• This man could shake up the first round of the 2016 draft

    Pierre-Luc Dubois.  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

    BUFFALO – Weird. Vincent Lecavalier retired. You’d swear it was him, or a magical teenage version of him, sitting on a podium overlooking Lake Erie. That’s what it felt like talking to elite 2016 NHL draft prospect Pierre-Luc Dubois.

    Dubois, a friendly, rosy-cheeked tank of a youngster at 6-foot-3 and 202 pounds, carries himself like a young Vinny. It’s a strange coincidence, as the last time the draft went down in Buffalo was 1998, when Lecavalier went first overall. Dubois was calm yet confident, exuding the poise of a man many years older, seemingly enjoying the questions as he sat outside on a windy Thursday. The novelty hadn’t yet worn off.

    He was endearingly wide-eyed about the draft experience. He said his old QMJHL teammate, Red Wings 2015 first-rounder Evgeny Svechknikov, told him to have fun and not waste the experience. Dubois was gracious about his off-season workouts, in which he encountered the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Alex Killorn and Andrej Sustr and eventually worked up the courage to approach them for advice. Dubois can’t wait to face his childhood idol, Henrik Zetterberg, and couldn’t believe his eyes when, while he attended the Stanley Cup final in San Jose, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby approached and said, “Maybe I’ll see you soon.”

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  • Panthers fill need for backup goaltender, send Grimaldi to Avalanche for Berra

    Jared Clinton
    Reto Berra (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

    One of the Florida Panthers’ needs heading into the off-season was a backup goaltender to relieve Roberto Luongo here and there.

    Al Montoya had performed admirably over the past two seasons in just that role, but with some options for him to go elsewhere — and maybe even earn a larger share of the net duty — the 31-year-old appeared ready to head elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent. That left the Panthers in the market for some backup help, but they took care of that Thursday by shipping Rocco Grimaldi to the Colorado Avalanche for netminder Retto Berra.

    Berra, 29, is locked up at $1.45 million for the upcoming campaign, per CapFriendly, and he’s coming off of a somewhat decent run in the Colorado goal this past season. Read more

  • Five potential GM candidates for the Las Vegas expansion team

    Jared Clinton
    George McPhee (Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Bill Foley’s goal of getting a team to come to Las Vegas has been realized, but the hard work doesn’t end there.

    Foley’s Las Vegas franchise still has to be named, have its logo designed and jerseys created. Oh, and there’s the little part about assembling a competitive roster through an expansion draft to make sure the first year of hockey in Nevada isn’t an absolute disaster.

    With the preparation that will have to go into the expansion draft, it’s likely that Foley and Co. will want to start getting their management team in place sooner rather than later, and one of the most important pieces in the front office is going to be the GM. Finding a GM that can help the new Las Vegas franchise wade through the expansion waters is going to be of utmost importance.

    Luckily, there will be no shortage of candidates to take on the role. Here are five potential GMs who could take on the role: Read more

  • Vladimir Tarasenko selected as NHL 17 cover athlete, first trailer released

    Jared Clinton
    Vladimir Tarasenko (via St. Louis Blues)

    Vladimir Tarasenko has had himself quite a year.

    In the past 365 days, the 24-year-old St. Louis Blues sniper has scored 40 goals for the first time in his NHL career, led the Blues in points with a career-high 74, added nine goals and 15 points in 20 post-season games and helped St. Louis get to the Western Conference final. Oh, and he also signed an eight-year, $60-million contract in there, too.

    As if that wasn’t enough, Tarasenko has earned himself another honor: being the cover athlete of the newest instalment of EA Sports’ NHL franchise. Tarasenko is the second Blue to grace the cover, following Chris Pronger, who was on the cover of NHL 2000.

    “It’s an incredible honor to represent my teammates and all the Blues fans around the world on the cover this year,” Tarasenko said. “As a player, it’s a big deal to be fan selected for something like the Cover Vote, and I’m excited to be involved in the game this year.” Read more

  • Gary Bettman says the Carolina Hurricanes ‘aren’t going anywhere’

    Jared Clinton
    Jeff Skinner (Karl DeBlaker/NHLI via Getty Images)

    There were rumors leading up to Wednesday’s expansion announcement that, with Quebec City having its expansion bid deferred, there was a possibility the Carolina Hurricanes could potentially relocate north of the border. However, commissioner Gary Bettman said there’s no truth to that.

    Speaking following the announcement of expansion to Las Vegas, Bettman was asked about the status of the Hurricanes, who have struggled to fill their arena and have been the subject of rumors for several months.

    “The Carolina Hurricanes aren’t going anywhere,” Bettman said, via Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “They’re not going anywhere.” Read more

  • What to expect from every team’s 2016 draft haul

    Dominik Luszczyszyn
    (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The draft is an exciting time around the NHL. It’s a day of promise and potential. It’s a day where big moves are made. Mostly, it’s a day where the future is shaped and crafted. We won’t truly know what that future holds until it happens, but we can get a sneak peek of it based on the picks that each team holds in the upcoming draft.

    Each pick has a value attached to it, and finding out just how much it’s worth means we can get a brief glimpse into the future and see which teams might see improvements in the upcoming seasons. For this year’s draft, here’s how many players are expected to become NHLers for each team based on the picks they own and each draft pick’s past probability of finding an NHLer (200+ games played) from 1988 to 2007.

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  • This Week in The Hockey News magazine: 2016 Champions Issue

    The Hockey News
    7001Panel

    THN_7001-400It’s our Champions Issue, celebrating the winners from the 2015-16 season. And we commemorate the life of Gordie Howe with a special section dedicated to the man known as Mr. Hockey. Features in the issue include:

    THE FIRST WORD – NHL should honor Gordie Howe with a trophy in his name

    SID & THE KID – One was born to dominate. The other came from humble bloodlines. Both took the Stanley Cup playoffs by storm. Crosby added grit and obsession to an already-full tool belt. Murray showed rookie poise in goal not seen since Dryden. Together, they led Pittsburgh’s championship charge

    STANLEY CUP IN PHOTOS – Sharks, Penguins create heart-stopping and heart-warming snapshots throughout the final

    TOP 10 NHL MOMENTS – John Scott a Cinderella man, Dennis Wideman a marked man in a memorably oddball 2015-16

    CHL CHAMPS – Knights owe crown to skill, chemistry and…dancing?

    AHL CHAMPS – From high school to college to the Calder Cup,  Werenski emerges as Lake Erie’s monster on ‘D’

    ECHL CHAMPS – Two coaches overcome a whirlwind of change and tragedy to defy the odds and reach Kelly Cup final

    KHL CHAMPS – Metallurg reaches summit on the shoulders of mystery man Mozyakin, Russia’s secret star

    FINNISH CHAMPS – Tappara’s Sullen Six finally win it all on fourth try

    SWEDISH CHAMPS – Third Swedish title best yet for ‘the other Lundqvist’

    CWHL CHAMPS – Motherhood helps make Mikkelson a CWHL champ;

    NWHL CHAMPS – Boston Pride do it for Denna to win the Isobel Cup

    WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – Duchene excels in Swiss Army Knife role for Canada; American women have secret to conquering Canucks

    NHL TEAM REPORTS – SCHEIFELE HEAD OF BREAKOUT STAR CLASS FOR 2016-17

    THE LAST WORD – Left-for-dead Rutherford brought Pens back to life

    Pick up a copy at your local newsstand, buy it from the THN store or digitally on your IPad or through Molto, PressReader, Kobo, Google PlayZinio or Nook. You can also subscribe at thehockeynews.com.

  • Mock draft: how will the first round go down in Buffalo?

    Ryan Kennedy
    Jakob Chychrun (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

    We are achingly close to the 2016 draft in Buffalo. The first round is Friday night and there is a lot of anticipation about what might happen. While Auston Matthews will still get his coronation in Toronto, late speculation was casting doubt upon what would follow. Is Winnipeg hot on Jesse Puljujarvi? Does Columbus want to trade the third pick? Personally, I don’t believe any draft rumors that happen in the final week – especially when so many people in the industry were partying in Las Vegas last night – but hey, the draft is unpredictable. Here’s what I see happening in the first round, assuming no trades are made (ha ha, like that’s realistic).

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