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NHL Insider

Draisaitl says return to juniors helped his game

Sunday, 07.05.2015 / 12:00 PM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Being sent back to junior last season was not easy for Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl.

Draisaitl made the Oilers out of training camp and played 37 games with Edmonton, but finished the season in the Western Hockey League with the Kelowna Rockets.

It took some time for Draisaitl to get over the disappointment of returning to juniors, but he went on to have an excellent second half with the Rockets, leading them to the WHL championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup final.

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Undrafted Ohio brothers attend Blue Jackets camp

Saturday, 07.04.2015 / 11:06 AM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS-- The Columbus Blue Jackets development camp June 29 to July 2 featured many top prospects from recent NHL drafts.

Oliver Bjorkstrand, a third-round pick in 2013 NHL Draft and the Western Hockey League's player of the year in 2015, was at the practice facility at Nationwide Arena. So were 2015 first-round selection defenseman Zach Werenski from the University of Michigan and 2014 first-rounder forward Sonny Milano.

But two undrafted invitees attracted the most media attention.

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Milano excited for chance with Blue Jackets

Saturday, 07.04.2015 / 10:39 AM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS-- There are many changes between the Sonny Milano who attended his first Columbus Blue Jackets development camp a year ago after being selected 16th in the 2014 NHL Draft to the Milano who showed for his second go-around June 29 to July 2.

There weren't the persistent questions about his immediate future; whether he would fulfill his commitment to attend Boston College or play in the Ontario Hockey League.

Milano gave his answer several weeks later when he opted to play for the OHL's Plymouth Whalers. Milano led Plymouth in scoring with 68 points, including 22 goals, in 50 games despite missing more than a month at the start of the season because of facial fractures sustained at the NHL Prospects Tournament in September.t of my control."

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Lidstrom's sons attend Red Wings development camp

Friday, 07.03.2015 / 6:05 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Longtime Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this week. Two of his sons, Adam and Kevin, would like to follow in his footsteps.

Each is taking part in the Red Wings' developmental camp this weekend.

Adam Lidstrom, 19, is a forward who played junior hockey for Vasteras last season, finishing with seven goals and 14 points in 40 games. Kevin Lidstrom, 21, is a defenseman who had one assist in 22 games for Enkopings of the third-tier Hockeyettan.

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Devils' Palmieri embracing chance to face Rangers

Friday, 07.03.2015 / 3:51 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Kyle Palmieri played for the New Jersey Devils' youth team and attended Devils practices and games when he was a boy.

Now, the 24-year old will get to play for the Devils; he was traded from the Anaheim Ducks for two draft picks on June 26.

Palmieri was born Smithtown, N.Y., but grew up in Montvale, N.J., rooting for the New York Rangers.

"I probably went to more Devils games than I did Rangers games just because it was easier to get tickets and for me it was way easier to get to (the Meadowlands) than it was for me to get into the city," Palmieri told Northjersey.com on Thursday. "I definitely grew up going to more Devils games than I did Rangers games."

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Senators prospect Paul gaining his 'man strength'

Friday, 07.03.2015 / 10:11 AM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA – The potential of a prospect like big wing Nicholas Paul is one of the reasons Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray chose not to re-sign unrestricted free agent Erik Condra.

Condra signed a three-year contract worth $1.25 million per season with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday. Murray said he liked Condra and what he contributed on the Senators third line last season, but balked at the length of the contract, fearing it would get in the way of the development of a prospect like Paul.

"This is my point with some of these players: if you sign beyond a year or two it shuts the door on these kids for a long period," Murray said. "(Paul) might be ready to play – and I shouldn't say this – within the first couple of months of the year. He looks like the kind of player you send him to the minors and let him play some pro games down there and by the second half you're saying why isn't he on our team? There's a few guys like that I see over there (at the Senators' development camp)."

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Blues alter core group by trading Oshie for Brouwer

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 8:45 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- After a third straight elimination in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the St. Louis Blues understood that despite multiple winning regular seasons, change was on the horizon.

One came Thursday when they traded forward T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals for forward Troy Brouwer, goalie prospect Pheonix Copley, and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

"Hockey trades are hard to make in this League. You don't see many of them," general manager Doug Armstrong said Thursday. "This is a team that we have some younger players (Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Dmitrij Jaskin, Ty Rattie and Robby Fabbri) that I would like to see take a bigger role moving forward. I think that opens up a little bit of space for that. It brings in a different style of player.

"Obviously we haven't had the success that we've wanted to have, and this isn't a reflection of one player, but you have to make adjustments."

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Canadiens confident Kassian can help offense

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 8:20 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens are willing to give Zack Kassian another chance, and the forward is fully aware it might be is last one.

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin acquired the hulking right wing from the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, Montreal's only move on the opening day of free agency in an attempt to address its dire need of scoring up front.

Kassian has always had the potential to provide that kind of offensive punch, which is what led the Buffalo Sabres to take him with the 13th pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. But he has yet to prove he can do it in the NHL.

After having been traded for the second time in his career at the age of 24, Kassian said he is grateful for the opportunity the Canadiens are giving him.

"Vancouver was great to me, great organization, great people," Kassian said Thursday. "It's just one of those things, when you're young and you come into the League, you have to find your role and find what you can do. There's a lot of bumps in the road, but I think over the years I've gained a lot of maturity. I'm more than excited to be part of the Canadiens and to have a fresh start and be the player I can be."

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St. Louis' career filled with milestones, awards

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 6:59 PM / NHL Insider

Kristen Nelson - NHL.com Staff Writer

Martin St. Louis announced his retirement from the NHL on Thursday after 16 seasons.

The undrafted forward struggled at the beginning of his career with the Calgary Flames before establishing himself with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

St. Louis had 391 goals and 642 assists (1,033 points) in 1,134 regular season games in the NHL, and won the Stanley Cup, two Art Ross trophies and three Lady Byng trophies.

Here are some highlights from St. Louis' NHL career:

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Undersized St. Louis always made big impression

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 6:55 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Nearly two decades later, Craig Ramsay still remembers the smallest player on the ice at the start of Ottawa Senators training camp in 1997.

Ramsay was an assistant coach, and there among Alexei Yashin, Daniel Alfredsson, Vinny Prospal and Alexandre Daigle, was this pint-sized, undrafted training-camp invitee speeding all over the ice. Before Ramsay could figure out who he was, however, he wasn't there anymore.

"I never had a chance to work with him other than to notice him because he was pretty noticeable," Ramsay told NHL.com. "He was a nifty, small guy. And then he was gone."

Martin St. Louis was gone from that Ottawa camp, but after a 16-season career that is likely to include induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, he won't soon be forgotten.

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Quote of the Day

It's very special, obviously; there is draft day and then there's the day that you sign your first deal. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm very honored to be able to do that."

— Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid on signing his first professional contract