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RW Erik Condra signs 3-year contract with Lightning (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:54:45 PDT)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Free agent right wing Erik Condra has signed a three-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Capitals lose Green, add Williams on 1st day of free agency (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 21:08:14 PDT)
The Washington Capitals were busy on the opening day of NHL free agency on Wednesday. The right winger won the Stanley Cup once with the Carolina Hurricanes and twice with the Los Angeles Kings and took the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs in 2014. The 33-year-old had 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) in 81 games with the Kings last season.

Devils sign Moore, Coleman, Thompson, O'Brien (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:01:57 PDT)
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Devils have signed defenseman John Moore to a three-year contract as a free agent.

Panthers land Reilly Smith from Boston for Jimmy Hayes (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:48:54 PDT)
A few hours into free agency, Florida general manager Dale Tallon essentially sounded resigned to the fact that there would be no big splash to make this year. The Panthers bought out the contract of right wing Brad Boyes on Wednesday, added five players shortly after the NHL free agency period opened and then picked up forward Reilly Smith in a trade with the Boston Bruins in exchange for forward Jimmy Hayes. ''We are pleased to welcome Reilly to the Panthers,'' Tallon said.

Lightning make smart little deal with Erik Condra (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:08:59 PDT)
Erik Condra was an usher at Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper’s wedding. Now, he’s going to be a member of Cooper’s NHL team for the next three seasons. Condra left the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday, and is going to cost the Tampa Bay Lightning just $1.25 million against the cap, which is outstanding. Condra had 23 points in 68 games last season, going from a healthy scratch early in the season to being a vital part of a line with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Curtis Lazar. Condra, 28, was a 50 percent Fenwick player last season, slightly better than average on possession for the Senators. He’s going to be used in a defensive role down the lineup for the Lightning, able to play either wing. (One assumes this is just a straight-up younger model replacement for Brenden Morrow.) Just a smart, smart play for GM Steve Yzerman. And of course a reunion with Cooper and Condra, whom he coached as a 17-year old with the Texarkana Bandits of the NAHL. MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Ducks get Kevin Bieksa from Canucks for 2nd-round pick (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:11:29 PDT)
When Bob Murray realized Tuesday that he probably couldn't re-sign defenseman Francois Beauchemin, the Anaheim Ducks' general manager moved swiftly to land a veteran replacement. The Ducks acquired defenseman Kevin Bieksa from the Vancouver Canucks for a second-round pick in the 2016 draft, continuing their roster restocking while avoiding the hefty price tags of free agency. Bieksa has spent his entire 10-year NHL career in Vancouver, compiling 56 goals and 185 assists in 597 games while developing a reputation as a tough-nosed, physical defenseman.

NHL teams more cautious going into free agency (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 30 Jun 2015 13:54:46 PDT)
''It's not a great group,'' Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said recently. Options are out there, such as center Antoine Vermette, wingers Matt Beleskey and Justin Williams, defensemen Mike Green and Christian Ehrhoff and goaltender Karri Ramo. ''You can't grab four or five guys every year and try to be successful,'' Hextall said.

Grading the Draft - Part 2 (Rotoworld)
(Tue, 30 Jun 2015 07:31:00 PDT)
Corey Abbott breaks down the picks and trades for the Atlantic and Central divisions.

Charlottetown Islanders hire Jim Hulton after his strong run in USHL (Buzzing The Net)
(Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:48:28 PDT)

What We Learned: NHL Draft report cards (and Boston's near failure) (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 29 Jun 2015 06:57:10 PDT)
The first thing you have to say about what the Bruins have done this offseason is that it's all an overreaction. Were they an elite team to the level they had been from, say, 2010-2014? No, obviously not. Many of the bad habits they picked up during that time — trading very useful or even great players, overpaying depth, believing that their “identity” was what made them effective, etc. — festered and eventually infected the organizational brain. But luck was certainly a factor in what has driven more or less every decision in this bizarre summer. Last season, they went 4-10 in the shootout. That's a luck problem, because you're supposed to go about .500, because you're supposed to shoot about 30-33 percent; the Bruins shot 15 percent, second-worst in the league behind only — you guessed it — unlucky Los Angeles. Tuukka Rask also posted the worst save percentage he's seen in four seasons. And while .922 is still in the upper echelon of the league (and you really can't legitimately ask for better than .922 from anyone), that also played a role. The Bruins missed the playoffs by two points, and also suffered at the hands of an unsustainable run from Ottawa, over which they didn't have much control. Did they look punchless down the stretch? Yes and no. From March 15 through the end of the season, they went 5-4-4, which isn't a run that a Bruins team at the height of its powers would go on when it was pushing for something. Even this season, in fact, wringing just 12 points from a 13-game stretch would be very unlikely. But they played the last 10 games of the season without Dougie Hamilton, which is a major problem because as has been discussed before , Dougie Hamilton is already a clear No. 1 defenseman. That hurts, especially because of how bad the Bruins blue line is beyond Hamilton and Zdeno Chara. Or, rather, was. On Friday afternoon in what will likely prove a legendary fleecing from Brad Treliving, the Bruins traded Hamilton to Calgary for three picks, only one of which was in the first round, because he wanted more money than they were prepared to give him and indeed could give him based upon their cap constraints. Some reports had that money in the $5.5 million to $6.5 million range — a number that certainly doesn't strike a reasonable person as untoward given that, again, we're talking about a top-20 or so defenseman in the entire league already who's also about two months older than Exciting Young Player and new teammate Johnny Gaudreau. It also doesn't seem untoward based on what the Bruins currently pay a lot of the defensemen on their roster. For instance, if Dennis Seidenberg is worth $4 million until he's 36, are Hamilton's age-23 through, say, age-28 seasons not worth 40-60 percent more than that? Certainly, the extension given to Adam McQuaid (four years at $2.75 million per) indicates that old willingness to overpay for toughness — sorry, “identity” — while shunning high-level talent and trading it away for pennies on the dollar. Hamilton is worth at least two McQuaids, and probably more. There's Boston precedent here, but it's not a good one to follow. Peter Chiarelli — fired at the start of the offseason for doing precisely this kind of thing with regularity — dug into the couch cushions to give Torey Krug $3.4 million but his successor, having learned the value of, what, fiscal responsibility or something, wouldn't let 28-year-old bottom-pairing defenseman McQuaid walk to squeeze just a bit more out of the cap situation. And instead gave him a fat raise. The Bruins' fourth and fifth from last season (Torey Krug and McQuaid) now cost more than $6 million, but they didn't want to pay Hamilton for some reason. You can quibble about Hamilton's value vis a vis his asking price (and you'd be wrong, but you can do it) but his on-ice value to the Bruins cannot be questioned. Without him — and with the acknowledgement that Sweeney knows more about his own plans than any of us do — the Bruins currently have one (1) top-four defenseman signed for next season: 126-year-old Zdeno Chara. Seidenberg has the reputation of still being valuable, but he is not. Krug can only be used in low-danger situations because he has an incomplete game. Putting McQuaid out against decent competition is done at your peril. Kevan Miller is barely an NHLer. Who knows what Joe Morrow, Zach Trotman, and newly acquired Colin Miller are at this level? But you'd certainly want one of them trying to replace the minutes vacated by a departing McQuaid instead of a long-gone 22-year-old cornerstone defenseman. (Also of note: Sweeney turned down a slightly better deal from Edmonton than it got from Calgary for the Hamilton trade. Why? Because they tried to make Peter Chiarelli throw in Darnell Nurse, just because he's Peter Chiarelli and he just got fired. Spite shouldn't enter into this stuff but here we are, I guess. It was nothing if not predictable.) There's not a lot of work left for Don Sweeney to do this summer beyond extend a few RFAs. But there are still so many questions about the Bruins' defense situation —they have six defensemen signed with $7.2 million in open cap space, plus Marc Savard's injury replacement money —  but again, they're almost certainly going to slot in low-cost youth to fill out many of those holes. Morrow, Trotman, and Miller will probably compete for at least one of those D spots, and maybe a cheapish UFA acquisition gets into the mix. Extensions for Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly bump up the Bruins forward corps to 12, plus another possible UFA maybe. And that, of course, is necessitated by the Milan Lucic trade, which Boston should have made three years ago. Back then, Lucic was 24 and coming off seasons in which he scored 30 and then 26 goals in just 160 games total. Over the last three, he's got just 59 in 207. This is basically the definition of selling low, but the haul Sweeney pulled out of what can only be described as a Los Angeles club desperate to replace the departing Justin Williams. He'll probably be a good running buddy for Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar, and might even threaten to kill someone on the Ducks. So the Bruins got LA's first-round pick, sought-after goalie Martin Jones (who was traded because he deserves a bigger runout and must therefore be thrilled to go from backing up Jonathan Quick to backing up Rask), and the aforementioned Colin Miller, an AHL defenseman who seems ready to take the next step. So Jones is now Rask's backup, and he's likely to be a little pricier than Malcolm Subban. One wonders, though, if this is a test for trying to find someone who wants to take on the Rask contract instead if Jones can indeed play at a high level with more minutes. If so, maybe he, and not the 28-year-old former Vezina winner (signed until he's 33 at a $7 million cap hit) is the Bruins' goalie of the future. But it's important to keep in mind that the Bruins continue to claim they want to compete for a playoff spot next year. If so, these moves are uniformly curious, because they both make the Bruins immediately worse than they were last season and don't really do much to yank the team out of cap hell (given that they retained $2.75 million of Lucic's $6 million cap hit). The idea that Jones might — and again, we can't know Sweeney's future plans here — split time with Rask more evenly than Rask did with Niklas Svedberg or Jones did with Quick should be damaging to those postseason aspirations. Remember, Rask had a down year at .922; Jones's career save percentage is .923 in just 34 games. This doesn't even get into the idea that Sweeney, using the Nos. 13, 14, and 15 picks got guys often projected to go around Nos. 15, 28, and 40. While it's all well and good to pick three times in the first round and “get your guys,” going off the board that hard in a draft this deep strikes one as worrisome. Even the broadcasters on the draft, who try to be diplomatic at the very least, had a hard time spinning those picks in anything resembling Sweeney's favor. If you're worried about paying Hamilton because of the cap constraints, fine. But with the Lucic trade, even considering the retained salary, there was immediately more than enough room to sign him at whatever his allegedly unreasonable (but probably not, in a sane world) number was. Maybe the Lucic trade doesn't happen without the Hamilton trade, but that seems unlikely. They appear wholly independent. And that's what's most troubling here, especially because Sweeney — clearly being picked on by more veteran GMs — wasn't given the ability to move up even with all those mid-first-round picks. Would he have liked Noah Hanifin? Clearly. Probably would've settled for Ivan Provorov or Zach Werenski. But he was forced to use three straight choices and while he got “his guys,” there are wholly reasonable doubts “his guys,” even three years down the line, begin to scratch the surface of what a Hamilton provides to this team now, three years from now, and 10 years from now. The Bruins' window to be truly Cup-competitive was closing, no doubt about it. Sweeney slammed it shut on Friday. And that he still hasn't opened up shop and put price tags on guys like Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson, David Krejci, Rask, and so on as well — all of whom will be at least 28 by the time next season begins but still hold significant value suggests he has little idea of how to proceed from here. Boston is worse today than it was last week, even ignoring the necessary Carl Soderberg swap (because you gotta pay Chris Kelly and Reilly Smith, right?). That means the clearly unlucky playoff miss last season — which got Sweeney the job in the first place — is now more likely to happen again. While looking for upgrades wasn't going to work given the cap issues, standing pat as best as possible would have been wise. But this, whatever this is, shows a lack of direction and, perhaps, understanding. What We Learned (Draft grades edition) Anaheim Ducks : Carl Hagelin will make a great addition to the Getzlaf/Perry line, and Anton Khudobin is a bargain pickup. But thinning out the blue line by shipping James Wisniewski probably wasn't the brightest idea but you gotta give to get, as they say, and goaltending was a bigger concern. I'm wait-and-see on the Palmieri trade but I don't think it was particularly wise since they got so little back. C+ Arizona Coyotes : They got Dylan Strome, which isn't a bad start, and then did a thing that was good — for them, not the league — in taking on the Chris Pronger contract to get closer to the cap floor without actually having to shell out the money for the cap hit. I mean, it's revolting that teams are able and/or allowed to do this, but that's the CBA and as the budget-est of budget teams, this is what Arizona is always going to try to do. Their new jersey isn't as good as their old one though. B Boston Bruins : Here's Fluto Shinzawa expertly going in on the team's horrible weekend , which only got away from a failing grade by getting a decent return for Lucic and because at least one of those three first-round picks kind of has to turn into a legit NHL player, right? I mean, you'd hope so. And that Chiarelli tax was beyond stupid. D- Buffalo Sabres : Add Jack Eichel, check. Add Ryan O'Reilly, check. Add Robin Lehner, check. Add some umm grit and leadership, check. You don't often see draft weekends that go this well . Tim Murray didn't put his foot down in the wrong place once, and improved his team both now and in the future. A+ Calgary Flames : Except you almost saw it happen twice in one weekend. The Flames got a franchise defenseman (which now gives them three, by the way) for a song, then got D prospects Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington late, which is effectively found money on two guys who were projected to go much higher than they did. The Flames went into this weekend with no real defensive depth in their system , and now this. It was a great couple of days for Brad Treliving. A Carolina Hurricanes : Ron Francis did a good job of upgrading both the current on-ice product (I like both Lack and Wisniewski as NHL contributors) and got a steal in Noah Hanifin at No. 5. But I'm a little dubious of Carolina's clear intention to usher Hanifin into the bigs at 18 — he won't be 19 until January — because so few guys are able to do that. Odds that two rookie defensemen can in a two-year period seem low. B- Chicago : They seem to really like the guy they got at 54, but when that's your first pick of the draft it's hard to get excited about anything. And that Rannta-for-Haggerty deal? It was fine I guess. C Colorado Avalanche : Didn't really have much of a choice but to trade O'Reilly — and also overpay Carl Soderberg ? — but the return they got back was solid (for me, Grigorenko got a raw deal and Zadorov is a strong defensive prospect), and they also got Mikko Rantanen as a very nice future. Losing O'Reilly hurts, though. B- Columbus Blue Jackets : The acknowledgement is they needed blue line help , and while it's not as immediate as they probably would have liked, the two defensemen they got in the first round look pretty solid. Zach Werenski especially. But again, he's probably not NHL-ready or anything right now, so Jarmo Kekalainen probably has more work to do this week. B Dallas Stars : If Denis Gurianov can be as exciting as Valeri Nichushkin, you take that. I don't get the Antti Niemi trade at all, though. Why pay your goalies a combined $10-plus million, even if you're that worried last season wasn't a fluke for Kari Lehtonen? Doesn't make sense. C- Detroit Red Wings : Well, the Wings finally got a right-shot defenseman . And they drafted a few Europeans so everyone could ooo and ahh over how brilliant they are. Wait and see? Nah, they drafted Pavel Datsyuk in the seventh round one time! They have this stuff figured out. B

Sharks still searching for starting goalie following draft (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 27 Jun 2015 14:59:14 PDT)
The San Jose Sharks ended the NHL draft with one of the biggest needs they had entering the weekend: finding a starting goaltender. Instead of acquiring one of the several goalies who changed teams this weekend, the Sharks instead traded the negotiating rights to their former starter Antti Niemi to Dallas for a seventh-round pick Saturday. Niemi was set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1 and was not expected to re-sign with San Jose.

Senators trade defenseman Eric Gryba to Oilers (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 27 Jun 2015 10:02:50 PDT)
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- The Ottawa Senators traded Eric Gryba to the Edmonton Oilers for prospect Travis Ewanyk and the 107th pick in the draft on Saturday.

Senators draft pick hilariously snubs Gary Bettman's handshake attempt (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 26 Jun 2015 21:38:35 PDT)
Colin White, congratulations. You just did what every hockey fan has always wanted to do. You snubbed Gary Bettman’s handshake.  Behold the amazing video of this shunning in live action when the Ottawa Senators picked White, an American born forward, No. 21 overall (S/t Wade McAdam ): The best part about this is White going up to Bettman as if to shake his hand and then turning away. PSYCHE! He probably shook Bettman’s hand first and then opted to not do it again. Sadly, the Vine doesn’t show this maybe happening. Editing perhaps? Also, the kid just got drafted. His mind was probably all over the place.  Bettman is the one commissioner of a major pro sports league who seems to not just get booed, but also revel in the booing. One day he shall put his hand to his ear during the boos . And it will be glorious. As for a scouting report on White, Neate Sager from our Buzzing the Net notes White is a two-way player, though there are questions about his offensive upside. Said The Hockey Writers on White: A determined and diligent worker in all three zones, White is that all-around forward that every team wants to have in their lineup. He isn’t the most elegant skater, but he’s patient with the puck and gets the job done in the offensive zone. White will outwait opponents to set up his teammates. He can score goals, too, however he doesn’t have the quickest shot or release and relies more on his stickhandling. Now we can add ‘doesn’t know handshake timing’ into his repertoire of skills. - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Ottawa Senators nab Saint John's Thomas Chabot, Boston College-bound Colin White (Buzzing The Net)
(Fri, 26 Jun 2015 18:37:06 PDT)

NHL-National Hockey League roundup
(Fri, 26 Jun 2015 17:04:35 PDT)
The Boston Bruins made two deals on Friday, sending defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a first-round pick and two second-round picks in the 2015 NHL Draft and then shipping forward Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings. In the deal for Lucic, the Bruins acquired the Kings' No. 13 overall pick in the 2015 draft, goaltender Martin Jones and prospect Colin Miller.

NHL-List of first overall NHL draft picks
(Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:46:38 PDT)
June 26 (Reuters) - List of first overall National Hockey League draft picks: 2015 - Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers 2014 - Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers 2013 - Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche 2012 - Nail Yakupov, Edmonton Oilers 2011 - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers 2010 - Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers 2009 - John Tavares - New York Islanders 2008 - Steve Stamkos - Tampa Bay Lightning 2007 - Patrick Kane - Chicago Blackhawks 2006 - Erik Johnson - St. ...

2015 NHL Draft: First Round (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:22:00 PDT)
The Rotoworld staff gives you live pick-by-pick analysis of the first round of the NHL Draft.

Predators' Fisher signs 2-year deal to stay in Nashville (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:33:30 PDT)
Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher signed a two-year, $8.8 million contract Friday. The contract will pay Fisher $4.8 million in 2015-16 and $4 million in 2016-17. ''It's a great organization, a great team, good guys,'' Fisher said.

Sabres trade 1st-round pick to Senators for goalie Lehner (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 26 Jun 2015 08:48:27 PDT)
Before selecting Buffalo's forward of the future with the No. 2 draft pick, Sabres general manager Tim Murray addressed another need: goalie. Murray traded the 21st pick - the second of Buffalo's two first-round selections - to the Ottawa Senators to acquire goalie Robin Lehner and forward David Legwand on Friday morning. The deal was announced hours before the first-round of the NHL draft opens in Sunrise, Florida.

Robin Lehner traded to Sabres, Ottawa gets first-round pick (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 26 Jun 2015 07:26:54 PDT)
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Ottawa Senators had a tough decision on their hands in goal. They had Andrew Hammond, last season’s second-half sensation, on a new three-year deal. They had Craig Anderson, the 34-year-old veteran that can be downright dominant for stretches. And they had 23-year-old Robin Lehner, one-time goalie of the future who had suddenly become a palpable trading chip for the team.   GM Bryan Murray wanted two high picks for Lehner’s services. He ended up getting one: The 21st pick in Friday night’s NHL Draft from the Buffalo Sabres, as Lehner and center David Legwand were sent across the border to his nephew Tim Murray’s team.   The Ottawa Sun reported that the Sabres were the frontrunner for Lehner’s services because Tim Murray was the assistant general manager in Ottawa when the team drafted him. Lehner was 9-12-3 in 25 games last season before an injury cut his campaign short. He had a .905 save percentage and a 3.02 GAA. He's signed through 2016-17 with a $2.225 million cap hit and is an RFA after that. He had a chance to stake a claim for the Ottawa starting gig back in 2014 when Anderson was injured, but couldn’t quite put together his unquestionable skill with a steady confidence. The Senators instead signed both Lehner and Anderson to new contracts. Then Hammond arrived on the scene last season and, well, no one was throwing hamburgers on the ice for Lehner. What does this signal for the Sabres? Well, that Murray views Lehner as a potential goalie of the future for a team that’s deep into a rebuild. And that using that pick at No. 21 on a 23-year-old with NHL experience was better than using it on Ilya Samsonov, the top-rated goalie in the draft who will spend the next two seasons in the KHL. A bit of overpayment for Buffalo? Perhaps, but that’s only going be determined by how well Lehner ends up playing in his new environs.   MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY  

Senators agree to terms with Stone, Zibanejad (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 25 Jun 2015 16:17:30 PDT)
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) -- The Ottawa Senators agreed to contracts with restricted free-agent forwards Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad on Thursday.

2015 NHL Draft Tracker: First-Round Picks & Profiles (Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:07:22 PDT)
2015 NHL draft: Follow the team-by-team selections in the first round of the draft, with profiles on each pick provided by Buzzing The Net blogger Neate Sager.

NHL Awards Ballot: Greg Wyshynski reveals his 2015 votes (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:23:29 PDT)
The Professional Hockey Writers Association decided this year that its members would withhold publishing their ballots for each award until after that unbearable smoldering train-wreck of a show was over, so enterprising fans couldn’t piece together who won through a small sample of the votes.  To be honest, it actually worked. Without half the membership spilling the beans on their top picks and runners-up, the wins for Erik Karlsson (Norris), Aaron Ekblad (Calder) and Jiri Hudler (Byng) were surprises, albeit mild ones. So as much as I enjoy filling time with awards ballot debates leading up the show, I might agree that trading them in for a scintilla of suspense is beneficial. The other issue, of course, is transparency, and that’s where I’m at odds with some of the PHWA membership. Members can keep their ballots secret. I completely understand the idea that keeping ballots secret can be good for the process. Beat writers, for example, never have to feel pressure from the teams they cover to cast a vote a certain way, or harm relationships when they don’t. (Remember, these things go beyond trophies: It’s also about bonus money, etc., and that’s a whole different kettle of monkeys when it comes to the media voting on these things.) I also understand that it’s a giant hassle to have fans, in this social media age, nitpicking every vote you cast. That said, we’re journalists. We spend more hours defending our work to critics than we do sleeping in a given week. Unless you’re approaching this honor with complete ennui, you should be able to defend the fact that you left Drew Doughty off your Norris ballot or didn’t cast a vote for Carey Price in the Hart race, which two voters didn't, for some reason. ("GOALIES" probably.) Anyway, I’m all for shedding light on the dark corners of the process. Here’s my ballot for the 2015 NHL Awards. (You can find Puck Daddy's Sean Leahy's ballot here  and here is Josh Cooper's awards ballot as well. ) HART TROPHY ("to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team")  1. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens 2. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals 3. Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild 4. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks 5. John Tavares, New York Islanders “Goalie bias” is the only reason Price doesn’t win and, frankly, is the reason why Dubnyk wasn’t in the top three, because no one had a more transformative effect on his team other than Price. (Sample size is a reasonable counterargument, however.) NORRIS TROPHY ("to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position") 1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators 2. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings 3. P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens 4. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks 5. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators Again, Karlsson is just on another level as far as offensive domination and his defensive game is improving every season. Does he make mistakes? Yes. Can he cover those mistakes with speed like no one other than Keith in the NHL? All game. It’s funny: Some of the Blackhawks players I asked bristled when I inferred that Keith was underrated. He finished seventh in the voting. So, yeah…  CALDER TROPHY ("to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition") 1. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers 2. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames 3. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators 4. Mark Stone, Ottawa Senators 5. John Klingberg, Dallas Stars Admittedly, I’d have flip-flopped Stone and Forsberg if I could do this again. I think part of this was the recency bias that I felt really tarnished the accomplishments of the Nashville Predators, because they had the nerve to be really, really good at the start of the season. (See also: Laviolette, Peter.) But no rookie was more impressive than Ekblad, and no rookie was more dazzling than Johnny Hockey. This group went beyond the usual “rookie scoring leader means Calder winner” paradigm. LADY BYNG TROPHY ("to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability") 1. Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames 2. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings 3. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings 4. Ryan O’Reilly, Colorado Avalanche 5. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks I went with the other boring guy on the Flames. I’m glad Hudler won. His speech was the only thing on the NHL Awards that resembled impromptu comedy. SELKE TROPHY ("to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game") 1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins 2. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks 3. David Backes, St. Louis Blues 4. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings 5. Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks This is going to be a Datsyukian run for Bergeron for this award. He’s just a shade better than Toews, who would win this award every season were it not for Bergeron. Backes ended up fourth in the voting. Hossa was seventh, actually finishing behind Max Pacioretty on the wing NHL All-Star Team CENTER Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks John Tavares, New York Islanders Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins RIGHT WING  Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks LEFT WING Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals Rick Nash, New York Rangers DEFENSE Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks Shea Weber, Nashville Predators Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins GOALTENDER Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild If you missed the All-Star Team results, they’re here. No one really cares about this thing unless the PHWA screws up and lists Ovechkin twice, but here are my votes. NHL All-Rookie Team FORWARD Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators Mark Stone, Ottawa Senators DEFENSE Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers John Klingberg, Dallas Stars GOAL Michael Hutchinson, Winnipeg Jets I had the whole group save for the goalie, as Jake Allen becomes a two-time all-rookie team member. You read that right. So there’s my ballot. I take this stuff really seriously, as do the vast majority of PHWA members. It’s an honor to have a vote, and we want to get it right. And by that I mean not do things like give Randy Carlyle a vote for the Jack Adams. Silly broadcasters…

Puck Daddy's 11 can't-miss dates of the 2015-16 NHL season (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 25 Jun 2015 07:40:34 PDT)
The 2014-15 NHL campaign ended 10 days ago and now it’s already time to look forward to next season. As we come down from the tour de force that was the NHL Awards show Wednesday night and prepare ourselves for Round 1 of the NHL Draft Friday night, the league dropped the 2015-16 schedule on us Thursday morning, so start planning those road trips. Some notes about the schedule:  • The regular season begins Oct. 7 and ends Sat. April 9. • The Christmas break is from Dec. 23-25 • Super Saturday on the final day of the regular season! Here are 11 dates to mark on your calendar as appointment viewing: Oct. 7, 2015 New York Rangers at Chicago Blackhawk s It’s opening night league-wide and in what’s becoming a pretty regular thing, the Blackhawks will raise their third Stanley Banner in six seasons during their home opener against the Rangers. The roster on the ice for the pre-game ceremony will have plenty of new faces and who knows how many players who helped them capture the Stanley Cup earlier this month will be wearing different uniforms come October.  Oct. 8, 2015 Edmonton Oilers at St. Louis Blues Connor McDavid makes his NHL debut as angels sing from the Scottrade Center rafters and doves fly through the crowd signaling the arrival of The Next One. Seriously, no pressure, kid. Ottawa Senators at Buffalo Sabres  Meanwhile, in Buffalo, Jack Eichel begins his NHL career on what will be a revamped Sabres roster as the crowd dons their I LIKE EICH t-shirts and the nightly comparisions to McDavid begin. Oct. 9, 2015 Toronto Maple Leafs at Detroit Red Wings For the first time in 10 years, the Red Wings will have a new head coach when they start the season. Gone is Mike Babcock and replacing him is Jeff Blashill, who manned their AHL’s team’s bench for the past three seasons. It’ll certainly be odd seeing Babcock behind the Leafs bench and the entire day will be a lovefest to the coach to helped guide them to the 2008 Stanley Cup title. Maybe the Red Wings’ tribute video will just be three-minutes of angry Babcock stares from over the years? Chicago Blackhawks at New York Islanders Now it’s really going to sink in: Nassau Coliseum is no longer the home of the Islanders. When the Blackhawks come visit, the Islanders will officially open their new barn. They’ve already played two preseason games at Barclays Center over the last two seasons and have three more in September before things get real. It will still be odd to see the Islanders playing a home game in a non-decrepit building. Dec. 6, 2015 Buffalo Sabres at Edmonton Oilers The first meeting of McEichel, which will soon become this decades version of Crosby/Ovechkin, where both will be featured prominently on NBC programming.  Jan 1, 2016 Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins   Everyone loves a good rivalry and what the Canadiens and Bruins have developed over the years is nothing short of intense. So it makes sense for NBC and the NHL to pit the two in the annual New Year’s Day outdoor game, which will take place at Gillette Stadium. Jan. 10, 2016 Buffalo Sabres at Winnipeg Jets The Sabres will have a revamped roster on the ice and behind the bench when they start the 2015-16 season. From Dan Bylsma to Jack Eichel to whoever GM Tim Murray brings in during free agency, but one game to circle on the calendar is Evander Kane’s return to Winnipeg. The forward’s time with the Jets came to an end after TracksuitGate and season-ending shoulder surgery, both led to a March trade. Aside from the warm welcome Kane will likely receive, how many Jets fans will be donning track suits that night?

Senators sign Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad to smart deals (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 25 Jun 2015 07:19:59 PDT)
Mark Stone didn’t win the Calder Trophy on Wednesday night – the right guy did – but he did win something else while in Vegas: a new contract from the Ottawa Senators.  It’s a three-year deal with an average cap hit of $3.5 million. His salary structure: $2.25 million, $3.75 million and $4.5 million in the final season. The deal makes Stone the fourth-highest-paid forward on the team based on cap hit, tied with linemate Kyle Turris, who is two years older at 25. Stone had 26 goals and 38 assists last season, while Turris had 24 goals and 40 assists, his best offensive season in the NHL. Stone and Turris will have the same money and the same term through 2017-18. This is probably not a coincidence. The Sens also signed center Mika Zibanejad, 22, to a new two-year deal worth $2.625 million against the cap. He’ll make $2 million this season and $3.25 million in 2016-17, and will be an RFA at the end of his deal (as will Stone, incidentally). He hit 20 goals and 26 assists last season in 80 games, even with a flat finish (1 goal and 2 assists in his last 10 games, despite the team being on fire). He’s starting to put it together, possessing enormous offensive talent. They’ve been patient with him. Here’s Bruce Garrioch’s take: Getting Stone signed was key. He finished tied for the rookie scoring lead with 64 points and was a finalist for the Calder Trophy, which went to Florida defenceman Aaron Ekblad last night at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas. As for Zibanejad, he hasn’t come into his own yet, but he’s shown great potential and is headed in the right direction. And in the case of both: If things don’t work out, they’re very portable contracts for players that still have RFA status.  I like the Stone deal, because I like Stone. From an analytics perspective, he makes Turris exponentially better than others on the Sens' roster. He's not going to win you any speed skating medals, but he's got a hockey sense that earned him top line minutes and will likely keep him there. And $3.5 million is a decent enough hit -- just ahead of what Ondrej Palat got in a similar situation last year. MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Erie Otters sold at auction for $7.225 million US, will stay put (Buzzing The Net)
(Thu, 25 Jun 2015 07:18:40 PDT)

Awkward NHL Awards interviews (pt.1): Karlsson, Price, Tavares, Gaudreau, Dubnyk, Laviolette, Hanks (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 25 Jun 2015 00:46:52 PDT)
LAS VEGAS - Interviews from any red carpet at any event can be one of two things: 1) boring as heck or 2) super awkward. Naturally, I chose to go for the latter and catch some of hockey's finest talking about anything but hockey. This is part one of two in a series of whimsical (and yes, awkward) interviews from the red carpet at the NHL Awards. Up first we have Erik Karlsson, Carey Price, John Tavares, Johnny Gaudreau, Devan Dubnyk, Peter Laviolette, and Colin Hanks. Enjoy!

Mark Messier finally gives Mark Messier Leadership Award to Jonathan Toews (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 24 Jun 2015 22:13:59 PDT)
LAS VEGAS – Mark Messier gave in and selected Jonathan Toews for the Mark Messier Leadership Award, presented and selected by Mark Messier and sponsored by a tire company.  Toews inexplicably had not won the award, which started in 2007, in spite of being the NHL’s top leader since oh … he won his first Stanley Cup in 2010 with the Blackhawks. That’s five times Mess didn’t pick Toews since that Cup. Andrew Ladd and Ryan Getzlaf were the other nominees, selected by Mark Messier.  Toews was snubbed in both of his Cup years, like big time. In 2010 Sidney Crosby won the award. Why? It’s not like he did anything super leader-like that year. Toews only captained a team to its first championship in 49 years – not like Mess knows a thing or two about leading a long suffering franchise to a championship. Oh wait, there was that one time… And then in 2013, Mess chose Daniel Alfredsson. Alfredsson then did a very leader-like thing in leaving the Ottawa Senators in free agency shortly after. In fairness, Messier did leave the Rangers as a UFA in 1997.  So Mess, how do you define leadership and what’s it like trying to find a winner? “It’s so complicated, the process, because you have to look at what’s going on on the ice and then of course what’s going on off the ice,” Mess said. “That’s what the leadership award really symbolizes, is leadership on and off the ice.” Why had he not picked Toews before? “It all started with Jonathan coming in there, taking over the leadership role, and good things have followed ever since,” Mess said. “It’s been working towards this moment for a long time in my opinion, and it couldn’t be happier with our choice. And certainly more than worthy of the nomination and the award today.” So basically, one Stanley Cup wasn’t enough. Two? Nah, not yet. Three, yeah that’s the sweet spot to finally be recognized.  Did Toews feel like he had to equal Messier's six to finally win? There is also a charitable element to the award which was brought up. His video from earlier in the year buying Girl Scout cookies from a 5-year-old Hawks fan was adorable.  Toews seemed pumped to finally win the Mess.  “It’s hard for me to believe and it’s almost something you feel bashful or I guess embarrassed is the wrong word,” he said. “It’s something you don’t feel worthy of. It’s an incredible honor.” There does have to be some variety I guess. Mess can't give it to Toews every year, right? Well, if Toews had a 'Messier Incentive' in his contract, he finally hit it Wednesday.  - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Carey Price wins Hart, Vezina, Lindsay honors at NHL Awards (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 24 Jun 2015 19:42:34 PDT)
Carey Price came away from the NHL Awards show with a hat trick. The Montreal Canadiens' record-setting goalie claimed the Hart Trophy, the Vezina Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award at the NHL's annual postseason bash Wednesday night. Price also shared the already-announced Jennings Trophy with Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, and his hefty haul of hardware capped one of the greatest regular seasons for a goalie in NHL history.

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk wins 2015 Masterton Trophy (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 24 Jun 2015 17:55:21 PDT)
Devan Dubnyk had a heckua a year. From looking like he would be a career backup to turning his season around after a trade to the Minnesota Wild, the netminder is about to cash in on a new deal and just won the 2015 Masterton Trophy, as voted on by the PHWA. Last season Dubnyk was traded from Nashville - where he was beat out by Carter Hutton for the backup job - to the Montreal Canadiens, essentially for nothing and assigned to Montreal's AHL affiliate in Hamilton. We asked him about how he felt the day he was traded and how far he has come since then.  "When you’re in Hamilton and you’re back on the bus and rotating three guys, it’s tough to see past that I guess. You try to but when you’re in it, it’s real tough to see past it. I think the best thing is to get a break from the season and get that chance in the summer to reflect on everything that had happened and why it happened and like I said up there, you realize how lucky you are to have these people in your life," he said. "They’re there for you no matter what happens or what you’re doing, if you’re playing hockey or playing good or bad at whatever you’re doing. It’s not going to change. When you realize that you can take the pressure off and go play and I’m fortunate enough to have people around me like that." As for the contract, "Not much of an update. Nothing from the last time we spoke. I had a good conversation with (Wild GM) Chuck (Fletcher) yesterday morning. Again, the biggest thing to reiterate, there's been a lot more made of it than here is. Both sides are still very positive and feel the same way.  I want to be there and they want me there. If that's the case, there should be a way to get it done." From the NHL: Dubnyk earned his team’s Masterton Trophy nomination on the strength of a remarkable second-half run. Eight points outside of a playoff spot when he made his team debut on Jan. 15, the 29-year-old backstopped the Wild -- his fifth NHL organization in the past two seasons -- to their third consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Dubnyk, who set a franchise record with 38 straight starts following his acquisition from Arizona, went 27-9-2 with a 1.78 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and five shutouts after joining the Wild. Overall, he finished the season second in the NHL with a 2.07 goals-against average and .929 save percentage and was voted a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the League’s top goaltender. A $2,500 grant from the PHWA is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minnesota, in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner. Dubnyk beat out Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Andrew Hammond of the Ottawa Senators. He’s also the second Wild goaltender in three seasons to win the award after Josh Harding took home the trophy in 2013. Next up for Dubnyk is a new deal, which the Wild hopes is with them. Earlier this week, the netminder said talks were going good and the hold up seemed to be salary cap related, not term or dollar amount.  - - - - - - - Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

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