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Lightning's Stamkos hits, fields with Blue Jays

Saturday, 08.29.2015 / 5:38 PM / NHL Insider

When it comes to baseball, Steven Stamkos would rather play defense.

The Tampa Bay Lightning captain worked out with the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, taking infield and batting practice prior to their game against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre.

"I think I was more excited to field the balls than to hit them," Stamkos told The Canadian Press. "I've taken BP before, but to actually get on the field and field balls and throw them, that was pretty fun."

Spezza says Stars improved by adding 'great pedigree'

Saturday, 08.29.2015 / 5:07 PM / NHL Insider

Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza was excited to see the acquisitions of forward Patrick Sharp, defenseman Johnny Oduya and goaltender Antti Niemi, knowing their skill and experience could help the Stars reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

A year ago, the talk was that Spezza's arrival in Dallas after a trade with the Ottawa Senators was supposed to help the Stars advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Instead they missed the postseason for the sixth time in seven seasons.

Spezza said this week he hopes the players from last season learned a few things that will help them in this one.

Coyotes forward Domi: 'I just want to make the team'

Saturday, 08.29.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Arizona Coyotes forward Max Domi, preparing for his third NHL training camp, has learned to set his priorities.

"I just want to make the team," Domi told the Coyotes website this week. "I'm not looking too far ahead. There's a lot of young guys here that are trying to come in and earn a spot too."

Domi, the 12th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, was one of the final players cut by the Coyotes the past two seasons.

Tampa Bay Lightning fantasy hockey outlook

Saturday, 08.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider

As part of's offseason 30 in 30 package, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen will break down each team's fantasy landscape. They will look at the players at the top of the ranks, an undervalued player, an overvalued player, a deep sleeper (players likely ranked outside the top 200 overall players) and the goalie outlook for each NHL team.

Leading the way: Steven Stamkos

Stamkos bounced back from an injury-shortened 2013-14 season by scoring 40-plus goals (43, second in NHL) for the fourth time of his career to go along with 25 power-play points (T-17th) and 268 shots on goal (9th). While those are impressive numbers, 72 points in 82 games is a big drop-off compared to his 90-plus points in three straight seasons earlier in his career.

'Triplets' line, Yzerman have Lightning optimistic

Saturday, 08.29.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning were close to winning the Stanley Cup for the second time in their history last season, but a combination of injuries, exhaustion and the dynasty of the Chicago Blackhawks kept them from their ultimate goal.

With strong goaltending, a skilled young core and effective leadership in the front office, there are plenty of reasons to be excited for 2015-16, especially if captain Steven Stamkos signs a contract extension before the season gets underway Oct. 8 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Here are four reasons for the Lightning to be optimistic:

Gudlevskis, Point among Lightning's top 5 prospects

Saturday, 08.29.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning stockpiled young talent at the start of the decade and saw many of their top prospects graduate to the NHL over the past two years.

But with nine picks at the 2015 NHL Draft and good reports on players drafted in 2013 and 2014, there's plenty of high-end talent coming through the system, including 2015 third-round pick Dennis Yan (No. 64).

Jonathan Marchessault, 24, and Matthew Peca, 22, who are hoping to make the Lightning roster out of training camp, didn't make the top prospects list this year. That alone should speak to the strength of the young players in the organization.

Here is a look at the Lightning's top five prospects, according to

New contract for Stamkos big question for Lightning

Saturday, 08.29.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning have their entire core group back after advancing to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, but that doesn't mean they don't have questions entering this season.

The Lightning's top concern is signing captain Steven Stamkos to a new contract; the 2015-16 season is the final one of the five-year contract he signed July 19, 2011, and he can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2016.

Here are three questions facing the Lightning:

Lightning return same group after reaching Final

Saturday, 08.29.2015 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Corey Long - Correspondent continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning were two victories from winning the Stanley Cup for the second time in their history last season.

Many of the same players will return this season to try to finish the job, including leading scorer and captain Steven Stamkos, who is entering the final season of his five-year contract.

After a postseason run that included a Game 7 win against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, the Lightning's season ended with a 2-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Shortly after, general manager Steve Yzerman began the process of making slight adjustments to the roster while pledging to keep his focus on signing Stamkos to a new contract. Stamkos can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2016.

"I'd like to get Steven Stamkos signed to an extension," Yzerman said June 17. "That's my No. 1 priority. We've got some other restricted free agents, a couple of other contracts and things we've got to do, but [Stamkos is] the No. 1 priority."

Boychuk expects Islanders to go on playoff run

Friday, 08.28.2015 / 7:15 PM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Johnny Boychuk admits he was pleasantly surprised with his first season with the New York Islanders.

The veteran defenseman wasn't sure what to expect after being traded to the Islanders from the Boston Bruins on Oct. 4, six days before the 2014-2015 NHL season began.

Boychuk, 31, was so pleased by his experience with the Islanders, he agreed to a seven-year contract extension reportedly worth $42 million on March 12, opting not to test free agency in the summer.

"I had no idea what it was going to be like when I first got there," Boychuk said this week after attending Perry Pearn's 3-on-3 Hockey Camp in Edmonton. "I knew when I got traded, I was going to a younger team on [Long Island]. You look at it, and I'm one of the oldest guys on the team, I guess. I went there, and they used me a lot. It was a positive environment, and the coaches were great. Even though we had a lot of youth there, they worked extremely hard and they build into a good, strong, physical team."

Blues forward Berglund has successful surgery

Friday, 08.28.2015 / 5:33 PM / News

ST. LOUISSt. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today that forward Patrik Berglund had successful surgery on his right shoulder. The surgery was performed by team orthopedists Dr. Rick Wright and Dr. Matt Smith of Washington University Orthopedics / Barnes - Jewish Hospital.

Berglund will be re-evaluated in four months.

Berglund injured his shoulder training for the upcoming season. He initially dislocated the shoulder during the 2013-14 regular season.

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Quote of the Day

It's obviously not fun to not know, but on the other hand, I'm not in a rush. I'm going to be back to 100 percent before I start playing. I'm not going to play on 90 percent.

— Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom in an interview with Washington Post about whether he will be able to play in 2015-16 opener