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Posted On Wednesday, 09.19.2012 / 10:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

NHL Central Scouting releases preliminary watch list

There's little doubt NHL scouts and fans of the game began digesting NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch from North America and Europe the moment the lists hit the pages of NHL.com.

The preliminary lists are really the first indication of which players among the major junior and collegiate ranks we should be tracking entering the 2012-13 campaign. Who doesn't like to speculate on who might be the next great player in the NHL?

In addition to the main story, NHL.com also spoke to NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb for his take on a few of the top international skaters to watch.

By now, many are aware of a few high-profile prospects with familiar bloodlines expected to get plenty of publicity leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., June 28-29. Forward Max Domi of the London Knights is the son Tie Domi. Defenseman Seth Jones, considered to be a certain top five pick at the Draft, is the son of former NBA forward Popeye Jones.

While he might be a 'C'-rated prospect entering the season, goalie Anthony Brodeur of Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota certainly won't fly under the radar as the son of future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur.

There are a few other prospects on the board this season with name recognition.

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.18.2012 / 4:06 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Stanley Cup spends whirlwind week in Hollywood

The Stanley Cup is used to keeping a frantic schedule. But last week was especially busy for the iconic trophy, which shined even brighter in the company of some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

It started with a trip to the set of "Wheel of Fortune," where host and longtime Los Angeles Kings fan Pat Sajak couldn't help but show his excitement when the special guest arrived. For the Stanley Cup, it was just the beginning of a wild week in Hollywood.

After the game-show set, the Cup paid a visit to the production offices of the animated series "South Park." The show's co-creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, posed for photos with the Cup, and before long the entire staff was congregating around the trophy.

But the Cup wasn't reserved just for the film and television industries during its week in Los Angeles.

Considering the Kings share Staples Center with two NBA teams, it seemed only right the NHL team include its neighbors in the festivities. The Cup was first hosted by the Los Angeles Clippers, including some players and coach Vinny Del Negro, before the Los Angeles Lakers got their moment.

Though Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was one of the most prominent team members to pose with the Cup, one of the team's newest players may have enjoyed its presence the most. Though Steve Nash has never tried to hide his love for the Vancouver Canucks, the point guard, who was traded to the Lakers in July, relished his moment with the trophy marking the Kings' championship.

Following appearances at local hospitals and charitable events, the Cup made its way to a pair of parties held by team governor Tim Leiweke and president of business operations Luc Robitaille. In typical Kings style, they welcomed a number of celebrities, including producer Jerry Bruckheimer, broadcasters Ryan Seacrest and Al Michaels, actors Michael Vartan, Michael Rosenbaum and Rita Wilson, as well as former Kings owner Bruce McNall.

It all ended Sunday, when the Cup travelled to Manchester, N.H., for an event held by the Kings' American Hockey League franchise, the Manchester Monarchs. The hundreds of fans in attendance at Verizon Wireless Arena were shocked when Robitaille carried the Cup into the building before making a short presentation.

From Manchester, Robitaille was scheduled to bring the Cup to Quebec, where it will take part in one of its final celebrations before being engraved later in September.

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Posted On Monday, 09.17.2012 / 2:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

USHL Fall Classic set to begin this week

The 2012 United States Hockey League Fall Classic, one of the more heavily scouted junior tournaments in North America, is slated to begin Wednesday at two venues in Sioux City, Iowa.

This marks the sixth consecutive season that the league's annual preseason showcase, which concludes Saturday, will be hosted by the Sioux City Musketeers. All 16 USHL member clubs will compete in three preseason games during the event at either the Tyson Events Center or I.B.P. Ice Center.

"The event continues to be a boon for the city, while fans and organizers get to watch the most talented junior hockey players in the country,'" Musketeers Executive Vice President Rich Zaber said in a release.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.13.2012 / 5:28 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Kings visit 9/11 Memorial to honor Bailey, Bavis

Members of the Los Angeles Kings this week visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York City to pay tribute to scouts Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis.

LA Kings Insider reports team governor Tim Leiweke and president Luc Robitaille visited the memorial Wednesday, and a group of players did so Thursday.

Each group from the Stanley Cup Champions brought a plaque to the site with an inscription that read, "From your friends at the L.A. Kings. You were with us every step of the way."

The executives and players were in New York for the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations.

Bailey and Bavis were killed in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.12.2012 / 12:54 PM

By Nathan MacKinnon -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Nathan MacKinnon Draft blog

Top prospect MacKinnon looks to improve even more

Nathan MacKinnon will enter his second season in the QMJHL in 2012-13. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward had 31 goals, 78 points and a plus-11 rating as a rookie last season. His 47 assists led all first-year players in the league, and he finished second to 2012 first-round draft pick Mikhail Grigorenko in voting for the QMJHL Rookie of the Year award. MacKinnon hails from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, the same hometown as Pittsburgh Penguins star center Sidney Crosby. He recently helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal after scoring a hat trick in the championship match against Finland at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial in Slovakia in August. He finished the Hlinka with five goals and six assists in five games. MacKinnon will be maintaining a blog on NHL.com all season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.

Hello everybody! My name is Nathan MacKinnon, and I am going into my second season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

I gained lots of experience from my first year and am excited to get back at it in a few short weeks when the season opens.

I was born in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, to two awesome parents and a sister. Luckily for me, my parents were very athletic. My mother, Kathy, competed as the youngest swimmer in the Canada games. My father, Graham, was a marathon runner. Growing up, I enjoyed many other sports besides hockey, such as soccer, basketball, paddling and tennis. When it was time to give them up and focus on hockey, it was definitely difficult. I was also a fairly athletic kid and picked up sports easier than others.

Playing minor hockey for the Cole Harbour Red Wings was an amazing experience. You're playing with the same group of guys for nine or 10 years and create a special bond. Cole Harbour was a great spot for development. Lucky enough for me, I always had a good coach and really have to credit my success now to all those hours put in and the help I received growing up.

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.11.2012 / 5:13 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Hurricanes sign Welsh to two-year contract

Forward Jeremy Welsh has signed a two-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes, the team announced Tuesday.

The deal will pay Welsh $700,000 on the NHL level or $105,000 at the minor-league level this season. In 2013-14, Welsh will receive $1 million.

"Jeremy is a player we think very highly of," general manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement. "He is a big man (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) that can play center or left wing, and has really good hockey sense."

Welsh, 23, made his NHL debut for the Hurricanes in the team’s final game of the 2011-12 season. He had 27 goals, 17 assists and 47 penalty minutes in 40 games for Union College last season, ranking first on the team and fourth in the NCAA in goals (27).

Union College reached the Frozen Four, where it lost to eventual runner-up Ferris State.

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.11.2012 / 3:09 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Jets agree to new deal with Machacek

The Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday announced the club had agreed to terms on a new contract with restricted free-agent right wing Spencer Machacek. Terms of the deal were not released.

Machacek, 23, saw time in 13 NHL games last season, totaling two goals, seven assists -- his first NHL points. He also had 50 points in 61 games with the club's American Hockey League affiliate, the St. John's Ice Caps.

"I was coming into a new organization last year and the coaching staff probably didn’t know much about me," Machacek told the Winnipeg Sun. "At the end of the year, I showed I could play and I’m looking forward to coming to camp and trying to earn a spot."

Originally selected by the Atlanta Thrashers in the third round of the 2007 NHL Draft, Machacek has played 25 NHL games, all with the Atlanta/Winnipeg organization over the past four seasons.

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.11.2012 / 2:00 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Blackhawks sign Rozsival to one-year deal

The Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday signed defenseman Michal Rozsival to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Rozsival, 34, had 13 points and a plus-8 rating in 54 games with the Phoenix Coyotes last season. He had no points and a minus-3 rating in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Originally selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the fourth round of the 1996 NHL Draft, Rozsival has 64 goals, 196 points and a plus-58 rating in 756 games with the Penguins, New York Rangers and Coyotes.

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Posted On Monday, 09.10.2012 / 3:26 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Eminger re-signs with Rangers

The New York Rangers on Monday re-signed free-agent defenseman Steve Eminger. Terms of the deal were not released, but the New York Post is reporting the contract is for one year at $750,000.

In 42 games with the Rangers last season, Eminger had two goals and three assists while averaging 13:16 of ice time per game. He also saw action in four games in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Originally selected by the Washington Capitals with the 12th pick of the 2002 Entry Draft, Eminger has 19 goals and 77 assists in 453 NHL games with the Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks and Rangers.

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Posted On Friday, 09.07.2012 / 3:36 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Report: Holmstrom ponders return, only to Wings

Tomas Holmstrom reiterated Friday he has not decided if he will return to play in the NHL, but if he does, it will only be for the Detroit Red Wings.

"I have not decided what I'm going to do," Holmstrom told the Detroit Free Press.

The 39-year-old forward became a free agent on July 1 after scoring 11 goals in 74 regular-season games last season. He has played his entire career of 1,026 games with the Red Wings and said he will not try to sign with another team.

"Wings it is," Holmstrom told the newspaper's website.

Detroit signed free-agent forwards Damien Brunner, Mikael Samuelsson and Jordin Tootoo, and could re-sign Justin Abdelkader, which could leave little room for Holmstrom.

The report says Holmstrom's family wants him to continue playing. Earlier this summer, Holmstrom said he was working out with the possibility of returning.

Henrik Zetterberg spoke to Holmstrom recently, according to the Detroit News.

"He's still thinking (about his decision)," Zetterberg said. "He's in great shape last time I saw him."

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