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Top prospects eager to join re-energized Islanders

Friday, 09.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

These are exciting times, on several fronts, for the New York Islanders.

The Islanders are leaving the only home they have ever known, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, to begin play this season at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the timing could not be much better.

After years of struggling near the bottom of the NHL standings, the Islanders appear on the cusp of becoming one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. And those difficult years of losing are also looking like they are about to pay off.

In addition to the young talent already dotting the Islanders roster, led by captain John Tavares, 24, the organization is rich in high-end prospects looking to make the jump to the League.

Leading the way are center Mathew Barzal (No. 16 pick, 2015 NHL Draft), left wing Michael Dal Colle (No. 5, 2014), right wing Joshua Ho-Sang (No. 28, 2014), defenseman Ryan Pulock (No. 15, 2013), left wing Anthony Beauvillier (No. 28, 2015) and defenseman Mitchell Vande Sompel (No. 82, 2015).'s top 250 fantasy rankings for 2015-16

Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insiders

The 2015-16 NHL season is getting closer, so has you covered with a full breakdown of players worth owning in fantasy hockey.

Fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen have ranked the top 250 players for standard Yahoo leagues heading into training camp. These rankings are sortable by position (forwards, defensemen and goalies) and include Yahoo's preseason ranks for your reference. Categories taken into account are goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power-play points and shots on goal for skaters; wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts for goalies.

These players have been ranked based on a number of factors including offseason movement, Yahoo position eligibility, potential line combinations and power-play usage, injury concerns, past production, and category coverage. These ranks should be viewed as our experts' projections of the League's most valuable fantasy assets based on expectations entering the season. Use these as a basis for your selections on draft day.

Predators' Weber skates, 'feels good' after knee injury

Thursday, 09.03.2015 / 7:24 PM / News

Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber participated in an informal skate Thursday and said he "feels good" after last season ended prematurely because of a knee injury.

Weber, a three-time Norris Trophy finalist and the Predators captain, sustained a subluxed kneecap during Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round against the Chicago Blackhawks. He missed the remainder of the series, which Chicago won in six games, and had surgery in April.

"It's exciting to be back," Weber told the Predators website. "As more and more guys roll in here, it's just going to get more exciting and feel like we're ready to go for the season. It's good seeing familiar faces and try to get back into a routine."

Coyotes sign forward Merkley to entry-level contract

Thursday, 09.03.2015 / 5:45 PM / News

Arizona Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have signed forward Nick Merkley to a three-year entry-level contract. As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

The 5-foot-10, 191-pound Merkley registered 20-70-90 with a plus-29 rating in 72 games with the Kelowna (WHL) in 2014-15. He led Kelowna and ranked sixth in the league in scoring and finished third in the WHL in assists.

Flyers likely need camp to solve logjam on defense

Thursday, 09.03.2015 / 4:40 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall understands he might have a bit of a math problem with his defense when training camp opens Sept. 17.

The Flyers have eight defensemen on NHL contracts, and five prospects who will be fighting for roster spots.

That doesn't include any players the Flyers might bring into camp on professional tryout contracts.

"We've talked to a couple guys," Hextall said Thursday. "Whether it happens or not, I really don't know. ... We've certainly had an eye on it. We've got feelers out on a couple guys."

Red Wings' Zetterberg hopes Datsyuk will return soon

Thursday, 09.03.2015 / 4:15 PM / News

Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk is recovering from offseason ankle surgery and his longtime teammate, Henrik Zetterberg, is hoping to see him on the ice in the near future.

"I've been talking to him. He went through the surgery, he's doing his rehab," Zetterberg, Datsyuk's teammate since the 2002-03 season, told the Red Wings website after skating at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday. "He's just got to take the time he needs and when he comes back, he's going to be healthy and ready to go."

Datsyuk had surgery June 26 and is scheduled to see his surgeon in a few weeks to determine if he can be cleared for hockey activities.

Flames GM says Smid nearing return after surgery

Thursday, 09.03.2015 / 1:38 PM / News

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames defenseman Ladislav Smid is pushing to work his way back into the rotation, general manager Brad Treliving said.

The 29-year-old last played Jan. 19, a month after taking a high hit from then-Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Simon Despres. He had surgery in February on the herniated disc in his neck.

Smid is participating in informal skates at WinSport at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary and is gearing up for a potential return after a recent meeting with doctors in California.

Capitals' Backstrom may miss season opener: report

Thursday, 09.03.2015 / 1:14 PM / News

Nicklas Backstrom is recovering from offseason hip surgery and isn't sure if he'll be ready to play for the Washington Capitals in their season opener Oct. 10 against the New Jersey Devils at Verizon Center.

Backstrom skated with several teammates during non-contact drills Thursday. He began skating last month and rehabbing while home in Sweden.

"It's obviously not fun to not know, but on the other hand, I'm not in a rush," Backstrom told the Washington Post. "I'm going to be back to 100 percent before I start playing. I'm not going to play on 90 percent. We'll see how it goes. We don't know yet."

Fucale undeterred by Canadiens' roadblock in goal

Thursday, 09.03.2015 / 1:00 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

Montreal Canadiens goaltending prospect Zachary Fucale is finally ready to embark on his professional career after four seasons and 204 games played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

"Yeah, it was a couple of games, but it was the best time," Fucale said this week at the NHL Players' Association Rookie Showcase in Toronto. "I got an opportunity in Halifax when I was 16 and I'm happy the coaches had the confidence to send me in there night after night. I learned a lot with some pretty awesome players, some great teams, and I had some pretty good opportunities. So I'm grateful for that."

The kind of opportunity given to Fucale to jump right in and play 58 games for the Halifax Mooseheads as a rookie is not likely to come from the Canadiens any time soon.

Montreal goaltender Carey Price is coming off a historic season in which he won the Vezina Trophy, Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and William Jennings Trophy. At age 28 and with three seasons remaining on his contract, Price is not likely to leave the Canadiens crease in the near future.

Wild name Chabot goalie development coach

Thursday, 09.03.2015 / 11:54 AM / News

The Minnesota Wild has named Frederic Chabot (pronounced Schuh-bott) as the team's Goaltending Development Coach. 

Chabot, 47 (2/12/68), will work with goalie prospects throughout the Minnesota Wild organization, including goaltenders playing for the Iowa Wild in the American Hockey League (AHL). The former NHL netminder joins the Wild after serving as the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers (2009-14). Prior to joining the Oilers, he served as a Goaltending Consultant with Hockey Canada and their National Junior Team, helping Canada win a gold medal at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championship. Chabot was also an instructor at Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence Goaltending Camp for three years (2007-09). The native of Hebertville-Station, Quebec, worked as a Goaltending Consultant with Berlin (DEL) in 2008-09, capturing the league championship with the Ice Bears. Chabot also worked with AIK Stockholm (SWE-2) from 2007-09, overseeing goaltending for the entire organization.

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It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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