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Features

Maple Leafs' top prospects hope to accelerate rebuild

Tuesday, 09.01.2015 / 6:52 PM / Prospects

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Some of the Toronto Maple Leafs' top prospects are hoping the changes made this summer will increase their chances of making the team this season.

Mitchell Marner, Connor Brown and Kasperi Kapanen, who were in Toronto on Monday at the NHL Players' Association Rookie Showcase, believe the additions of general manager Lou Lamoriello and coach Mike Babcock will create opportunities for them to play in the NHL sooner rather than later.

Toronto went 30-44-8 last season and finished 27th in the League standings with 68 points.

"It has been a big offseason for the city and the team," Marner said. "A lot of guys came in who have winning records and that's what this city needs, someone to come in and put their foot down and show what it's like to be a playoff team and a contender."

Sabres' Eichel talks training, confidence with NHL.com

Tuesday, 09.01.2015 / 9:20 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TORONTO -- Jack Eichel, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, was among a group of prospects at the NHL Players' Association Rookie Showcase on Monday.

Eichel spoke with NHL.com about his offseason training, the challenge of cracking the Buffalo Sabres lineup and being linked with No. 1 pick Connor McDavid:

Showcase rookies eager to compete for NHL jobs

Monday, 08.31.2015 / 5:32 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TORONTO -- It's been a long summer for the prospects looking to fulfill a lifelong dream and reach the NHL this fall.

But that wait came to an end Monday. At least it felt that way.

The National Hockey League Players' Association invited 39 NHL prospects and rookies here for the two-day NHLPA Rookie Showcase.

"It definitely felt more like summer yesterday than it did today," Columbus Blue Jackets forward prospect Sonny Milano said. "Now it feels like the season's kind of starting up."

The event included prospects from 26 of the NHL's 30 teams, including the top two picks in the 2015 NHL Draft, No. 1 Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and No. 2 Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres.

"It's starting," Montreal Canadiens goaltending prospect Zachary Fucale said. "These things like this, it's good to be around some old teammates and some of the guys I played with at the World Juniors, and I played against a lot of the guys here. So it's good to talk to some of the guys about that."

Oilers' McDavid talks expectations with NHL.com

Monday, 08.31.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Connor McDavid, the top pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and the most celebrated player to enter the League since Sidney Crosby in 2005, was among a group of prospects that gathered at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto for the NHL Players Association Rookie Showcase on Monday.

McDavid spoke with NHL.com about what to expect in his first season with the Edmonton Oilers and the role confidence plays in his game:

Healthy Chara hoping Bruins can be more consistent

Monday, 08.31.2015 / 3:14 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said he is ready to help them rebound after they failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Chara, 38, was limited to 63 games because of knee and ankle injuries last season. After an informal skate Monday at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., he told CSN New England on Monday that he is healthy heading into the season, his 18th.

"I'm feeling better and that's the most important thing," Chara said. "I didn't do any extreme traveling stuff [during the summer]. I stayed with family and focused on recovering from the injuries I had toward the end of the season."

Stars' Nichushkin healthy, focused on playoffs

Monday, 08.31.2015 / 2:20 PM / NHL Insider

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

Valeri Nichushkin had high expectations for himself and the Dallas Stars last season but missed most of the season because of an injury. Now healthy and ready for training camp, Nichushkin has one goal.

"I just want my team to play good," Nichushkin told the Stars website. "I don't think about my statistics. I just want to win the Stanley Cup. Of course, if I score goals and get points it will help my team. That's only what I want."

Nichushkin played two games in October and two games in November because of pain in his hip and groin. He had surgery Nov. 18 and was out for five months. He returned for four games in April, and finished the season with one assist in eight games.

Blues forward Brouwer focused on being himself

Monday, 08.31.2015 / 12:47 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- After getting traded to the St. Louis Blues on July 2, right wing Troy Brouwer wanted to quickly get acclimated with his new teammates and city.

Acquired from the Washington Capitals with goalie prospect Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft for right wing T.J. Oshie, Brouwer also felt it was best to get his family situated, especially because his wife, Carmen, is due to deliver the couple's second child.

"You don't want to waste any time," Brouwer said Sunday. "You're trying to know people's names, trying to find your way around the city. Aside from having a baby here in the next couple days, we wanted to come in a little early but also wanted to come in and make sure you have that familiarity so that when the season does start there's no problems. You're already in the full swing of things, know everybody's names, know your way around town, and are comfortable first and foremost."

Sabres' Ennis feeling confident after offseason moves

Monday, 08.31.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- The past two seasons were excruciatingly long for Buffalo Sabres center Tyler Ennis. But he said when it comes to complete rebuilds, this one could be extremely short.

"It seemed like a really long two years, but in the grand scheme of things it could be pretty quick," Ennis said following a session at Vancouver Canucks assistant coach Perry Pearn's 3-on-3 Hockey Camp here. "It might not be as long as you think, but those 160 games felt like 10 years. But there is still lots to improve on. It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed."

After whirlwind, Wild goalie Dubnyk ready for encore

Sunday, 08.30.2015 / 3:59 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk knows that expectations will be high with fans wondering what he'll do for an encore.

"I've thought about it a ton," Dubnyk told the St. Paul Pioneer Press this week. "It would be nice not to have to go 27-9 again there at the end. We have to get going faster, have a more consistent start."

Lundqvist motivated to take 'final step' with Rangers

Sunday, 08.30.2015 / 3:36 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Henrik Lundqvist is determined to lead the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup championship that's eluded them despite three trips to the Eastern Conference Final and one to the Stanley Cup Final in the past four seasons.

"If I look back at the last four years, we've had a lot of great moments, especially in the playoffs," the goaltender told the New York Daily News at The Citi Henrik Lundqvist Hockey ProCamp at Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers on Sunday. "You learn from it and you appreciate it, but obviously the main goal is to take that final step."

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Quote of the Day

I spent a long summer thinking about that playoff series and what could have been. [The Blackhawks] ended up being the Stanley Cup champions, so we know we lost to a very good team. It's tough to know how close we were, and it motivates us for this year.

— Nashville captain Shea Weber in an interview with the Predators website
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