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Union College standout Carr impressing Canadiens

Thursday, 07.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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."

Rantanen's size may help him crack Avalanche lineup

Tuesday, 07.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- At 6-foot-4, 211 pounds, right wing Mikko Rantanen stood out at Colorado Avalanche development camp, where he aimed to make a positive first impression before heading to training camp in September.

Rantanen, 18, was the Avalanche's first-round pick (No. 10) at the 2015 NHL Draft. He signed a three-year, entry-level contract Monday and his goal is to make the opening-night roster (Oct. 8 vs. the Minnesota Wild), just as Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon did in his first pro season.

"I will do everything I can to be there and fight for a place in the lineup," Rantanen said. "I know it's hard and it will take hard work, but I will do everything I can and fight as hard as I can to be there. It was an awesome feeling to hear my name called by Colorado, and I'm looking forward to training camp."

Fiala putting in work to win spot on Predators roster

Tuesday, 07.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Robby Stanley - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Kevin Fiala is doing everything he can to ensure he'll make a good impression on the Nashville Predators coaching staff at training camp in September.

The 18-year-old Swiss forward even started a few months early.

After his exit meetings with Predators general manager David Poile and coach Peter Laviolette at the end of last season, Fiala decided to return to Nashville in May to begin his training for the 2015-16 season. He wanted to be around the facility to prove to the organization he was willing to do whatever it took to make the Predators' opening-day roster.

"I just wanted to come here early to Nashville to know the city better and just practice here with [Predators strength and conditioning coach David Good] and do what Nashville says to make the team next year," Fiala said last week at Predators development camp.

Brodeur's son, Gaudreau's brother at Devils camp

Tuesday, 07.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Two players with close ties to New Jersey hockey were looking to make an impression on the opening day of New Jersey Devils development camp at AmeriHealth Pavilion on Monday.

Goaltender Anthony Brodeur, the son of former Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, and forward Matthew Gaudreau, the brother of Carneys Point, N.J, native and Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau, each hope to make the most of a big opportunity.

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