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2014 NHL Draft
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Features

Canadiens' Beaulieu aims to build on playoff success

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 5:53 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

Nathan Beaulieu gave the Montreal Canadiens great bang for their buck during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It might have been a glimpse of what kind of value he can provide in 2014-15.

Beaulieu played a shade over 75 minutes in the playoffs, but it could be argued those minutes were a big reason the Canadiens reached the Eastern Conference Final.

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Ehlers aims to be Jets' next first-round success story

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 4:40 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and his scouting staff have excelled in the first round of the NHL Draft even as on-ice success has eluded the team since its arrival from Atlanta in 2011.

Two weeks after being hired by the Jets, Cheveldayoff selected center Mark Scheifele with the seventh pick in the first round the 2011 draft. The following year Cheveldayoff picked defenseman Jacob Trouba with the ninth pick, and the Jets continued to rebuild their blue line with Joshua Morrissey as the 13th pick in 2013.

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Wennberg back in Columbus, plans to stay

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 4:14 PM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- This time, center Alexander Wennberg is hoping to stick with the Columbus Blue Jackets when the NHL season begins.

The smooth center was their first pick (No. 14) in the 2013 NHL Draft and a year ago this week attended development camp at the OhioHealth Ice Haus.

Wennberg was wide-eyed, nervous, curious about the surroundings, and smaller. Neither management nor the Nacka, Sweden native had any expectations he would play in North America during the 2013-14 season.

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Callahan helped recruit Stralman, Boyle to Lightning

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 3:35 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan is getting credit this week for doing his part to help general manager Steve Yzerman reel in two unrestricted free agents last week.

Defenseman Anton Stralman and center Brian Boyle confirmed in separate interviews that Callahan, their former captain with the New York Rangers, influenced their decisions to sign with the Lightning shortly after the free-agent signing period got under way last Tuesday.

Stralman signed a five-year, $22.5 million contract; Boyle signed a three-year, $6 million contract. Yzerman said after signing them that he spoke with Callahan, as did the players.

"I just kind of wanted to hear his thoughts, so he obviously had an impact on my decision," Stralman said Tuesday. "I already had a good idea about Tampa, and just wanted to confirm everything."

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Predators' Fiala confident in jump to North America

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 2:36 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Kevin Fiala doesn't have much experience on the North American-size ice he'll find playing in the NHL. But the Swiss-born forward, taken by the Nashville Predators with the 11th pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, is confident he'll make a smooth adjustment.

"I'm not a very big player, but I'm excited for the smaller rinks," Fiala told reporters in Nashville on Tuesday during Predators prospect development camp. "I think I can do it well because I’m a small player, a skilled player. So I think I can do well."

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Ekblad ready, willing to prove himself to Panthers

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 2:26 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad was selected No. 1 in the 2014 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers in part because he was considered the most NHL-ready player at his position.

With the Panthers' prospect development camp opening this week in Sunrise, Fla., spectators already are wondering whether Ekblad will begin the 2014-15 season on the NHL roster.

"We'll have a good, long look at him at training camp," general manager Dale Tallon told the Miami Herald. "If he's ready, he's ready. If not, well, [Jonathan] Huberdeau went back. Guys come back better players.

"But if he's ready, we're keeping him, no doubt. We're still thinking the same thing about this being a marathon. We're getting closer with each draft."

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Best friends Jaskin, Barbashev reunited with Blues

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 2:12 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- They've known one another for roughly two years, but for St. Louis Blues prospects Dmitrij Jaskin and Ivan Barbashev, the bond has made it feel like a lifetime.

Both are natives of Russia: Jaskin a Czech raised in Omsk; Barbashev born and raised in Moscow. At a young age and about to embark on new lives in North America, they relied on one another to get by in a different culture. It set the wheels in motion on a friendship that continues to grow in strength.

They were drafted together by the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League at the 2012 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, and now Jaskin and Barbashev are together again as draft picks of the St. Louis Blues.

Jaskin, 21, and Barbashev, 18, were second-round picks in the NHL draft. Jaskin was the 41st pick in 2011 while Barbashev, who was projected as a mid-first round selection, was the 33rd pick of the 2014 draft.

They arrived in Moncton without much knowledge of the North American culture. But the common denominator was Jaskin and Barbashev had each other, and a friendship rapidly ensued.

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Senators re-sign defenseman Grant

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 1:36 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

The Ottawa Senators on Tuesday announced that they have re-signed free-agent defenseman Alex Grant to a one-year, two-way contract. Financial terms of the contract were not revealed.

Grant, 25, was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the NHL Trade Deadline on March 5. He made his NHL debut with the Ducks during the 2013-14 season, appearing in two games and scoring two goals.

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Five potentially underrated free-agent signings

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 12:50 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Isn't it funny how the wild world of NHL free agency has a way of providing fans and hockey scribes reason for analytical thinking during the dog days of summer?

Which team struck it big, and which team struck out? Which general manager paid too much, and who got the best bargain?

NHL general managers handed out more than $500 million in new contracts to unrestricted free agents July 1, according to Kevin Gibson of TSN. There were a total of 94 signings July 1, the opening day of free agency, likely helped by a new five-day window that allowed teams to meet with potential free agents before the signing period began.

Now more than a week into free agency, here are five signings that went a bit under the radar but could prove to be well worth the time, effort and money spent to bring each player aboard (a complete rundown of all the free-agent signings this offseason may be accessed here).

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Lightning sign defenseman Corrente, forward Kunyk

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 11:56 AM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Defenseman Matthew Corrente and forward Cody Kunyk each signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Quote of the Day

I came into a team that had 65 points, that was at the bottom of the basement, a team that everybody wrote off as never going to be good. My goal is to go from the very bottom to the very top.

— Forward Brandon Dubinsky on signing a six-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets