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Flyers pick Konecny wins inaugural McGuire Award

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 9:54 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Ottawa 67's center Travis Konecny, a first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, was named Saturday as the first recipient of the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence.

The award will be presented each year to the draft-eligible prospect who best exemplifies the commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism.

It was created in honor of E.J. McGuire, who served as NHL director of Central Scouting for seven years before dying of cancer in April 2011. A head coach at the collegiate, junior and American Hockey League levels, an assistant coach for three NHL teams over 12 seasons, and a scout for two teams, McGuire began serving as director of Central Scouting in 2005.

Intrigue at active NHL Draft started with third pick

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 1:04 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The intrigue at the 2015 NHL Draft on Friday started with the Arizona Coyotes and their approach with the No. 3 pick.

The Edmonton Oilers were locked into Erie Otters center Connor McDavid from the moment they won the NHL Draft Lottery in April, and the Buffalo Sabres were set on Boston University center Jack Eichel with the second pick.

But the options were many for the Coyotes. They could keep the pick and draft a forward. Or they could select a defenseman, possibly Boston College's Noah Hanifin, who was NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American at the position. Or they could trade the pick for the potential of more immediate help for a team that finished 29th in the NHL standings.

Coyotes general manager Don Maloney opted to keep the pick and selected Erie center Dylan Strome.

"It was a real hard draft to predict after No. 2," Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. "It's always hard. This year was a little bit harder."

Panthers, top pick Crouse enjoy draft in South Florida

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 12:33 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers general manger Dale Tallon wanted to make the evening extra special for the boisterous hometown fans when he stepped to the podium at BB&T Center on Friday and asked senior adviser Bill Torrey to announce the No. 11 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Torrey, elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995, was president of the Panthers when they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in their only appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in 1996.

The cheering got louder as Torrey stepped to the microphone to announce left wing Lawson Crouse of the Kingston Frontenacs in the Ontario Hockey League as the Panthers' top pick.

The first round of the draft in South Florida was a fitting way to celebrate a new beginning in the lives of 30 top prospects who fulfilled a lifelong dream of being selected by an NHL team before a capacity crowd.

Sabres add Eichel, O'Reilly, Lehner to speed rebuild

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 12:18 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray isn't a fan of talking in hypotheticals, but even he knows Friday could be remembered as an unprecedented day.

"Hey, it's exciting, it's exciting," Murray said. "We've gotta get ready for [Saturday], but we did hit some targets today, and that's satisfying when you can do that."

If Friday only featured the selection of Boston University forward Jack Eichel with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center, that might have been enough to be considered one of the most important days in Sabres history. But Murray built on it by acquiring forwards Ryan O'Reilly, Jamie McGinn and David Legwand, and goalie Robin Lehner in separate trades.

It was the exact type of day that can speed up a rebuild, which is precisely what Murray was trying to do.

Bruins gain cap flexibility, add draft picks in trades

Saturday, 06.27.2015 / 12:15 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Boston Bruins eliminated two potentially difficult contract negotiations Friday by trading defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames and forward Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings.

General manager Don Sweeney made it clear in explaining the moves prior to the start of the 2015 NHL Draft that the trades were necessitated by financial concerns. He said he hoped the increased salary-cap flexibility he is left with along with a bevy of draft picks will allow him to make the Bruins competitive for the long term.

As such, he said he feels no pressure to leave South Florida with additional roster players to fill the significant voids left by the departures of Hamilton and Lucic.

"Do I think we need to? We have picks, we have assets that I can now try and turn into that, but I'm not going to force that," Sweeney said. "We shed salary as a result of that as well, so we're in a position going forward where we have to have our younger players in this situation step forward and we give them an opportunity to grow and develop. I feel confident our coaches will be able to do that."

Notes from first round of 2015 NHL Draft

Friday, 06.26.2015 / 11:52 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

NHL Public Relations

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Following are notes from the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft, held tonight at BB&T Center:


The Edmonton Oilers selected Connor McDavid from the Erie Otters (OHL) with the first overall pick, marking the fourth time in the past six years the Oilers have made the top selection:

Year 1st overall pick (Oilers) Position Junior club
2010 Taylor Hall LW Windsor Spitfires, OHL
2011 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins C Red Deer Rebels, WHL
2012 Nail Yakupov RW Sarnia Sting, OHL
2015 Connor McDavid C Erie Otters, OHL

* McDavid became the seventh OHL player drafted with the No. 1 overall selection in the past nine years, following Patrick Kane in 2007 (London Knights), Steven Stamkos in 2008 (Sarnia Sting), John Tavares in 2009 (London Knights), Taylor Hall in 2010 (Windsor Spitfires), Nail Yakupov in 2012 (Sarnia Sting) and Aaron Ekblad in 2014 (Barrie Colts).

No. 3 pick Strome fits Coyotes' rebuilding plan

Friday, 06.26.2015 / 10:57 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dozens of children played ball hockey on the concrete floor of Gila River Arena on Friday, and about 4,000 fans filled one side of the lower level waiting to see how many pieces the Arizona Coyotes would add to their rebuilding project at the 2015 NHL Draft.

The center-ice scoreboard showed general manager Don Maloney working the phones in Sunrise, Fla. Rumors of possible trades were swirling through social media and from television analysts.

So when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman walked to the podium before the Coyotes pick at No. 3 and announced "We have a trade," audible gasps filled the building.

But the trade Bettman was revealing involved the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche, and the Coyotes drafted Ontario Hockey League scoring champ Dylan Strome, who had had 45 goals and 129 points for the Erie Otters.

"I had a good feeling that it would be [the Coyotes] if they were picking No. 3," Strome said. "I didn't know if they were picking until about a minute until they did pick. So I really had no idea up until that moment, but I'm extremely honored and proud to be a Coyote. I can't wait to get started."

Pick-by-pick look at the first-round selections

Friday, 06.26.2015 / 10:25 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The first round of the 2015 NHL Draft was held at BB&T Center on Friday.

The draft resumes Saturday with rounds 2-7 (10 a.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports).

Here is a pick-by-pick look at the first round:

1) Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid, Center
NHL Central Scouting final ranking: 1
2014-15: Erie Otters (OHL); Stats: 47 games, 44-76-120

Summary: An exceptional skater capable of making split-second decisions on the fly. The projected generational-type player is effective on every shift in whatever role given. Named the Canadian Hockey League Sportsnet player of the year, McDavid had 97 goals, 285 points in 166 career regular season games (1.71 points-per game) in three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League.

Profile: McDavid deserves all the comparisons to Crosby

Islanders trade defenseman Reinhart to Oilers

Friday, 06.26.2015 / 10:16 PM / News

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The New York Islanders traded defenseman Griffin Reinhart to the Edmonton Oilers on Friday for the 16th and 33rd picks in the 2015 NHL Draft. The Islanders selected center Mathew Barzal from the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League with the No. 16 pick.

The Islanders, who were not scheduled to pick in the first or second rounds before making the trade, then sent the 33rd and 72nd picks to the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 28th choice. New York selected Anthony Beauvillier, a forward from the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Avalanche deal O'Reilly to ease cap, help power play

Friday, 06.26.2015 / 10:14 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said he felt Ryan O'Reilly was going to be too expensive to keep on a long-term basis, so Sakic traded the 24-year-old center who has one year remaining on his contract to the Buffalo Sabres during the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft on Friday.

The Avalanche acquired defenseman Nikita Zadorov, forwards Mikhail Grigorenko and J.T. Compher, and the No. 31 pick in the draft from the Sabres for O'Reilly and forward Jamie McGinn.

O'Reilly will carry an NHL salary-cap charge of $6 million in the 2015-16 season, according to He reportedly is seeking a raise in a contract extension, which he can't sign until July 1.

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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

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