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Messier's nephew makes own mark at Oilers camp

Sunday, 07.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Derek Van Diest - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Luke Esposito said he feels fortunate to have an impressive hockey pedigree but is eager to carve his own identity in the game.

Esposito, 21, who was invited to Edmonton Oilers development camp, is the nephew of Hockey Hall of Fame member Mark Messier and his great uncle is Murray Murdoch, one of the original New York Rangers, a two-time Stanley Cup champion and a winner of the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in the United States.

"My whole family, coming from a hockey background growing up, you were kind of thrown right into it," Esposito said. "So getting to experience that and having both my uncles, my uncle Mark and my uncle Paul and my grandpa (Doug Messier, Mark's father and a former minor-league coach) available all the way up, and to be able to access all their knowledge and all their experience, has been vital in my career so far and I don't expect that to change. Any questions I've ever had, whether it's the casual postgame hockey talk or anything else, they're always there, so it's great having them around."

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Lucic looking forward to life with L.A. Kings

Saturday, 07.11.2015 / 6:32 PM / News

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It almost seems too soon to think of Milan Lucic as a former Boston Bruin, but the hard-nosed left wing is fitting in at his new home.

One day after Lucic took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe thanking fans and the Bruins organization, he delivered a good line about how his enforcing style will mesh with the Los Angeles Kings.

"I'm a Gemini, so I've got that split personality where you get that short fuse," Lucic said here Saturday. "I'm not coming here to change the culture of the team. I'm just kind of coming here to add more to it."

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Capitals owner wants Stanley Cup for Ovechkin

Saturday, 07.11.2015 / 3:15 PM / News

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Last season, the Washington Capitals were one win away from the Eastern Conference Final. The season before that they failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Captain Alex Ovechkin, who led the NHL last season with 53 goals, will turn 30 in September and is entering his 10th season. Owner Ted Leonsis on Saturday rejected the notion that the window to winning a Cup with his franchise player has closed.

"I felt the window to win with him was 10 years old," Leonsis said at Capitals Fan Fest. "He's a fantastic player. He plays hard all the time, and I feel I haven't met my commitment to him, that we would build a team that would be able to win Stanley Cups. The difference between winning and losing is just so small, so I do not think our window as an organization is closing.

"We're in it together. He knows we’re committed. He can sense it and see it. He sees how much we invest. He knows how much we spend. He knows how hard we're trying, and it's so close, the difference between winning and losing, it's just so small. I think we've improved as a team and I'm hoping, like all 29 other owners, that this is the year, and the only way you'll know it is talking to you next year at this time to say, 'How did the season go?'"

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Oshie excited, says Capitals are 'ready to win'

Saturday, 07.11.2015 / 3:05 PM / NHL Insider

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals hope the additions of forwards T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams will help deliver what has been an elusive championship.

Oshie, who was acquired from the St. Louis Blues on July 2 in a trade for forward Troy Brouwer, goalie Pheonix Copley and a third-round draft pick, met with the Washington media on Saturday and said he's excited for the challenge.

"This team's ready to win, it looks like," Oshie said. "I'm happy to be an addition to that and be a piece of the puzzle."

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Holtby, Capitals may be headed for arbitration: report

Saturday, 07.11.2015 / 2:44 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

NHL.com

Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Saturday he believes he's made a fair offer to restricted free agent goalie Braden Holtby and is prepared to go to arbitration if necessary, according to The Washington Post.

Holtby, who turns 26 on Sept. 16, was 41-20-10 with a 2.22 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and nine shutouts last season. The Capitals reportedly offered a contract in the mid-$5 million range annually; the Post reported Holtby is seeking about $1 million more per season.

He made $2 million last season. An arbitration hearing is scheduled for July 23.

"I think we've made an aggressive offer with Holtby, hoping to get it done sooner than later," MacLellan said. "I like what we've offered. We've offered a term deal with a good salary. The total dollars is pretty significant. Unfortunately, I guess you play it out. If you've got to go to [arbitration], you've got to go to [arbitration]. It's part of the process."

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Sharp prepares for next chapter with Stars

Saturday, 07.11.2015 / 2:22 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

DALLAS -- Patrick Sharp's list of accomplishments over 10 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks is impressive.

A key contributor on three Stanley Cup championship teams, including last season, a four-time 30-goal scorer, and 2011 NHL All-Star Game MVP are some of his more pertinent bullet points.

However, all good things must come to an end and on Friday, Sharp, 33, and defenseman Stephen Johns were traded to the Dallas Stars for defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt.

"I built a home in Chicago and built a family there. It's going to be an emotional time, but I think my wife and I are excited about the new chapter in our career and our life," Sharp said Saturday. "We consider ourselves very lucky to go into an organization like the Stars have."

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Hayes brothers raise money for ALS research

Saturday, 07.11.2015 / 1:03 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- Brothers Jimmy and Kevin Hayes got their first chance in a while to be teammates and used it to help raise money for a charity close to the heart of their alma mater Friday.

Jimmy Hayes, who was recently traded from the Florida Panthers to the Boston Bruins, and Kevin Hayes, who was a rookie with the New York Rangers last season, were part of a Boston College alumni team that played a group of Boston University alums in the Comm Ave. Classic at Walter Brown Arena.

The first edition of the game drew more than 5,000 people to the BU campus and raised more than $55,000 for Compassionate Care ALS.

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Hurricanes sign Hanifin to entry-level contract

Saturday, 07.11.2015 / 11:27 AM / News

CarolinaHurricanes.com

RALEIGH, NCRon Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has signed defenseman Noah Hanifin to a three-year, entry-level contract. The deal will pay Hanifin $832,500 on the NHL level or $70,000 on the American Hockey League (AHL) level through the 2017-18 season. Hanifin also receives a signing bonus of $277,500.

"Noah has had a great week here during our prospect development camp," said Francis. "He is big, he can skate and he can move the puck. Noah fits the mold for the type of player and person we want in a Hurricanes uniform."

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Waterboy, Phaneuf reunite with Maple Leafs: report

Saturday, 07.11.2015 / 10:27 AM / Prospects

NHL.com

If defenseman Andrew Nielsen makes the Toronto Maple Leafs roster one day and gets to skate alongside Dion Phaneuf, it won't be the first time they'll be co-workers.

Nielsen, the Maple Leafs' third-round pick (No. 65) at the 2015 NHL Draft, was the waterboy for the Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League from 2003-05. Phaneuf was a top defenseman for Red Deer at the time.

"It was pretty cool to idolize him, watch what he did best and see him grow as a person," Nielsen told the Toronto Sun during Maple Leafs development camp this week. "I tried to take in as much as I could from him.

"He hasn't called me yet, but the trainer I work out with still keeps in contact with him and texted congratulations. I'd go to Flames games in Calgary when I was younger, where he'd give a puck or whatever. I've not talked to him for a long time, but I'm sure we'll hook up at training camp."

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Flames' Bennett knows he has to prove himself

Saturday, 07.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Following a roller-coaster season that began with major surgery and ended with a high-pressure audition in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Sam Bennett maintains he took the entire process in stride.

The Calgary Flames' 19-year-old prospect is so insistent that the ride that saw him go from training-camp hopeful to sidelined for five months by shoulder surgery to junior standout to playoff hero -- all in the span of a single season -- hasn't elevated his expectations of what's to come in the least.

"It's been a crazy year," Bennett said during Flames development camp. "At some points it was really tough on me, and other points it was the best time of my life. It was a crazy year, but I was really happy with the way it turned out.

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Quote of the Day

He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter