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2014 NHL Draft
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NHL Insider

Wild's Dumba hoping to stay in one place this season

Thursday, 07.24.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba got his first real taste of the NHL last season. It was one stop on a whirlwind tour that entrenched Dumba as one of the League's top defense prospects.

This season he hopes to turn that experience into a full-time role with the Wild.

"I was all over the map," Dumba said. "But it was fun every step of the way. I was learning something new every day when I was up here with Minnesota."

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Predators' Fiala part of upward trend in Swiss talent

Thursday, 07.24.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

Nashville Predators chief amateur scout Jeff Kealty remembers when he began to observe a change in the level of quality in Switzerland's national teams, particularly at the amateur level.

It was August 2007 and Kealty was at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, one of the top under-18 tournaments in the world. He noticed the way Swiss defenseman Roman Josi competed against Canada forward Steven Stamkos, who already was the consensus top pick in the coming NHL Draft. Kealty saw that Josi, who the Predators ended up selecting in the second round (No. 38) in 2008, was not at all intimidated playing against Stamkos.

Last season, Josi logged 26:25 in time on ice per game, ranking him fifth in the NHL, and he has grown into one of Nashville's foundational players. Overall, nine players from Switzerland spent time in the League in 2013-14. Nashville was the only franchise that had two Swiss players it signed and developed. The other is center Simon Moser, who played for Switzerland's Olympic team. The Predators signed Moser, now 25, to a free-agent contract last summer.

The Predators went back to the Swiss with the 11th pick in the 2014 draft and took center Kevin Fiala.

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Booth joins Maple Leafs to 'revive my career'

Wednesday, 07.23.2014 / 8:58 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

David Booth is ready with a list of reasons he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs: He can play for an Original Six team close to home with a chance for some significant ice time.

"There's just so many things that I'm excited about," Booth said Wednesday on TSN 1050 Radio. "... Just the opportunity to, I guess, revive my career a little bit."

Booth this week signed a one-year contract with the Maple Leafs reportedly worth $1.1 million, after the forward was bought out by the Vancouver Canucks following his third disappointing season there.

Unable to play a full season since 2010-11 with the Florida Panthers, Booth finished with 51 points (26 goals) in 134 games with Vancouver.

"It's been a little bit tougher the past couple years, with some injuries, setbacks that I've had," he said on "The Bryan Hayes Show." "I've stayed positive through them all. ... I thought I was playing some good hockey there toward the end of the year ... and I've had a great summer of training, been healthy, and really excited to get a start here in Toronto."

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Bozon on comeback trail after life-threatening illness

Wednesday, 07.23.2014 / 4:37 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

With 20 goals in his previous 22 games, Kootenay Ice forward Tim Bozon was playing so well that nobody paid much attention when his nose suddenly started bleeding during warm-ups for his Western Hockey League game against the Saskatoon Blades on Feb. 28.

The Montreal Canadiens' third-round pick (No. 64) in the 2012 NHL Draft scored late in the first period to spark Kootenay's comeback from a two-goal deficit for a 4-2 win.

The next morning Bozon was rushed to a hospital and placed in a medically induced coma.

Five months removed from a bout with a severe form of meningitis, Bozon is returning to the ice with an eye on Canadiens training camp in September.

"I'm feeling really good. I'm really close to being 100 percent like I was before," Bozon told NHL.com. "The most important thing for me was to be happy and to make sure I have a good mentality. It's coming back slowly. Every time I go on the ice I see the progress and that makes me happy."

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Sabres' big defensemen set to compete for jobs

Wednesday, 07.23.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- If there's a position battle to keep an eye on in training camp for the Buffalo Sabres, it's defenseman.

Sabres development camp boasted a roster that featured four defensemen who played in the NHL last season, three first-round picks. Mark Pysyk, Buffalo's first-round pick in 2010, and 2013 first-round picks Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov joined 2012 second-round selection Jake McCabe as the headline players.

The four will challenge for spots in the NHL this season, but at development camp they were there to measure up against each other, and it set the table for what's to come in September.

Experienced players Tyler Myers and newly acquired Josh Gorges are likely the two sure bets to have spots in the Sabres lineup this season. After that, competition figures to be intense between the four young players at development camp, as well as established Sabres Mike Weber, Chad Ruhwedel, and free-agent signings Andrej Meszaros and Tyson Strachan.

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Arizona starting to produce top-end hockey talent

Wednesday, 07.23.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Sean Burke was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in 1999, the team had been there for four years and Arizona youth hockey was just learning to crawl.

"Back then there was the odd guy coming out of this area to play in college, but the level of play wasn't high," said Burke, now the assistant to the general manager and goalie coach with the renamed Arizona Coyotes. "The coaching just wasn't there, and that was a problem.

"It came down to who wanted to take the time to volunteer. If you had any kind of background in hockey you were considered an authority and a good coach. But over the last [15 years], the level of involvement has risen and the number and talent level of the kids has taken off."

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Dubas, 28, took fast track to Maple Leafs front office

Tuesday, 07.22.2014 / 6:43 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Kyle Dubas combined hard work and innovative ideas to become hockey's youngest agent and the Ontario Hockey League's second-youngest general manager. The Toronto Maple Leafs have reshaped their organization by making him the youngest member of their front office.

Hiring Dubas as assistant general manager is a bold decision by one of hockey's most storied franchises, especially considering Dubas' previous front-office experience was serving as general manager of the Ontario Hockey League's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound for the past three seasons.

The 28-year-old got the job Tuesday, the same day the Maple Leafs dropped vice president of hockey operations Dave Poulin and assistant GM Claude Loiselle, who combined for 1,340 NHL games played and more than two decades of coaching and front-office experience. But the Maple Leafs believe they've hired one of hockey's brightest young minds.


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Four new Oilers see great promise in Edmonton

Tuesday, 07.22.2014 / 3:31 PM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Four of the Edmonton Oilers' offseason acquisitions are getting familiar with their new playing environment.

Defensemen Keith Aulie and Mark Fayne, and forwards Benoit Pouliot and Teddy Purcell, are here this week doing some reconnaissance work.

While in town they plan on doing a little house hunting.

"We've been pretty busy. We're trying to get a feel for the city a little bit," Purcell said. "We've looked at some places, went over to the rink and got to meet some of the staff over there. We had dinner with the coaching staff [Monday] night too. It's been fun. It's been a hectic couple of days, but I think it's nice to get into the city and get a feel for it before coming in blind at training camp."

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Panthers' Montoya hopes to expose game to Cubans

Tuesday, 07.22.2014 / 9:24 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Hockey has carried Al Montoya all over the world, but this summer it's brought him back to his roots.

Montoya signed a one-year contract July 1 with the Florida Panthers. He was born in Chicago, but his parents and grandparents were born in Cuba and immigrated to Miami in the 1960s.

"My grandfather decided it was the best decision," Montoya recently told the Panthers website. "He thought it was better for his family to be here with nothing than there with everything.

"He went from being a landowner and then going to selling strawberries on the side of the road in Miami just to make ends meet."

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Brown displays leadership at Maple Leafs camp

Tuesday, 07.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- One of the more intriguing players at Toronto Maple Leafs prospect camp was forward Connor Brown.

At 20 years old he was one of the veterans at the camp and arrived after a career year with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.

Brown led the OHL in scoring with 128 points and won the league MVP award. His 83 assists were first in the league and his 45 goals were tied for fourth. Though he played alongside a handful of other prolific scorers, including 2015 NHL Draft top prospect Connor McDavid and Washington Capitals 2013 first-round pick (No. 23) Andre Burakovsky, Brown, the Maple Leafs' 2012 sixth-round pick (No. 156) was prepared to be a leader among his fellow prospects.

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Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness