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2014 NHL Draft
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(Page 10 of 255)
NHL Insider

Sakic confident Avalanche met needs with additions

Wednesday, 07.02.2014 / 3:33 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Despite losing free agent Paul Stastny to the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues, Joe Sakic believes the Colorado Avalanche are better than they were when they lost to the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference First Round.

Sakic, the Avalanche's executive vice president of hockey operations, said Wednesday the additions of forwards Jarome Iginla, Daniel Briere and Jesse Winchester, along with defensemen Brad Stuart and Zach Redmond, have improved Colorado's size, depth, experience and toughness.

"We saw how last year went and we had a tremendous year," Sakic said of the Avalanche's surprising first-place finish in the division, "but at the end of the year after our playoff loss to Minnesota we knew we needed to have a little more depth on our third and fourth lines, and we felt we needed to get tougher.

"We feel we got tougher, and for sure the experience factor -- leadership -- you can never have enough of that. We know our core guys are young. To bring in this leadership to help them along is huge. Now you're not relying on one or two or three guys to be leaders. We have a whole bunch of leaders helping our young guys. There were a lot of things we tried to accomplish, which we think we did."

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Neal joins Predators with high expectations

Monday, 06.30.2014 / 6:30 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

Playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins alongside two former Hart Trophy winners in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, left wing James Neal was not looked upon to be a leader or to carry the load offensively.

The Nashville Predators, who acquired Neal on Friday at the NHL Draft in exchange for forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling, will count upon Neal for each of those qualities.

He said he is embracing the challenge.

James Neal
Right Wing - NSH
GOALS: 27 | ASST: 34 | PTS: 61
SOG: 238 | +/-: 15
"To have an opportunity to be a leader and to be the guy is something I've always wanted to be and tried to be as a young player coming into the League," Neal said during a conference call Monday. "I feel like I'm at that stage of my game where I'm willing to take care of that responsibility and drive with it. I'm excited for the challenge. It's going to be fun. When you play this game and you want to be the best, high expectations come with that and you want those expectations."
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Roster changes, draft have Sabres focused on future

Monday, 06.30.2014 / 4:29 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres' busy weekend at the 2014 NHL Draft signaled the unofficial start of the organization's rebuild.

The Sabres made nine picks at the draft highlighted by the selection of Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart with the No. 2 pick in the first round and Barrie Colts left wing Brendan Lemieux, the first pick of the second round. Those picks, as well as trades last season that subtracted Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Ryan Miller, and Steve Ott from the roster and the compliance buyouts used on forward Ville Leino and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff means the team is being built virtually from the ground up.

"Last year was a tough year," Sabres general manager Tim Murray said. "Quite frankly, if you want me to sit here and go through player by player what I thought, it can't be pretty, right? The team was not very good. That's gone for me. This is a new beginning. This is my first full year. This is Teddy's [Nolan, coach] first full year.

"There was so much change last year. This is where we start off and try to lay down the right lessons. Are we going to be way better? I'm not saying that at all, but things will be way better. Expectations, how you play the game, how you carry yourself as a pro; those things have to get better."

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Islanders' Martin energized by Rangers' success

Sunday, 06.29.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders were supposed to build off their run to the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when they gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a scare in a six-game first-round series.

Instead, the Islanders took a step back; they went 34-37 11 and finished fifth from the bottom of the NHL standings. To make matters even more painful, the Islanders were forced to sit and watch their archrivals, the New York Rangers, go all the way to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Los Angeles Kings in five games.

Islanders left wing Matt Martin admits the Rangers' run lit a fire under him. He wishes training camp started tomorrow.

"It's always hard to watch the playoffs. It's a little harder when you see them go as far as they did," Martin said Friday during the Islanders' draft party at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. "They earned it though. They played hard, they played like a team and ran into a powerful L.A. team. [It was] definitely hard to watch for a very long time, but I'm looking forward to getting back at it."

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Analysis: Neal trade shows Predators change course

Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 5:26 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Get ready to see a different brand of hockey in Nashville. Some may say it's about time.

The Nashville Predators' acquisition of 40-goal scorer James Neal from the Pittsburgh Penguins for forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling on Friday was the most recent sign of a metamorphosis into an up-tempo, offensive team, a necessary change after two disappointing seasons.

The Predators also selected high-end offensive players with their first two draft picks: Swiss center Kevin Fiala with the No. 11 pick and Russian left wing Vladislav Kamenev at No. 42.

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Rangers could struggle to keep team together

Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 4:57 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather wanted to go for another run at the Stanley Cup with the same group that fell three wins short last season.

"We like everybody," Sather said Saturday at the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center.

What Sather wanted and what he knew he'd realistically be able to do this offseason never matched up.

Sather issued center Brad Richards a compliance buyout last week. Friday, the NHL and National Hockey League Players' Association jointly revealed the salary cap for next season will be $69 million.

Sather said he thought the figure would be higher. His shock couldn't have been too great, because hours before the cap was revealed Sather traded right wing Derek Dorsett to the Vancouver Canucks for a better chance of signing some of the Rangers' own free agents.

New York is approximately $23.3 million under the salary cap with 11 players signed, according to Capgeek.com.

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Senators still looking to trade Jason Spezza

Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 12:33 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

PHILADELPHIA – The first round of the 2014 NHL Draft came and went Friday with Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray unable to find a trade partner for captain Jason Spezza.

One of the components Murray was seeking in a deal for Spezza was a first-round draft pick. With that window now closed, the parameters of an acceptable deal will have to change, potentially making it more difficult to accommodate the request by his top center to be traded.

Murray said there was an initial group of four or five teams who expressed interest in acquiring Spezza, three of which he considered to be serious. But interest appeared to dry up rapidly on Friday.

"A couple of the teams that I was talking to didn't come with a presentation [Friday], for the most part," Murray said at the conclusion of the first round of the draft. "I talked to a number of general managers that initially called and talked, and it just didn't go anywhere."

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Analysis: Decisive GM good sign for Canucks

Friday, 06.27.2014 / 10:36 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning reshaped their roster and possibly the direction of the franchise in a span of a few hours with a series of trades Friday afternoon.

He did it for the benefit of the team, not to send any messages about what his tenure will be like.

"That didn't really come into my thinking," Benning said of any potential message sending.

The message was sent nonetheless. Before the 2014 NHL Draft began at Wells Fargo Center, Benning showed he will be in control and he will be decisive.

Benning made the biggest splash of the day when he traded center Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks and defenseman Jason Garrison to the Tampa Bay Lightning, bringing back center Nick Bonino, defenseman Luca Sbisa and right wing Derek Dorsett. Perhaps as important, Benning acquired the 24th and 50th picks in the draft and freed up approximately $4 million in salary-cap space.

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Capitals' Ovechkin eager for fresh start

Monday, 06.23.2014 / 7:25 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

LAS VEGAS -- Things have changed drastically for Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin.

Since the 2013-14 season ended, his team has fired its coach, Adam Oates, and its general manager, George McPhee, the only manager Ovechkin has known during his NHL career.

McPhee has been replaced by Brian MacLellan, who had served as an assistant to McPhee for the past seven years. Oates was replaced by Barry Trotz, the longtime coach of the Nashville Predators.

Ovechkin says he is curious how things will play out and he knows the organization has made a huge commitment to get the team back to being a Stanley Cup contender.

"The whole organization made a big step by firing George, firing Adam," Ovechkin said Monday during media availability for the 2014 NHL Awards. "The organization wants to make improvements. Thank God they don't fire me yet. I'm still here with a Capitals jersey. We'll see."

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Hartnell convinced Columbus has winning foundation

Monday, 06.23.2014 / 6:58 PM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- After forward Scott Hartnell got over his initial shock last week of being told by Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall that he longer fit in their plans, he hoped to make the best of the situation.

For the 32-year-old Hartnell, that meant waving his no-trade clause to join the Columbus Blue Jackets in a trade Monday that sent forward RJ Umberger back to his former team. The Flyers also received the Blue Jackets' fourth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Umberger, 32, had requested a trade after the season because his playing time had diminished under coach Todd Richards even as the Blue Jackets moved toward their second Stanley Cup Playoff appearance in franchise history.

On the other hand, Hartnell completed the first year of a six-year, $28.5 million contract, which carries an average annual value of $4.75 million through the 2018-19 season.

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Quote of the Day

They said, 'You're going to love the city. It's smaller than Philadelphia, but you're going to love it. You're going to love the fans. Just watching the playoffs last year, the fans seemed louder there than they did anywhere. I'm really excited about that.

— Forward Scott Hartnell on his upcoming season with the Columbus Blue Jackets