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2015 NHL Draft
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Blues agree with Paajarvi on one-year contract

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 4:50 PM / News

ST. LOUIS - The Blues have agreed to terms on a one-year, one-way deal for forward Magnus Paajarvi.

In parts of two seasons with the Blues, Paajarvi played in 65 games, recording six goals and seven assists (13 points). He played in 36 games for the Chicago Wolves of the AHL last season, recording 11 goals and 18 assists (29 points).

Lightning's Condra thrilled for reunion with Cooper

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 4:18 PM / News

Erik Condra signed a three-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning on July 1 and the forward will get to play for his former coach and his former hockey idol.

Condra, 28, played for Lightning coach Jon Cooper when he was with the Texarkana Bandits of the North American Hockey League in 2003-04 and grew up in Michigan as a Detroit Red Wings fan. His favorite player was Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

"I think [Cooper] gets his players to play and go through walls for him," Condra told the Lightning website on Wednesday after participating in the LightningMade youth hockey camp. "He's a players' coach and guys like to play for him.

"[Cooper and Yzerman] are professionals and I'm sure it'll be all business. We're in this business to win hockey games and whatever it takes to do that, we will do."

Wild's Backstrom had nerve damage in elbow: report

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 3:51 PM / News

Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom told Finland television station MTV 3 recently that he had nerve damage in his right elbow and was unable to use his right hand while driving a car or holding a phone.

Backstrom, who had surgery on his elbow in May, said two of his fingers wouldn't move during a Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Backstrom, 37, has not played since Jan. 13 and was scratched from the second round, which Minnesota lost in four games.

"It was a bit scary situation," Backstrom told MTV 3's Timo Kunnari in comments translated by the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Tuesday. "It happened pretty fast. All of a sudden two fingers are not working. Even in rest, two fingers were motionless. I couldn't use my right hand to drive a car or to hold a phone. There's a lot of stuff that's happened during my career, but this really made me stop and think. You need your hand for the rest of your career. I'm right-handed."

Stars goalie coach excited to have two No. 1s

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 3:42 PM / News Staff

Dallas Stars goaltending coach Jeff Reese said having two veterans who are accustomed to starting, Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen, is more of a blessing than a curse.

The Stars traded for the rights to Niemi on the second day of the 2015 NHL Draft and signed him to a three-year contract, raising questions about how he and Lehtonen, the returning starter, would split the job. But Reese, who's entering his first season with the Stars, said having two goaltenders who are used to being No. 1 won't be a major problem.

"Right now, we've got two veteran guys," Reese told the Stars website Tuesday. "It's going to make my job a lot easier, and it's a nice situation for me to come into, no question. You've got two No. 1 goalies that can play a lot of games and give you a chance to win every night. I am pretty excited about it."

Sharks sign first-round pick Meier to contract

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 2:30 PM / News

Right wing Timo Meier, selected by the San Jose Sharks with the ninth pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, signed a three-year, entry-level contract on Wednesday.

Meier led the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in goals (44) and finished second in points (90) in 61 games. He had a Mooseheads-record 23 power-play goals and led the QMJHL with 10 game-winning goals.

Canucks in no rush to extend Vrbata, Hamhuis: report

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 2:14 PM / News

The Vancouver Canucks might re-sign forward Radim Vrbata and defenseman Dan Hamhuis, but it won't happen this summer, general manager Jim Benning told The Province on Tuesday.

Vrbata, 34, and Hamhuis, 32, can become unrestricted free agents after this season. Each has a no-trade clause.

"We're going to go into the season and see how it goes," Benning said. "We've touched base with their agents a little, but we'll see how it plays out."

With new deal, Tarasenko excited to remain with Blues

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 12:33 PM / News

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- When Doug Armstrong recently spoke with right wing Vladimir Tarasenko about the St. Louis Blues and their future, the general manager heard more than enough from a budding star with a humble and unselfish vision to make a long, lucrative commitment.

Tarasenko, who signed the richest contract in Blues history at eight years and $60 million on Tuesday, never brought up term, never brought up dollar figures, never brought up the words "I" or "me" in the conversations, which included agent Mike Liut. The 23-year-old, who led the Blues in goals (37) and points (73) last season, has one sole purpose.

"First of all, I want to say thank you to Tom Stillman, Doug Armstrong and all of the Blues organization to trust me a lot in giving me this contract," Tarasenko said Wednesday. "For us, this is a great opportunity to be better and win multiple times (the) Stanley Cup. When you have family, this is important for you that you know you can stay in the same place and if your family loves this place and if I love this place, there's no other options.

"We talk with Doug a lot about it and my role on the team. I like everything that he told me and he told to my agent. I talked with my family, I talked with my wife and we make a good decision together."

Etem hoping for breakout season with Rangers

Wednesday, 07.08.2015 / 12:09 PM / News

California native Emerson Etem was fortunate enough to begin his NHL career in his home state after being selected in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft (No. 29) by the Anaheim Ducks.

But after bouncing back and forth the past three seasons between Anaheim and the Norfolk Admirals in the American Hockey League, Etem was traded, along with a second-round pick, to the New York Rangers for left wing Carl Hagelin on June 27.

Etem, who turned 23 on June 16, had five goals and five assists in 45 regular-season games for the Ducks last season and 13 goals in 22 AHL games.

Blue Jackets sign Ohio native Sherwood to contract

Tuesday, 07.07.2015 / 8:56 PM / News

COLUMBUS, OHIO -- Kole Sherwood grew up watching the Columbus Blue Jackets. He grew up emulating NHL players on The Chiller’s sheets of ice all around Columbus. So, in a way, he grew up with the game of hockey as it also grew in the city.

And today, he pen to paper on a contract that etched his name into the history of the franchise.

Sherwood signed a three-year, entry level contract with the Blue Jackets, opting to forgo his commitment to Boston University and begin his path to the NHL via the Ontario Hockey League. His OHL rights are owned by the London Knights, and while it’s likely he will play there in the fall, it’s not quite a done deal yet.

To read more from the Blue Jackets website, CLICK HERE.

With contract, Capitals' Kuznetsov seeks improvement

Tuesday, 07.07.2015 / 7:21 PM / News

Katie Brown - Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- It's been an eventful year for Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov, who capped it by signing a two-year, $6 million contract Monday.

"I'm very happy to be here two more years," Kuznetsov said Tuesday. "Just looking forward right now. It's always a motivation for you, one or two years. Maybe a long contract is good too, but I've never been in that situation."

In his first full season with Washington, Kuznetsov scored 37 points and secured his spot as its second-line center. He scored seven points in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games and became the third Capitals rookie to score three points in a playoff game (Sergei Gonchar, 1995; and Richard Zednik, 1998).

A long-term contract may happen eventually, but for Kuznetsov, that's something to look forward to. The 23-year-old, who was a restricted free agent, has a lot he wants to prove before that happens.

"Last year we played good hockey and we have to play better," Kuznetsov said. "I have to be better too. I try to focus on my job. If everybody does their job, then probably something good happens. I try to focus on the team game, how many points we get, not by myself."

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Quote of the Day

Hopefully [Jonathan] has a year that pushes us, that is the organization, to speak to him next summer and looking for [a long-term contract]. Because the thought process is trying to get a goaltender, and hopefully it's Jonathan, to be the stabilizer for this franchise.

— Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello on goaltender Jonathan Bernier