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Saad, Campbell eager to help Blue Jackets evolve

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 4:25 PM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- It's no secret the Columbus Blue Jackets believe forwards Brandon Saad and Gregory Campbell can help them reach new heights because of their experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Saad, 22, won the Stanley Cup twice with the Chicago Blackhawks, including last season, before being traded to Columbus as part of a seven-player transaction June 30. Campbell, 31, signed as a free agent July 1; he was a champion with the Boston Bruins in 2011 and lost to Chicago in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

But in order for them to hoist the Cup again, they must first help the Blue Jackets reach the postseason, something Columbus has done twice in 14 seasons, most recently in 2013-14.

"It's an up-and-coming team with a lot of excitement," Saad said Wednesday. "You see when healthy how dominant they were toward the end of the season. They want to win around here. I know that attitude. I love being around it."

Ducks sign Kesler to six-year contract extension

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 3:24 PM / News

David Satriano - Staff Writer

Forward Ryan Kesler signed a six-year contract extension with the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday that runs through the 2021-22 NHL season.

Financial terms were not released, but the Orange County Register reported it's worth $41.25 million, an average annual value of $6.875 million.

Kesler, who was entering the final year of a six-year contract, is confident the Ducks have what it takes to win Stanley Cup after coming up a game short of making it to the Stanley Cup Final last season.

"That dressing room is so close and we hold ourselves to the highest standards in there," Kesler said. "That group is not satisfied until we win a Stanley Cup, and when we do win the Stanley Cup, I don't think we're going to be satisfied then either. We're going to want to win another one, and we have the group to do it. … We were one game away from going to the Final. That experience will help us next year."

Schultz, Oilers agree to one-year contract

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 3:04 PM / News

The Edmonton Oilers and defenseman Justin Schultz avoided salary arbitration Wednesday when they agreed to a one-year contract.

Financial terms were not released, but Sportsnet reported Schultz will make $3.9 million this season.

"It gives me another year to prove what I've got and hopefully that turns into a long-term deal in Edmonton," Schultz said in comments tweeted by the Oilers.

Stars sign defenseman Oduya to two-year contract

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 1:52 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The Dallas Stars signed defenseman Johnny Oduya to a two-year contract Wednesday. The average annual value is $3.75 million, according to

Oduya said the Stars appealed to him because of their up-tempo style of play. He likened it to the style of his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks, and said it should help him find his comfort quickly.

"I think it's a very, very fast team, a team that wants to play hockey, a similar style I think as Chicago; wants to have the puck, create things," Oduya said. "I think the speed is the thing that stands out the most. It's a new challenge, a new chapter. It's going to be a lot of fun for me. I think I'm pretty comfortable with the role that I play and the things I can bring. It's not really going to change a whole lot for me, and that's something that I like."

ESPN honors 'You Can Play' with Stuart Scott award

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 1:34 PM / News

The You Can Play Project has been named an inaugural winner of the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award, part of ESPN's first Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards.

The You Can Play Project is an advocacy organization that combats homophobia in sports. The NHL and NHL Players' Association are partners.

Sabres' Eichel will not attend U.S. junior camp

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 11:49 AM / News

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Jack Eichel, who was selected No. 2 in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, will not attend United States National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., from Aug. 1-8.

Eichel was one of 11 players invited to camp who represented the U.S. at the 2015 WJC in Montreal and Toronto. Eichel had one goal and four points in five games as captain of the team, which lost to Russia in the quarterfinals. He signed an entry-level contract with the Sabres on July 1.

"I think in the end we're looking at the best interest of the player and I'm sure Jack has a lot going on with Buffalo in terms of development camp and preparing for the NHL season," U.S. national junior team general manager Jim Johannson told "We're also realistically looking ahead, for our team. The odds are we probably wouldn't have him even if he were invited."

Rangers, defenseman McIlrath agree to terms

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 10:13 AM / NHL Free Agency 2015

The New York Rangers agreed to terms Wednesday with defenseman Dylan McIlrath. Details were not disclosed, but the Daily News reported it's a one-year, one-way contract worth $600,000.

McIlrath, the 10th pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, was a restricted free agent. He made his NHL debut on Nov. 3, 2014, in a 4-3 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues.

Panthers agree to terms with top pick Crouse

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 9:34 AM / News

Florida Panthers Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has agreed to terms with F Lawson Crouse on a three-year, entry-level contract.

"We are very pleased to have signed Lawson to an entry-level contract," said Tallon. "Lawson is a strong, skilled and physically mature forward with good hands, who will provide us with a prominent forechecking presence each night. He was one of our best players in development camp and we are confident he can make an immediate impact on our roster, playing on one of our top lines."

Crouse, who was selected by the Florida Panthers in the first round (11th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft, led the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in goals (29) and points (51), while playing in 56 games during the 2014-15 season. In 119 OHL games, the 18-year-old forward recorded 78 points (44-34—78), a +20 rating and 134 PIM.

Sought-after Reilly feeling right at home with Wild

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Taking the ice about 30 minutes from his hometown, Minnesota Wild defenseman Mike Reilly is in a whole new world.

Born in Chicago but raised in Chanhassen, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb on the southwest end of the Twin Cities, stepping inside Xcel Energy Center is nothing new for Reilly. His dad, also named Mike, is a minority investor with the Wild, and Reilly and his brothers have been coming to games here nearly his entire life.

But stepping on the ice for the Wild, which Reilly did last week for the first time during development camp, is something that's difficult for him to believe is true.

"It's starting to sink in a little more now skating with the jersey on," Reilly said. "It's a great feeling to wear that jersey."

Hurricanes prospect Hanifin mature beyond his years

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent

RALEIGH -- Noah Hanifin sat at his locker stall, still catching his breath from a rigorous on-ice workout at Carolina Hurricanes development camp.

When asked what left an impression on him during the busy week, he sounded like a young man who made the most of his freshman year at Boston College.

"We had a really good seminar on leadership this morning, which I got a lot out of," Hanifin said, noting that a local college professor conducted the class. "It was about how important leadership and character is, especially in the sport of hockey. She showed us some movie clips and examples of that, which is pretty cool. I got to write down some notes."

By the end of the July 6-11 camp, Carolina's first pick (No. 5) at the 2015 NHL Draft had signed a three-year, entry-level contract to begin his professional career.

When Hanifin steps on the ice for Carolina's training camp in September, he will be 18 years old. Conventional wisdom suggests that defensemen have a steeper learning curve than forwards, but making the jump from the amateur ranks to the NHL is not impossible for teenage defensemen.

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Quote of the Day

It's cool when you think about how many great American players have played the game and the two players that were at that 18-game point streak and what they've done in their careers. It's pretty cool right now, but it was kind of overshadowed by the loss.

— Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after breaking the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Kings
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