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2014 NHL Draft
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Zanon, Olson sign two-way contracts with Panthers

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 3:48 PM / News

NHL.com

Defenseman Greg Zanon and center Brett Olson each signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

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Callahan helped recruit Stralman, Boyle to Lightning

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 3:35 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan is getting credit this week for doing his part to help general manager Steve Yzerman reel in two unrestricted free agents last week.

Defenseman Anton Stralman and center Brian Boyle confirmed in separate interviews that Callahan, their former captain with the New York Rangers, influenced their decisions to sign with the Lightning shortly after the free-agent signing period got under way last Tuesday.

Stralman signed a five-year, $22.5 million contract; Boyle signed a three-year, $6 million contract. Yzerman said after signing them that he spoke with Callahan, as did the players.

"I just kind of wanted to hear his thoughts, so he obviously had an impact on my decision," Stralman said Tuesday. "I already had a good idea about Tampa, and just wanted to confirm everything."

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Predators' Fiala confident in jump to North America

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 2:36 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Kevin Fiala doesn't have much experience on the North American-size ice he'll find playing in the NHL. But the Swiss-born forward, taken by the Nashville Predators with the 11th pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, is confident he'll make a smooth adjustment.

"I'm not a very big player, but I'm excited for the smaller rinks," Fiala told reporters in Nashville on Tuesday during Predators prospect development camp. "I think I can do it well because I’m a small player, a skilled player. So I think I can do well."

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Tide of Pacific stays tilted toward California teams

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 2:34 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The new-look Pacific Division broke into two tiers for the 2013-14: The California teams were on one level and the other four clubs were far off the pace.

Depending on what happens with the curious case of the San Jose Sharks' rebuilding project, it looks like those tiers could be in place again in 2014-15. The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks will expect to contend for the Stanley Cup, and the Sharks might be in the group of potential champions if their summer makeover doesn't reach extreme status.

Anaheim and San Jose were one victory away from knocking Los Angeles out of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Kings return nearly everyone and will be seeking a third NHL title in four seasons.

The other four teams are trying to return to the playoffs. Given the way teams in the Central Division have loaded up, it might be difficult for the Pacific to squeeze a fourth back into the postseason.

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Ekblad ready, willing to prove himself to Panthers

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 2:26 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad was selected No. 1 in the 2014 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers in part because he was considered the most NHL-ready player at his position.

With the Panthers' prospect development camp opening this week in Sunrise, Fla., spectators already are wondering whether Ekblad will begin the 2014-15 season on the NHL roster.

"We'll have a good, long look at him at training camp," general manager Dale Tallon told the Miami Herald. "If he's ready, he's ready. If not, well, [Jonathan] Huberdeau went back. Guys come back better players.

"But if he's ready, we're keeping him, no doubt. We're still thinking the same thing about this being a marathon. We're getting closer with each draft."

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Best friends Jaskin, Barbashev reunited with Blues

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 2:12 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- They've known one another for roughly two years, but for St. Louis Blues prospects Dmitrij Jaskin and Ivan Barbashev, the bond has made it feel like a lifetime.

Both are natives of Russia: Jaskin a Czech raised in Omsk; Barbashev born and raised in Moscow. At a young age and about to embark on new lives in North America, they relied on one another to get by in a different culture. It set the wheels in motion on a friendship that continues to grow in strength.

They were drafted together by the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League at the 2012 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, and now Jaskin and Barbashev are together again as draft picks of the St. Louis Blues.

Jaskin, 21, and Barbashev, 18, were second-round picks in the NHL draft. Jaskin was the 41st pick in 2011 while Barbashev, who was projected as a mid-first round selection, was the 33rd pick of the 2014 draft.

They arrived in Moncton without much knowledge of the North American culture. But the common denominator was Jaskin and Barbashev had each other, and a friendship rapidly ensued.

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Senators re-sign defenseman Grant

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 1:36 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

The Ottawa Senators on Tuesday announced that they have re-signed free-agent defenseman Alex Grant to a one-year, two-way contract. Financial terms of the contract were not revealed.

Grant, 25, was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the NHL Trade Deadline on March 5. He made his NHL debut with the Ducks during the 2013-14 season, appearing in two games and scoring two goals.

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Five potentially underrated free-agent signings

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 12:50 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Isn't it funny how the wild world of NHL free agency has a way of providing fans and hockey scribes reason for analytical thinking during the dog days of summer?

Which team struck it big, and which team struck out? Which general manager paid too much, and who got the best bargain?

NHL general managers handed out more than $500 million in new contracts to unrestricted free agents July 1, according to Kevin Gibson of TSN. There were a total of 94 signings July 1, the opening day of free agency, likely helped by a new five-day window that allowed teams to meet with potential free agents before the signing period began.

Now more than a week into free agency, here are five signings that went a bit under the radar but could prove to be well worth the time, effort and money spent to bring each player aboard (a complete rundown of all the free-agent signings this offseason may be accessed here).

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Lightning sign defenseman Corrente, forward Kunyk

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 11:56 AM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Defenseman Matthew Corrente and forward Cody Kunyk each signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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McDavid, Eichel head Futures List for 2015 draft

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 9:00 AM / News

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Three months ago NHL.com asked nine top evaluators from NHL Central Scouting who their choice would be as the first pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.

The impromptu poll had McDavid, a center with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League the 5-4 choice against Eichel, who will be a center at Boston University in the fall.

Many top scouts believe that slim difference between the two will be par for the course in 2014-15 when the two players will be scrutinized and publicized in every way leading up to the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

"Every year the scouts think that it's a good crop of prospects," Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting, said. "There's just been a little more emphasis in 2015 because there's been a couple more top-end frontrunners and the fact that there were a number of underage players performing in their various junior leagues and performing well. That leads to high expectations for this draft class."

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Quote of the Day

When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions