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2015 NHL Draft
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Senators' Hoffman awarded $2 million in arbitration

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 3:24 PM / News

NHL.com

Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman was awarded a one-year, $2 million contract by an arbitrator in Toronto on Monday.

Hoffman submitted a request for a one-year, $3.4 million contract while the Senators offered a one-year, $1.75 million contract on Friday.

Hoffman, 25, had 27 goals and 48 points in 79 games last season and was a plus-16. In six Stanley Cup Playoff games, he had one goal and three points.

Ruggiero recalls journey to U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 2:12 PM / U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

Growing up in California, Angela Ruggiero had limited opportunities to play hockey. Moving to Michigan changed that, and as a result, Ruggiero had one of the most successful careers of all time.

"I grew up loving hockey and my family loves hockey," said Ruggiero, who was announced as a member of the 2015 United States Hockey Hall of Fame class Monday. "Fortunately, I found hockey at a very young age when I was seven when there wasn't a lot of it in the state of California. … My family moved to Michigan in 1996 for my brother's hockey. My brother and I would train in the summertime. We'd go to different rinks, wherever we could find ice and join summer leagues. Because hockey was so popular in Detroit relative to California, I think I really benefitted."

Ruggiero, 35, was a key player on the United States women's team that won the gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. The defenseman was also the youngest player on that team, at 18, a senior attending prep school in Connecticut at that time.

Johansson poised to play larger role with Capitals

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 1:38 PM / NHL Insider

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Expectations for Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson will be high this season.

On Friday, an arbitrator awarded him a one-year, $3.75 million contract. Johansson, taken by Washington with the 24th pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, scored a career-high 20 goals and 47 points last season.

"It's going to be more competitive on the team this year, with a deeper top six, and you're going to have to play well and compete hard to keep your job just like everyone else," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Monday. "Hopefully it's a competitive environment and the whole team will benefit from it."

Drury, Schneider head U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame class

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 12:44 PM / U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Chris Drury, Mathieu Schneider, Angela Ruggiero and Ron DeGregorio will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, it was announced by USA Hockey on Monday.

The 43rd U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame enshrinement dinner and ceremony will be held in Boston on Dec. 17.

The NHL's Lester Patrick Trophy, awarded annually for outstanding service to hockey in the United States, also will be presented.

Capitals' Backstrom expected back for training camp

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 10:52 AM / News

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is progressing well from arthroscopic hip surgery, general manager Brian MacLellan said Monday.

Backstrom had the surgery performed May 28. He is expected to be back in time for the opening of training camp next month.

"I heard he started skating just recently, so that's a good sign," MacLellan said.

Resurgence of Smith big question for Coyotes

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

Since reaching the Western Conference Final in 2012, the Arizona Coyotes have not made the Stanley Cup Playoffs and bottomed out last season with the second-worst record in the NHL.

But general manager Don Maloney believes a return to better days is not far away.

Here are three questions that could bring them back sooner rather than later:

Will Mike Smith regain his old form? Smith had 14 wins in 62 games last season (14-42-5), his lowest save percentage (.904) in four seasons with Arizona, and his highest goals-against average (3.16) of his career. Smith was 38-18-10 with a .930 save percentage and a 2.21 GAA when the Coyotes made the Western Conference Final. Despite his struggles, coach Dave Tippet said numerous times last season Smith will remain the starter. But will newcomer Anders Lindback get a chance at the No. 1 job of Smith's difficulties continue?

Emerging Ekman-Larsson has Coyotes optimistic

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Arizona Coyotes finished last season with the worst record in the Western Conference, the second-worst record in the NHL, and their worst record since moving to Arizona prior to the 1996-97 season.

The Coyotes (24-50-8) couldn't score and were scored on too much, with a goal differential of minus-102. Not much went right for Arizona, which missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season.

But plenty of moves were made this offseason to try to correct these issues.

Arizona signed experienced backup goalie Anders Lindback, gritty forwards Steve Downie and John Scott, and Antoine Vermette and Brad Richardson to hopefully alleviate some of the offensive woes.

Here are four other reasons for optimism in Arizona:

Domi, Duclair among Coyotes' top five prospects

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Arizona Coyotes have reason for optimism because of young talent that likely will be in the NHL in the near future.

It starts with forwards Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, who each has a good chance to make the roster out of training camp. Forward Dylan Strome, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, probably will spend the season in the American Hockey League, but he and forwards Christian Dvorak and Brendan Perlini could reach the NHL in 2015-16.

Defensemen Brandon Gormley, Philip Samuelsson and Klas Dahlbeck are likely to be staples for years to come.

Here's a look at the Coyotes' top five prospects, according to NHL.com:

Coyotes confident improvement on the way

Monday, 08.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

David Satriano - NHL.com Fantasy Staff Writer

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

The Arizona Coyotes had two big problems last season.

"Not only couldn't we score last year, we couldn't defend," general manager Don Maloney said.

This season, Maloney expects at least a revamped defense to be much improved.

"Bringing back Zbynek Michalek, who's a core guy for us, you know what you're getting out of him," Maloney said in late July. "Nick Grossman, we are adding him to our mix; two guys who just give us stability on our blue line. Klas Dahlbeck came in and had a pretty impressive year … as did Connor Murphy. Brandon Gormley comes in and establishes a name for himself.

"Long story short, I know we are going to be a better team next year."

Last season, the Coyotes had the worst record in the Western Conference and were 11-25-5 at Gila River Arena, their worst home record since they moved to Arizona 19 years ago. It included three home losing streaks of at least eight games.

Arizona Coyotes fantasy hockey outlook

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

As part of NHL.com's offseason 30 in 30 package, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen will break down each team's fantasy landscape. They will look at the players at the top of the ranks, an undervalued player, an overvauled player, a deep sleeper (players likely ranked outside the top 200 overall players) and the goalie outlook for each NHL team.

Leading the way: Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Ekman-Larsson was one of two defensemen in the NHL to lead his team in scoring (Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators was the other). However, he was the only blueliner to lead his team in goals and points (23 and 43, respectively). His 23 goals led all NHL defensemen and his 38 goals over the past two seasons are tied for second most among blueliners (Karlsson has 41). Ekman-Larsson, 24, should continue to improve while Arizona begins to deploy its youth movement (see deep sleeper below) and if his plus/minus improves, he could end up turning into a top-10 fantasy defenseman.

Undervalued: Steve Downie

PIMs, PIMs and more PIMs. As long as your league counts penalty minutes as a category, Downie needs to be drafted with one of your final picks. In the past two seasons, only Antoine Roussel of the Dallas Stars has more PIMs (357) than Downie's 344. However, Downie accomplished that number in 27 fewer games. Downie is also capable of chipping in offensively after scoring 14 goals and 14 assists with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season.

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Quote of the Day

He is, in my opinion, one of the best defensemen in the NHL and continuing to grow. I think his game, from an offensive standpoint, he continues to drive our offense... I think there's still tremendous upside for Oliver.

— Coyotes GM Don Maloney on defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson