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Oilers sign center Draisaitl to three-year contract

Tuesday, 08.12.2014 / 5:27 PM / News

NHL.com

Center Leon Draisaitl, the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers, the team announced Tuesday. Financial details were not disclosed.

"First of all, I want to thank [owner] Daryl Katz and [general manager] Craig MacTavish and all the other people who are part of the Oilers organization for giving me this opportunity and making this happen," Draisaitl said. "It's really exciting for me and my family."

Draisaitl became the highest-drafted German-trained player when the Oilers selected him at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27. The 18-year-old scored 38 goals and 105 points in 64 games last season for the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League and could be on the fast track toward making the Oilers roster.

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Fantasy owners must be aware of goalie trends

Tuesday, 08.12.2014 / 12:15 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

It's no secret that goaltenders can make or break a fantasy team's championship aspirations.

A total of 97 goalies played in at least one NHL game last season and 90 started in at least one, meaning that fantasy owners must do their homework to achieve success.

Here are some interesting nuggets from the 2013-14 season, along with some corresponding advice, to bring to your fantasy draft table when deciding on goalies:

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Deep lineup makes Wild a team on the rise

Tuesday, 08.12.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Minnesota Wild established a cache of young players and prospects, and have supplemented it with star additions during the past couple of years.

Minnesota's process of building toward championship contender status has been gradual, but the Wild might be almost there. They've reached the top end of the NHL's middle, securing a playoff berth in two straight seasons and winning a round in 2014.

The next step forward is into the League's elite, but that might be more difficult than the previous upward movement. There are still questions about the back end of the defense corps, and especially about who is going to be the goaltender.

The next step forward is into the League's elite, but that might be more difficult than the previous upward movement. There are still questions about the back end of the defense corps, and especially about who is going to be the goaltender.

Not only did the Wild knock out the Colorado Avalanche in the first round last season, but they gave a significantly better account of themselves against the Chicago Blackhawks than they did in 2013. It is a team on the rise, but how much higher they can go in 2014-15 is a difficult question to answer.

Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Wild:

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Five Questions: McLellan clarifies Sharks' 'rebuild'

Tuesday, 08.12.2014 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday during the regular season and every other Tuesday in the offseason. We talk to key figures in the game today and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan:

The San Jose Sharks have had a curious offseason.

There has been talk of a rebuild coming from general manager Doug Wilson despite the fact the Sharks needed one more victory to eliminate the Los Angeles Kings from the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season before the Kings could even sniff the Stanley Cup they eventually won.

OK, so the Sharks didn't get it, losing four straight to the Kings in the Western Conference First Round after winning three in a row, but they were close and they were playing without their best defenseman, Marc-Edouard Vlasic. It still prompted Wilson to call them "a tomorrow team."


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Wild hope for breakout season from Niederreiter

Tuesday, 08.12.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

Nino Niederreiter tweeted during the summer that he was "proud to be on the Swiss cover of NHL15" after a season in which he posted career-highs in goals, assists and points, and scored the overtime winner in the Minnesota Wild's first victory in a Stanley Cup Playoff series since 2003.

The big question for Niederreiter and the Wild is simple: What's next?

Though it seems as if Niederreiter has been around a long time, he won't turn 22 years old until next month. And after he had 14 goals and 36 points in his 81 games with the Wild following his acquisition from the New York Islanders at the 2013 NHL Draft, coach Mike Yeo and general manager Chuck Fletcher feel he's capable of doing a lot more.

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Goaltending competition tops Wild's five questions

Tuesday, 08.12.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The Minnesota Wild look like a team on the rise after winning their first postseason series in 11 years and giving the Chicago Blackhawks all they could handle before losing in six games in their Western Conference Second Round series.

But going from a team that can win a round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to one that can compete for a championship is a big leap. General manager Chuck Fletcher said his players' demeanor after losing the series to Chicago indicates that they're not satisfied with what they've accomplished so far.

"The interesting thing was that at the end of the season, after we lost to Chicago and even for a week or two afterward, there wasn't any sense of euphoria," he told NHL.com. "I think everyone recognizes how competitive this League is and how difficult it is to win. We lost a series to Chicago and that stung. That's great when there's that sense that we could have done more and could have done better."

Here are five questions the Wild must answer in order to build on last season's success:

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Wild trying to take next step on Stanley Cup path

Tuesday, 08.12.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

The Minnesota Wild have to be pleased with their progression during the past two seasons. After missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs from 2009 through 2012, they returned to the postseason in 2013 and then won a playoff series for the first time in 11 years by upsetting the Colorado Avalanche this past spring. The Wild followed by giving the Chicago Blackhawks a challenge before losing in six games.

That's solid improvement under the tandem of general manager Chuck Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo, though it's still a long way from the Stanley Cup. However, Fletcher feels his team is on the right track.

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Wild won't rush their top 10 prospects

Tuesday, 08.12.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The change in fortune for the Minnesota Wild came in the summer of 2012 when they signed forward Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to long-term contracts.

Those moves certainly helped the present and short-term future of the Wild, who won a Stanley Cup Playoff series last spring for the first time in 11 years. However, it also helped in a long-term way because it meant that instead of needing to force younger players into key roles, the Wild could add them as complementary parts or leave them to develop longer at lower levels.

"We have a deeper group," Wild assistant general manager Brent Flahr told NHL.com. "We're not forced to put in guys. We can let them can earn it, and when they're ready their play will dictate when they can get on the team. That's obviously a much healthier way to do business in the NHL. The NHL is a tough jump for any young person; to get the confidence playing pro hockey at the American league level first is the best way to do it."

Here's a look at the Wild's top 10 prospects, according to NHL.com:


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Canucks hire Perry Pearn as assistant coach

Monday, 08.11.2014 / 1:36 PM / News

NHL.com

The Vancouver Canucks named Perry Pearn as an assistant coach, the team announced Monday. Pearn joins assistants Glen Gulutzan and Doug Lidster on coach Willie Desjardins' staff.

Pearn, 63, has worked 19 NHL seasons as an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant in Winnipeg, where his NHL coaching career began in 1995-96.

"We are very excited to name Perry to our staff today," Canucks general manager Jim Benning said. "Perry brings a wealth of experience and knowledge at the NHL level to our organization."

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Kings to retire Blake's No. 4 prior to Jan. 17 game

Monday, 08.11.2014 / 1:27 PM / News

NHL.com

Former Los Angeles Kings defenseman and current vice president/assistant general manager Rob Blake will have his No. 4 retired by the team on Jan. 17 in a ceremony at Staples Center prior to a game against the Anaheim Ducks.

Blake, who is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2014, will be the sixth Kings player to have his number retired. He joins Luc Robitaille (20), Wayne Gretzky (99), Dave Taylor (18), Marcel Dionne (16) and Rogie Vachon (30).

"It is an honor to be included with the former great L.A. King players who have their jerseys retired," Blake said. "I have always felt L.A. was a special place to play, and it was and is a tremendous privilege to put on an L.A. Kings jersey."

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