2015 NHL Draft
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2015-2016 Season Preview

Rookie phenoms McDavid, Eichel together in spotlight

Thursday, 09.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

If the 2015-16 NHL season could be summed up in one word, it might be McEichel.

It's not actually a word, but the combination of the last names of Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel became a buzzword surrounding the 2015 NHL Draft when everyone knew the two potentially franchise-altering players would be the top two picks.

In a sense, that made-up name actually says a lot about the relationship between McDavid and Eichel, one that doesn't really exist on any kind of personal level but will follow each of them throughout their respective NHL careers.

Hammond won't call Senators camp 'competition'

Wednesday, 09.09.2015 / 11:57 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview


Andrew Hammond said he is not looking at training camp as a competition with Craig Anderson to be the No. 1 goalie for the Ottawa Senators.

"It's not something I'm going to label as [a competition]," Hammond told the Ottawa Sun on Tuesday. "I'm just going to approach the season to be the best goalie that I can be and I want to play as many games as I can. … However many that is, I don't know, but to say there's a competition or anything like that, I wouldn't say that."

Hammond signed a three-year, $4.05 million contract May 20. He was 20-1-2 with a 1.79 goals-against average and .941 save percentage after he was called up from the American Hockey League in February following injuries to Anderson and Robin Lehner (traded to the Buffalo Sabres on June 26).

Flyers' Giroux talks new coach, World Cup, Briere

Wednesday, 09.09.2015 / 12:21 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Tim Wharnsby - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Claude Giroux had an eventful offseason.

The day after the Philadelphia Flyers captain had a goal and an assist in Canada's 6-1 victory against Russia in the gold-medal game at the 2015 IIHF World Championship, he learned the Flyers had hired 47-year-old Dave Hakstol as their new coach.

Later in the summer, his good friend and former teammate Daniel Briere announced his retirement.

Entering his eighth season with the Flyers, the 27-year-old Giroux was among a group of elite NHL players at the League's annual Player Media Tour on Wednesday.

Giroux spoke with NHL.com about the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the Flyers, Briere and more in the following Q&A:

Plekanec's concern improving Canadiens, not contract

Wednesday, 09.09.2015 / 11:50 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TORONTO -- Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec is entering the final year of his contract with the only NHL team he has ever known, but he said he's not worried about it.

Plekanec, who turns 33 on Oct. 31, is the Canadiens' top center, one who plays in all situations, faces top opposition on a regular basis, and is a consistent offensive producer. Plekanec has scored at least 20 goals in seven of his past eight full NHL seasons, not counting the 14 goals he scored in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, and he has missed 12 games because of injury in nine years.

He is a vastly important player to the Canadiens but has also reached an age when NHL forwards generally begin to decline.

Plekanec is aware of all these things but said he remains confident Canadiens general Marc Bergevin will eventually begin discussions with agent Rick Curran to bring him back.

With training camp looming, however, those talks have not begun.

"What am I supposed to do? I'm not going to ask them if they want me," Plekanec said Tuesday at the NHL Player Media Tour. "If they want me, they would call, I guess. Should I call and ask, 'Do you want me here?' I have a phone number. I think it's up to [Bergevin]. If he wants me, I'm sure he'll call the agent and start talking."

Kessel addition has Penguins' Crosby, Malkin excited

Tuesday, 09.08.2015 / 8:30 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

TORONTO -- The offseason remodeling of the Pittsburgh Penguins has their top two players very excited.

The Penguins were active in the summer after being knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the New York Rangers in five games in the Eastern Conference First Round. Pittsburgh, dealing with several injuries, scored four goals in the four losses.

The signature move by general manager Jim Rutherford was the blockbuster trade to acquire forward Phil Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs. It left Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin smiling at the possibilities for the upcoming season.

"I think everybody is excited to have [Phil] as a teammate, to know with one chance in the slot he can change a game pretty quickly," Crosby said Tuesday at the NHL's annual Player Media Tour at MasterCard Center. "Those guys aren't easy to find. Regardless of who plays with him, he's going to create a lot of offense."

Crosby, Stamkos feel Oilers' McDavid is 'real deal'

Tuesday, 09.08.2015 / 8:00 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TORONTO -- Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos are two members of a small group of elite players in the NHL who have even one iota of a clue of what Connor McDavid has already gone through in the buildup to his rookie season and what he still will go through as expectations on the Edmonton Oilers' 18-year-old center soar.

Crosby went through it 10 years ago, before and after he was selected first in the 2005 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Stamkos went through it three years later, also before and after he was selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

From what Crosby and Stamkos have seen and heard, the Oilers and their fans shouldn't have to worry about McDavid handling the expectations and hype that will follow him all season the way it once followed them in their teenage years.

"He's definitely way ahead of where I was at 18," Stamkos said Tuesday during the NHL's annual Player Media Tour. "He's a special talent, and anyone who asks me about him, I just tell them that he's the real deal."

Blackhawks, Lightning rested after short summer

Tuesday, 09.08.2015 / 7:55 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TORONTO-- The last time we witnessed NHL hockey, the storyline was dominated by the experience of the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final against the inexperienced Tampa Bay Lightning, and how that wisdom eventually allowed the Blackhawks to prevail in six games.

Three months later, that same storyline exists, and the Blackhawks still hold the advantage in knowing how to recharge to start a new season so quickly after the last one finished.

Players from each team were here Tuesday to begin the Player Media Tour, an annual event where several of the League's top players do the rounds with the media to set up the upcoming season.

Rangers' Lundqvist on World Cup, Stanley Cup, more

Tuesday, 09.08.2015 / 12:40 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TORONTO -- Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, entering his 11th season with the New York Rangers, was among a group of elite NHL players at the League's annual Player Media Tour on Tuesday.

Lundqvist spoke with NHL.com about the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the Rangers, perspective he gained from sitting out with his injury last season, and more in the following Q&A:

We're in Toronto and there is a big press conference about the World Cup, so let's start there. What does it mean to you that you'll likely have another opportunity to play for Sweden in a major tournament, except this time in Toronto, which is considered the hockey capital?

"I'm excited. I think it's going to be a great tournament. Any time you play for your country it's a very special feeling. I still don't know yet how it's going to feel compared to the Olympics, just have to play and see. It's how it started for me, watching the national team play. It's always been very special to put that jersey on, and you're extremely proud every time you do it. The big thing too is you get to play against the best players, kind of like in an Olympic tournament. I'm looking forward to it."

Babcock scared, excited to coach Maple Leafs

Sunday, 09.06.2015 / 4:47 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview


Mike Babcock admits leaving the Detroit Red Wings following a successful 10-season run was a frightening proposition, but the challenge of coaching the Toronto Maple Leafs, who finished 15th in the Eastern Conference (30-44-8) last season and haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1967, is one he's thrilled to accept.

"New is exciting," Babcock said in an article in the Toronto Sun on Sunday. "It scares the crap out of you, to be honest with you. And so, that gets you on your toes and gets you dialed in."

Babcock agreed to a reported eight-year, $50 million contract May 20 to coach the Maple Leafs. He led the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his 10 seasons, winning the Stanley Cup in 2008 and losing the Stanley Cup Final to the Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games the next year.

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