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Buy-low veterans with hidden fantasy upside

Thursday, 08.14.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Year after year, fantasy owners who cash in on steals and breakout candidates around the NHL improve their chances of claiming that coveted league crown.

But while emerging young talent is always at the forefront of the offseason conversation, it's important to also keep an eye on veterans looking to prove they have something left in the tank.

We're not talking about elite-level players who have stood the test of time (Pavel Datsyuk, Joe Thornton, Jaromir Jagr, Marian Hossa, etc.) or even middle-round assets (Pascal Dupuis, Dan Boyle, Patrik Elias, Mike Ribeiro, etc.). Fantasy owners need to be wary of hidden gems in the latter stages of their careers who can sneak back into fantasy relevance and boost their teams in the process.

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Red Wings GM Holland signs four-year contract

Thursday, 08.14.2014 / 11:48 AM / News

NHL.com

General manager Ken Holland has signed a four-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings that will keep him with the organization through the 2017-18 season, the team announced Thursday.

"I've been here a long time and very proud, very happy to be a Red Wing," Holland told Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. "I work for, I believe, the best owners in the NHL; passionate, committed. It's nice to know that ownership has confidence in me to continue to lead going forward."

Holland, 58, has been Detroit's general manager for the past 17 seasons. He's been at the helm for three Stanley Cup championships (1998, 2002 and 2008) and the team has reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs every season.

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Maple Leafs name Kennedy first to Legends Row

Thursday, 08.14.2014 / 10:00 AM / News

NHL.com

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Thursday that Hockey Hall of Fame member Ted Kennedy will be the first of three players to be honored with a statue in Legends Row.

Legends Row will be in Maple Leaf Square, outside Gate 5 at Air Canada Centre. Two other initial honorees will be named during the Toronto Maple Leafs Fan Fest, which starts Sept. 6.

"In addition to our focus on building a winning team for today and the future, there is an important responsibility to celebrate our team's history and to create opportunities for a strong connection between our fans and that tradition," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said. "Legends Row will be a fitting tribute that honors many of the greatest players to ever wear the Maple Leaf while giving our fans the chance to feel a part of that history. We are thrilled to include Ted Kennedy, a player who always gave everything he had to his team, and two other Leaf greats, as the first three players to be recognized."

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Predators hope Ellis contract done before camp

Thursday, 08.14.2014 / 9:44 AM / News

NHL.com

In what has been a busy offseason for the Nashville Predators, one more important goal has to be reached.

Ryan Ellis, who was third among the team's defensemen last season with 27 points, is the lone restricted free agent from last season's roster still unsigned.

"Like 99 percent of negotiations that aren't done at this time, we just don't agree exactly on what the dollars should be," Predators general manager David Poile told Josh Cooper of The Tennessean. "Hopefully it will be done by training camp. That's what our target is."

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Blues add center depth to already formidable lineup

Thursday, 08.14.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

There are a lot of great teams in the Western Conference, and it has been that way for much of the salary-cap era.

In the past three seasons, no team in the West has won more regular-season games than the St. Louis Blues. Only the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins have won more in the NHL.

The Blues have famously had very little success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs during this time. While either the Los Angeles Kings or Chicago Blackhawks have won the Cup each of the past three seasons, one of those two clubs has also ended hockey season in St. Louis.

Like several other teams in the West, the Blues decided they needed more help at center and acted. Paul Stastny was the best free agent available at the position, and Jori Lehtera was finally convinced to come to North America.

The Blues also lost Vladimir Sobotka to the Kontinental Hockey League, and are going in a different direction in net. Will they finally be able to translate regular-season success into the postseason?

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

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Stastny's impact, goalies among Blues' five questions

Thursday, 08.14.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

The St. Louis Blues have had to stand by helplessly and watch the Los Angeles Kings (twice) and Chicago Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup the past three seasons.

After consecutive losses to the Kings in 2012 (second round) and 2013 (first round), and to the Blackhawks last spring, the Blues knew they couldn't stand pat. They had to upgrade in positions that the Kings and Blackhawks used as strengths in order to expose the Blues' weaknesses.

Here are five questions facing the Blues as they try to challenge for a Stanley Cup:

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Blues happy to get Lehtera to NHL at last

Thursday, 08.14.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

When the St. Louis Blues selected Jori Lehtera with their third-round pick at the 2008 NHL Draft, an element of the unknown followed the Finnish-born center, one that had nothing to do with his on-ice skills.

The looming question was whether the Blues could get Lehtera to North America.

Lehtera, 26, made impressive strides at the international level as well as playing for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv and Sibir Novosibirsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. Ultimately, he turned out to be the wild-card free agent signing that nobody in St. Louis saw coming.

When Blues general manager Doug Armstrong attempted to get Lehtera to the NHL before the 2013-14 season and was turned down, it was viewed as a possible last-gasp attempt to bring him to St. Louis.

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Blues look for answers to playoff struggles

Thursday, 08.14.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Louie Korac - 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.

Talking about how and why they lost in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs was bad enough for the St. Louis Blues. Little did they know they would be addressing the same issues as reasons for being ousted one year later.

Those points of emphasis are what the Blues have been dealing with since losing in the first round to the Chicago Blackhawks in April. The six-game loss to the Blackhawks followed the same script as 2013, when the Blues lost to the Los Angeles Kings in six games after they had grabbed a 2-0 series lead.

Amid what seemed like a myriad of issues, one problematic obstacle always seemed to hover as an Achilles' heel: the inability to score the timely goal.

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Goaltender Allen leads Blues' top 10 prospects

Thursday, 08.14.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The St. Louis Blues have two things going for them: they're highly skilled up and down the roster and their top players still have their best years ahead of them.

However, that makes it very difficult for any young player looking to break into the lineup.

"It's a tough situation for a young player coming in," Blues director of player development Tim Taylor told NHL.com. "We can be very easygoing with them and patient with players to develop because we don't need them to step in and be a big part of the team. We let them mature and when they're ready, and we feel they're ready, they can step in."

A few of those players might be ready this season, but the majority will have to bide their time while refining their game at lower levels.

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

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Penguins' Bennett aiming for camp after wrist surgery

Wednesday, 08.13.2014 / 7:59 PM / News

NHL.com

Beau Bennett
Right Wing - PIT
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 7
SOG: 27 | +/-: -2
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett  resumed skating this week following offseason wrist surgery and said he is not certain he will be ready for the start of training camp in September.

"It's almost three months post-surgery next week Wednesday, and I'm just getting on the ice this week," Bennett said in remarks published on the Penguins website Wednesday. "It feels a lot better."

Bennett had his second wrist surgery in six months on May 22, with a four-month recovery expected, which would take him to late September.

"Playing it by ear right now," he said. "Every day it's feeling a little bit better and we're increasing a little bit in the weight training and on-ice stuff. It's still early and I'm glad that I'm here (in Pittsburgh) early enough where I can really see where I'm at."

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Quote of the Day

I've been so fortunate, blessed, to play a long time with some great players and be on power plays, play in some great cities and stuff. It's been fun.

— Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla on tying Dino Ciccarelli for 46th place on the NHL's all-time list with his 1,200th career point after their win vs. the Predators on Friday