as hard as you can," Gaudreau told NHL.com correspondent Aaron Vickers. "I talked to both [coach Bob Hartley and general manager Brad Treliving] in the summer time, making sure that everything I'm doing, three or four extra reps either in the weight room or on the ice, you have to make sure you're one of the better players out there for main camp."

Gaudreau is No. 26 on the NHL.com Top 60 prospect rankings.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.13.2014 / 8:12 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Blue Jackets' Milano out with facial fractures

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Sonny Milano is out of the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., and could miss the start of the 2014-15 season because of facial fractures, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Milano, the No. 16 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, was checked into the boards during a game Friday night. Don Harkins, director of U.S. Scouting for the Plymouth Whalers (the team Milano is expected to play for in 2014-15), told Portzline that Milano has a fractured orbital bone and fractured cheek.

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Quote of the Day

It's about enjoying the moment. It's pretty cool to get that many people together and that excited about hockey to the point they really want you to mess up. They've got a ton of red jerseys and you have to sit back and appreciate people love hockey that much and you are the one out there who gets to play the game. Just try and stick with that respect for the game and also the mentality that for me it's just about entering the fight and seeing how long I can stay in it.

— Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller on what he expects from the fans in Calgary for Game 6