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NHL Insider

Wild's Reilly traveled world, then elected to stay home

Tuesday, 09.08.2015 / 9:22 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

Minnesota Wild defenseman Mike Reilly was not heavily recruited out of high school.

He was smaller then, and only three schools showed an interest: the University of Minnesota, Colorado College and the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Without much of a competition to retain his services, Reilly chose to stay close to his Chanhassen, Minn., home and went to play at the University of Minnesota.

"I know I was really small and hit a growth spurt right around my junior year [of high school], I grew about five or six inches," Reilly said last week at the NHL Players' Association Rookie Showcase. "In ninth grade in high school I was maybe 5 feet, 100 pounds. I was just kind of immature physically and growing up I was always the smaller guy and just had to find my way around the ice."

Rangers' McDonagh endorses using tennis to exercise

Monday, 09.07.2015 / 11:52 AM / NHL Insider

David Satriano - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- A few weeks before NHL training camps open, New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh was at the U.S. Open on Monday for a youth tennis exhibition, where he discussed the importance of participating in multiple sports as a kid to stay healthy and active.

As a child, McDonagh played hockey, football and baseball.

"It's refreshing as a young kid to be able to put the baseball bat away and get the cleats out for football, and get the hockey gear out when the winter comes around," McDonagh said.

McDonagh has also become a tennis fan over the years.

"It's not a sport I played as a kid, but as I get older, you want to experience new sports and get a workout in if you can, and tennis is a great way to do that," McDonagh said.

Larkin sees opportunity to make Red Wings as teen

Monday, 09.07.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- The Detroit Red Wings are known for taking their time and developing their prospects in the minors.

But that didn't discourage center Dylan Larkin, 19, from leaving the University of Michigan after one season to sign with the Red Wings on May 21.

Rather, Larkin looked at the Red Wings roster and thought, with a coaching change from Mike Babcock to Jeff Blashill, there might be a chance he could crack the roster as a teenager.

"That is one of the reasons I decided to sign and leave college," Larkin said. "There is a new coach and there seems to be some older players who might be on their way out. I think it is a great opportunity for me to learn from them. Growing up in Detroit you hear so much about those guys. I have watched Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk my whole life, so to be in the same room as them would be an incredible experience."

Dylan Strome eager to be part of Coyotes' rebuild

Sunday, 09.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- For Dylan Strome, the 2015 NHL Draft got really interesting at pick No. 3.

Strome, like most, conceded that center Connor McDavid, his teammate with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, would be chosen first by the Edmonton Oilers and center Jack Eichel of Boston University would be selected second by the Buffalo Sabres.

The question of who would be picked third was Strome's focus. The odds were it would be either him, college defenseman Noah Hanifin or skilled center Mitchell Marner. In the end, Strome went No. 3 to the Arizona Coyotes.

"It was definitely an uplifting thing when I was chosen behind [McDavid and Eichel]," Strome said. "Arizona saw something in me, and I hope to prove they made the right choice. That's all I can do. I was extremely happy to be picked third and to be the first pick in that second wave of the draft. It was cool."

McQuaid back with Bruins, seeking leadership role

Saturday, 09.05.2015 / 12:28 PM / NHL Insider

Armed with a new four-year contract and with six NHL seasons now on his resume, Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid said his sights are set on taking on more of a leadership role.

"I've been here for a little while now, and I do want to take that next step," McQuaid told the Bruins website Friday after a captains' practice at Ristuccia Arena. "I want to try and bring more to the table, hopefully play a little bit more in a top-four role, but at the end of the day, it's all about what works within the team and the system, and whatever brings success."

Jets' playoff atmosphere motivates prospect Ehlers

Saturday, 09.05.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

Nikolaj Ehlers got a taste of what it's like to be part of the Winnipeg Jets during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

All it did was leave him wanting more.

Ehlers, the No. 9 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, was at MTS Centre last April when the Jets played Game 4 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Anaheim Ducks. The night before, Ehlers was in uniform with the Halifax Mooseheads as they lost Game 7 of their second round series in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs to the Moncton Wildcats.

Ehlers arrived in Winnipeg the afternoon of the game on April 22, went to his hotel in Winnipeg, got changed and headed for the rink.

He had no idea what he was about to see.

Pietrangelo encouraged by Blues' offseason moves

Friday, 09.04.2015 / 9:40 PM / NHL Insider

The St. Louis Blues won the Central Division last season with 109 points, but once again fell short in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they lost to the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference First Round.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong opted not to overhaul his roster, but he did make some changes, including a trade that sent popular right wing T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals for power forward Troy Brouwer. St. Louis also signed center Kyle Brodziak, who helped the Wild defeat the Blues in the playoffs.

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is confident the subtle changes will be beneficial and he is encouraged by the turnout for the informal skates that have taken place this week.

"[Armstrong] and [coach Ken Hitchcock] did a great job this summer," Pietrangelo told the Blues website Friday. "It's obviously tough to see guys go because they're good friends, but some of these guys have come in pretty early. [Brouwer] has been here for a few weeks now. We've bonded pretty well, and he fits right in."

Flames' Giordano fully recovered from arm injury

Friday, 09.04.2015 / 3:33 PM / NHL Insider

Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano said Wednesday he is fully healed from a torn biceps tendon and is expected to be on the ice when training camp begins next week.

"I started skating towards the end of last year while we were still in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs and shooting the puck a little bit," Giordano said, according to the Flames website. "I got home, took some rest, and then got right into the strengthening phase of my recovery. That felt great. Honestly, I'm 100 percent today and feel like there's nothing in my mind, nothing physically that's going to hold me back."

Top prospects eager to join re-energized Islanders

Friday, 09.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

These are exciting times, on several fronts, for the New York Islanders.

The Islanders are leaving the only home they have ever known, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, to begin play this season at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the timing could not be much better.

After years of struggling near the bottom of the NHL standings, the Islanders appear on the cusp of becoming one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. And those difficult years of losing are also looking like they are about to pay off.

In addition to the young talent already dotting the Islanders roster, led by captain John Tavares, 24, the organization is rich in high-end prospects looking to make the jump to the League.

Leading the way are center Mathew Barzal (No. 16 pick, 2015 NHL Draft), left wing Michael Dal Colle (No. 5, 2014), right wing Joshua Ho-Sang (No. 28, 2014), defenseman Ryan Pulock (No. 15, 2013), left wing Anthony Beauvillier (No. 28, 2015) and defenseman Mitchell Vande Sompel (No. 82, 2015).

Flyers likely need camp to solve logjam on defense

Thursday, 09.03.2015 / 4:40 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall understands he might have a bit of a math problem with his defense when training camp opens Sept. 17.

The Flyers have eight defensemen on NHL contracts, and five prospects who will be fighting for roster spots.

That doesn't include any players the Flyers might bring into camp on professional tryout contracts.

"We've talked to a couple guys," Hextall said Thursday. "Whether it happens or not, I really don't know. ... We've certainly had an eye on it. We've got feelers out on a couple guys."

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