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NHL Insider

Hawks weigh options to center second line

Saturday, 07.14.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are still searching for a No. 2 center and likely will fill the key role internally for the third straight season.

The answer, thus far, hasn't been found in free agency and might not arrive via trade before the 2012-13 season starts. That means they could again go with a combination of undersized forwards Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger if no other prospects prove they're ready during training camp.

Patrick Kane
Center - CHI
GOALS: 23 | ASST: 43 | PTS: 66
SOG: 253 | +/-: 7
The Blackhawks have quite a bit of depth at center in the system, including four prospects selected in the first round of the past three NHL drafts: Teuvo Teravainen (No. 18 in 2012), Mark McNeill (No. 18 in 2011), Phillip Danault (No. 26 in 2011) and Kevin Hayes (No. 24 in 2010).

"A few years back, we identified center as a position that we wanted to grow some guys into that [role], and I think we've seen in the last couple drafts we've got some guys who are going to be high-end players," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Friday, the last day of a prospects camp featuring all four of those centers. "Some of them aren't too far away, which is a good thing for us. We've seen a few of them even play the wing here just for some different looks, because they can't all play center."

Pietrangelo's focus on getting Blues to the next level

Thursday, 07.12.2012 / 11:55 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- A select number of players were on hand in Las Vegas last month for the NHL Awards ceremony. St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was not among them, but judging by his performance in the recently completed season, he could become a regular in Vegas -- possibly beginning next year.

Alex Pietrangelo
Defense - STL
GOALS: 12 | ASST: 39 | PTS: 51
SOG: 202 | +/-: 16

Pietrangelo finished fourth in the Norris Trophy voting behind winner Erik Karlsson; Shea Weber was the runner-up followed by Zdeno Chara. But instead of reveling in his personal accomplishments of last season that included career highs in goals (12), assists (39), points (51) and games played (81), Pietrangelo's thoughts were more on what might have been for a Blues team that finished with the second-best mark in franchise history.

"The worst thing was watching the Kings win the Cup knowing that could have been us," said Pietrangelo, who helped the Blues to a 49-22-11 record and 109 points.

Malkin bringing trainer back to Moscow

Thursday, 07.12.2012 / 11:46 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Evgeni Malkin felt so strongly about the direction and training he received from Pittsburgh Penguins strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar last summer in Moscow that soon after the season ended he told reporters the two would be back at it this summer.

The problem is, Malkin forgot to ask Kadar first.

"He walked into my office and said, 'Kadarov,' which is what he calls me, 'you come to Russia to help me this summer?'" Kadar told NHL.com, laughing as he started the story. "I said, 'Do you want me to?' He goes, 'I already tell media you go.' I was like, 'Well, I guess I'm going, Geno.'"

Teamwork stressed in Flyers' annual Trial on the Isle

Wednesday, 07.11.2012 / 5:24 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

STONE HARBOR, N.J. -- During his 16 NHL seasons, Ian Laperriere was known for hard work and smiling while he did it.

Sprinting along the beach with a former teammate on his back, however, was a new one even for him.

But Laperriere, the Flyers' director of player development, was right in the mix with the prospects taking part in the Flyers' development camp this week for the annual Trial on the Isle here in this New Jersey beach town.

Switch to center an exciting idea for van Riemsdyk

Wednesday, 07.11.2012 / 3:33 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

James van Riemsdyk told reporters in Toronto on Wednesday morning that he's prepared to make the shift from the wing to center this season.

"It is something that will be a good opportunity for me," said van Riemsdyk, who is in town instructing at the Leafs' hockey school at the MasterCard Centre. "I have played it a little bit in the past, and any time you can be a little more versatile as a player, it is definitely a good thing. I'm excited about that."

The 23-year-old van Riemsdyk said that before leaving the Flyers for the Leafs in a June trade that sent defenseman Luke Schenn to Philadelphia, there wasn't much of an opportunity to play center. The Flyers had depth down the middle last season with Claude Giroux and Danny Briere playing major minutes at the position.

In Toronto, van Riemsdyk will get that chance entering training camp. Coach Randy Carlyle said he wants to use the 6-foot-3, 200 pounder in the middle, perhaps on the top line with Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.

Handicapping possible new homes for Rick Nash

Wednesday, 07.11.2012 / 1:01 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Rick Nash is still the captain of the Blue Jackets, but that could change any day now if Columbus general manager Scott Howson can swing the trade that Nash so desires with one of the six teams he reportedly will go to.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Nash, who has a full no-trade clause in his contract, has told Howson he would approve a trade to one of these teams: the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.

Howson is asking for a hefty ransom in exchange for the best player in Blue Jackets history. Nash is under contract for the next six seasons at a cap hit of $7.8 million.

Robinson joins Sharks as associate coach

Monday, 07.09.2012 / 6:10 PM / NHL Insider

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

More than two months after a first-round exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the San Jose Sharks turned to a Hall of Fame defenseman to help them get back on track.

The Sharks on Monday named Larry Robinson as their associate coach under Todd McLellan.

Robinson, the former coach of the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils, made it clear during a conference call he's arrived solely to help McLellan, that he's not a potential option for the top job if the Sharks get off to a rough start this season.

"That was the first thing that I said when I came into the room," Robinson said. "I do not want to be a head coach. I'm not here to take Todd's job. I'm here to help in any way I can. I wouldn't want to be a head coach knowing that there's somebody with a gun behind me waiting to shoot me whenever something went wrong. So we will work out things when they're not going right. But you've got the best head coach here in the best position possible, and I don't foresee any problems at all."

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson waited almost two months after the first-round loss to the St. Louis Blues before publicly announcing that McLellan would return for his fifth season as San Jose's coach.

Nanne saw Fletcher targeting Suter, Parise in 2010

Thursday, 07.05.2012 / 3:51 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Lou Nanne called the acquisition of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter by the Wild GM "the biggest free-agent signing in the state by far, of any sport." (Photo: Getty Images)
Few people know Minnesota hockey better than Lou Nanne. The former player and NHL executive played at the University of Minnesota in the 1960s before skating 10 seasons with the North Stars, eventually serving as the team's general manager for a decade.

Now an analyst on area sports radio, Nanne knows what he's talking about when he calls the Minnesota Wild's signing of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to matching 13-year contracts one of the significant events in the State of Hockey's sports history.

"It's the biggest free-agent signing in the state by far, of any sport. It's a landmark," Nanne told NHL.com. "In the NHL, I can't recall two players of this magnitude going to the same team in a summer."

Schneider ready to be No. 1 in Vancouver

Friday, 06.29.2012 / 6:31 PM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Cory Schneider isn't ready to close the book on Roberto Luongo's time in Vancouver, not even after the three-year, $12 million extension Schneider signed with the Canucks on Friday seemed to make it more likely that the team would try to trade Luongo.

Cory Schneider
Cory Schneider - 2011-12 
Goalie - VAN
RECORD: 20-8-1
GAA: 1.96 | SVP: 0.937

"It's a little premature to be writing his obituary in Vancouver while he's still on the team," Schneider said of Luongo, the starter since his arrival in 2006. "I'm not sure that's fair to him."

Fair or not, the Schneider extension makes it even harder to believe Luongo will be back, even if general manager Mike Gillis has said it's possible to keep both and insisted again Friday he is no rush to make a trade.

Still, a return seems unlikely for Luongo, who lost his starting job for the final three games of a first-round playoff loss to Los Angeles. Not with 10 years left on a contract with a $5.33-million salary cap hit. Not after Luongo indicated it's time to move on. And not with Schneider eager to prove himself as a No. 1 -- and a contract that pays him like one.

Bruins ready to run with Rask as No. 1 goalie

Friday, 06.29.2012 / 3:07 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Boston Bruins' evolving goaltender situation took its next step forward Friday.

A month after it was revealed that two-time Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas was planning on sitting out the 2012-13 season, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli moved to lock up Thomas' heir apparent before the start of free agency.

The Bruins and Tuukka Rask, who was scheduled to be a restricted free agent July 1, agreed to a deal in principle for one year at $3.5 million. Because of reasons pertaining to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the deal cannot be officially filed until Sunday.

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Quote of the Day

He is, in my opinion, one of the best defensemen in the NHL and continuing to grow. I think his game, from an offensive standpoint, he continues to drive our offense... I think there's still tremendous upside for Oliver.

— Coyotes GM Don Maloney on defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson