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Fiala putting in work to win spot on Predators roster

Tuesday, 07.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Robby Stanley - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Kevin Fiala is doing everything he can to ensure he'll make a good impression on the Nashville Predators coaching staff at training camp in September.

The 18-year-old Swiss forward even started a few months early.

After his exit meetings with Predators general manager David Poile and coach Peter Laviolette at the end of last season, Fiala decided to return to Nashville in May to begin his training for the 2015-16 season. He wanted to be around the facility to prove to the organization he was willing to do whatever it took to make the Predators' opening-day roster.

"I just wanted to come here early to Nashville to know the city better and just practice here with [Predators strength and conditioning coach David Good] and do what Nashville says to make the team next year," Fiala said last week at Predators development camp.

Rantanen's size may help him crack Avalanche lineup

Tuesday, 07.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- At 6-foot-4, 211 pounds, right wing Mikko Rantanen stood out at Colorado Avalanche development camp, where he aimed to make a positive first impression before heading to training camp in September.

Rantanen, 18, was the Avalanche's first-round pick (No. 10) at the 2015 NHL Draft. He signed a three-year, entry-level contract Monday and his goal is to make the opening-night roster (Oct. 8 vs. the Minnesota Wild), just as Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon did in his first pro season.

"I will do everything I can to be there and fight for a place in the lineup," Rantanen said. "I know it's hard and it will take hard work, but I will do everything I can and fight as hard as I can to be there. It was an awesome feeling to hear my name called by Colorado, and I'm looking forward to training camp."

Daley, Garbutt eager to help Blackhawks defend Cup

Monday, 07.13.2015 / 5:45 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Once the initial shock of being traded by the Dallas Stars wore off, defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt had similar feelings about joining the Chicago Blackhawks.

Traded to Chicago for forward Patrick Sharp and defense prospect Stephen Johns on July 10, Daley and Garbutt are sad about leaving Dallas but excited for the future. They're now teammates on the reigning Stanley Cup champions, and each seems eager to help the Blackhawks defend the title.

"I love Dallas," Daley said Monday. "I loved the organization, but I've learned over the years that, as teammates come and go, you know, friendships last forever. I've made some great friendships there, and those will never end. My days as a Dallas Star obviously ended, but I'll move on. And if you came to ask me if I was to go somewhere to play, going to the best team in hockey, actually, is not a bad thing."

Varone signs one-year contract with Sabres

Monday, 07.13.2015 / 3:32 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has signed forward Philip Varone to a one-year, two-way contract.

Varone (5'10", 185 lbs., 12/4/1990) appeared in a career-high 28 NHL games during three recalls with the Sabres in 2014-15, logging five points (3+2) and 10 penalty minutes. He spent the majority of the season with the Rochester Americans (AHL), where he posted team-leading totals in both points (44) and assists (29) for the third time in his four AHL seasons, earning a spot in the AHL All-Star Game.

Sabres, Maple Leafs among most improved teams

Monday, 07.13.2015 / 2:00 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The whirlwind of the NHL offseason has died down and the dog days of summer are starting to set in, which makes it the perfect time to assess and evaluate what has happened since June 15, the night the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup at United Center.

With that, here is a list of the 10 teams (listed in alphabetical order) as identified by that have improved the most since the end of last season:

Kreider expects 'big things' from Rangers this season

Monday, 07.13.2015 / 1:56 PM / NHL Insider

New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider is hungry for more.

The Rangers have made three trips to the Eastern Conference Final in four seasons, including a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2014. But the Stanley Cup has eluded Kreider and the Rangers, and that's not lost on the 24-year-old about to enter his third full season in the NHL.

"You know me, I'm always hungry, figuratively and literally," Kreider said in video posted by during a recent visit to Rangers Youth Hockey Camp. "You get a taste of that and when you're seeing a team on the other side, whether it be the conference final or the Stanley Cup Final, hoisting that trophy or celebrating … you want it that much more."

Young players impress Sabres coach, GM at camp

Monday, 07.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Joe Yerdon - Correspondent

BUFFALO -- When the Buffalo Sabres wrapped up development camp Sunday, those in charge of turning around the franchise expressed optimism about the direction they are headed.

"I think you saw [improvement] in, and I don't want to bring up names because I'm going to forget names, but I think the guys that were here last year for the first time vs. coming in for the second time this year showed great improvement," Sabres general manager Tim Murray said. "And they know when they get here it's going to be a lot of hard work and that they have to be ready for it.

"I go back to last year, and I judge from there on because I don't know exactly what they did before they got here. So I'm going from last year forward, and I like what I see."

More than 40 players took part in the annual camp that was highlighted by the Sabres' first-round picks from the past two drafts, centers Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel.

Love of family drives Islanders' Dal Colle to succeed

Monday, 07.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

New York Islanders prospect Michael Dal Colle was forced to grow up faster than most.

When he was 11, Dal Colle's mother, Wendy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. On his birthday, she was too ill to get out of bed to help him celebrate. She could only listen while friends and family were singing "Happy Birthday" downstairs.

Wendy Dal Colle nearly lost her battle more than once. Fortunately, she beat the deadly disease in 2009 after two long years.

Michael's older brother, Jonluca, has autism. Someday soon, little brother is going to play in the NHL. It will provide Michael the opportunity to give his brother the best life has to offer.

Flyers' Provorov confident he's ready for NHL pace

Monday, 07.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

STONE HARBOR, N.J. -- Ivan Provorov believes he is ready to play in the NHL.

"I think I'm a complete player and I think I'll be able to adjust to the speed and physical play," Provorov said at Philadelphia Flyers development camp last week.

Provorov, 18, who the Flyers selected with the No. 7 pick at the 2015 NHL Draft, has proven in the past to be a quick learner.

Born in Yaroslavl, Russia, he moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., about two hours north of Philadelphia, in 2011 when he was 14. He knew little English and almost nothing of American culture, but he adjusted quickly in his two seasons with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights of the Atlantic Youth Hockey League. In 2012-13, he led them to an under-16 national title.

Dano excited to be with Blackhawks, play with Hossa

Sunday, 07.12.2015 / 6:00 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Marko Dano was surprised to be part of a blockbuster trade June 30 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets.

After he had eight goals and 21 points in 35 games last season to begin his NHL career, Dano, 20, figured he would play for the Blue Jackets for years and years to come.

Instead, Dano was traded to the Blackhawks with forwards Artem Anisimov, Jeremy Morin and Corey Tropp for forward Brandon Saad and two prospects. He is now tasked with helping the 2015 Stanley Cup champions defend their title.

"I didn't expect it, but now I'm glad to be here and excited to be part of the organization with the Blackhawks," Dano said at Blackhawks development camp Sunday. "The main reason [I'm here] is to get to know each other, and get to know the staff and coaches. That's why I'm here now. I was in Columbus for summer workouts, and then I came over."

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