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2014 NHL Draft
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NHL Insider

Drouin expects to make Lightning this time around

Saturday, 07.05.2014 / 7:08 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Tampa Bay Lightning forward prospect Jonathan Drouin was one of the most decorated players in junior hockey when he was selected third in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Instead of debuting in the League, he was sent back to junior and established himself as one of the world's top prospects. After a 2013-14 season when disappointing losses overshadowed great individual achievements, the 19-year-old is on the verge of starting his NHL career.

"I'm more mature as a person. I think I grew a little bit being one of the older guys on the [junior] team, seeing things you didn't see when you were 16 or 17," Drouin said from Lightning prospect camp. "A lot of things were tough for me. It helped me grow as a person. Not winning was the toughest thing."

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Koekkoek eager to show Lightning what he can do

Friday, 07.04.2014 / 12:00 AM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Defenseman Slater Koekkoek was soaking up some of the spotlight this week at Tampa Bay Lightning prospect camp. That says a lot, considering some of the talent in attendance and the adversity Koekkoek has encountered since being taken with the 10th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.

The camp roster included forward Jonathan Drouin, the third player taken in the 2013 draft, who finished as the leading scorer during the 2014 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs. Also on hand was Andrei Vasilevskiy, one of the world's top goaltending prospects, who was taken nine picks after Koekkoek in 2012.

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Oilers coach Eakins eager to see improved defense

Thursday, 07.03.2014 / 11:00 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Edmonton Oilers will have a lot of new pieces when they head to training camp in September. Coach Dallas Eakins is excited about the newcomers and what they can bring to a franchise that's trying to avoid a ninth straight season without making the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We think it has been a good few days getting the free agents in the boat. It was important," Eakins told the Oilers website Thursday, the first day of orientation camp. "We've added size, we've added depth, and we've added some people who can make plays. Those are all things that we need in our lineup, especially in our division."

Through trades and free-agent signings, the Oilers brought in defensemen Mark Fayne and Nikita Nikitin, and forwards Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot. They also added a big, talented center by taking Leon Draisaitl with the third pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

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Chiasson ready for pressure after trade to Senators

Wednesday, 07.02.2014 / 10:06 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Alex Chiasson is going to play under a microscope this season. That's what happens when you're the key piece in a trade that involves a franchise player.

The 23-year-old right wing was acquired by the Ottawa Senators from the Dallas Stars on Tuesday morning in the trade that sent Ottawa captain Jason Spezza to Dallas. Spezza was the No. 2 selection at the 2001 NHL Draft and replaced Daniel Alfredsson as Senators captain when the latter left to sign with the Detroit Red Wings last summer.


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Devils' Havlat looking forward to reunion with Elias

Wednesday, 07.02.2014 / 4:14 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

New Jersey Devils right wing Martin Havlat is looking forward to having an opportunity to skate with good friend Patrik Elias in the NHL.

Havlat considers it a long time coming, too, considering they have shared experiences on Czech Republic national teams for many years.

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Sakic confident Avalanche met needs with additions

Wednesday, 07.02.2014 / 3:33 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Despite losing free agent Paul Stastny to the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues, Joe Sakic believes the Colorado Avalanche are better than they were when they lost to the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference First Round.

Sakic, the Avalanche's executive vice president of hockey operations, said Wednesday the additions of forwards Jarome Iginla, Daniel Briere and Jesse Winchester, along with defensemen Brad Stuart and Zach Redmond, have improved Colorado's size, depth, experience and toughness.

"We saw how last year went and we had a tremendous year," Sakic said of the Avalanche's surprising first-place finish in the division, "but at the end of the year after our playoff loss to Minnesota we knew we needed to have a little more depth on our third and fourth lines, and we felt we needed to get tougher.

"We feel we got tougher, and for sure the experience factor -- leadership -- you can never have enough of that. We know our core guys are young. To bring in this leadership to help them along is huge. Now you're not relying on one or two or three guys to be leaders. We have a whole bunch of leaders helping our young guys. There were a lot of things we tried to accomplish, which we think we did."

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Neal joins Predators with high expectations

Monday, 06.30.2014 / 6:30 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

Playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins alongside two former Hart Trophy winners in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, left wing James Neal was not looked upon to be a leader or to carry the load offensively.

The Nashville Predators, who acquired Neal on Friday at the NHL Draft in exchange for forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling, will count upon Neal for each of those qualities.

He said he is embracing the challenge.

James Neal
Right Wing - NSH
GOALS: 27 | ASST: 34 | PTS: 61
SOG: 238 | +/-: 15
"To have an opportunity to be a leader and to be the guy is something I've always wanted to be and tried to be as a young player coming into the League," Neal said during a conference call Monday. "I feel like I'm at that stage of my game where I'm willing to take care of that responsibility and drive with it. I'm excited for the challenge. It's going to be fun. When you play this game and you want to be the best, high expectations come with that and you want those expectations."
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Roster changes, draft have Sabres focused on future

Monday, 06.30.2014 / 4:29 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres' busy weekend at the 2014 NHL Draft signaled the unofficial start of the organization's rebuild.

The Sabres made nine picks at the draft highlighted by the selection of Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart with the No. 2 pick in the first round and Barrie Colts left wing Brendan Lemieux, the first pick of the second round. Those picks, as well as trades last season that subtracted Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Ryan Miller, and Steve Ott from the roster and the compliance buyouts used on forward Ville Leino and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff means the team is being built virtually from the ground up.

"Last year was a tough year," Sabres general manager Tim Murray said. "Quite frankly, if you want me to sit here and go through player by player what I thought, it can't be pretty, right? The team was not very good. That's gone for me. This is a new beginning. This is my first full year. This is Teddy's [Nolan, coach] first full year.

"There was so much change last year. This is where we start off and try to lay down the right lessons. Are we going to be way better? I'm not saying that at all, but things will be way better. Expectations, how you play the game, how you carry yourself as a pro; those things have to get better."

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Islanders' Martin energized by Rangers' success

Sunday, 06.29.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders were supposed to build off their run to the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when they gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a scare in a six-game first-round series.

Instead, the Islanders took a step back; they went 34-37 11 and finished fifth from the bottom of the NHL standings. To make matters even more painful, the Islanders were forced to sit and watch their archrivals, the New York Rangers, go all the way to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Los Angeles Kings in five games.

Islanders left wing Matt Martin admits the Rangers' run lit a fire under him. He wishes training camp started tomorrow.

"It's always hard to watch the playoffs. It's a little harder when you see them go as far as they did," Martin said Friday during the Islanders' draft party at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. "They earned it though. They played hard, they played like a team and ran into a powerful L.A. team. [It was] definitely hard to watch for a very long time, but I'm looking forward to getting back at it."

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Analysis: Neal trade shows Predators change course

Saturday, 06.28.2014 / 5:26 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Get ready to see a different brand of hockey in Nashville. Some may say it's about time.

The Nashville Predators' acquisition of 40-goal scorer James Neal from the Pittsburgh Penguins for forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling on Friday was the most recent sign of a metamorphosis into an up-tempo, offensive team, a necessary change after two disappointing seasons.

The Predators also selected high-end offensive players with their first two draft picks: Swiss center Kevin Fiala with the No. 11 pick and Russian left wing Vladislav Kamenev at No. 42.

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Quote of the Day

I think I'm lucky to be here and you definitely don't take very many things for granted, if you take anything for granted. I definitely put my family and my wife and my close family in perspective, that they're the most important thing in the world. I want to do whatever I can to play hockey, but like I said, under the right circumstances.

— Stars forward Rich Peverley to "The Musers" radio show on The Ticket 1310 AM in Dallas