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Posted On Sunday, 06.30.2013 / 2:00 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Rolston got first-hand glimpse at Jones' talents

NEWARK, N.J. -- Before becoming coach of the Buffalo Sabres, Ron Rolston got an early glimpse of why defenseman Seth Jones will be one of the first players picked at Sunday at the 2013 NHL Draft (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN).

Rolston was coaching the United States National Team Development Program's under-18 team during the 2010-11 season when Jones was called up from the U-17 team to play 20 regular-season games, and six more during the 2011 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Rolston said all of the attributes that have intrigued NHL scouts were obvious from the moment he first saw Jones on the ice.

"Obviously his size and that potential, he's probably going to grow more," Rolston told NHL.com. "His ability to command the game, his hockey sense. He can control the game when he's on the ice. He can attack with the puck, he can move it up with his transition passing. He's a guy that really accelerates your team both defensively and offensively. You can tell the poise he played with as a young player, especially on defense. We're looking at defensemen at the NHL level to have the poise with the puck on the defensive end, and he's one of the guys who has that."

 

Posted On Saturday, 06.29.2013 / 8:28 PM

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

MacKinnon ready for big day in Newark

Nathan Mackinnon is in his second season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this year. The 6-foot, 182-pound forward has 32 goals, 75 points and a plus-40 rating in 44 regular-season games for the Mooseheads in 2012-13. In 17 playoff games, MacKinnon finished with 11 goals and 33 points to help lead his team to the QMJHL championship. He was then awarded with the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as Memorial Cup MVP after finishing with tournament highs of seven goals and 13 points in four games as Halifax won its first Cup crown. MacKinnon, who served as captain for Team Cherry at the 2013 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game and represented Canada at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Russia, has offered to provide NHL.com with a monthly blog leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.

Hi everyone. I just finished up the clinic at AmeriHealth Pavilion at Prudential Center and had a blast.

It was a lot of fun getting to do some of the stuff on the ice with the young kids. I like seeing the smiles on their faces and it was great to be out there with the Devils Stanley Cup alumni. They've played for so long in the NHL so it was pretty special. It was good to talk to those guys and hang with the kids.

Some of those kids were good too. They're all pretty young and nobody is a natural yet, but some kids were more skilled than others. They all did a great job and it was fun to be a part of it all.


Posted On Saturday, 06.29.2013 / 6:28 PM

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

'Cake Boss' has draft-day surprise planned

NEWARK, N.J. -- Buddy Valastro, owner of Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken where TLC's "Cake Boss" is filmed, is prepared to unveil a special treat Sunday prior to the start of the NHL Draft at Prudential Center (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN).

Valastro, known as Buddy to those familiar with the reality television show, said a life-sized cake will be a part of the pre-draft festivities. Though he wouldn't reveal details of its look or shape, he did admit it is the second hockey cake they have done on "Cake Boss," and the biggest.

"We're doing a really cool cake for the draft and I think they're going to love it," Valastro said. "They are going to unveil it between 2 and 3 o'clock. Sorry, but I can't say too much more about it."

Posted On Saturday, 06.29.2013 / 6:11 PM

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

Former Devils D-men debate Jones vs. MacKinnon

NEWARK, N.J. -- Until Colorado Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic announces that the team will indeed select Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon with the first choice of the 2013 NHL Draft on Sunday at Prudential Center (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS), the speculation will continue.

Should the Avalanche instead draft a future franchise defenseman, Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks?

During the NHL Top Prospects clinic at AmeriHealth Pavilion at Prudential Center on Saturday, New Jersey Devils alumni and former standout defensemen Ken Daneyko and Bruce Driver were asked that question.

Posted On Friday, 06.28.2013 / 11:15 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Status quo for Streit's value

Mark Streit, an offensive-minded defenseman, should fit right in with the high-scoring Philadelphia Flyers. Whether his fantasy stock will rise or fall remains to be seen.

The 35-year-old signed a four-year contract Friday with the Flyers, who have finished top-10 in the League in goals-per-game for six consecutive seasons. Only Kris Letang (26), Andrei Markov (25), Cody Franson (25) and Ryan Suter (24) had more games with at least one point than Streit (23) during this past 48-game campaign.

But here's the other side to the story: The former New York Islanders captain is tied with Eric Gudbranson for the NHL's worst combined rating (minus-41) over the past two seasons. The Flyers also posted a worse goal differential (minus-8 in 2012-13) than the Islanders (even). Therefore, it shouldn't be assumed Streit's rating will improve significantly.

Posted On Friday, 06.28.2013 / 6:37 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Prospects review the prospects

WEEHAWKEN, N.J. -- A few of the top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft took part in a media event along the Hudson River on Friday, posing for pictures and having a good time.

It wasn't always this way. Darnell Nurse's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds faced Sean Monahan's Ottawa 67's twice in the Ontario Hockey League, and Hunter Shinkaruk's Medicine Hat Tigers played Seth Jones' Portland Winterhawks once in the Western Hockey League.

Rivalries on the ice, however, led to respect, and each prospect had only good things to say about his counterpart:

Posted On Friday, 06.28.2013 / 6:23 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Drouin able to shine in MacKinnon's shadow

WEEHAWKEN, N.J. -- Nathan MacKinnon stands 6-feet tall, but on the hockey rink he casts quite a shadow.

It was big enough to block some from discovering how good Jonathan Drouin, his teammate with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, really is.

Drouin certainly produced worthy of the No. 3 ranking NHL Central Scouting gave him in its final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft. He finished second in the QMJHL with 105 points in 49 games, played for Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, helped Halifax win the QMJHL title, and capped a run to the Memorial Cup championship with five assists in the title game. He was named the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year.

"He deserves all that [attention]," MacKinnon said Friday. "He's had a heck of a year and definitely helped carry us to the Memorial Cup championship. He's been a great player and a great teammate all year. He definitely deserves all the attention he's getting."

Posted On Friday, 06.28.2013 / 4:58 PM

By Sean Monahan -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Sean Monahan Draft blog

Monahan excited for NHL Draft

Sean Monahan, NHL Central Scouting's No. 5-rated skater among the top draft-eligible prospects in North America, is a center for the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-2.25, 187-pound forward led his team with 31 goals, 47 assists, 15 power-play goals and 78 points in 58 games this season for the 67's. Monahan, who was voted among the top three players in four separate categories during the OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll in March, has maintained a blog for NHL.com this season leading up to the NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.

Hi everyone from the media lunch area near the Hudson River!

I just arrived in New York City [Friday] morning at about 9 a.m. ET and it's been great.

It's a crazy city and there are certainly a lot of people. I guess I'm just looking forward to getting around the city once I get the opportunity. My mother [Cathy] and father [John] and sister [Jacqueline] are here, as is my sister's boyfriend, some aunts, uncles, cousins and my grandparents. I have about 35 people here with me so I guess you can say we went all out!

I basically have been in the gym since the conclusion of the NHL Scouting Combine [earlier this month]. I haven't had a day off since two weeks after the season ended in Ottawa. I took some time off then, but I've been in the gym every day and have been skating two or three times a week. I continue to work on my game and do whatever I can for next year in order to become an impact player in the NHL.

I really enjoyed the Stanley Cup Final. Watching my favorite player, Jonathan Toews was great. He's a leader and even when he's not putting up points, he's contributing in other ways. It could be playing that strong two-way game or winning face-offs or just making sure the whole team is ready to go. So that was really fun to watch. It was certainly a great series.

It's great to be in the company with such great draft eligible players. All the players here are so good. Thing is, you never know where you will go [in the draft] but you're always competing against each other on the ice. Now, I guess, it's time to just sit back and relax and let the cards fall where they're supposed to. It's an exciting time and just being able to share it with the other prospects is awesome.

I'll check back again after the draft. Thanks for reading.

Follow Sean Monahan on Twitter at: @Monahan20

Posted On Friday, 06.28.2013 / 4:51 PM

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

MacKinnon's father excited for draft, proud of son

WEEHAWKEN, N.J. -- It's been quite the weekend for the family of Nathan MacKinnon as they follow the potential first pick of the 2013 NHL Draft through the metropolitan area in the days leading up draft day Sunday at Prudential Center in Newark (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN).

During the top prospects media luncheon, MacKinnon was joined by his mother and father, Kathy and Graham, and his older sister, Sarah.

"It's very exciting," Graham MacKinnon told NHL.com. "It's almost like we're on vacation and we're here for someone else's draft. Then you look over and it's your son. You see his name and we're very excited and happy for him."

Posted On Friday, 06.28.2013 / 11:17 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Blackhawks thank Boston in full-page Globe ad

In a final show of sportsmanship following one of the most exciting Stanley Cup Final series in recent memory, the Chicago Blackhawks are paying tribute to the city of Boston.

In a full-page open letter published Friday in the Boston Globe (view it here), Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz and President/CEO John McDonough said "thank you" to the Boston Bruins organization and the city of Boston.

The ad read as follows:

"Hockey is a tough game. As impressed as we were by the strength, talent and competitive spirit of the Boston Bruins on the ice, we were deeply touched by what happened off the ice. Rarely have we experience the hospitality you afforded us throughout the playoff series between two incredibly gifted teams.

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Quote of the Day

I first met him when I was 19 years old and he coached me for 13 consecutive years. I don't know how many athletes who have had that pleasure. Al Arbour was a man that left us not only feeling like champions, but left us with a lot of great memories that we can carry on through life.

— Islanders Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin on former coach Al Arbour, who passed away Friday at the age of 82