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Prospects

Sissons, Leipsic know chance awaits with Predators

Saturday, 08.23.2014 / 1:59 PM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- With the Nashville Predators in transition, forward prospects Colton Sissons and Brandon Leipsic are hoping to get a long look at training camp.

"They always want the young guys to get stronger and keep developing. That's the standard for us younger guys in the organization," Sissons said Saturday at the 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase. "Times are changing there and there's a new coach and a little bit of turnover, so I think they're looking for younger guys like us to make a push at camp to make the roster this year. I think they'll give us a pretty good opportunity for that."

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Panthers prospect Ekblad will be recovered for camp

Saturday, 08.23.2014 / 1:09 PM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Slightly more than two weeks after sustaining a concussion that briefly halted an eventful summer, Florida Panthers prospect Aaron Ekblad said he is close to being fully recovered and ready for training camp.

"The concussion is almost perfectly, completely gone. I feel great," Ekblad said Saturday at the 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase. "I've been skating all this week and I feel good."

The No. 1 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, the defenseman was injured playing for the Canada World Junior team in an exhibition game against the Czech Republic. The 18-year-old said he has been symptom free for five days.

"The work I'm doing is just getting back to normal paces. Getting game ready on the ice and just doing little things off the ice to get back up to what I was doing before," Ekblad said. "[Florida's] team docs wanted to talk to me and see how I was feeling. I kept in touch with them."

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Family ties help prospects acclimate to NHL level

Saturday, 08.23.2014 / 11:30 AM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO – Family is an integral part of hockey success for most NHL hopefuls. For top prospects boasting NHL bloodlines, however, family can provide a few additional benefits, including a slightly greater appreciation for exactly what goes into making the NHL and, ultimately, staying there.

Among the 33 prospects at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase, few could attest to the finer details of life in the NHL quite like Sam Reinhart.

The No. 2 pick, by the Buffalo Sabres, at the 2014 NHL Draft is the son of longtime NHL player Paul Reinhart. Sam's brother, Max, was the Calgary Flames' third-round pick (No. 64) in the 2010 draft and another brother, Griffin, was selected No. 4 by the New York Islanders in 2012.

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Gaudreau, Bennett excited about futures with Flames

Saturday, 08.23.2014 / 10:26 AM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO – Sam Bennett and Johnny Gaudreau followed alternate paths to the NHL. But when the two Calgary Flames prospects report for training camp in September, they'll be the focal point of an organization looking for a return to glory after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the past five seasons.

The excitement which can accompany a rebuilding process often serves as motivation for those tasked with making the transformation happen.

"I definitely feel that all the time. There are younger guys in the organization that I think are going to help the organization become better," Gaudreau said at the NHLPA's annual Rookie Showcase. "It's exciting to be a part of that since you're a young guy and around a whole bunch of other younger guys."

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Top prospects revel in opportunities at showcase

Friday, 08.22.2014 / 8:11 PM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO – Many of the NHL's top young prospects earned a fun break from a summer spent focusing primarily on preparation for NHL training camps when they attended the 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase. The two-day event, staged during one of the final weekends before training camps begin, hosted 33 NHL hopefuls and featured a healthy combination of work and play.

In its sixth iteration, the event allowed attendees the opportunity to participate in a series of functions, most of them organized by Upper Deck, the official trading card company of the NHL. On Friday, the majority of the time was spent signing merchandise and posing for photographs, as well as enjoying a preview of EA Sports NHL 15 video game.

"It's a pretty exciting experience this weekend," Arizona Coyotes prospect Max Domi said. "It's going to be cool to spend some time with the guys."

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McDavid ready to 'get this crazy year started'

Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 6:09 PM / Prospects

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Erie Otters center Connor McDavid got a taste of what it will be like to be a big star.

McDavid joined Otters general manager Sherry Bassin and coach Kris Knoblauch here Thursday for the announcement of an Ontario Hockey League game between Erie and the Niagara Ice Dogs at First Niagara Center on Oct. 22.

That's just one game in a NHL arena, but it's all part of what's to come for the 17-year-old.

"It's going to obviously be pretty different," McDavid said. "It's starting to be pretty crazy. I'm just really excited to be there and get going and get this crazy year started."

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McDavid eager to get draft-eligible season underway

Monday, 08.04.2014 / 5:46 PM / Prospects

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Connor McDavid sat and watched in June as many of his friends, the players he grew up playing with and against, saw their lifelong dreams realized.

The 2014 NHL Draft was a highlight moment for one of McDavid's closest friends, defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who was the first pick by the Florida Panthers. Sam Bennett, McDavid's teammate and linemate for seven years in minor hockey, was selected fourth by the Calgary Flames.

As the draft continued with names being called at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, McDavid saw more and more of the people he grew up with, people who ultimately helped him become the most highly-anticipated hockey prospect since Sidney Crosby.

He was happy for them. But he also started to get antsy.

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Top '14 picks among WJC summer camp participants

Thursday, 07.31.2014 / 3:47 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Two players taken in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft will be among the European players taking part in the USA Hockey national junior evaluation camp being held Aug. 2-9 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The camp is one of the first steps toward building the teams that will play in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Among the players taking part for defending gold medalist Finland is forward Kasperi Kapanen, who plays for KalPa in Liiga, Finland's top professional league. He was picked by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the 22nd pick in the first round.

Kapanen likely would have been on the team that won the tournament last year were it not for a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a month.

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Vrana, Pastrnak lead Czech team at WJC camp

Tuesday, 07.29.2014 / 3:25 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Two players picked in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft will be part of the Czech Republic team that will take part in the Hockey Canada National Junior Team Summer Development Camp to be held Aug. 3-8 in Montreal.

The camp, which also will feature Canada and Russia, is one of the first steps in the construction of teams that will play in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be played in Toronto and Montreal.

Jakub Vrana (No. 13, Washington Capitals) and David Pastrnak (No. 25, Boston Bruins) are two of six players that will take part in the camp who helped the Czechs finish sixth at the 2014 WJC in Malmo, Sweden. Vrana had one goal and one assist in five games; Pastrnak had one goal and two assists in five games.

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As game evolves, Flames' Gaudreau seeking next step

Sunday, 07.06.2014 / 2:40 PM / Prospects

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Johnny Gaudreau's home in Carneys Point, N.J., is littered with hardware.

The 20-year-old Calgary Flames prospect is looking to add one more to the mantle, an ESPY. But as the award nominations and accolades continue to pile up, so too does the expectation that Gaudreau can take the next step and jump into the NHL.

Gaudreau, the reigning Hobey Baker Award winner, is among the finalists for the ESPN honor of top male college athlete.

"It's exciting," he said Saturday following the Flames' first on-ice session at their annual development camp. "I'm up there against four pretty talented athletes. It's great to be recognized, and I'm going to be excited to get out there and meet the other guys."

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Quote of the Day

When I first became captain here, Monsieur Beliveau came to me and said, 'You're going to be fine. You don't have to change, you got selected because of who you are.'

— Saku Koivu on Thursday, recalling what he was told by the late Jean Beliveau when he was named Canadiens captain in 1999
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