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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 9:30 AM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

The EJ5: Erik Encore

5. Facing Reality ... Wings start the post-Nicklas Lidstrom era

4. Something Special ... 18 year old American-born D Seth Jones tops NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings of North American skaters. EJ thinks this guy is the real deal.

3. No Sure Thing ... In 2007, the Kings used the fourth overall pick to take WHL D Thomas Hickey. Tuesday, they lost him to the Islanders on waivers. Nearly 24, he's yet to play an NHL game. Fortunately, the Kings did use the 95th pick in the same draft to grab Miami University's Alec Martinez, who helped them win the franchise's first-ever Cup last June.

2. Optimistic Oilers ... After finishing near the bottom of the league for the past several seasons, Edmonton fans believe their team is ready to return to playoff contention. A big reason ... 22-year-old rookie defenseman Justin Schultz, who tore up the AHL during the first half of the season.

1. Erik Encore? ... Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson had a bust out year last season, putting up 78 points in 81 games. Can the 22-year-old pick up where he left off???

Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 10:20 PM - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Tanguay finds himself back in the middle in Calgary

Alex Tanguay was a center in junior hockey, but has spent his NHL career on the wing -- until now.

With the Calgary Flames needing help in the middle, the 33-year-old has spent the first three days of training camp playing between Curtis Glencross and Lee Stempniak. It's been an adjustment for Tanguay, who hasn’t played down the middle since his junior days with the Halifax Mooseheads.

“I’ve played the game a long time and it’s been a while since I played center,” he said after Tuesday's practice. “I used to play it in juniors, I know how to play it, but it’s going to take a little bit of time.”

Perhaps the biggest change is taking faceoffs on a regular basis -- Tanguay took just 67 draws last season and won only 25. But he told the Flames' website that there's a lot more to the move than just taking faceoffs, and it's taking some time to adjust.

“It’s trying to get used to a new pace and trying to get used to a new pace and trying to get used to a new position,” he said. “I don’t think I did too good out there yesterday, I was a little bit out of place. I feel fine physically but I feel like I’m still taking too much time to think.”

Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 7:23 PM - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Ducks sign Letourneau-Leblond

The Anaheim Ducks have signed left wing Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to a one-year contract. No financial terms were disclosed.

The Ducks assigned him to their AHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, along with goaltender Victor Fasth.

The 27-year-old appeared in three games for the Calgary Flames in 2011-12, with no points, 10 penalty minutes and a plus-1 rating. He had one goal, six points and a team-leading 167 PIM in 50 games for the Flames' AHL farm team, the Abbotsford Heat.

In 40 NHL games during parts of four seasons with New Jersey and Calgary, he has three assists and 101 penalty minutes. He has 18 goals, 39 points and 1,013 PIM in 242 AHL games.

Letourneau-Leblond was selected by New Jersey in the seventh round (No 216th) in the 2004 NHL Draft.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 4:32 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Wild sign Palmieri to two-way contract

The Minnesota Wild have agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with forward Nick Palmieri.

Palmieri had signed an American Hockey League deal to start the season and posted 9 goals and 19 points with 33 penalty minutes and a plus-9 rating in 36 games with Houston this season.

Acquired at the trade deadline last season from New Jersey, the 23-year-old Palmieri was scoreless in nine games with the Wild after he had four goals and seven points in 29 games with the Devils.

A third-round pick by New Jersey in the 2007 NHL Draft, Palmieri has career totals of 13 goals and 25 points in 87 games.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 4:26 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Canucks lose Booth for 4-6 weeks with injury

Vancouver Canucks forward David Booth will be out 4-6 weeks, the team announced Tuesday via its official Twitter feed.

Booth suffered a groin injury Sunday during the off-ice testing phase of training camp, coach Alain Vigneault told the team's website. Booth underwent an MRI exam Monday that revealed the damage.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 2:37 PM

By Sean Monahan -  Special to / - Sean Monahan Draft blog

Monahan offers thoughts from Halifax

Sean Monahan is a center for the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 186-pound forward was a second-team OHL all-star last season after scoring 33 goals in 62 games, and he added 15 points in 18 playoff games. A highly regarded prospect, Monahan has offered to maintain a monthly blog for that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.

Hello hockey fans. It's been a while so I thought I'd check in from Halifax prior to the big Top Prospects Game on Wednesday.

I got to see what the testing was all about on Monday when Jordan Subban showed me some of the drills in the airport. I guess I mentally just tried to prepare for it. I couldn't really practice anything because I didn't have ice time, but I came in mentally prepared. I arrived in Halifax on Monday a little late because my flight was delayed, so that was tough.

I came in and got to the hotel and found out I was rooming with goalie Spencer Martin from Mississauga. We had a little trouble Monday night with our television reception eventually figured it out and watched "America's Funniest Home Videos." After that, we shut it down.

As far as the testing went on Tuesday, everything was basic. Obviously, most of the stuff comes naturally. The backwards skating was probably a little different for the forwards and I think overall it was good and I felt it went well.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 2:14 PM

By Seth Jones -  Special to / - Seth Jones Draft blog

Jones discusses No. 1 ranking at midterm

Seth Jones is a defenseman for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman has solid athletic bloodlines -- his father, Popeye Jones, played 11 seasons in the NBA. Jones excelled the last two seasons for the U.S. National Team Development Program and won a gold medal with the United States at the 2013 World Junior Championship. Jones has offered to maintain a monthly blog for that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.

Hi everyone!

I just finished up the on-ice testing, so I figured I'd provide some idea what my time has been like leading up to the Top Prospects Game on Wednesday.

During the testing on Tuesday, it was just a matter of going out there and competing a little bit and prove to the scouts and to everyone watching that you deserve to be in this class and just go out do the testing and see what happens.

My roommate here in Halifax is [Portland Winterhawks teammate] Oliver Bjorkstrand. I normally don't room with him on the road, so this is a first. But he's a really good guy, a little quiet and obviously European. Bottom line is if he was quiet I'd ask for a room change, so we're all good.

As far as the testing goes, the on-ice was a little more difficult than the off-ice, which is basically vertical jump, broad jump and little agility testing and medicine ball throws. With the on-ice, you had to think a little bit more and there was one reactionary test where you had to see what color a light was [red or green] and decide which direction you had to go. That was probably the most difficult thing.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 1:08 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Blues invite veteran White to training camp

Veteran defenseman Colin White has been invited to St. Louis Blues training camp on a tryout basis, the team announced Tuesday.

White, 35, appeared in 54 games for the San Jose Sharks last season posting a goal, four points and 21 penalty minutes.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound White played his first 11 NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, winning the Stanley Cup in 2000 and 2003. Overall, White has dressed in 797 career games amassing 21 goals, 129 points and 869 penalty minutes as well as three goals and 17 points in 114 career playoff games.

The New Glasgow, Nova Scotia native was originally drafted by New Jersey in the second round (No. 49) of the 1996 NHL Draft.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 1:02 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Islanders claim Hickey on waivers

The New York Islanders claimed defenseman Thomas Hickey on waivers Tuesday from the Los Angeles Kings.

Hickey was the No. 4 pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, but has yet to play in the NHL. He has spent the past three seasons with Manchester in the American Hockey League, and had three goals and 12 points in 33 games for the Monarchs this season. He is the only player selected in the first 16 picks of that draft to have not yet reached the NHL.

The Islanders have now added a pair of defensemen via waivers in as many days. They nabbed Joe Finley from the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. New York's depth on the blue line is lacking because Lubomir Visnovsky has yet to arrive at training camp after spending the lockout playing in the Kontinental Hockey League, and because Calvin de Haan is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 12:36 PM

By Nathan MacKinnon -  Special to / - Nathan MacKinnon Draft blog

MacKinnon on Prospects Game, roommates, testing

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 23 goals, 55 points and a plus-29 rating in 32 games for the Mooseheads in 2012-13. As a rookie, MacKinnon finished second to 2012 first-round draft pick Mikhail Grigorenko (Buffalo Sabres) in voting for the QMJHL Rookie of the Year award. MacKinnon, who will serve as captain for Team Cherry at the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax on Wednesday, recently represented Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. He has offered to provide with a monthly blog leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.

Hi everyone!

It's been pretty exciting here in Halifax while we're getting set for the Top Prospects Game.

On Monday night we actually got back to our hotel at 9:30 p.m., ate dinner and then got back to the room. It's funny because [Halifax linemate] Jonathan Drouin is my roommate. I was pretty happy that he didn't snore, too. I don't room with him on the road and he's a good roommate. I usually room with Ryan Falkenham when with Halifax.

Jo did ask me if I snored but I told him I didn't, so we were all good. Jo is quiet and good. We kind of watched television and talked hockey all night but we shut it down early.

This morning I participated in the on- and off-ice testing. I came in not knowing much about it. It's pretty game-similar for the most part but there were some things that you wouldn't do. But they test on-ice ability and it's a good way for scouts to see what kind of intangibles you possess.

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Quote of the Day

I'm going into this with an open mind. This is a very young player (23) with a tremendous, tremendous amount of upside.

— Rangers coach Alain Vigneault on Emerson Etem's potential