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Prospects

Sundqvist eyes open spot on Penguins' fourth line

Saturday, 07.18.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward prospect Oskar Sundqvist is prepared to make his NHL debut.

Sundqvist, one of Pittsburgh's final cuts last preseason, is eyeing a spot on the Penguins' opening night roster. He fell short of that goal in 2014 after leading Pittsburgh with two preseason goals.

Entering this season, there is a hole at center on the Penguins' fourth line, Sundqvist's natural position. Although he did not participate in development camp because of a lower-body injury, Sundqvist is expected to be available for Pittsburgh's rookie tournament and training camp.

The 21-year-old hopes to again reach the final stages of training camp and to top the list of potential candidates available to play when the Penguins open their season against the Dallas Stars on Oct. 8.

"It's all about the camp, how I perform there," Sundqvist said. "Like last year, I had my best time during the year during the camp. So I'm just looking for me to make a big impression on [Penguins coach Mike Johnston] and I'm hoping that's in his mind still.

"We will see [if I'm prepared to play in the NHL]. I haven't been on the ice yet, so I don't really know about that. But hopefully I feel mature enough to move here. So I should be ready to play in the NHL."

Capitals plan to be patient with their young goalies

Friday, 07.17.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Six years ago, the Washington Capitals sent goaltending prospect Braden Holtby to the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL.

With Holtby entrenched as the Capitals' No. 1 goalie and Philipp Grubauer expected to be his backup, the Capitals' goaltending prospect wheel keeps churning.

Washington will send Vitek Vanecek, who participated in Capitals development camp July 7-11, to the ECHL as its only goalie prospect in North America.

"Lots of things can happen, injuries and such, but I think that's the best place for him to start as a 19-year-old," Capitals goaltending coach Mitch Korn said. "We want guys to have success at every level that they play at. We don't want them treading water; we want them swimming ahead."

That patient approach worked well for Holtby, who had career highs of 41 wins and nine shutouts last season when he was 25.

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 Correspondent

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).

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