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Trade with Predators could signal Maple Leafs rebuild

Sunday, 02.15.2015 / 1:52 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO – By trading veterans Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli the Toronto Maple Leafs may have indicated they're willing to commence on a full-scale rebuild, and it could take a while.

The Maple Leafs traded Franson, 27, and Santorelli, 29, to the Nashville Predators on Sunday for Nashville's first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft along with forwards Brendan Leipsic and Olli Jokinen. Franson and Santorelli are both impending unrestricted free agents.

Toronto general manager Dave Nonis was asked if the trade is the first of many to come before the March 2 deadline. He said not necessarily.

"We're going to make moves whenever they come about if we feel they can help us," Nonis said. "Whether or not there are a lot more between now and the deadline I really couldn't say. It's not like we're trying to move out our whole roster. If there are deals that will help us move the team forward we will look to do that. In this case we're talking about two players that are unrestricted and we couldn't risk not getting something for them. If we couldn't re-sign them it was important we got some assets back for them."

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Rangers coach Vigneault earns career win No. 500

Sunday, 02.15.2015 / 12:37 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Alain Vigneault stepped behind the Montreal Canadiens bench on Oct. 1, 1997 feeling ready, if a bit green. He was 36 years old, the second youngest coach in Canadiens history behind Claude Ruel.

Vigneault was coaching his first NHL game.

"I was a little French Quebecer getting an opportunity to coach the team from his province," Vigneault told NHL.com on Friday. "I knew the history that was there with the Habs, so I just felt so honored and privileged."

The Canadiens tied the Ottawa Senators 2-2 in Vigneault's NHL coaching debut. They defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 three nights later to give him his first win.

On Saturday, Vigneault became the 21st coach in NHL history to win 500 games when his New York Rangers defeated the Arizona Coyotes 5-1 at Gila River Arena.

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Predators add Franson, Santorelli from Maple Leafs

Sunday, 02.15.2015 / 11:48 AM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

NHL.com

The Nashville Predators have acquired defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli from theToronto Maple Leafs for a 2015 first-round pick, veteran forward Olli Jokinen and prospect Brendan Leipsic.

Nashville has missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs each of the past two seasons, but leads the Western Conference with 82 points in Peter Laviolette's first year as coach.

"In preparation for the 2015 playoff run, our goal was to add a veteran defenseman who could play in all situations and a proven forward who could move up and down lineup based on the situation," general manager David Poile said in a statement. "We were fortunate to do this in the same transaction with players who are in the prime of their careers more than two weeks before the [NHL] Trade Deadline in order to give them more time to contribute and jell with their teammates.

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Around the League notebook for Saturday, Feb. 14

Sunday, 02.15.2015 / 10:28 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

NEW ADDITIONS LIFT JETS TO WIN IN MOTOWN . . .

Drew Stafford scored in regulation and added the decisive goal in the fourth round of the shootout to help the Jets end a five-game road skid (0-4-1) and improve to 3-1-2 in their past six games.

* At 29-19-10 (68 points), the Jets continue to occupy the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. They also climbed within three points of the idle Chicago Blackhawks (34-18-4, 72 points) for third place in the Central Division. Chicago, however, holds two games in hand and owns the ROW tiebreaker (CHI: 28, WPG: 24).

* Stafford and Tyler Myers (0-2—2) each found the scoresheet for the first time in a Jets uniform. Stafford's shootout tally was his fifth career game-deciding goal while Myers posted his second multi-point performance of the season (also Nov. 18 vs. SJS w/ BUF).

* Bryan Little (0-2—2) and Andrew Ladd (1-0—1) each found the scoresheet; they share the team lead with 21-25—46 and 19-27—46, respectively.

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New-look Sabres set to start latest stage of rebuild

Sunday, 02.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres are about to start another chapter of their rebuild Sunday when they host the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

On Wednesday, the Sabres traded defenseman Tyler Myers and forward Drew Stafford, along with two prospects and a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, to the Winnipeg Jets for defenseman Zach Bogosian and forward Evander Kane. The Sabres also traded goalie Jhonas Enroth to the Dallas Stars for goalie Anders Lindback and a conditional third-round pick in the 2015 draft.

"It's where we've been probably the past two or three years having a lot of new faces in there," Sabres defenseman Mike Weber said. "It's good to meet Zach. He's a nice addition, very welcomed here. He plays the game hard, plays the right way. Obviously the trade part of it, it's tough to see talented, skilled, good people go, but you bring in a guy like Zach and he fits in well with the direction we want this team to go in being harder to play against."

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Sunday Long Read: Adult league thrives in San Jose

Sunday, 02.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

SAN JOSE -- Chuck Kosowicz grew up, like many people in Toronto, as a hockey player.

When Kosowicz, 55, came to Northern California 15 years ago for a job with Cisco Systems, he brought his hockey equipment with the hopes of finding a place to skate and a few people with similar interests.

What Kosowicz found is one of the largest organized hockey programs in North America.

"I was just hoping that I could find a place to play," Kosowicz said. "I was crossing my fingers that I could play. I found out there was hockey here and I could play and it was wonderful. I am very happy about that.

"I've probably played more hockey here than I ever had before."

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Stars forward Seguin (knee) could miss 3-6 weeks

Saturday, 02.14.2015 / 2:56 PM / News

NHL.com

Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin has a knee injury and could miss 3-6 weeks, according to the Dallas Stars Inside Edge website.

The Stars announced Saturday that Seguin and forward Patrick Eaves were placed on injured reserve following injuries sustained Friday in a 2-0 win against the Florida Panthers.

With a little less than seven minutes remaining in the third period of the game against the Florida Panthers, Seguin released a pass while entering the offensive zone and was upended by Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.

Kulikov was assessed a five-minute major for clipping and a game misconduct. Seguin was helped to the locker room and did not return.

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Panthers' Kulikov faces Player Safety hearing

Saturday, 02.14.2015 / 1:21 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov has been offered an in-person hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety for a clipping incident with Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin during a game Friday at American Airlines Center.

Kulikov is suspended indefinitely pending the hearing.

Kulikov was given a major penalty and game misconduct for clipping Seguin at 13:05 of the third period. Seguin left the game and did not return. The Stars placed Seguin on injured reserve with a lower-body injury Saturday morning.

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Consistent game propels Patrick Kane to points lead

Saturday, 02.14.2015 / 12:05 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Duncan Keith blocked a shot Friday and sent the puck toward the side wall at United Center.

Time was running out on the New Jersey Devils, who frantically pushed for a game-tying goal against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Devils net was empty at the other end, and the situation called for a two-way player like Marian Hossa or Jonathan Toews to make a stand defensively.

Instead, it was Patrick Kane who made the big play near the corner in the Blackhawks zone. The high-scoring right wing swiped the puck just before Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas could send it behind the net with 52 seconds left and started a play that led to an empty-net goal.

The assist was Kane's 63rd point, which pushed his lead in the NHL scoring race to three after the games Friday, but it was also an example of his growth as a player. It wasn't too long ago when Kane would routinely hang out in the neutral zone, circling and waiting for stretch passes instead of backchecking to retrieve pucks in the defensive zone. It's not that way anymore.

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Penguins' Crosby already ranks among game's greats

Saturday, 02.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby still has more than half of his career in front of him, and there's a growing consensus he's already a lock for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I'd have put him in the Hall of Fame last night," NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes said.

Mike Rupp, Crosby's former teammate, also said he'd vote Crosby into the Hockey Hall of Fame if Crosby never played another game. Former NHL goalie and longtime television analyst Darren Pang said the same thing. So did NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk, who was Crosby's first NHL coach.

"No doubt," Pang said. "There isn't even any hesitation on my behalf."

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Quote of the Day

You know what? We've played in some pretty special buildings along this playoff run so far. You start in Detroit, you go to Montreal, you come here … I think it's the first team to beat three Original Six teams to get to the Final if I'm not mistaken. That says how tough the road has been. Those are tough places to win.

— Lightning forward Steven Stamkos after Game 7 win vs. Rangers on Friday in New York