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Analysis: Kessel fits better with Malkin than Crosby

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Phil Kessel landed with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the biggest trade of the NHL offseason. Now the focus turns to where in the lineup does he fit best.

Should Kessel, one of the game's purest goal scorers, be on a line with Sidney Crosby or with Evgeni Malkin?

That question already has become arguably the most debated topic of the summer.

The way Kessel plays, the Penguins would have a better chance to get the most out of him if he were on a line with Malkin. That's not a knock on Crosby, but there are myriad reasons Kessel and Malkin could, and likely should, work better than a pairing of Kessel and Crosby.

Offseason moves catapult fantasy value of forwards

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider

The unrestricted free agent crop didn't include many marquee forwards, but the flurry of offseason trades certainly did.

Several big-name forwards around the NHL changed scenery in recent weeks, setting the table for a summer of speculation about line combinations and fantasy implications. We've seen summer trades pay sizable fantasy dividends in recent years, with no better example being the July 2013 trade that sent Tyler Seguin from the Boston Bruins to the Dallas Stars.

Seguin, a young role player with the Bruins at the time of the trade, played with Jamie Benn and scored 161 points in 151 games in the next two regular seasons with the Stars. Last season, Scott Hartnell (trade to Columbus Blue Jackets) and Radim Vrbata (signed by Vancouver Canucks) finished among the top 50 fantasy forwards after moving to new teams.

Blue Jackets sign Ohio native Sherwood to contract

Tuesday, 07.07.2015 / 8:56 PM / News

COLUMBUS, OHIO -- Kole Sherwood grew up watching the Columbus Blue Jackets. He grew up emulating NHL players on The Chiller’s sheets of ice all around Columbus. So, in a way, he grew up with the game of hockey as it also grew in the city.

And today, he pen to paper on a contract that etched his name into the history of the franchise.

Sherwood signed a three-year, entry level contract with the Blue Jackets, opting to forgo his commitment to Boston University and begin his path to the NHL via the Ontario Hockey League. His OHL rights are owned by the London Knights, and while it’s likely he will play there in the fall, it’s not quite a done deal yet.

To read more from the Blue Jackets website, CLICK HERE.

Beleskey, Hayes eager to help rejuvenate Bruins

Tuesday, 07.07.2015 / 7:57 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- Five days after the Boston Bruins traded forward Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings, they signed unrestricted free agent forward Matt Beleskey.

The timing of those moves was impossible to ignore because Lucic was the Bruins' main source of physicality and offensive production at left wing for most of the past eight seasons, and Beleskey was coming off a 22-goal season while playing a similar role for the Anaheim Ducks.

But Beleskey said Tuesday he doesn't expect to be the next Milan Lucic.

"There's pressure, but I think I put more pressure on myself at the start of every year to be better than I was last year," he said at TD Garden. "You know they had big losses. I suppose those are moves they had to make. But I don't think I'm here to fill anyone's spot. I'm here to be Matt Beleskey and play my game. And that's what I'm going to do."

Maple Leafs dedicated to patience with young talent

Tuesday, 07.07.2015 / 7:21 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- The kids are pumped and all have visions of cracking the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup this season. As they should.

But Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan repeatedly has said he plans to take things slowly as he attempts to build a team that will be good for a long time. Also, new coach Mike Babcock sees value in young players getting a taste of professional hockey in the minors.

"Patience is the key," assistant general manager Kyle Dubas said Tuesday at Maple Leafs development camp at MasterCard Centre. "We're not going to rush them. We have reiterated that over and over. We're not going to bring them up unless they are absolutely ready to stay up all the time. We want them to be 100 percent ready to play for the Maple Leafs. We don't want them to start with the (Toronto) Marlies (of the American Hockey League), go to the Leafs and then back to the Marlies."

With contract, Capitals' Kuznetsov seeks improvement

Tuesday, 07.07.2015 / 7:21 PM / News

Katie Brown - Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- It's been an eventful year for Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov, who capped it by signing a two-year, $6 million contract Monday.

"I'm very happy to be here two more years," Kuznetsov said Tuesday. "Just looking forward right now. It's always a motivation for you, one or two years. Maybe a long contract is good too, but I've never been in that situation."

In his first full season with Washington, Kuznetsov scored 37 points and secured his spot as its second-line center. He scored seven points in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games and became the third Capitals rookie to score three points in a playoff game (Sergei Gonchar, 1995; and Richard Zednik, 1998).

A long-term contract may happen eventually, but for Kuznetsov, that's something to look forward to. The 23-year-old, who was a restricted free agent, has a lot he wants to prove before that happens.

"Last year we played good hockey and we have to play better," Kuznetsov said. "I have to be better too. I try to focus on my job. If everybody does their job, then probably something good happens. I try to focus on the team game, how many points we get, not by myself."

Blues sign forward Tarasenko to eight-year contract

Tuesday, 07.07.2015 / 5:03 PM / News

Louie Korac - Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The St. Louis Blues signed right wing Vladimir Tarasenko to an eight-year, $60 million contract on Tuesday.

"Thank you for your trust," Tarasenko wrote on his verified Twitter account. "Me, my wife and my family [are] proud to stay in St. Louis!

"Happy to be with you and carry a note on my chest. Let's bring the [Stanley Cup] to St. Louis!"

It's the richest contract in Blues history and will pay the 23-year-old an average annual value of $7.5 million. It surpassed the seven-year, $45 million contract defenseman Alex Pietrangelo signed with St. Louis two years ago.

"I think it's a great day in Blues history to get a player of Vladi's caliber locked into the organization through the prime of his career," general manager Doug Armstrong said of Tarasenko, who recently got married in his native Russia. "We saw, I think just the tip of the iceberg of what Vladi can do in this league last year"

Farrish joins Avalanche as assistant coach

Tuesday, 07.07.2015 / 2:05 PM / News

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the organization has named Dave Farrish as Assistant Coach. Farrish will join current Assistant Coach Tim Army on Head Coach/Vice President of Hockey Operations Patrick Roy's coaching staff.

The 2015-16 campaign will mark Farrish's 25th season of coaching at the NHL, American Hockey League, International Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League levels. The Lucknow, Ontario, native most recently served as an assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2012-14. Prior to his time with the Leafs, Farrish spent seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2006-07.

"Dave brings a wealth of experience and hockey knowledge to our organization," said Roy. "He is the ideal candidate to compliment our coaching staff and we look forward to working together to make our team as competitive as we can."

Coyotes sign forward Boedker to one-year contract

Tuesday, 07.07.2015 / 12:54 PM / News

The Arizona Coyotes signed forward Mikkel Boedker to a one-year contract Tuesday, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing.

"We are pleased to sign Mikkel," general manager Don Maloney said. "He is an important player for us and we look forward to having him back next season."

Boedker had 14 goals and 14 assists in 45 games last season. He had surgery to remove his spleen in January and missed the rest of the season. He became a restricted free agent on July 1.

Blackhawks, Trevor van Riemsdyk agree to terms

Tuesday, 07.07.2015 / 11:34 AM / News

The Chicago Blackhawks agreed to terms with defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk on a two-year contract extension Tuesday.

It runs through the end of the 2017-18 season. Financial terms were not disclosed, but ESPN Chicago reports it's for $750,000 in the first year and $900,000 the second year, an average annual value of $825,000.

Van Riemsdyk, 23, had one assist in 18 regular-season games with the Blackhawks last season and played four games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, helping Chicago win its third championship in the past six seasons.

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Quote of the Day

It's a big milestone for me and I'm happy to help my team with lots of good teammates. It's fun.

— Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, who on Wednesday became the ninth Russian-born player, and ninth Red Wings player, to score 300 NHL goals
World Cup of Hockey 2016