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NHL Insider

Maple Leafs dedicated to patience with young talent

Tuesday, 07.07.2015 / 7:21 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- The kids are pumped and all have visions of cracking the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup this season. As they should.

But Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan repeatedly has said he plans to take things slowly as he attempts to build a team that will be good for a long time. Also, new coach Mike Babcock sees value in young players getting a taste of professional hockey in the minors.

"Patience is the key," assistant general manager Kyle Dubas said Tuesday at Maple Leafs development camp at MasterCard Centre. "We're not going to rush them. We have reiterated that over and over. We're not going to bring them up unless they are absolutely ready to stay up all the time. We want them to be 100 percent ready to play for the Maple Leafs. We don't want them to start with the (Toronto) Marlies (of the American Hockey League), go to the Leafs and then back to the Marlies."

McDavid scores five goals in Oilers scrimmage

Tuesday, 07.07.2015 / 12:02 AM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Connor McDavid put on a show for about 7,300 fans Monday at Rexall Place during a 4-on-4 intrasquad scrimmage for Edmonton Oilers prospects.

The No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft had three goals in two 20-minute halves of 4-on-4 play, then scored two more in seven minutes at 3-on-3, leading his team to an 8-6 win.

The scrimmage, dubbed the Billy Moores Cup after a former Edmonton assistant coach, ended the Oilers' six-day orientation camp.

"It was fun. Anytime you get a chance to play in front of fans like that, it's always exciting," McDavid said. "It was pretty competitive, just with the guys that we had, and they made a lot of great plays out there."

Sabres' Eichel center of attention on first day of camp

Monday, 07.06.2015 / 4:48 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - Correspondent

BUFFALO -- When Jack Eichel, the second pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, took his first strides on the ice at First Niagara Center on Monday during the first day of Buffalo Sabres development camp, he was greeted by a chorus of cheers and a line of cameras eager to capture the moment.

"It was pretty cool," he said. "It was definitely kind of a special moment. It was a great feeling to finally be out there, just get skating again. A little bit of rust, but it was just great to be on the ice."

Eichel, who signed his three-year, entry-level contract July 1, was part of the first group of Sabres prospects to take the ice and go through various practice drills with Buffalo coaches. Being greeted by a crowd of more than 1,000 fans didn't catch Eichel off guard.

"Not [surprised] in Buffalo," Eichel said. "I figured that there'd be a lot of people here for a practice open to the public. I'm not surprised at all with the turnout."

Forward Burmistrov excited about return to Jets, NHL

Sunday, 07.05.2015 / 3:25 PM / NHL Insider

After two seasons playing for his hometown Ak-Bars Kazan in the Kontinental Hockey League, Alexander Burmistrov returned to the Winnipeg Jets after agreeing to terms on a two-year contract July 1.

Burmistrov made a surprise appearance Sunday at Jets development camp at MTS Iceplex and explained how much he missed competing in the NHL.

"I wanted to come meet everybody," Burmistrov said in video posted on the Jets website. "I'm really excited. I missed this kind of game … smaller ice and more aggressive hockey. I'm two years older. I don't know if I'm a different player or not, maybe a little bit, maybe not. We'll see.

"I'm happy to be here. I want to help the team win games."

Nurse, Draisaitl aim to be full-time Oilers this season

Sunday, 07.05.2015 / 12:00 PM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Defenseman Darnell Nurse and center Leon Draisaitl were on the Edmonton Oilers' roster at the start of the 2014-15 NHL season. However, each finished the season with his respective junior team.

Heading into 2015-16, Nurse and Draisaitl are looking to build on their brief NHL stints and parlay their experience into extended stays with the Oilers.

Draisaitl says return to juniors helped his game

Sunday, 07.05.2015 / 12:00 PM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Being sent back to junior last season was not easy for Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl.

Draisaitl made the Oilers out of training camp and played 37 games with Edmonton, but finished the season in the Western Hockey League with the Kelowna Rockets.

It took some time for Draisaitl to get over the disappointment of returning to juniors, but he went on to have an excellent second half with the Rockets, leading them to the WHL championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup final.

Undrafted Ohio brothers attend Blue Jackets camp

Saturday, 07.04.2015 / 11:06 AM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - Correspondent

COLUMBUS-- The Columbus Blue Jackets development camp June 29 to July 2 featured many top prospects from recent NHL drafts.

Oliver Bjorkstrand, a third-round pick in 2013 NHL Draft and the Western Hockey League's player of the year in 2015, was at the practice facility at Nationwide Arena. So were 2015 first-round selection defenseman Zach Werenski from the University of Michigan and 2014 first-rounder forward Sonny Milano.

But two undrafted invitees attracted the most media attention.

Milano excited for chance with Blue Jackets

Saturday, 07.04.2015 / 10:39 AM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- There are many changes between the Sonny Milano who attended his first Columbus Blue Jackets development camp a year ago after being selected 16th in the 2014 NHL Draft to the Milano who showed for his second go-around June 29 to July 2.

There weren't the persistent questions about his immediate future; whether he would fulfill his commitment to attend Boston College or play in the Ontario Hockey League.

Milano gave his answer several weeks later when he opted to play in the OHL for the Plymouth Whalers. Milano led Plymouth in scoring with 68 points, including 22 goals, in 50 games despite missing more than a month at the start of the season because of facial fractures sustained at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., in September.

Lidstrom's sons attend Red Wings development camp

Friday, 07.03.2015 / 6:05 PM / NHL Insider

Longtime Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this week. Two of his sons, Adam and Kevin, would like to follow in his footsteps.

Each is taking part in the Red Wings' developmental camp this weekend.

Adam Lidstrom, 19, is a forward who played junior hockey for Vasteras last season, finishing with seven goals and 14 points in 40 games. Kevin Lidstrom, 21, is a defenseman who had one assist in 22 games for Enkopings of the third-tier Hockeyettan.

Devils' Palmieri embracing chance to face Rangers

Friday, 07.03.2015 / 3:51 PM / NHL Insider

Kyle Palmieri played for the New Jersey Devils' youth team and attended Devils practices and games when he was a boy.

Now, the 24-year old will get to play for the Devils; he was traded from the Anaheim Ducks for two draft picks on June 26.

Palmieri was born Smithtown, N.Y., but grew up in Montvale, N.J., rooting for the New York Rangers.

"I probably went to more Devils games than I did Rangers games just because it was easier to get tickets and for me it was way easier to get to (the Meadowlands) than it was for me to get into the city," Palmieri told on Thursday. "I definitely grew up going to more Devils games than I did Rangers games."

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You can be hyped all you want, but his game will speak for itself. He's obviously going to be a great player so we've got to make sure we keep an eye on him. Whether it's his first game or his 1,000th game, our job is to take care of business, shut him down.

— Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo on facing ballyhooed Oilers rookie Connor McDavid, who is making NHL debut in St. Louis
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