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DeLeo hoping to be Winterhawks' next success story

Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Chase De Leo has always been privy to the success rate of players drafted into the NHL from the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.

It was a big reason he decided to join the team in 2011-12 following a successful stint with the Under-16 Los Angeles Selects back home in California.

The native of La Mirada was a ninth-round pick (No. 192) of the Winterhawks in the 2010 WHL bantam draft after connecting for 27 goals and 83 points in 28 games for the L.A. Selects bantam AAA team that would advance to the national championship.


Daily Primer Oct. 17: Roy races toward record

Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Patrick Roy was a record-setter during a playing career that earned him a berth in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He'll try to add another record to his resume Wednesday, this time as a coach.

Roy has led the Colorado Avalanche to victory in each of his first six games as coach, matching the mark for consecutive wins at the start of a coaching career set by former teammate Mario Tremblay with the 1995-96 Montreal Canadiens. Ironically, Roy was in goal for all six of those games.

To break the mark he shares with his old teammate, Roy's current team will have to beat an old nemesis -- the Detroit Red Wings, who had one of the NHL's fiercest rivalries with the Avalanche from 1995 through 2003. The Red Wings come to Pepsi Center with a three-game winning streak of their own.

Here's a complete look at the schedule for a busy Thursday:


Islanders captain Tavares seeks Olympic spot

Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

John Tavares
Center - NYI
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 7
SOG: 22 | +/-: 1
Though New York Islanders captain John Tavares just began his fifth season in the NHL, the No. 1 pick at the 2009 NHL Draft has been in the spotlight for roughly a decade.

The Oakville, Ontario, native was the youngest player ever drafted into the Ontario Hockey League after the OHL introduced the "exceptional player" clause, which allowed Tavares, who was 14 at the time, to be selected by the Oshawa Generals with the No. 1 pick. Three days after he turned 15, he scored his first of 215 goals at the junior level.

Tavares only seemed to get better as the spotlight became brighter. He represented Canada at five international events and was named Most Valuable Player at the 2009 World Junior Championship, when he had 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in six games, leading his country to a gold medal. He said he believes all of the attention he received at the junior level has helped him become what he is today: one of the brightest young stars in the NHL.


Prospector Files: Top Czech duo playing in Sweden

Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Don't think San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl flew under the radar in his draft year after posting impressive numbers for Slavia in the Czech Republic during the 2011-12 season.

In fact, the gurus at NHL Central Scouting had Hertl fifth on their final release of international skaters in April of 2012. He was deemed a potential first-line candidate and was graded as "excellent" in two categories, stickhandling and scoring touch, before being selected No. 17 by the Sharks.

Following Hertl's remarkable four-goal outburst against the New York Rangers on Oct. 8, NHL.com reached out to NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb in an attempt to get a handle on the next wave of top prospects born in the Czech Republic and eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Interestingly, Stubb acknowledged that the two top Czech natives aren't even playing in their own country. Instead, forwards Jakub Vrana and David Pastrnak have decided to hone their craft in Sweden.

"Usually, promising Czech talents move to North America, but these two are trying to reach the NHL via Sweden," Stubb told NHL.com. "Both are exceptional talents."

Stubb predicts both players will earn roster spots for the Czech Republic at the 2014 World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden.


Bruins' Rask glad to get chance to face Thomas

Wednesday, 10.16.2013 / 9:00 PM / NHL Insider


Tim Thomas' groin injury is healed, meaning he'll be in goal when his new team, the Florida Panthers, host his old club, the Boston Bruins, on Thursday night. His former goaltending partner, Tuukka Rask, is looking forward to the matchup.

"I never thought that we would play against each other," Rask told the Bruins website following practice Wednesday in Sunrise, Fla. "But I'm glad that he made his comeback and proved people wrong again, and I hope he does well."

Rask was the backup to Thomas for three seasons, as well as during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy while leading Boston to its first championship since 1972. He backed up Thomas again in 2011-12 before getting his chance to start when Thomas opted to sit out last season.


Playoff battles have shaped Rangers-Capitals rivalry

Wednesday, 10.16.2013 / 1:58 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- When the New York Rangers last saw Verizon Center, they were mobbing goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who had just completed back-to-back shutouts, in celebration after a 5-0 Game 7 win against the Washington Capitals, matching the most lopsided winner-take-all win by a road team in NHL history.

Shocked and overwhelmed by their sudden change in fortunes, all the despondent Capitals could do was stare blankly in bewilderment.

Five months later, the new Metropolitan Division rivals will renew what has become one of the most contestable rivalries in the League when the Rangers’ season-opening nine-game road trip takes them to Washington to face the Capitals as part of NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2).


On the 'D'-fence: Minnesota D-men running Wild

Wednesday, 10.16.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

The Minnesota Wild aren't the first team that comes to mind when thinking of units that are offensively dominant, but that is starting to change. They have seen their goals-per-game creep up from 2.02, which ranked dead last in the NHL three seasons ago, to 2.67 this season.

That may place them just 16th overall, but it's progress.

Left wing Matt Cooke surprisingly leads the team in scoring to this point in the season, but their defensemen have been a huge catalyst for that newfound production.

Norris Trophy finalist Ryan Suter, who has collected three assists (all on the power play) over his first six games, is a big part of that increase in productivity.

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It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery