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Prospects

Healthy at last, center Faksa eager to impress Stars

Friday, 07.17.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- Radek Faksa is healthy, and that's a welcome change for the Dallas Stars prospect.

After battling injuries his first four seasons in the Dallas organization, Faksa, the 13th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, has recovered from shoulder surgery in January and was on the ice with fellow Stars prospects for development camp in early July.

"It feels great (to be back on the ice)," Faksa, 21, said. "After almost a half year, I've been on the ice three times now. There's no problems so far. Even in the gym, I didn't have problems. I'm happy about that."

Last season, the Czech-born center had four goals and 10 points in 10 games for Texas of the American Hockey League before sustaining the season-ending shoulder injury on a hit in mid-January.

Santini one year closer to joining Devils defense

Friday, 07.17.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Kristen Nelson - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Steve Santini is relatively comfortable sitting in the New Jersey Devils dressing room.

After the first day of Devils development camp Monday, the second-round pick (No. 42) of the 2013 NHL Draft and Boston College defenseman could look around at the hubbub on the bright red carpet, of course with the New Jersey logo carefully avoided by foot traffic, and see a scene similar to his first two camps.

Even with a new coach (John Hynes) to learn from and a new general manager (Ray Shero) to impress, Santini has emerged as a veteran of sorts for the young and eager players around him.

"It's a little different this year because of the new coaching staff, new management," Santini said, "but I definitely feel a lot more confident than my first two years, for sure."

Flyers' Gostisbehere did homework during absence

Thursday, 07.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

STONE HARBOR, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers defense prospect Shayne Gostisbehere says he feels fully healthy eight months removed from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

"I'm good," he said during Flyers development camp in early July. "I feel like I'm at 100 percent. Some days it gets a little sore, but that's going to happen when you have major knee surgery. It's been a long road. I'm happy I'm on the right track again."

Gostisbehere's first professional season got derailed in early November.

The third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft (No. 78) started the season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the American Hockey League but made his NHL debut Oct. 25 against the Detroit Red Wings. He then played the next game against the Los Angeles Kings. He didn't have any points and averaged 12 minutes of ice time, but the experience was all positive.

Days later, things went all negative.

Union College standout Carr impressing Canadiens

Thursday, 07.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

At the Montreal Canadiens' annual charity golf tournament prior to training camp last season, a member of the management team was asked to assess their offseason.

The Canadiens had acquired forward PA Parenteau and a draft pick from the Colorado Avalanche for little-used veteran Daniel Briere, a trade that was widely acclaimed as a win for Montreal. On the free agent market, the Canadiens signed veteran center Manny Malhotra to pivot the fourth line and defenseman Tom Gilbert to fill out their top four on the blue line, and they won what was a bit of a derby to sign young forward Jiri Sekac out of the Kontinental Hockey League.

But none of those names topped the list for this member of the Canadiens front office. Instead, it was a widely ignored college free agent signing.

"The guy we're really excited about," the executive said that day, "is Daniel Carr."

Dylan Strome wants in early, but Coyotes won't rush

Thursday, 07.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Dylan Strome took the ice at Arizona Coyotes development camp last week with the fanfare that would be expected for the third pick of the 2015 NHL Draft.

But the buzz was muted by the expectation that Strome is a long-term investment, unlike Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, the top two picks of the draft.

Coyotes general manager Don Maloney and coach Dave Tippett expect Strome to strengthen his skating and continue to build on his 6-foot-3 frame.

Pouliot primed to play more minutes for Penguins

Thursday, 07.16.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- With at least one veteran defenseman departing, the Pittsburgh Penguins will rely heavily on Derrick Pouliot to take a substantial step forward this season.

It's a step the second-year defenseman said he is prepared to take.

"I definitely know the expectations, that's for sure," said Pouliot, Pittsburgh's first-round pick (No. 8) at the 2012 NHL Draft. "I know I have to be ready when the season comes around, what I have to do to be ready. It's a little different in that aspect, that's for sure. … I'm pretty anxious. I feel like I can take on a bit of a bigger role."

Senators prospect thrives after move from Sweden

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Tobias Lindberg had to make some adjustments after he left Sweden to play for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League last season.

"I was a rookie, but I was still 19 years old. It was a bit of a learning situation there. Should I pack the bus; should I not pack the bus?" Lindberg said of the junior hockey tradition of having rookies move the equipment bags on and off the bus.

So did he?

"A couple of times in the beginning to show I was a good teammate," the Ottawa Senators forward prospect said, "but in the end they said, 'No, you don't have to do that. We have 16-year-olds to do that.'"

Then there was the language barrier.

Lightning goalie Wilcox ready for life after college

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

BRANDON, Fla. -- After three years with the University of Minnesota, it appears Tampa Bay Lightning goalie prospect Adam Wilcox will take the next step.

With his fifth development camp under his belt, Wilcox will stay within the professional ranks and likely split time with Kristers Gudlevskis for the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League this season.

Wilcox got a quick initiation to pro life shortly after leading Minnesota to the Big Ten Tournament championship. A sixth-round pick (No. 178) of the Lightning at the 2011 NHL Draft, he signed a two-year, two-way contract with Tampa Bay in April and headed to Syracuse, where he played in two regular-season games (3.18 goals-against-average, .875 save percentage) and one Calder Cup Playoff game (1.86 GAA, .933 save percentage).

Hurricanes prospect Hanifin mature beyond his years

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Kurt Dusterberg - NHL.com Correspondent

RALEIGH -- Noah Hanifin sat at his locker stall, still catching his breath from a rigorous on-ice workout at Carolina Hurricanes development camp.

When asked what left an impression on him during the busy week, he sounded like a young man who made the most of his freshman year at Boston College.

"We had a really good seminar on leadership this morning, which I got a lot out of," Hanifin said, noting that a local college professor conducted the class. "It was about how important leadership and character is, especially in the sport of hockey. She showed us some movie clips and examples of that, which is pretty cool. I got to write down some notes."

By the end of the July 6-11 camp, Carolina's first pick (No. 5) at the 2015 NHL Draft had signed a three-year, entry-level contract to begin his professional career.

When Hanifin steps on the ice for Carolina's training camp in September, he will be 18 years old. Conventional wisdom suggests that defensemen have a steeper learning curve than forwards, but making the jump from the amateur ranks to the NHL is not impossible for teenage defensemen.

Sought-after Reilly feeling right at home with Wild

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Taking the ice about 30 minutes from his hometown, Minnesota Wild defenseman Mike Reilly is in a whole new world.

Born in Chicago but raised in Chanhassen, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb on the southwest end of the Twin Cities, stepping inside Xcel Energy Center is nothing new for Reilly. His dad, also named Mike, is a minority investor with the Wild, and Reilly and his brothers have been coming to games here nearly his entire life.

But stepping on the ice for the Wild, which Reilly did last week for the first time during development camp, is something that's difficult for him to believe is true.

"It's starting to sink in a little more now skating with the jersey on," Reilly said. "It's a great feeling to wear that jersey."

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Quote of the Day

I'm going into this with an open mind. This is a very young player (23) with a tremendous, tremendous amount of upside.

— Rangers coach Alain Vigneault on Emerson Etem's potential