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Trades completed during 2015 NHL Draft weekend

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 3:20 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

NHL Public Relations

Ottawa traded G Robin Lehner and C David Legwand to Buffalo for NY Islanders' 1st-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft (previously acquired, 21st overall).

Boston traded D Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for Calgary's 1st-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft (15th overall), Calgary's 2nd-round pick in 2015 (45th overall) and Washington's 2nd-round pick in 2015 (previously acquired, 52nd overall).

Boston traded LW Milan Lucic to Los Angeles for G Martin Jones, D Colin Miller and Los Angeles' 1st-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft (13th overall).

Colorado traded C Ryan O'Reilly and LW Jamie McGinn to Buffalo for D Nikita Zadorov, C Mikhail Grigorenko, LW J.T. Compher and Buffalo's 2nd-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft (31st overall).

Most Russians selected at NHL Draft since 2004

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 2:29 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The race by NHL teams to fill their prospect pools with talented Russian players began early and continued throughout the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center.

There was a time when drafting Russian players, particularly those playing overseas, came with a warning label: Proceed with caution.

That was due in large part to the "Russian factor," the perceived risk associated with drafting a Russian player who could opt to sign and play in the Kontinental Hockey League instead of coming to North America. A team drafting a Russian player who decided to play in the KHL effectively had wasted a pick.

Those days seem long gone.

First-round talent goes well beyond McDavid, Eichel

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 11:38 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- If the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft proved anything, it was that general managers weren't afraid to pull the trigger on deals, offering their scouts an opportunity to select anywhere among the top 30 choices.

The scouting operations of the 30 NHL teams knew entering the season that this would be a special draft just by the fact Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel were part of it. But it became apparent even before NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the Edmonton Oilers were on the clock with the No. 1 selection Friday at BB&T Center that the 2015 draft was much more than the two projected stars at the top.

"We thought there would be 50-60 players that were of real genuine draft interest; players that teams would want to acquire," said Dan Marr, NHL director of Central Scouting.

Devils feel Palmieri perfect fit for up-tempo style

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 10:42 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The New Jersey Devils came into the 2015 NHL Draft looking to acquire a young forward with NHL experience who could fit into the up-tempo style that coach John Hynes wants to play.

Kyle Palmieri was the perfect fit. It doesn't hurt that he hails from northern New Jersey.

The Devils traded one of their two second-round draft picks this year and one of their two third-round picks in the 2016 draft to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday for Palmieri, who is 24 years old and coming off a season in which he had 29 points, including 14 goals, in 57 games.

Palmieri has one year remaining on his contract, which carries a salary-cap charge of $1.47 million, according to He can be a restricted free agent following the 2015-16 season.

Stars acquire rights to goalie Niemi from Sharks

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 10:37 AM / News

The Dallas Stars acquired the rights to pending unrestricted free-agent goaltender Antti Niemi from the San Jose Sharks on Saturday in a trade for the No. 193 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Niemi, 31, was 31-23-7 with a .914 save percentage and 2.59 goals against average in 2014-15 for the Sharks. If the Stars do not sign Niemi, he will become a UFA on July 1. He cost $3.8 million against the salary cap last season and made $4 million in salary, according to

"Antti is a proven goaltender who has played and succeeded at the highest levels," Stars general manager Jim Nill said in a statement. "He's one of the hardest-working goalies out there, and we look forward to working towards an agreement."

Flyers pick Konecny wins inaugural McGuire Award

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 9:54 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Ottawa 67's center Travis Konecny, a first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, was named Saturday as the first recipient of the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence.

The award will be presented each year to the draft-eligible prospect who best exemplifies the commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism.

It was created in honor of E.J. McGuire, who served as NHL director of Central Scouting for seven years before dying of cancer in April 2011. A head coach at the collegiate, junior and American Hockey League levels, an assistant coach for three NHL teams over 12 seasons, and a scout for two teams, McGuire began serving as director of Central Scouting in 2005.

Intrigue at active NHL Draft started with third pick

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 1:04 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The intrigue at the 2015 NHL Draft on Friday started with the Arizona Coyotes and their approach with the No. 3 pick.

The Edmonton Oilers were locked into Erie Otters center Connor McDavid from the moment they won the NHL Draft Lottery in April, and the Buffalo Sabres were set on Boston University center Jack Eichel with the second pick.

But the options were many for the Coyotes. They could keep the pick and draft a forward. Or they could select a defenseman, possibly Boston College's Noah Hanifin, who was NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American at the position. Or they could trade the pick for the potential of more immediate help for a team that finished 29th in the NHL standings.

Coyotes general manager Don Maloney opted to keep the pick and selected Erie center Dylan Strome.

"It was a real hard draft to predict after No. 2," Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. "It's always hard. This year was a little bit harder."

Panthers, top pick Crouse enjoy draft in South Florida

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 12:33 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers general manger Dale Tallon wanted to make the evening extra special for the boisterous hometown fans when he stepped to the podium at BB&T Center on Friday and asked senior adviser Bill Torrey to announce the No. 11 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Torrey, elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995, was president of the Panthers when they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in their only appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in 1996.

The cheering got louder as Torrey stepped to the microphone to announce left wing Lawson Crouse of the Kingston Frontenacs in the Ontario Hockey League as the Panthers' top pick.

The first round of the draft in South Florida was a fitting way to celebrate a new beginning in the lives of 30 top prospects who fulfilled a lifelong dream of being selected by an NHL team before a capacity crowd.

Sabres add Eichel, O'Reilly, Lehner to speed rebuild

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 12:18 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray isn't a fan of talking in hypotheticals, but even he knows Friday could be remembered as an unprecedented day.

"Hey, it's exciting, it's exciting," Murray said. "We've gotta get ready for [Saturday], but we did hit some targets today, and that's satisfying when you can do that."

If Friday only featured the selection of Boston University forward Jack Eichel with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center, that might have been enough to be considered one of the most important days in Sabres history. But Murray built on it by acquiring forwards Ryan O'Reilly, Jamie McGinn and David Legwand, and goalie Robin Lehner in separate trades.

It was the exact type of day that can speed up a rebuild, which is precisely what Murray was trying to do.

Bruins gain cap flexibility, add draft picks in trades

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 12:15 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Boston Bruins eliminated two potentially difficult contract negotiations Friday by trading defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames and forward Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings.

General manager Don Sweeney made it clear in explaining the moves prior to the start of the 2015 NHL Draft that the trades were necessitated by financial concerns. He said he hoped the increased salary-cap flexibility he is left with along with a bevy of draft picks will allow him to make the Bruins competitive for the long term.

As such, he said he feels no pressure to leave South Florida with additional roster players to fill the significant voids left by the departures of Hamilton and Lucic.

"Do I think we need to? We have picks, we have assets that I can now try and turn into that, but I'm not going to force that," Sweeney said. "We shed salary as a result of that as well, so we're in a position going forward where we have to have our younger players in this situation step forward and we give them an opportunity to grow and develop. I feel confident our coaches will be able to do that."

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