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Wild maintain confidence in goalie Kuemper

Saturday, 07.18.2015 / 10:30 AM / News

The Minnesota Wild remain optimistic about goaltender Darcy Kuemper, even after signing Devan Dubnyk to a long-term contract, general manager Chuck Fletcher told the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Thursday.

"Well we're still very excited about Darcy Kuemper," Fletcher told the newspaper. "He's a young man, and two seasons ago, he had a tremendous year. Last year he was certainly more erratic. He started well and had a tough stretch in the middle of the year. Then Dubnyk came in and never relinquished the net. It was hard for Darcy to get any ice time at the end of the year."

Devils expect to sign Larsson soon: report

Saturday, 07.18.2015 / 10:21 AM / News

The New Jersey Devils expect to sign defenseman Adam Larsson before their arbitration hearing on July 29.

General manager Ray Shero told that negotiations continue on a long-term deal but the sides could settle on a two-year contract.

Sundqvist eyes open spot on Penguins' fourth line

Saturday, 07.18.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward prospect Oskar Sundqvist is prepared to make his NHL debut.

Sundqvist, one of Pittsburgh's final cuts last preseason, is eyeing a spot on the Penguins' opening night roster. He fell short of that goal in 2014 after leading Pittsburgh with two preseason goals.

Entering this season, there is a hole at center on the Penguins' fourth line, Sundqvist's natural position. Although he did not participate in development camp because of a lower-body injury, Sundqvist is expected to be available for Pittsburgh's rookie tournament and training camp.

The 21-year-old hopes to again reach the final stages of training camp and to top the list of potential candidates available to play when the Penguins open their season against the Dallas Stars on Oct. 8.

"It's all about the camp, how I perform there," Sundqvist said. "Like last year, I had my best time during the year during the camp. So I'm just looking for me to make a big impression on [Penguins coach Mike Johnston] and I'm hoping that's in his mind still.

"We will see [if I'm prepared to play in the NHL]. I haven't been on the ice yet, so I don't really know about that. But hopefully I feel mature enough to move here. So I should be ready to play in the NHL."

McIntyre expects to climb Bruins goalie depth chart

Saturday, 07.18.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- With a sunburned nose as red as a goal light, Zane McIntyre looked more off-duty lifeguard than future NHL goalie after the first day of Boston Bruins development camp at Ristuccia Arena.

"Looks like Rudolph," McIntyre said.

The 22-year-old explained he recently fell asleep in a boat and woke up with the sunburn. He needed to be wide awake as he tried to make an impression on the Boston brass in his sixth development camp since the Bruins selected him in the sixth round (No. 165) at the 2010 NHL Draft, his first since he turned pro this summer.

Devils see prospect base as remedy to scoring woes

Saturday, 07.18.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- A glimpse of what could be the start of something special began to materialize for the New Jersey Devils despite not qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs a third straight season in 2014-15.

It started when homegrown defensemen Adam Larsson, Eric Gelinas, Jon Merrill and Damon Severson began to earn more ice time, which led to greater confidence as they established themselves on a daily basis.

The challenge Devils general manager Ray Shero and coach John Hynes now face will be to establish some sort of cohesiveness up front in providing more offense. Make no mistake, it will be a work in progress.

Bruins GM willing to add free agent defenseman

Friday, 07.17.2015 / 11:13 PM / News

The Boston Bruins are looking to add a free agent defenseman, general manager Don Sweeney said Friday.

The Bruins have traded Dougie Hamilton and Johnny Boychuk the past two offseasons, and signed Matt Irwin this summer.

"There are a couple free agents that we still have conversations with that we felt might improve our club if the financial component works, and I'm not going to stop having those conversations because it might be the right thing to do," Sweeney told the Bruins website. "But we have some younger players that, at some point in time, have to be given an opportunity if you believe in them."

Stars coach calls new lineup options 'tremendous'

Friday, 07.17.2015 / 10:27 PM / News

Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff is more than happy to deal with the lineup decisions he has to make after some high-profile offseason acquisitions.

Ruff has many options with forward Patrick Sharp, defenseman Johnny Oduya, and goaltender Antti Niemi on board. The fact that each is a Stanley Cup champion should help.

"It's really important for us to take that next step. These guys have been winners and know how to win. They should help us get there," Ruff told the Stars website Friday. "Ownership has really stepped up and said we can make this team better. … It's been tremendous."

Lightning re-sign Namestnikov, Witkowski

Friday, 07.17.2015 / 9:23 PM / News

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov and defenseman Luke Witkowski to one-year, two-way contracts, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Namestnikov, 22, skated in 43 games with the Lightning during the 2014-15 regular season, posting nine goals and 16 points to go along with 13 penalty minutes. The 6-foot, 182-pound forward set career highs for games played, goals, assists (seven) and points (16) during the regular season. Namestnikov scored his first career NHL goal on October 13 against the Montreal Canadiens last season. He appeared in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2015, recording one assist.

Up against cap, more moves ahead for Blackhawks

Friday, 07.17.2015 / 8:45 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are not quite done with the latest remake of their roster.

Despite trading Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad, and letting Johnny Oduya, Brad Richards and Antoine Vermette leave as free agents since winning the Stanley Cup on June 15, Chicago is up against the $71.4 million NHL salary cap with the 21 players they've signed who are most likely to make the opening night roster.

More regulars could be on the move before the start of training camp in September, and there's the possibility the Blackhawks could do what they did last year, when they traded defenseman Nick Leddy a few days before the first game.

Blackhawks 'strive to keep winning' amid turnover

Friday, 07.17.2015 / 8:14 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have made a habit of having the Stanley Cup at their annual fan convention, and they don't have plans to stop just because of their yearly roster retooling.

Friday at the Hilton Chicago, the Blackhawks used the silver trophy to begin the weekend for the third time since 2010, celebrating their latest championship while keeping an eye on the future.

The NHL's $71.4 million salary cap has forced the departure of some key players, including Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad and Johnny Oduya, but the organizational mantra of "One Goal" remains intact.

"It's not going to be easy, but without disrespect to those guys [who aren't here] … we still have a lot of talent, a lot of character on this team, and we can find ways to let other players come in and assume more responsibility, and that culture's not going to change," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We're going to strive to keep winning."

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Quote of the Day

He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter