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Features

Mantha looks to show Red Wings drive, consistency

Tuesday, 09.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- There was a time when Detroit Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha was being considered as a potential fit alongside Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

It all changed Sept. 15, 2014, when Mantha, a first-round pick (No. 20) in the 2013 NHL Draft, sustained a fractured right tibia at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. At the time of his injury, which sidelined him all of training camp in 2014, he was leading Red Wings prospects in goals, points and shots on goal.

Mantha missed two months before finally making his professional debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the American Hockey League on Nov. 14, 2014. He struggled upon his return, scoring 15 goals and 33 points in 62 games. The lack of offensive production didn't sit well with Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano, who expressed with the local media his disappointment in Mantha's performance.

Five Questions: Nugent-Hopkins on maturity, McDavid

Tuesday, 09.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins:

TORONTO -- Four years ago, Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was preparing for his first NHL training camp. He was a lean, 175-pound, 18-year-old with a baby face and a lot of hype as the No. 1 pick of the 2011 NHL Draft.

This week, Nugent-Hopkins is in Edmonton preparing for his fifth NHL training camp. He has played 258 games in four seasons. He has 65 goals and 188 points. He is 22 years old. He still has his baby face, but after adding 20 pounds of muscle, he's up to 195.

The difference Nugent-Hopkins feels as a result of his experience and strength fuels his confidence and has him believing big things are coming for himself and the Oilers.

Oates works with Wild's Parise, Suter on power play

Monday, 09.14.2015 / 11:58 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

NHL.com

Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter spent a portion of Monday working on ways to improve a power play that was ranked 27th in the NHL last season.

They had the help of Adam Oates, who was Parise's assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils from 2010-12. Oates, a Hall of Fame center who had 1,420 points in 1,337 games, watched the Wild's informal practice in Edina, Minn., and afterward worked privately with Parise and Suter for more than an hour.

"Everything he says just makes sense," Parise told the Star Tribune. "I've known him since I've played for him in New Jersey and we've kept in touch and he watches our games and our power plays, so we communicate during the season. He's probably the smartest hockey guy that I've ever been around."

Sabres' Eichel scores game-winner in prospects finale

Monday, 09.14.2015 / 11:33 PM / Prospects

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO – Buffalo Sabres rookie forward Jack Eichel gave the fans at First Niagara Center a lot to think about heading into training camp with his performance against the Boston Bruins on Monday.

Eichel, the second pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, scored the game-winning goal with 37 seconds left in overtime that gave the Sabres a 3-2 win in the finale of the Sabres' Prospect Challenge.

Eichel took the puck up the right wing side and skated past Bruins forward Anton Blidh before he took a wrist shot that got past Bruins goalie Zane McIntyre on the far side of the net.

"We're on the bench after a long shift in our own zone and the coach [Randy Cunneyworth] asked if I had anything left and I figured I could go out there and see what I could do," Eichel said. "It's nice having [Sam Reinhart] and [Brendan Guhle] out there too; two guys you can trust. [Guhle] and [Reinhart] make a good play on the 2-on-1 coming back our way and [goalie C.J. Motte] deflects the puck into the corner. I just tried to protect it down the ice and I was able to get a shot off and luckily it went in."

News, notes from Traverse City Tournament - Sept. 14

Monday, 09.14.2015 / 11:10 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Chicago Blackhawks have been very successful reloading each season with general manager Stan Bowman working within the NHL's salary-cap system.

The Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in six seasons in 2014-15, and there's no reason to think they won't be in the running for another despite losing some key players from that championship lineup.

After winning the Cup in six games against the Tampa Bay Lightning in June, Bowman traded forwards Brandon Saad (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Patrick Sharp (Dallas Stars), and forwards Brad Richards (Detroit Red Wings) and Antoine Vermette (Arizona Coyotes) and defenseman Johnny Oduya (Stars) left as free agents.

The Blackhawks acquired some good young talent and some savvy veterans during the offseason, but they will also rely on their top prospects for added support at some point in 2015-16.

One player closing in on making the jump to Chicago is left wing Ryan Hartman, a first-round pick (No. 30) in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Canucks' Shinkaruk ready to handle high expectations

Monday, 09.14.2015 / 4:17 PM / Prospects

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

PENTICTON, British Columbia -- Hunter Shinkaruk knows that entering his second year of professional hockey the heat on him will be turned up. So too will expectations.

Shinkaruk, chosen by the Vancouver Canucks with the No. 24 pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, has already felt that weight.

"You kind of just read different things, see different things on Twitter, and people are wondering where you are and if you're going to be able to make the jump," Shinkaruk said at the Young Stars Classic, his third year in attendance. "I think the pressure has increased a little bit because people are waiting on that. Every year there's new first-round picks that are coming in and trying to take your spot. You have pressure, but I'd probably say the longer it goes, the more the pressure builds."

Emile Francis to receive Wayne Gretzky award

Monday, 09.14.2015 / 3:00 PM / U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

NHL.com

Emile Francis, retired NHL goaltender, coach and executive, will be honored with the Wayne Gretzky International Award at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony Dec. 17 in Boston, USA Hockey announced Monday.

Established by the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999, the award pays tribute to those who have made major contributions to the growth and advancement of hockey in the United States.

"Emile Francis has had a tremendous impact on the development of hockey in the United States, particularly at the grassroots level," said USA Hockey president Jim Smith. "Because of him, the game is better."

Bruins' Krejci healthy, eager to find new linemates

Monday, 09.14.2015 / 1:56 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOLTON, Mass. -- Life changed for Boston Bruins center David Krejci over the summer.

Krejci became a father for the first time when his daughter Elina was born about six weeks ago.

Luckily for the Bruins that wasn't the only change for Krejci. The 29-year-old, who's entering the first season of a six-year, $43.5 million contract he signed last fall, healed up after the most injury-plagued season of his NHL career.

Krejci was limited to 47 games for the Bruins, who missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight seasons. He missed 20 games over the first three months with an undisclosed injury widely believed to have been related to his hip or groin. Just when he was getting over that issue, he sustained a torn knee ligament Feb. 20 and missed 15 games until his March 26 return.

Blashill eager for challenge of coaching Red Wings

Monday, 09.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.-- It was strange not seeing Jeff Blashill behind the bench as coach for the Detroit Red Wings prospects at the Traverse City Tournament this year at Centre Ice Arena.

It was a position he held the past three seasons as the coach for Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids. But that changed on June 9 when the 41-year-old was introduced as coach of the Red Wings by general manager Ken Holland.

In Grand Rapids, Blashill won the 2013 Calder Cup, was named the AHL coach of the year in 2014, and reached the Western Conference Final in 2014-15. He also led the organization's top prospects, which included Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Anthony Mantha, to their first Traverse City tournament championship on Sept. 9, 2013.

Team North America roster projection for World Cup

Monday, 09.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / World Cup of Hockey 2016

Dan Rosen and Arpon Basu - NHL.com Staff Writers

It will be the team no one wants to face, the scariest opponent because of their talent and skill but also because losing to a group of the best young players in the NHL won't sit well with the veterans who will make up most of the other rosters at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Team North America -- the top Canadian and American players who will be 23 years old or younger as of Oct. 1, 2016 -- will not be a pushover at the best-on-best tournament in Toronto next September.

The roster, which will be put together by general managers Peter Chiarelli of the Edmonton Oilers and Stan Bowman of the Chicago Blackhawks, could feature four of the past five No. 1 draft picks, as many as four Calder Trophy winners, and a two-time Stanley Cup champion.

"There is no way you want to lose to the young bucks," Canadian defenseman Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings) said. "The League is all about being a veteran and having experience, so there is no way we'd want to lose to them."

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