Senators hire former Avalanche assistant Andre Tourigny

Jared Clinton
Andre Tourigny speaks with Patrick Roy. (Michael Martin/Getty Images)

Nearly two months after resigning from his post as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche, Andre Tourigny has signed on to join Ottawa Senators coach Dave Cameron behind the bench.

Tourigny left his gig in Colorado, where he was serving as a defensive coach on Patrick Roy’s staff, back in mid May to seek other opportunities. Some had believed it could mean a return back to the QMJHL for Tourigny, who is a former coach of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, but instead he’s found himself a spot back in the big leagues. Read more

Winners and losers after the first round of the draft

Noah Hanifin (photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

SUNRISE – The start of the draft went 1-2-3 as expected, but as the first round got deeper, things veered in surprising directions. Who were the winners and losers on the night? I didn’t count Edmonton and Buffalo, since we always knew they’d have a good night. Otherwise, here’s how I saw things go down:

Winners

Carolina

My intel was that Noah Hanifin was not going to fall past Carolina at No. 5 and sure enough, the Canes pounced on the exceptional defenseman when Toronto passed on his services. Hanifin had an amazing second half at Boston College and should he return, he’ll be the cornerstone of the Eagles.

Russians

The first big shock of the draft came when Dallas tabbed right winger Denis Gurianov with the 12th pick. Though the ‘Russian Factor’ may still be a thing for some franchises (Columbus, for example), Stars GM Jim Nill has not been afraid to take Russians who played back home during his tenure. After all, Valeri Nichushkin was his first-ever pick.

“I’m not too worried about him going back to Russia,” Nill said. “He’s going back there next year, we knew that all along. But we’re looking for the best player available three, four years down the road and we’re comfortable that he’s going to come over and play for us.”

Another Russian with KHL ties, goalie Ilya Samsonov, went to Washington. Thanks to Alex Ovechkin, the Caps have been a mecca for talented young Russians for years and in Samsonov the Caps landed the most highly-rated netminder in the draft class.

Add in CHLers Ivan Provorov (Philadelphia) and Evgeny Svechnikov (Detroit) and you have the most Russian first rounders since 2004, when Ovie and Evgeny Malkin headlined the festivities.

The NCAA

The college ranks set a new standard with three first-rounders in the top eight picks thanks to Hanifin, Jack Eichel (Buffalo) and Zach Werenski (Columbus). It was a grand year for NCAA hockey and this first round was the capper. Miami-bound Jack Roslovic (Winnipeg) was a nice surprise too, as he was seen as a borderline first-rounder.

Ottawa

The Sens, who already have a great young roster, added a smart, slick-skating defenseman in Thomas Chabot and then a fast two-way/shutdown center in Colin White. Ottawa will be very tough to beat in a couple years if these kids shake out the way they are projected.

Losers

Small Guys

Once again this year, scouts sang the praises of players in the 5-foot-10 range, but couldn’t convince their bosses to pull the trigger early. While I didn’t expect Travis Konecny or Nick Merkley to go in the top 12, I thought one or both would go in the top 20. As it turned out, Konecny went 24th to Philly, while Merkley lasted until No. 30 when Arizona scooped him up.

“Obviously there were only a few guys 5-foot-10, 5-foot-11, and you get nervous about that,” Merkley said. “You just take it as it is and enjoy the moment.”

On the bright side, 5-foot-10 Anthony Beauvillier was a surprise first-rounder when the Islanders traded up to grab him 28th.

Boston

I don’t mean to pile on, but from an outsider’s view, the Bruins panicked tonight. Certainly when they acquired picks from Los Angeles and Calgary, they didn’t intend to use all three of their selections (which came 13, 14 and 15). But no trade emerged and the Bruins took two players they could have gotten later while passing on immense talents still on the board. Why didn’t they grab White, a Massachusetts product, or Kyle Connor, a future No. 1 center? Or, incredibly, Matt Barzal, who slipped to the Isles one pick later?

Senators trade Lehner & Legwand to Sabres, Bryan Murray continues to win the off-season

Matt Larkin
Robin Lehner (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

Every time we blink, Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray pulls off another wise move.

A day after he locked up restricted free agents Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad to highly reasonable deals, Murray delivered on his promise to trade a goaltender. Ottawa has shipped Robin Lehner and center David Legwand to the Buffalo Sabres for the 21st overall pick in tonight’s NHL draft.

The move is an obvious win for Ottawa. We knew it needed to lose a goaltender after re-signing Andrew Hammond and shoring up the future with NCAA keeper Matt O’Connor. We knew one of Lehner and Craig Anderson was as good as gone, and we also knew Buffalo was the ideal trading partner. Sabres GM Tim Murray is Bryan’s nephew and the Sens’ former assistant GM, so he knows Ottawa’s players well, and the Sabres desperately needed a goalie. The Sens also shed the dead-weight contract of Legwand, 34, who carries a $3-million cap hit one more year. So Ottawa can roll with Anderson and Hammond as a tandem, it will retain all its key young free agents, it has freed up a few more million in spending money and it picks twice in the first round tonight? My goodness. Murray is on fire.

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‘Anything is possible’ when it comes to Kessel, says Shanahan

Phil Kessel

FORT LAUDERDALE – We know a few things when it comes to the prospects of Phil Kessel being traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs. First, the Leafs have already told their core players there are going to be changes. Second, the Leafs are actively speaking with teams about the possibility. Third, there appears to be a lot of interest in acquiring him. Fourth, the chances of him reporting to training camp as a member of the Maple Leafs are growing slimmer by the day.

Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan did not come out and say Kessel would be dealt, but spoke volumes when he said, “Anything is possible.” To these eyes anyway, it just does not look as though Kessel has any long-term future in Toronto. So does Shanahan see any scenario where Kessel actually remains a Maple Leaf?

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2015 Draft Preview – Amazing rookie brigade alters Ottawa Senators’ future

Ken Campbell
Matt Puempel (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

When the Ottawa Senators staged their furious charge and made the playoffs against all odds, their freshmen led the way. Andrew Hammond was not a rookie by NHL standards because of his age but was still a first-year player. Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman and Curtis Lazar? No ambiguity there. That speaks to how well the Senators have drafted over the past few years.

PICKS:
Round 1, pick 18
Round 2, picks 42, 48
Round 4, pick 109
Round 5, pick 139
Round 7, pick 199

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Why the Senators win big with Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad contracts

Matt Larkin
Mark Stone

The Ottawa Senators dazzled us with their Cinderella story in the second half of 2014-15. General manager Bryan Murray, however, couldn’t savor the run too long. His off-season to do list was gargantuan. He had to decide on signing Andrew Hammond and figuring out his goaltending situation altogether. Murray had to lock up coach Dave Cameron, too. And, most importantly, Murray had to sort through his collection of high-impact restricted free agents: Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad, Mike Hoffman, Alex Chiasson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

So far, so very good, Mr. Murray.

The Sens inked Hammond to a three-year, $4.05-million contract May 20, taking on little risk since the cap hit wasn’t astronomical. Next up was Cameron’s two-year extension, finalized last week, plus an affordable two-year extension for Pageau.

And Thursday marked a legitimate coup for Ottawa. As reported by beat writer and THN Senators correspondent Bruce Garrioch, RFAs Stone and Zibanejad have signed extensions.

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Rumor Roundup: Will Cam Talbot be the answer in Edmonton, Buffalo or San Jose?

Cam Talbot (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Sport)

Earlier this week, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that sources claim there’s considerable interest from several clubs in Rangers backup Cam Talbot. It’s expected Talbot, who turns 28 in July, could be traded by the upcoming NHL draft in Florida.

Brooks didn’t specify which teams are pursuing Talbot, but TSN’s Darren Dreger lists the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres among the suitors. Dreger claims the Oilers, Sabres and Sharks are “pretty eager”, while the Flames, Panthers and Stars have “some interest.”

It shouldn’t be surprising that Talbot’s attracted so much attention. His solid performance filling in for sidelined Henrik Lundqvist in February and March suggests he has the capability to become a full-time NHL starter. He won’t get that opportunity with the Rangers.

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Alexei Yashin is finally not an Islander anymore

Alexei Yashin: not an Islander now (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

There was a time when Alexei Yashin was one of the most dangerous players in hockey. Not recently, mind you, but there was a time. But as any Rangers or Devils fan can probably remind you, the New York Islanders were still paying the Russian center, despite buying out his contract in 2007.

As gloriously detailed by Lighthouse Hockey, Yashin’s albatross contract haunted the Isles until Chicago hoisted the Stanley Cup last night, which put an end to the 2014-15 NHL season.

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