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(Page 138 of 212)
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Maple Leafs relying on new faces to spark turnaround

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a few new faces heading into the 2014-15 season, beginning at the top with the hiring late last season of Hall of Fame member Brendan Shanahan as the team's new president and alternate governor.

Though Shanahan never played for his hometown team, he has brought a wealth of NHL experience to his new role as head of the Maple Leafs, both on the ice and in the executive suite, having left his job as the NHL's Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations to come put his stamp on Toronto.

General manager Dave Nonis was retained, as was coach Randy Carlyle, who saw his staff replaced by former Florida Panthers interim coach Peter Horachek and Steve Spott, who previously served as coach of the Maple Leafs' American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.

Nonis also had his office purged when assistant GMs Dave Poulin and Claude Loiselle were let go.

That's where things really changed for the Maple Leafs.

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Nylander leads Maple Leafs' top 10 prospects

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan had a message for players at the team's prospect development camp last month: There are NHL jobs available, but it's up to them to step up and win them.

"He made it crystal clear to the people in the room that some of these kids are going to be vital pieces and impact pieces to our team moving forward," Maple Leafs director of player development Jim Hughes said. "We want to develop from within. We want to build our own players and build our own foundation. We've been doing that the last couple years. But for Brendan to make that statement and for the kids to hear his thoughts, his philosophies, his theories, it's important and it's a very positive message and it worked out well."

Now those players will come to training camp next month and attempt to put those thoughts into action.

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

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Panthers looking to young players to fill lineup

Sunday, 08.17.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Other than the New York Islanders, the Florida Panthers might be the team among the NHL's bottom-10 finishers from the 2013-14 season most likely to vault into playoff contention in 2014-15.

Florida did not make dramatic improvements through offseason additions, and how the Panthers play for a third coach in less than a year remains to be seen, but there are plenty of exciting young players to build around.

There were signs of serious improvement in the second half of last season, particularly in puck possession, after Peter Horachek replaced Kevin Dineen as coach. Horachek was not retained, though, and Gerard Gallant and his 147 games of NHL head coaching experience remains a bit of a mystery.

It was a curious offseason for the Panthers as well. Jussi Jokinen and Willie Mitchell look like solid additions, but the $27.5 million contract for Dave Bolland was panned as one of the worst of the offseason by a considerable portion of the hockey community. There are lots of prospects on the precipice of becoming NHL regulars, but not a lot of spots available unless veterans on one-way contracts are removed from the equation.

If a few young players turn into stars, Florida can fight for a playoff berth. If more growing pains are needed, it could be another long season.

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

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No. 1 pick Ekblad leads Panthers' top 10 prospects

Sunday, 08.17.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Florida Panthers have been extremely busy building quite a formidable pool of prospects after choosing in the top five of the NHL Draft four of the past five years.

The time has come to begin reaping the benefits of those picks.

"I think bringing in [new coach] Gerard Gallant and his staff, coupled with the dynamic of what our roster looks like right now and what's coming through the pipeline will be a springboard moving forward," Panthers director of scouting Scott Luce told NHL.com. "I think we're going to be a significantly improved team this year. With the way our roster is set up and the great push of players set to come in, that combination will help us get to the next level."

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With Gallant at helm, Panthers eye quick turnaround

Sunday, 08.17.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent

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

The Florida Panthers' blueprint of building around their talented high draft picks hasn't changed. What general manager Dale Tallon is hoping is the addition of a coach with NHL experience and veterans who have won the Stanley Cup can get his team out of a two-year funk.

Florida finished last and next-to-last in the overall standings the past two seasons, but Tallon is thinking about the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2014-15.

"My goal is to compete for a playoff spot all the way right to the bitter end," Tallon said. "That's what we're looking to do. I think if everybody has years that live up to their potential and the players develop and come together as a team and with our new coach, our goaltending and another year of experience for our younger guys, I think this team has got the ability if we stay healthy to compete for a spot."

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Panthers need Kulikov, Gudbranson to take next step

Sunday, 08.17.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent

Dmitry Kulikov
Defense - FLA
GOALS: 8 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 19
SOG: 127 | +/-: -26
Because of their great promise and their unique abilities, forwards Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau have become focal points for the Florida Panthers. They're also among the biggest reasons for optimism for a fan base that has had to constantly re-learn the meaning of patience.

But there are a couple of other first-round picks from past years upon whom the Panthers will rely heavily in the upcoming season, two players at the core of Florida's youth movement on defense.

Dmitry Kulikov was the last Panthers first-round pick before Dale Tallon became the team's general manager, while Erik Gudbranson was Tallon's first No. 1 pick. Each was a restricted free agent this summer before being re-signed, Kulikov to a three-year contract and Gudbranson to a two-year contract.

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Finding offense among Panthers' five questions

Sunday, 08.17.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent

After making an improbable run to the Southeast Division title in 2011-12, the Florida Panthers stumbled badly the past two seasons, finishing with the worst record in the NHL in 2012-13 and the second-worst last season.

The Panthers still have an abundance of highly touted prospects, either on their roster or in the system, and they also have a new coach in former Columbus Blue Jackets coach and former Montreal Canadiens assistant Gerard Gallant. But they also have a lot of question marks heading into next season, and here are five that jump out:

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Commissioner Bettman takes Ice Bucket Challenge

Saturday, 08.16.2014 / 5:41 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

With so many charitable causes seeking much-needed donations, who knew a series of videos showing people dunking ice water over their heads could make such a difference?

The exponential growth of the Ice Bucket Challenge through social media has helped raise overall awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and members of the hockey community have done their part.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman accepted the challenge Thursday while in Columbus to help promote the 2015 NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena. Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Winnipeg Jets executive chairman Mark Chipman and ESPN host John Buccigross were among those who issued the challenge, the Commissioner said.

Commissioner Bettman challenged Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, Calgary Flames president Brian Burke, Los Angeles Kings assistant general manager Rob Blake and Columbus Blue Jackets owner John McConnell.

Burke accepted the challenge on Friday, as did McConnell.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly accepted the challenge Saturday.

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Kane highlights NHL players in Buffalo summer league

Saturday, 08.16.2014 / 10:51 AM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Patrick Kane
Right Wing - CHI
GOALS: 29 | ASST: 40 | PTS: 69
SOG: 227 | +/-: 7
Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has won the Stanley Cup twice and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2013. But the NHL star added to his trophy case this summer when he raised the Father Charles Cup in his hometown of Buffalo.

He even paid $265 for the honor.

This is the Fattey Hockey League, the finest summer league in Western New York, where high school players skate against some from the NHL.

"There's never been a great skate in Buffalo in the summer. The concept was, 'How do we make it?" said Nik Fattey, the founder and namesake of the FHL. "There are so many good hockey players in Western New York. So how do we get everybody together to play in a league?"

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Sabres hope veterans help prospects adjust to lineup

Saturday, 08.16.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Buffalo Sabres finished 2013-14 with the fewest points in a full 82-game NHL season since the New York Islanders had the same amount, 52, in 2000-01.

Buffalo needed to rebuild, but it went beyond just bottoming out in the standings for the first part of the season. Coach Ted Nolan arrived in November and at least helped make the club's losses more competitive.

For Nolan, success next season might not be defined by wins or points, but by how some of the franchise's top young players develop at the NHL level. In an effort to help those young players, the Sabres added several veterans while expunging some bad contracts.

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Quote of the Day

It's time we got a break. People that have watched us, I'm sure they said, 'Finally, some things are going our way.' We'll take the breaks when they go our way.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien after a 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak
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