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Features

Top remaining players available via free agency

Friday, 07.24.2015 / 5:00 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The first few head-spinning hours after the free agent market opened at noon ET on July 1 featured a plethora of players joining new teams and a trade that has the potential to shift the balance of power in the Metropolitan Division in favor of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who acquired forward Phil Kessel.

The market still has several unrestricted free agents who could make a difference with a new team.

Here is a list of some of the best available (by position and in alphabetical order):

Canadiens, Semin agree to terms on one-year contract

Friday, 07.24.2015 / 3:34 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens took a minimal risk to potentially reap a huge reward by agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with unrestricted free agent forward Alexander Semin on Friday.

Semin's contract with the Canadiens reportedly is worth $1.1 million. The Carolina Hurricanes bought out the final three years of his five-year, $35 million contract earlier this month.

The Canadiens finished last season 20th in the NHL in goals per game and 23rd in power-play efficiency, two areas the Canadiens hope Semin's arrival can address.

"Alex is a pure goal-scorer with a good shot," general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement. "We believe his addition to our group of forwards will strengthen our offensive production and our power play. A veteran winger with size, Semin has reached the 20-goal plateau seven times since the beginning of his NHL career 12 years ago. His signing represents a great opportunity for the organization and for Alex's career."

Stars' Eaves wins Smashfest charity table tennis title

Friday, 07.24.2015 / 12:53 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- When he was 7 years old, Dallas Stars forward Patrick Eaves broke his back playing in the yard.

Around that time, his father, former NHL forward Mike Eaves, bought a table tennis machine for the basement. It helped with Patrick's recovery.

"I just learned by myself in the basement with the machine," Patrick said. "It's kind of a weird story, a funky story."

Eaves' considerable table tennis skills were on display Thursday when he won the title at Smashfest IV, a charity event organized by New York Rangers forward Dominic Moore. The event featured about 30 NHL players who played in a pro-am format and then squared off against each other for the Smashfest championship.

Winning the event and the bragging rights that go with it is a big deal among the players. Table tennis has become a daily activity in dressing rooms around the League.

Rested Kings ready to resume quest for Cup

Thursday, 07.23.2015 / 9:25 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- A longer than usual offseason led to some significant changes for the Los Angeles Kings and players eager to get back to chasing the Stanley Cup.

"I think everyone's really excited to get the year going," defenseman Alec Martinez said at a community event Thursday. "This has obviously been a really long summer, way too long. This was actually the first time in my career that I've ever had this long of a summer. That's frustrating, but you can look at it as an opportunity for some of us to heal up a little bit."

The Kings played 64 playoff games the previous three seasons, winning the Stanley Cup twice. This season, their final game was April 11, missing a Western Conference playoff berth by two points.

"I think [captain Dustin Brown] touched on it, the past three or four years, basically when we're done in mid-June, you can't start training until maybe the beginning of July, mid-July," Martinez said. "You're just using those two months to just kind of catch up and get back to square one. This is … an opportunity to not just get back to square one but to build on some things. Get stronger, faster, healthier for some guys. I think it's been good so far."

Kings host Special Olympics World Games athletes

Thursday, 07.23.2015 / 8:51 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Tyler Toffoli, Alec Martinez and Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings spent Thursday afternoon welcoming athletes for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.

The event had a loose, fun feel to it, much like the players' interactions with coach Darryl Sutter's son Chris, who has competed in the Special Olympics and is such a part of the Kings that he is in the team photo from their 2013-14 Stanley Cup season.

"We see Chris around all the time, and he's basically one of the guys on the team," Toffoli said. "He comes in here and makes us laugh. We know how Chris is. He's incredible, and for us to give back and help out here with the Special Olympics and show off our facility, it was a good experience."

The Special Olympics World Games, which begin Saturday, will feature 6,500 intellectually disabled athletes from 165 countries competing in 25 sports in venues across Los Angeles, which is hosting the international competition for the first time since 1972.

Analysis: Lamoriello must fit Maple Leafs' structure

Thursday, 07.23.2015 / 5:42 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Two of the people who know Lou Lamoriello the best feel his move from the New Jersey Devils to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday makes sense and is the perfect fit.

Former Devils coach Larry Robinson said the Maple Leafs should feel excellent about bringing Lamoriello on board because a person with his experience is exactly what they needed.

"I think that Toronto hit the jackpot," Robinson said.

Former Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko mentioned how the Maple Leafs need structure, discipline and accountability, three things Lamoriello prided himself on for 28 years as New Jersey's general manager and president.

"It's probably the only team right now that I believe is the right fit for Lou if he wants to keep doing it, to still have a lot of input in hockey decisions," Daneyko said. "It's the right fit for the Leafs for what they're trying to accomplish in changing the whole culture there. Just thinking about it when I heard the news, it was like, 'That's the team that needs that kind of presence.'"

History helps Shanahan, Maple Leafs land Lamoriello

Thursday, 07.23.2015 / 5:25 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Brendan Shanahan has received credit for his dogged pursuit of the people he wants helping him rebuild the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Coach Mike Babcock, wooed and won in May, and now general manager Lou Lamoriello, introduced on Thursday, mentioned how determined and convincing the Maple Leafs president can be.

"When you're the youngest of four Irish boys at the dinner table your whole life," Shanahan said, "you learn how to fight for the last potato."

The reunion of Shanahan and Lamoriello with the Maple Leafs continues a close personal relationship that started 28 years ago. Lamoriello was in his first year as general manager of the New Jersey Devils when they selected Shanahan with the second pick of the 1987 NHL Draft.

Kane recalls Taylor Swift nearly costing Blackhawks

Thursday, 07.23.2015 / 5:20 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Taylor Swift once caused Patrick Kane to almost give up a goal -- and got him in hot water -- when the Chicago Blackhawks played the Nashville Predators during Kane's rookie season.

Former Blackhawks coach Denis Savard relayed what happened on Feb. 14, 2008 at Bridgestone Arena at last weekend's fan convention.

"I've got a story for you guys about backchecking and not covering your man in your own zone," Savard started off in a video posted by CSN Chicago. "You ready for this one. ...

Flames sign Lance Bouma to three-year contract

Thursday, 07.23.2015 / 3:55 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames announced today that they have signed forward Lance Bouma to a three-year contract.

Bouma, a native of Provost, Alberta, played 78 games with the Flames last season netting 16 goals and adding 18 assists for 34 points along with 54 penalty minutes. After being drafted in the third round of the 2008 NHL Draft, Bouma has played 199 career NHL games with Calgary scoring 22 goals and adding 31 assists for 53 points.

Unmasked: Jones excited for bigger role with Sharks

Thursday, 07.23.2015 / 12:22 PM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER – Martin Jones isn't going to do anything different this summer to get ready for the season just because he recently went from being a seldom-used backup goalie with the Los Angeles Kings to a likely No.1 for the San Jose Sharks.

Jones, 25, plans to stick with the same offseason routine that made him one of the more sought-after goalies on a busy trade market and helped to earn the Vancouver native a three-year contract reportedly worth $9 million from the Sharks despite having 34 games of NHL experience.

But Jones' normal summer routine is already notably different than most of his puck-stopping peers in the NHL.

Where many focus on technical tweaks with private goalie coaches and steer clear of the endless breakaways and backdoor tap-ins of shinny in the summer, Jones goes the other way, eschewing goalie-specific ice sessions in favor of more wide-open scrimmages.

"As I've gotten older and my game has evolved, I have gone more away from the technical side, which I guess is a little bit strange to say but it's added a little more depth to my game, for sure," Jones told NHL.com.
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Quote of the Day

I would definitely love to play with him. He's a skilled player and over the years he definitely has shown that he can score a lot of goals. I think it would work out well.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk on Alexander Semin