Defenseman Slater Koekkoek was soaking up some of the spotlight this week at Tampa Bay Lightning prospect camp. That says a lot, considering some of the talent in attendance and the adversity Koekkoek has encountered since being taken with the 10th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.
The camp roster included forward Jonathan Drouin, the third player taken in the 2013 draft, who finished as the leading scorer during the 2014 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs. Also on hand was Andrei Vasilevskiy, one of the world's top goaltending prospects, who was taken nine picks after Koekkoek in 2012.
The Edmonton Oilers will have a lot of new pieces when they head to training camp in September. Coach Dallas Eakins is excited about the newcomers and what they can bring to a franchise that's trying to avoid a ninth straight season without making the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We think it has been a good few days getting the free agents in the boat. It was important," Eakins told the Oilers website Thursday, the first day of orientation camp. "We've added size, we've added depth, and we've added some people who can make plays. Those are all things that we need in our lineup, especially in our division."
Through trades and free-agent signings, the Oilers brought in defensemen Mark Fayne and Nikita Nikitin, and forwards Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot. They also added a big, talented center by taking Leon Draisaitl with the third pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Byron (5-foot-7, 175 pounds) had career-highs with seven goals and 21 points in 47 games with the Flames last season. The 25-year-old has 11 goals and 29 points in 81 NHL games with the Flames and Buffalo Sabres, who took him in the sixth round (No. 179) in the 2007 NHL Draft and traded him to Calgary in June 2011.
No financial terms were disclosed, but TSN's Darren Dreger reports Santorelli's contract is for $1.5 million and Sportsnet says Kontiola's contract is worth $1.1 million.
After failing to lure Jarome Iginla, who instead went to the Colorado Avalanche on the opening day of NHL free agency Tuesday, the Canucks signed free-agent forward Vrbata to two-year, $10 million contract Wednesday night.
Before agreeing, Vrbata checked back in with the Arizona Coyotes, who were willing to offer a longer contract but not the no-trade clause he wanted. He also turned down a four-year offer from another team.
"I am not going to lie, it wasn't easy," Vrbata said Thursday of leaving Arizona. "We have been there six years and always really liked it. I liked it from a hockey standpoint and we liked it off the ice, so it was a tough decision."
Hornqvist, along with forward Nick Spaling, was traded from the Nashville Predators to Pittsburgh for forward James Neal during the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft. The 6-foot, 190-pound Swedish wing was in bed when he was informed of the trade and said he was pleased with the idea of playing for the Penguins.
Take a look inside Nationals Park, home of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. WATCH NOW ›