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Features

Brodeur, Vokoun, Thomas among UFA goalies

Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Free Agency 2014

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Ryan Miller and Jonas Hiller no doubt want to sign long-term, lucrative contracts, but history suggests they might have to settle for less than what they want.

The free-agent market hasn't been kind to goaltenders in recent years because there are so few openings and even fewer teams willing to commit significant dollars to the position when they might be in a rebuilding phase.

Jaroslav Halak is the exception because he got what he was looking for in a four-year contract with the New York Islanders last month. The Islanders, though, were one of maybe three teams that closed the 2013-14 season without a goalie under contract who has either proven to be a No. 1 or has been advertised as one.

The Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres are the other two, but both are in the early stages of rebuilding programs and at least have goalies that are cheap, serviceable and potentially could turn into strong No. 1s in Karri Ramo (Flames), Michal Neuvirth (Sabres) and Jhonas Enroth (Sabres). There's no reason for either to dole out big contracts to iron out the position now.

Barring a trade, the Vancouver Canucks might be willing to give out a significant multi-year contract to a goalie. Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom are inexpensive, but also young and inexperienced. If the objective is to get back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Canucks might decide to address the position.

Miller and Hiller could be options.

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Senators still looking to trade Jason Spezza

Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 12:33 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

PHILADELPHIA – The first round of the 2014 NHL Draft came and went Friday with Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray unable to find a trade partner for captain Jason Spezza.

One of the components Murray was seeking in a deal for Spezza was a first-round draft pick. With that window now closed, the parameters of an acceptable deal will have to change, potentially making it more difficult to accommodate the request by his top center to be traded.

Murray said there was an initial group of four or five teams who expressed interest in acquiring Spezza, three of which he considered to be serious. But interest appeared to dry up rapidly on Friday.

"A couple of the teams that I was talking to didn't come with a presentation [Friday], for the most part," Murray said at the conclusion of the first round of the draft. "I talked to a number of general managers that initially called and talked, and it just didn't go anywhere."

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Forwards dominate first round of 2014 NHL Draft

Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 12:32 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup playing an attacking offensive style, and that came after a regular season when the top seven teams in the NHL standings finished in the top seven in scoring.

The rest of the League appears to be playing catch-up. Friday, in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, 11 of the first 13 players picked were highly skilled forwards.

Twenty-five forwards were taken in the 30-pick first round, the most in League history, surpassing the 23 drafted in 2003.

The forwards ranged from big and strong to small and skilled, but all are offensive-minded players who look to score goals and create offensive chances.

"I think it's where it's going," Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray said. "The day they took the red line out it was inevitable it has to go that way. ... I think you've seen it the last couple years, high-scoring forwards or offensive forwards have been a priority early in the draft."

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First-round picks in 2014 NHL Draft

Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 12:14 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Here is a look at the first-round selections in the 2014 NHL Draft, picked Friday at Wells Fargo Center.

1. FLA  Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie Colts (OHL)

The defenseman of the year in the OHL finished with 36 goals, 91 points and 118 penalty minutes in his third season with the Colts. The 6-foot-3, 216-pound right shot will join a strong young group of blueliners, including Mike Matheson, Ian McCoshen and Alex Petrovic. Ekblad was the first defenseman drafted No. 1 in eight years.

2. FLA  Sam Reinhart, C, Kootenay Ice (WHL)

From a family of a hockey-playing father and three brothers, the youngest finished fourth in the Western Hockey League with 105 points (36 goals, 69 assists) in 60 regular-season games. He has 101 goals, 254 points and a plus-52 rating in 203 regular-season games spanning three seasons.

3. FLA  Leon Draisaitl, C, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

Projected as a Jaromir Jagr-type performer, the 6-foot-1, 204 pound left shot had 38 goals, 105 points in 64 games. The Oilers needed to add a workhorse forward to skate alongside Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.

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Sanheim pick continues Flyers' focus on defense

Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 12:05 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Sean McCullen - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Travis Sanheim got his first taste of how loud Philadelphia Flyers fans can be Friday night, and he liked what he heard.

After the "Let's go Flyers!" chants had subsided, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall called Sanheim's name as the No. 17 pick at the 2014 NHL Draft, held at Wells Fargo Center for the first time.


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Analysis: Decisive GM good sign for Canucks

Friday, 06.27.2014 / 10:36 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning reshaped their roster and possibly the direction of the franchise in a span of a few hours with a series of trades Friday afternoon.

He did it for the benefit of the team, not to send any messages about what his tenure will be like.

"That didn't really come into my thinking," Benning said of any potential message sending.

The message was sent nonetheless. Before the 2014 NHL Draft began at Wells Fargo Center, Benning showed he will be in control and he will be decisive.

Benning made the biggest splash of the day when he traded center Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks and defenseman Jason Garrison to the Tampa Bay Lightning, bringing back center Nick Bonino, defenseman Luca Sbisa and right wing Derek Dorsett. Perhaps as important, Benning acquired the 24th and 50th picks in the draft and freed up approximately $4 million in salary-cap space.

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Hat trick of firsts highlights opening round of draft

Friday, 06.27.2014 / 10:24 PM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- A hat trick of firsts took place in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center on Friday.

It began when Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon ended months of speculation by taking Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League, the first defenseman selected No. 1 at the draft in eight years. The Buffalo Sabres then made center Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice in the Western Hockey League the highest-drafted Reinhart in family history with the No. 2 choice.

The Edmonton Oilers kept the theme of firsts going when GM Craig MacTavish made center Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) the highest German-trained player selected at the draft with the No. 3 choice.


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2014 Draft prospects: NHL ties and bloodlines

Friday, 06.27.2014 / 6:17 PM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

NHL.com

The 2014 NHL Draft will be a family affair for many of the 210 players who will hear their names called at Wells Fargo Center.

Some are sons of former players, others have brothers, uncles, cousins or other relatives who've spent time as players or coaches or have been drafted by an NHL team. Here are some of the players likely to be selected who have a previous connection to hockey:

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Bruins want Iginla back despite salary-cap issues

Friday, 06.27.2014 / 5:04 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- As much as the Boston Bruins and veteran right wing Jarome Iginla want to continue their affiliation, general manager Peter Chiarelli knows the NHL salary cap might get in the way of their partnership advancing beyond this month.

"Jarome wants to stay and we're trying to find a spot for him, but we're both big boys; if we can't, we can't," Chiarelli said Friday morning. "Certainly we're both trying to work at it."

Chiarelli made his comments before the NHL officially set the salary cap for the 2014-15 season at $69 million. That figure could be problematic for the Bruins, whose cap figure will be reduced by $4.75 million, according to CapGeek.com, because of bonus overages, most notably owed to Iginla, that carry into 2014-15.

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Flurry of trade activity anticipated at NHL Draft

Friday, 06.27.2014 / 4:40 PM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Expect the unexpected when hunting season officially opens this weekend for scouts and general managers at the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center.

The first round of the two-day event will be held Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS); rounds 2-7 will take place Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHL Network).

The phone lines of numerous general managers on the draft floor figured to be buzzing with activity prior to and during the opening round as teams look to make deals. The Anaheim Ducks made the first big move, acquiring Ryan Kesler from the Vancouver Canucks for a package that included the No. 24 pick as well as forward Nick Bonino and defenseman Luca Sbisa.

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic