MINNEAPOLIS -- When Chuck Fletcher was named general manager of the Minnesota Wild in May 2009, there was plenty of work to be done to rebuild a franchise whose foundation was crumbling.
Minnesota had little in the way of a prospect cupboard and its most popular player in franchise history, Marian Gaborik, was weeks away from signing with the New York Rangers.
With the Wild entering their fifth training camp with Fletcher at the helm, there should be legitimate competition for roster spots between a number of veterans and young players who gained experience last season. Among the top six, only left wing Zach Parise, center Mikko Koivu and right wing Jason Pominville are guaranteed much of anything.
NEWARK, N.J. --New Jersey Devils captain Bryce Salvador is looking forward to the start of the season after one of the more interesting offseasons in his six seasons with the team.
"I think it was a very interesting offseason for our organization," Salvador told NHL.com. "A lot of things happened. Now it's time to put last season behind you and look forward. We got great acquisitions to fill some of the holes, and I think we're ready to surprise some people."
One acquisition that certainly had Salvador grinning ear-to-ear was that of goaltender Cory Schneider.
ARLINGTON, Va. --Marcus Johansson arrived in the Washington D.C. area Tuesday, roughly 72 hours after signing his two-year, $4 million contract and in time to be at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Wednesday for the start of training camp.
Johansson is aware that there are still some restricted free agents who aren't in training camps as they continue contract negotiations, but he never envisioned himself becoming one of them.
"I was always hoping and thinking I would be here when [training camp] started," Johansson said. "That's where everybody is, but if it would have come to that I would have dealt with it. It worked out and I'm really happy it did. It's just a great feeling to be here."
MINNEAPOLIS -- With a combination of skilled veterans and experienced youngsters, most observers believe this season's edition of the Minnesota Wild is perhaps the most talented group the franchise has ever brought to a training camp.
One of the key pieces to the Wild's puzzle this season is veteran winger Jason Pominville, acquired from the Buffalo Sabres at last season's trade deadline and now in his first camp with Minnesota.
A second-round pick of the Sabres in 2001, Pominville was in the midst of his ninth season with Buffalo when he was traded for the first time in his career last April.
Just having the third-year center on the ice was good news for the club after undergoing shoulder surgery in April.
"It feels good, it's nice to able to be on the ice skating with the guys right now," Nugent-Hopkins said after the Oilers first on-ice session of training camp. "I'm involved quite a bit, so it's good. There has been a lot of rehab and stuff, but it feels good so far."
Nugent-Hopkins is not expected to be ready by the first game of the regular season. Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said the first pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, probably would not be available until November.
BROOKLYN, NY --New York Islanders star John Tavares enjoyed quite a summer. Shortly after enjoying the first playoff action of his NHL career, the All-Star center was named a finalist for the Hart Memorial trophy as the League's most valuable player. He came up short in that contest, but was later invited to Team Canada's Olympic orientation camp in August.
But the greatest honor bestowed upon the 22-year-old this summer may have come shortly before training camp, when the Islanders named him the 14th captain in franchise history. The move, necessitated by former captain Mark Streit's signing with the Philadelphia Flyers, cast an even greater spotlight on the Islanders' franchise player. But Tavares made it clear as camp opened that he wasn't planning on changing his approach to the game just because he has a C stitched above his heart.
SAN JOSE -- Forward Adam Burish reported to training camp on Thursday with a healthy right hand and hopes of having a stronger second season with the San Jose Sharks.
Burish broke the hand last May in Game 4 against the Vancouver Canucks, when the Sharks completed a first-round sweep.
"All good. The hand's good," Burish said after his first training camp practice. "I feel great. Nothing to tell you about. It's all good. "I just kind of let it heal. I did a little bit of therapy with the hand. I did some hand therapy stuff. Other than that, I just kind of let it heal and tried to get some grip strength stuff back, but all good."
BOSTON -- A few weeks of skating on his own and a couple days participating in informal skates with his teammates couldn't tell Gregory Campbell if he was ready to go all-out in Boston Bruins training camp.
He had to just do it, and Thursday at TD Garden the veteran center was on his usual line with wings Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton during the team's second on-ice session of the afternoon.
Coach Claude Julien said the trio that's been a staple of the Bruins' lineup for three seasons looked solid as usual, but Campbell was a tougher critic as far as his own performance. It was the first time he took part in a formal NHL practice since he broke his leg in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final last season.
We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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