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Barrie improving his defensive game for Avalanche

Friday, 03.20.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Like most young defensemen, Tyson Barrie struggles at times in his end. But he's improved so much since the beginning of the season that Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy no longer considers him to be a defensive liability.

"It can be tough," Barrie said. "Earlier, I was having some problems with it. It's something you work on, watching video and working with the coaches. The offensive instincts, you don't want to mess with those too much. You learn, try not to be reckless. It's something I'll need to focus on my whole career."

Barrie, 23, has the offensive part down. A fluid skater and puck-handler, he has five goals and 10 assists in his past 14 games and is among the NHL's top-scoring defensemen with 11 goals and 35 assists (46 points) in 68 games.

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Super 16: Second place in '15 draft not bad place to be

Friday, 03.20.2015 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Connor McDavid's credentials to be the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft are beyond reproach. The sensational center for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League is one of the most-hyped prospects of the past 25 years, reaching a level only Eric Lindros, Sidney Crosby and maybe John Tavares have.

Jack Eichel's resume is also pretty great. The freshman forward at Boston University is also one of the best prospects to enter the draft of the past quarter century. He'd have a chance to go No. 1 in any of the seasons since Tavares was picked in 2009, but he's likely destined to be the second half of the "McEichel" sweepstakes.

Craig Custance from ESPN.com recently wrote about the astronomical price another team would have to pay if whoever gets the No. 1 pick would consider moving it and passing on the chance to add McDavid. One general manager, Tim Murray of the Buffalo Sabres, told Custance on the record he'd try to trade for the No. 1 pick if the Sabres end up in the No. 2 spot.

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Hammond's streak for Senators ended by Bruins

Thursday, 03.19.2015 / 11:22 PM / News

NHL.com

Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond’s streak of consecutive games having allowed two or fewer goals ended Thursday at 12 straight games to start his NHL career.

Hammond allowed his third goal of the game to Boston Bruins forward Ryan Spooner at 11:42 of the second period.

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Panthers' Jagr passes Esposito with 718th NHL goal

Thursday, 03.19.2015 / 11:21 PM / News

NHL.com

Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr passed Phil Esposito on Thursday for fifth on the NHL all-time goals list when he scored his 718th against the Detroit Red Wings at BB&T Center.

Jagr beat Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek with a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle to put the Panthers up 1-0 at 10:55 of the second period.

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Flames sign NCAA defenseman Kenney Morrison

Thursday, 03.19.2015 / 9:33 PM / News

CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames announced today that they have signed defenceman Kenney Morrison from Western Michigan University.

Morrison, a native of Lloydminster, Alberta, played three seasons with WMU Broncos between the NCHC and the CCHA. In 37 games during the 2014-15 season, the 6’3”, 208 pound defenceman netted five goals, 10 assists for 15 points and 36 penalty minutes. His career college numbers were 54 points (16G, 38A) and 151 penalty minutes in 115 games.

To read more from the Flames' website, CLICK HERE.

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Jets agree to terms with defenseman Jan Kostalek

Thursday, 03.19.2015 / 5:26 PM / News

WinnipegJets.com

The Winnipeg Jets are pleased to announce they have agreed to terms with defenceman Jan Kostalek on a three-year, two-way, entry level contract with an average annual value of $850,000.

Kostalek, 20, is in his third QMJHL season with the Rimouski Oceanic and currently has 43 points (7G, 36A) and 35 penalty minutes in 55 games. In his junior career, he’s amassed 88 points (17G, 71A) and 128 penalty minutes over 158 games with Rimouski. A highlight of Kostalek’s 2014-15 season is earning the QMJHL’s third star of the week honour on Feb. 9.

He was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the fourth round, 114th overall, in the 2013 NHL Draft.

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Islanders' Halak, Leddy could play Saturday vs. Devils

Thursday, 03.19.2015 / 3:08 PM / News

NHL.com Staff

The New York Islanders could have goaltender Jaroslav Halak and defenseman Nick Leddy in the lineup Saturday against the New Jersey Devils, according to the Islanders website.

Halak and Leddy practiced Thursday, with coach Jack Capuano telling the website Halak is able to play.

"There's no question we miss some of those guys," Capuano said. "They are an integral part of our team. You win with goaltending and defense in this League."

Halak, who is 34-15-1 with a 2.46 goals-against average, four shutouts and a .912 save percentage in 50 games, missed the past two games because of a lower-body injury.

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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Future is now for Gibson

Thursday, 03.19.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com's Evan Sporer will provide you with in-depth analysis of goaltenders. From updated weekly top-30 rankings to trending players and more, Sporer will be your go-to guy for advice on fantasy goalies all season long.

John Gibson was always the future when it came to the Anaheim Ducks' crease. The only question was, when would the future arrive?

Gibson burst onto the scene last season, a highly touted second-round pick (No. 39) from the 2011 NHL Draft who won two gold medals playing for United States junior teams in international competitions.

The rookie did not disappoint, winning his first start via an 18-save shutout against the Vancouver Canucks, and then winning his first postseason start -- another shutout -- against the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.

Going into this season, Anaheim had a good problem on its goalie depth chart. Gibson and Frederik Andersen each figured to compete for minutes, only an injury in November kept Gibson out for an extended period, then landed him in the American Hockey League with Andersen playing so well.

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Goalie Darling delivers to power surging Blackhawks

Thursday, 03.19.2015 / 11:45 AM / Top Performer

NHL.com

His Chicago Blackhawks facing the second of a back-to-back set against the top team in the NHL, coach Joel Quenneville decided to start rookie goalie Scott Darling over Corey Crawford against the New York Rangers on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. Crawford is 6-0-1 with a 1.13 goals-against average and .964 save percentage in his past seven games but also made 38 saves Tuesday in a win against the New York Islanders at United Center.

Starting his first game in three weeks, Darling vindicated Quenneville's decision with 25 saves in a 1-0 win against the Rangers to give Chicago its fourth straight victory for the first time since winning eight straight in late November-early December.

Darling is 7-3-0 with a 1.96 GAA, .936 save percentage and his first NHL shutout.

"I'm just thrilled; it's an amazing stage to [get a shutout] at Madison Square Garden," Darling said. "It feels great to just get back in the net and do my job. This is one of the most famous arenas in the world against one of the most iconic jerseys there is. An 'Original Six' matchup on the NBC Sports Network; you really can't ask for much more."

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Unmasked: Remarkable journey for Rangers' Skapski

Thursday, 03.19.2015 / 10:43 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Mackenzie Skapski had just won his first NHL start, but there was something the rookie goalie for the New York Rangers needed to do before the celebrations could start in earnest.

Skapski, 20, called home to share the moment with his parents. It was a conversation that left Skapski's father, Denis, a wreck.

"He was pretty happy when I talked to him, and then my mom told me later that he got pretty emotional afterward," Skapski said, noting the uncharacteristic display of emotion from his dad had other family members asking what was wrong. "I've never seen him like that personally. My mom said the only other time she's seen him like that was my bus accident."

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Quote of the Day

I'm here to develop a winning culture and a winning team. There is a bright future ahead of this team.  A lot of young, great hockey players here and on the way … a fan base that's passionate about the game of hockey.

— Dan Bylsma after being introduced as new coach of the Buffalo Sabres