Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 5:02 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Few trades transpire at this year's draft

PHILADELPHIA -- The trade bonanza that was supposed to happen at the 2014 NHL Draft never came to pass, and a few of the League’s general managers believe it might have been because they were being pulled in too many directions.

After all, this was the first time the interview period prior to the opening of free agency coincided with the draft.

As part of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, NHL teams were given the ability to speak with impending unrestricted free agents five days before the market opens. However, last year that interview window opened on July 1 because free agency began July 5 due to the NHL lockout pushing back the hockey calendar.

This year, the opening of free agency was moved up to July 1, meaning the interview period opened June 25 and kept general managers busy heading into the draft.

Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 4:38 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Flyers' Holmgren proud of team, fans at draft

PHILADELPHIA -- With two days and seven rounds in the book, Philadelphia Flyers president Paul Holmgren was all smiles after his organization hosted the NHL Draft for the first time.

"Obviously the League does a lot of the stuff too, but our staff working behind the scenes did a tremendous job," Holmgren said. "I was really proud of our organization [Friday] and again [Saturday]. We had a good turnout again [Saturday], what's normally a light day, the second day. But [Friday] was incredible."

Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 12:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 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 last September. "I thoroughly enjoyed it."

Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 12:30 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Hulking Vanier slips to Sharks

PHILADELPHIA -- At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, defenseman Alexis Vanier of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar is one of the biggest players selected at the 2014 NHL Draft.

He's also fairly skilled; he had 15 goals and 21 assists in 61 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and earned good reviews for his physical play and big shot from the point.

Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 11:39 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Demko aims to be starter for U.S. at World Juniors

PHILADELPHIA -- Thatcher Demko did more than just see the sights in Malmo, Sweden, during the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

As the third goaltender for the United States at last year's tournament, he did not dress for a game. Instead, he kept a close eye on what was happening around him. He hopes to put that learning experience to good use when he goes to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in August.

"I didn't play in any games, but I had a bird's-eye view from the tournament up there," Demko said. "You learn what the atmosphere is like and what to expect. I learned a lot from Jon Gillies, who was the starter there He's rubbing off some of his experiences on me and hopefully that can carry over this year."

Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 9:17 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 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."

Posted On Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 9:04 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 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."

Posted On Friday, 06.27.2014 / 11:50 PM

By Staff -  / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Family ties run strong in opening round of NHL Draft

Sam Reinhart now owns family bragging rights when it comes to the NHL Draft.

Sam became the third member of the Reinhart family to be taken in the first round of the draft when the Buffalo Sabres selected him with the second choice Friday. That's two picks earlier than older brother Griffin Reinhart was taken by the New York Islanders in 2012 and 10 choices earlier than his dad, Paul Reinhart, was taken by the Atlanta Flames in 1979. Another older brother, Max Reinhart, was the 63rd player taken in 2010 when he went to the Calgary Flames.

Reinhart was one of nine players taken in the first round who had family ties to professional hockey:

Posted On Friday, 06.27.2014 / 1:38 PM

By Staff -  / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Sabres plan to keep No. 2 pick, make other deals

The top prospects aren't the only people ready to get the 2014 NHL Draft started Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray, speaking with reporters Friday morning in Philadelphia, said he's counting down the minutes until things get underway.

"We're ready," he said. "I hope we're not over-prepared. We've talked a lot about it, the different scenarios. Whatever happens, I have confidence that our guys are ready to execute."

The Sabres have eight picks, starting with the No. 2 pick in the first round and three selections in the second round (Nos. 31, 39 and 49).

Posted On Thursday, 06.26.2014 / 5:32 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Virtanen's first priority: Get healthy

PHILADELPHIA -- The focus for most of the top prospects who took part in a media availability session at the National Constitutional Center on Thursday was what they could do to make the NHL next season. For Calgary Hitmen left wing Jake Virtanen, the goal is a bit different: He's focused on getting healthy enough to return to the lineup as soon as possible.

Virtanen had surgery on his left shoulder in May to repair a torn labrum. The initial diagnosis was a recovery time of four to six months, and he told he's targeting a mid-October return.

Virtanen, No. 6 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the draft, played through the shoulder injury for the second half of the season and had 45 goals and 71 points in 71 Western Hockey League games, as well as six points in seven games for Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

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