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Larkin got attention of Red Wings coach in AHL

Thursday, 07.09.2015 / 12:56 PM / Prospects

Detroit Red Wings prospect Dylan Larkin has met his share of challenges on his road to trying to earn an NHL roster spot.

In his first season at the University of Michigan in 2014-15, he was named the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year. He was arguably the best player for the United States at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, and he surprised Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill with his play in Grand Rapids during the American Hockey League playoffs late last season.

Blashill, who coached Larkin with the Grand Rapids Griffins before replacing Mike Babcock as Detroit coach, is anxious to see what more Larkin can muster in his first NHL training camp in September.

Predators prospect Vesey opts to stay at Harvard

Thursday, 07.09.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Robby Stanley - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Forward Jimmy Vesey feels that earning a degree from Harvard University will provide him with plenty of future opportunities outside of hockey, even though it pushed back his chance to make the Nashville Predators.

When the Predators selected Vesey in the third round (No. 66) in the 2012 NHL Draft, they knew he had the potential to be a dynamic offensive player. Vesey showed off that potential at Harvard during the 2014-15 season, leading the nation with 32 goals. He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top college player in the country.

Vesey, a junior, could have turned pro and signed with the Predators in March, after the Crimson's season ended. Instead, he chose to return for his senior season.

Earning his degree from Harvard is important to Vesey.

"It was a really tough decision for me," Vesey said this week at Nashville's development camp.

Futures List indicates great depth for 2016 NHL Draft

Thursday, 07.09.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The buildup to the 2015 NHL Draft was filled with intrigue and excitement behind the exceptionally talented Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.

McDavid was selected with the first pick by the Edmonton Oilers and Eichel went No. 2 to the Buffalo Sabres. Each has looked sharp in his respective rookie camp, but several other players taken after the dynamic duo have also impressed.

Many scouts believe an even better collection of blue-chip standouts await NHL teams in the 2016 draft at First Niagara Center on June 24-25, 2016, in Buffalo, N.Y.

Flyers hit beach to raise funds for military charities

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 7:20 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

STONE HARBOR, N.J. -- Building sandcastles, flying kites and making rafts usually aren't activities associated with hockey players.

But for Philadelphia Flyers prospects attending development camp this week, that's what they were required to do Wednesday during the annual "Trial on the Isle" in this New Jersey beach community.

Their day started with an arm-in-arm walk into the ocean followed by teams of three competing in a race on the beach that featured a few interesting elements. After a Flyers trivia contest and a 16-block run, there were games of horseshoes and paddleball, a kite-building exercise and some physical activity in the sand. After running back to where they started, the prospects had to build a sand sculpture of the Flyers logo.

It was the first time in many years that Scott Laughton, the 20th pick at the 2012 NHL Draft, played in the sand at the beach.

"Maybe I was 4 or 5," he said. "I was usually the guy getting buried in the sand. My brother would always bury me in the sand, and I'd be stuck. Never really built anything like this, so this is cool."

Jackman, Hodgson see Predators' system as good fit

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 3:00 PM / NHL Insider

Robby Stanley - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators added depth to an already talented roster by signing veteran defenseman Barret Jackman and forward Cody Hodgson on July 1.

Jackman had spent his entire 13-year career with the St. Louis Blues but felt Nashville was the best fit for him when weighing his options during free agency. He wanted to go somewhere where he had a chance to win the Stanley Cup, and that was the biggest part of his decision in moving his family.

"I think just the chance to win right now," Jackman said. "We've talked about the strength of the defense, the best goalie in the League, and a lot of very exciting, young forwards with a good group of older guys too that are playing very well. I think the style of living, too, is a big draw for me and my family."

Blue Jackets' signing shows hockey's growth in Ohio

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 12:58 PM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The media briefing to introduce the Columbus Blue Jackets' latest signee (no, not Brandon Saad) was attended by the player's Under-18 teammates, his brother, mother, father and another proud "parent."

Ed Gingher, program coordinator and Under-18 coach for the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, was beaming just as much as Roger and Yuko Sherwood, the parents of Kole Sherwood, who had just agreed to become the first Columbus-born and bred player to sign an NHL contract with the Blue Jackets.

"It's obviously a dream come true to play for the hometown team," Kole Sherwood said Tuesday after he signed an entry-level contract. The 18-year-old is likely to start the season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.

Having a player sign with the NHL Blue Jackets has been Gingher's vision since the AAA Blue Jackets were founded 11 years ago to develop elite players in central Ohio.

"It's a special day for Kole and his family, but it's a special day for a lot of young hockey players in Columbus too," Gingher said. "There's been a lot of guys that helped pave the way to get to this point. It's exciting to see the growth that's happened."

Trotz: New-look Caps must prove it on the ice

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 9:54 AM / NHL Insider

The Washington Capitals this offseason have signed a player known for his prowess in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and traded for another who's a proven goal-scorer in the prime of his career.

Despite the additions of forwards Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie, coach Barry Trotz isn't automatically labeling the 2015-16 version of the Capitals as an improvement over the group that took the New York Rangers to overtime in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round last season before being eliminated. Washington held a 3-1 lead in that series.

"We'll have to answer that into next year," Trotz said Tuesday, according to "Just because you bring players in -- in terms of pure talent you think it's an upgrade -- doesn't mean we're going to be a better team because there is a chemistry to it all."

Maple Leafs' Babcock wants Kadri to be elite: report

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 9:10 AM / NHL Insider

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the midst of reshaping their roster, but center Nazem Kadri is expected to be one of their top six forwards. If they're going to win more games than most expect this season, Kadri is going to have to provide offense consistently.

New coach Mike Babcock said that can be the case.

"I expect him to be an elite player," Babcock said of Kadri earlier this week, according to the Toronto Sun. "His training has to match his skill set. That [goes] for all our guys. You can't take the summer off. I expect our best players to be our hardest-working people and set the tone. Flat-out, I've told them that, they understand that. This is a big two and a half months for all of them."

Coyotes confident young, veteran players will mesh

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- One Arizona Coyotes fan from Canada wanted to know if the team would consider adding more tasty sweets from home to augment the hugely popular Tim Hortons kiosk at Gila River Arena.

Then there was the yoga instructor who instructed coach Dave Tippett to have his players sit up straight on the bench between shifts so they could take in more oxygen and store more energy.

But after more than an hour of questions from the hundreds of fans who attended the Coyotes' annual Town Hall meeting Tuesday, the final questioner seemed to sum up the sentiments of the room.

Gauthier determined to make Maple Leafs roster

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs have been stockpiling smaller, skilled forwards the past few years, but a larger center best known for his defense will take a stab at making their roster this  season.

Frederik Gauthier, 20, helped Canada win a gold medal at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, then had 16 points in 20 playoff games to help the Rimouski Oceanic win the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's President Cup and advance to the Memorial Cup.

Now, he's determined to turn professional.

"My goal this year is to make the team," Gauthier said Tuesday at Maple Leafs development camp at MasterCard Centre. "I think I worked hard last year and the year before and I think I am ready. I'm going to keep working out and improving and try to make the team."

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