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NHL Insider

Sabres, Maple Leafs among most improved teams

Monday, 07.13.2015 / 2:00 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The whirlwind of the NHL offseason has died down and the dog days of summer are starting to set in, which makes it the perfect time to assess and evaluate what has happened since June 15, the night the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup at United Center.

With that, here is a list of the 10 teams (listed in alphabetical order) as identified by that have improved the most since the end of last season:

Kreider expects 'big things' from Rangers this season

Monday, 07.13.2015 / 1:56 PM / NHL Insider

New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider is hungry for more.

The Rangers have made three trips to the Eastern Conference Final in four seasons, including a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2014. But the Stanley Cup has eluded Kreider and the Rangers, and that's not lost on the 24-year-old about to enter his third full season in the NHL.

"You know me, I'm always hungry, figuratively and literally," Kreider said in video posted by during a recent visit to Rangers Youth Hockey Camp. "You get a taste of that and when you're seeing a team on the other side, whether it be the conference final or the Stanley Cup Final, hoisting that trophy or celebrating … you want it that much more."

Dano excited to be with Blackhawks, play with Hossa

Sunday, 07.12.2015 / 6:00 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Marko Dano was surprised to be part of a blockbuster trade June 30 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets.

After he had eight goals and 21 points in 35 games last season to begin his NHL career, Dano, 20, figured he would play for the Blue Jackets for years and years to come.

Instead, Dano was traded to the Blackhawks with forwards Artem Anisimov, Jeremy Morin and Corey Tropp for forward Brandon Saad and two prospects. He is now tasked with helping the 2015 Stanley Cup champions defend their title.

"I didn't expect it, but now I'm glad to be here and excited to be part of the organization with the Blackhawks," Dano said at Blackhawks development camp Sunday. "The main reason [I'm here] is to get to know each other, and get to know the staff and coaches. That's why I'm here now. I was in Columbus for summer workouts, and then I came over."

Oshie excited, says Capitals are 'ready to win'

Saturday, 07.11.2015 / 3:05 PM / NHL Insider

Katie Brown - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals hope the additions of forwards T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams will help deliver what has been an elusive championship.

Oshie, who was acquired from the St. Louis Blues on July 2 in a trade for forward Troy Brouwer, goalie Pheonix Copley and a third-round draft pick, met with the Washington media on Saturday and said he's excited for the challenge.

"This team's ready to win, it looks like," Oshie said. "I'm happy to be an addition to that and be a piece of the puzzle."

Sharp prepares for next chapter with Stars

Saturday, 07.11.2015 / 2:22 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

DALLAS -- Patrick Sharp's list of accomplishments over 10 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks is impressive.

A key contributor on three Stanley Cup championship teams, including last season, a four-time 30-goal scorer, and 2011 NHL All-Star Game MVP are some of his more pertinent bullet points.

However, all good things must come to an end and on Friday, Sharp, 33, and defenseman Stephen Johns were traded to the Dallas Stars for defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt.

"I built a home in Chicago and built a family there. It's going to be an emotional time, but I think my wife and I are excited about the new chapter in our career and our life," Sharp said Saturday. "We consider ourselves very lucky to go into an organization like the Stars have."

Hayes brothers raise money for ALS research

Saturday, 07.11.2015 / 1:03 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- Brothers Jimmy and Kevin Hayes got their first chance in a while to be teammates and used it to help raise money for a charity close to the heart of their alma mater Friday.

Jimmy Hayes, who was recently traded from the Florida Panthers to the Boston Bruins, and Kevin Hayes, who was a rookie with the New York Rangers last season, were part of a Boston College alumni team that played a group of Boston University alums in the Comm Ave. Classic at Walter Brown Arena.

The first edition of the game drew more than 5,000 people to the BU campus and raised more than $55,000 for Compassionate Care ALS.

Erne could fill void at power forward for Lightning

Friday, 07.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Corey Long - Correspondent

BRANDON, Fla. -- Adam Erne knows that his performance at Tampa Bay Lightning development camp likely won't earn him a spot in the lineup this season, but the No. 33 pick at the 2013 NHL Draft hopes he gave the Lightning staff something to think about.

The Lightning appear set at forward. Last week, they signed free agent wing Erik Condra to a three-year contract and extended a qualifying offer to center Vladislav Namestnikov, moves that seemingly fill out Tampa Bay's bottom-six group for the 2015-16 season.

At 6-foot-1 and nearly 220 pounds, Erne is a true power forward. If the Lightning are looking for a physical presence as the season progresses, Erne has a big body that is tough to move.

"They have a lot of skilled guys on the team, great skaters," the 20-year-old left wing said. "And from me they are looking for a guy that's bigger and can play that power-forward role. I'm continuing to work hard to be that guy, and it's a process."

Undrafted Appleby aims to get noticed at Blues camp

Friday, 07.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- It's not often the player who gets to stare down Connor McDavid comes away from the competition and can claim they got the best of the Edmonton Oilers phenom.

Goalie Ken Appleby is an exception.

Appleby not only helped the Oshawa Generals win the Memorial Cup last season, making 37 saves in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Western Hockey League's Kelowna Rockets in the championship game, he was able to look McDavid and the Erie Otters in the eye and win the Ontario Hockey League's Robertson Cup along the way.

It's been quite the ride for the 20-year-old North Bay, Ontario, native, who is participating in St. Louis Blues development camp this week.

Stalberg eager for opportunity to win with Rangers

Thursday, 07.09.2015 / 3:32 PM / NHL Insider

Viktor Stalberg won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and is hoping to experience that feeling again with the New York Rangers this season.

"Winning Stanley Cup is surreal. It's a great moment in your life and you always want to get back there because it was so amazing," the 29-year old forward told on Thursday. "I want to do it again. That's why I'm here."

Stalberg spent the past two seasons with the Nashville Predators, who bought out the final two years of his contract in June. The Rangers signed him to a one-year, $1.1 million contract on July 1.

Predators prospect Vesey opts to stay at Harvard

Thursday, 07.09.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Robby Stanley - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Forward Jimmy Vesey feels that earning a degree from Harvard University will provide him with plenty of future opportunities outside of hockey, even though it pushed back his chance to make the Nashville Predators.

When the Predators selected Vesey in the third round (No. 66) in the 2012 NHL Draft, they knew he had the potential to be a dynamic offensive player. Vesey showed off that potential at Harvard during the 2014-15 season, leading the nation with 32 goals. He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top college player in the country.

Vesey, a junior, could have turned pro and signed with the Predators in March, after the Crimson's season ended. Instead, he chose to return for his senior season.

Earning his degree from Harvard is important to Vesey.

"It was a really tough decision for me," Vesey said this week at Nashville's development camp.

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Quote of the Day

[Stamkos] is a great teammate and a great leader, that's why he's got the 'C'. He brings that tremendous work ethic to the rink and he's one of the top players in the game. I know if I put the passes where they are supposed to be, there's a very good chance he's going to put it in the back of the net.

— Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin on linemate Steven Samkos
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