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NHL Insider

Byfuglien excited about NHL's return to Manitoba

Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 3:15 PM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

ST. PAUL – Winnipeg is new territory for most members of the recently relocated franchise now known as the Jets.

The current Jets roster doesn't feature any Manitoba-born players, so 2010 playoffs scoring star-turned-defenseman Dustin Byfuglien might have to serve as the club's honorary Manitoban. Byfuglian, who grew up in Roseau, Minn., stopped by the NHL Entry Draft on Saturday morning.

Roseau is a two-hour trip from Winnipeg – a short hop by prairie standards – and Byfuglien logged a brief stint with the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings at the start of his junior career. Brandon is a quick drive down the Trans-Canada Highway and the team counts new Winnipeg senior vice president and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and executive vice president and director of hockey operations/assistant general manager Craig Heisinger among its alumni.

Liles excited to be a Leaf

Friday, 06.24.2011 / 7:47 PM / NHL Insider

Greg Picker - Staff Writer

John-Michael Liles is surprised and excited to be heading for Toronto.

Liles, a 30-year-old defenseman, was traded by the Colorado Avalanche on Friday to the Maple Leafs in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft that Toronto previously acquired from Boston.

"I was definitely surprised to hear that I've been traded," Liles told reporters during a conference call prior to Friday night's Entry Draft.  "[Colorado] was a fantastic place to play.  I really enjoyed it, but when I heard I was traded to Toronto I was really excited."

Prospect Schenn could help Flyers immediately

Friday, 06.24.2011 / 4:54 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

When Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren was discussing the returns he got from Thursday's blockbuster trades of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, he called Brayden Schenn "probably the best young player outside the NHL."
Holmgren isn't the only hockey figure to feel that way about Schenn, and it's a big reason Philadelphia wanted him in the deal that sent Richards, Philadelphia's captain, to the Los Angeles Kings.
"Brayden Schenn is little bit of a diamond in the rough here," Holmgren said. "Do we take a step back with him? I don't know. He's a tremendous young player and I look forward to seeing him over the next number of years in our organization."

Pronger knows how Richards, Carter feel

Friday, 06.24.2011 / 1:17 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Defenseman Chris Pronger played for four other NHL teams before being dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers on the second day of the 2009 Entry Draft in Montreal.
He remembers the day well and has a pretty good idea the wave of emotions that former Philadelphia teammates Jeff Carter and Mike Richards might be experiencing on the day after general manager Paul Holmgren orchestrated two of the boldest moves in franchise history.
"It (stinks) as a teammate," Pronger told the media during a conference call on Friday. "You hate to see guys go. They were, for all intents and purposes, the face of the franchise for four of those six years, if not for the six years they were here. I'm sure it's tough for them. The Philadelphia Flyers, it's all they really know. I've gone through it a number of times, and sometimes a move is healthy for you."

Emotional Richards ready for new chapter

Thursday, 06.23.2011 / 9:52 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Columnist

With nine years left on a 12-year deal he signed with Philadelphia in 2007, Mike Richards figured a trade was the last thing he'd have to worry about. He was wrong.

The Flyers sent their captain, one of the NHL's best two-way centers, to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday for highly regarded prospect Brayden Schenn, young forward Wayne Simmonds and a second-round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft. For Richards, who reiterated several times during a Thursday conference call with the media how much he loved playing in Philadelphia and being a Flyer, being dealt was stunning.

"I was very shocked when I got a call this afternoon from my agent, just kind of giving me the rundown on what he knew," he said. "I actually found out about it on the Internet a few minutes before I was able to get the confirmation from my agent about it. At first I was shocked, then I was excited.

Thursday's flurry of moves remakes the Flyers

Thursday, 06.23.2011 / 9:50 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

MINNEAPOLIS -- In perhaps the biggest roster shakeup in Philadelphia Flyers history, the team completely changed the look of the franchise on Thursday, trading team captain Mike Richards and All-Star center Jeff Carter in separate deals before agreeing to terms with goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov on a long-term contract.

The Flyers sent Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for right wing Jakub Voracek, the No. 8 pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, and a third-round pick (No. 68) in the same draft. Richards was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for right wing Wayne Simmonds, center Brayden Schenn and a second-round pick in the 2012 draft.

"What we've done today is change the direction of our organization with these two moves," General Manager Paul Holmgren said. "I've always said over the last few years that I like our team. Today I like our team. We're just a different team."

Acquisition of Carter has Blue Jackets thinking big

Thursday, 06.23.2011 / 9:05 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson feels he has finally found the perfect complement for All-Star left wing Rick Nash.
On Thursday afternoon, Howson finalized a deal with Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren that was six months in the making, acquiring veteran center Jeff Carter in exchange for wing Jakub Voracek and a pair of 2011 draft picks in the first (No. 8) and third (No. 68) rounds.
"We've been working on this for a long time, it seems," Howson said during a news conference at the City Center Marriott. "We had discussions about various players over six months and I thought we were getting close over the last three or four days. It crystallized (Thursday) around noon and we moved forward." 

Instant E.J.: Reaction to Flyers wheeling and dealing

Thursday, 06.23.2011 / 8:08 PM / NHL Insider

EJ Hradek - Analyst

What a day! The Flyers shook up the hockey world with a pair of blockbuster deals, moving cornerstone young centers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Richards was sent to the left coast (Los Angeles), while Carter moves across the Pennsylvania border into Ohio to join the Blue Jackets.
Here are a few quick thoughts about the moves for each team's perspective. 

Morrow eager to work with Gulutzan

Monday, 06.20.2011 / 4:18 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

DALLAS -- When Glen Gulutzan officially was introduced as the 21st coach in Dallas Stars history Monday, two of his new players were in attendance. Joining talented young winger Toby Petersen in the back of the room was a man who has been a face of the franchise since Mike Modano left the club in 2010 -- captain Brenden Morrow.

Gulutzan will be the fourth different coach the Dallas captain has played for since making his NHL debut for the Stars during the 1999-2000 season.

One thing the veteran center has done is talked to several of his younger teammates who have played for Gulutzan so he can gain an accurate picture about what to expect. One of those he talked to was current teammate Jamie Benn, who played for Gulutzan during the 2009-10 season with the AHL's Texas Stars.

Gulutzan feels there's much to like about Stars

Monday, 06.20.2011 / 4:13 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

"While we were disappointed that we didn't make the playoffs last year, there was a lot to like and a lot to build on. It is my intention to build this team into a winner. We'd all like nothing more than to have our own parade again with the Stanley Cup in downtown Dallas." -- Joe Nieuwendyk

DALLAS -- During his opening marks at Monday's press conference to officially introduce Glen Gulutzan as the new coach of the Dallas Stars, General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk couldn't help but refer to the other tenant of the American Airlines Center, the Dallas Mavericks, who were crowned 2011 NBA champions just over one week ago.

Nieuwendyk, who helped bring the Stanley Cup to Dallas in 1999, the city’s last title before this year, sees many parallels between the champion Mavericks and the current Stars.

"They have tremendous leadership from top to bottom. I think they've shown from staying the course, determination and teamwork in every since of the word that you can achieve your goals. I think they're a good model for us to follow as we move forward here," Nieuwendyk said.
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Quote of the Day

He's only 17 but he can see the ice so well and he moves the puck and goes to the open ice all the time, so I just think he's a player that is ready to play in the NHL. I'm really looking forward to coaching someone like this.

— U.S. National Junior Team coach Ron Wilson on Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft