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(Page 5 of 17)
2013-2014 Season Preview

30 in 15: Kings hungry for another Cup

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 201314 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

After coming up short in defense of their first Stanley Cup championship last season, the Los Angeles Kings are ready to skate a new path to a familiar place this season.

"It's not so much recapture the feeling [of winning the Cup in 2012]," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi told NHL.com, "it's writing a new chapter."

The Kings already know how the new chapter should end. It includes a celebration in downtown Los Angeles followed by a summer with Stanley. That's what they experienced in 2012.

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30 in 15: Frattin aims for big role with Kings

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 201314 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

All Matt Frattin wants from the Los Angeles Kings is an opportunity to impress, a chance to establish himself as a full-time NHL player.

He's getting that and much more.

Frattin should start the regular season on a line with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. It's a dream job for any forward who thinks he's ready to take the next step in his career, and maybe just enough to turn Frattin into one of the Kings' most dangerous scoring threats for the foreseeable future.

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30 in 15: Mitchell, Frattin key questions for Kings

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 201314 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

If you took a team picture of the Los Angeles Kings today and compared it to the one they took with the Stanley Cup on June 11, 2012, you'd see a lot of similar faces.

Seventeen players that dressed for the Kings in that Cup-clinching Game 6 against the New Jersey Devils at Staples Center remain on the roster and could be in the lineup Oct. 3, when Los Angeles starts the 2013-14 season at Xcel Energy Center against the Minnesota Wild.

"Our core is back, they're all signed long-term and not one of them is on the downside of their career," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi told NHL.com.

Ideally, they're also all hungry for more, especially after losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final last spring.

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Mitchell's return solidifies Kings' defense

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Willie Mitchell looked downward and began to form a knowing, almost mischievous smile. It's a common pose for the pensive Mitchell, one that says he is fully engaged in thought.

Down the hall from the Los Angeles Kings' locker room, Mitchell got that look when asked if he's thought about pulling on his Kings jersey for the first time since Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final on June 11, 2012.

Not for a preseason game, but for real, at the Kings' home opener Oct. 7.

"It's nuts, man. It's really nuts," Mitchell said. "The preseason, I won't lie, it will be good to do that. But for me … all of a sudden you get to the home opener and you're putting the jersey back on. That will mean a lot, for sure.

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30 in 15: Leafs hope additions equal longer playoff run

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2013-14 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis went on a spending spree this summer. It's time to find out if he made the right purchases.

"We have to go out and prove it," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle told NHL.com. "Just because we've added some people it doesn't make the statement that it's this type of club or that type of club."

The type of club Nonis is trying to build and Carlyle wants to coach is one that can push the pace and be aggressive in any building. The Maple Leafs started moving in that direction last season, when they snapped a nine-year Stanley Cup Playoff drought to finish fifth in the Eastern Conference with 57 points.

They couldn't close the deal in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Boston despite having a three-goal lead in the third period of Game 7.

That's partially why Nonis gave right wing David Clarkson a seven-year, $37 million contract July 5.

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30 in 15: Clarkson, goalies are issues for Maple Leafs

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 201314 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

Dave Nonis liked what he saw from his team last season as it got to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and gave the Boston Bruins a heck of a hard time. It wasn't enough to convince the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager that status quo was the way to go.

"Last season, we wanted to make sure we were making strides, that the other 29 teams look at us a little differently and that our fans feel like we're going in the right direction," Nonis told NHL.com. "It was an important step, but I would say it's just a first step. We're happy with the strides we've made, but we have a long way to go and we understand there's a lot of work ahead for us."

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30 in 15: Maple Leafs' Ranger makes intriguing return

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 3:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 201314 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

Paul Ranger walked away from the hectic, pressure-packed, high-profile life of a professional hockey player four years ago and stepped into the unpredictable world of a 20-something drifter trying to find his way.

He shuffled around, testing out various roles away from the limelight, only to find his way back to the NHL.

At 28 years old, Ranger is embarking on his second hockey life with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who may soon be able to lay claim to the finding biggest bargain of the 2013 free-agent class.

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Stellar preseason may earn Maatta spot with Penguins

Wednesday, 09.25.2013 / 4:20 PM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

A spot on the Pittsburgh Penguins' regular-season roster remains uncertain for defenseman Olli Maatta, but the 19-year-old's performance throughout training camp might have him on the cusp of becoming a prominent piece of their defense.

The second of Pittsburgh's 2012 first-round picks (No. 22), Maatta went into the Penguins' preseason game Wednesday at the Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) still with a chance to make the Penguins' opening-day roster. The Jyvaskyla, Finland native has spent time skating alongside Kris Letang, a Norris Trophy candidate last season, in three preseason games entering Wednesday and has fit in well.

"It's awesome to play with the big guys and learn from them," Maatta said. "That's a big thing for me. I'm trying to learn a lot of things here."

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Drouin doing his best to deal with lofty expectations

Wednesday, 09.25.2013 / 9:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- The skater deked left, made a simple move to his backhand and with a flip, the puck was over the goaltender's left pad and in the net.

That was Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Jonathan Drouin scoring the game-winning goal in the shootout in Saturday's preseason game against Jacob Markstrom and the Florida Panthers. And the sound that immediately followed was that of a small monkey falling off his back.

Because for Drouin, the Lightning's first-round pick (No. 3) in the 2013 NHL Draft, the bar has been set high and despite the continued efforts of Lightning management to downplay them, expectations have been set.

"He's 18 years old, so for an 18-year-old kid, and he is still a kid, to come in here and do what he's doing, he has to be a really good hockey player to keep up with what is going on here," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Are there holes in his game? There are. There are holes in everyone's game. Every game, just learn from it and move on and get better. He made mistakes tonight and he did some good things tonight, but you can see he's put himself in the mix, so that's good."

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Gudbranson seeing results of offseason of hard work

Wednesday, 09.25.2013 / 9:00 AM / 2013-2014 Season Preview

Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Erik Gudbranson had to laugh Monday morning when he was informed he was tied for second in the NHL preseason scoring race (after Monday's games he was tied for third) with six points in three games.

"Don't look at that stuff," he said. "I should go and take a little photo of it and keep it in my back pocket because I don't know how long that's going to last."

For the Florida Panthers, it's all fine and dandy that Gudbranson is showing offensive prowess in the preseason, but it's not what matters.

Florida coach Kevin Dineen said he is a lot more concerned about the overall development of Gudbranson, particularly with the No. 3 pick of the 2010 NHL Draft coming off a disappointing season in 2012-13.

And Dineen has seen a lot of encouraging signs since the start of training camp.

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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players