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Report: Ducks sign Holzer to 2-year deal

Report: Ducks sign Holzer to 2-year deal

26/06/2017, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 22964090

The Anaheim Ducks made a move to shore up their blue line Sunday, signing rearguard Korbinian Holzer to a two-year contract extension, according to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.

Holzer, 29, only suited up in 32 contests last season for Anaheim, registering seven points, 71 hits, and 34 blocked shots while averaging 13:31 in ice time.

The former fourth-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs plays a bottom-pairing role on a Ducks squad littered with talent on the back end, providing some depth for Randy Carlyle's club.

Prior to the extension, Holzer was slated to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

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Report: Lightning reach out to Shattenkirk

Report: Lightning reach out to Shattenkirk

26/06/2017, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 22962953

Let the Kevin Shattenkirk sweepstakes begin.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were among a slew of clubs to check in on the soon-to-be unrestricted free-agent defenseman Sunday, sources told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.

Shattenkirk is the biggest prize in a relatively weak free-agent class this summer, so it's no surprise that he has multiple suitors, but it's interesting to see the Lightning involved even in a preliminary capacity.

Tampa Bay was the Eastern Conference club that nearly landed Shattenkirk in a seven-year, $42-million sign-and-trade agreement back in January before he turned it down, according to Smith and as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jeremy Rutherford believed at the time.

The window for teams to contact pending UFAs officially opened Sunday.

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5 best flows from the NHL draft

5 best flows from the NHL draft

26/06/2017, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 22962408

The NHL Entry Draft is a rite of passage for the game's future stars.

An opportunity to experience a moment of a lifetime with family, friends, and of course, throngs of hockey executives eager to find their next impact player or diamond in the rough.

It's also an excellent opportunity for these kids to show off their impressive hairstyles before prolonged helmet head and old age sets in.

Here are the five best flows from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Nico Hischier

The top pick in this year's draft also has some top-notch flow. If Hischier takes as much care with the puck as he does with his hair, the New Jersey Devils got themselves a good one.

Drake Rymsha

First of all, the sheer amount of product it takes to keep this look together is impressive enough to make the list. Pulling the whole thing off, however, makes Rymsha's selection a slam dunk.

Timothy Liljegren

We'll see how long Liljegren's locks last in Toronto, as Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello enforces a rule against unruly hair.

Robin Salo

Salo's mop matches quite well with his Islanders color scheme, but it looks like a trip to the ol' barber shop is in store for the youngster quite soon.

Noel Hoefenmayer

There's something slightly sinister about Hoefenmayer's hairdo, but that doesn't change the fact that the kid definitely has some sweet flow.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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Look: Yankees give Hischier the VIP treatment

Look: Yankees give Hischier the VIP treatment

26/06/2017, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 22960861

New Jersey Devils prospect Nico Hischier is already reaping the benefits of being selected first overall in the NHL draft.

Just 48 hours after being named the top selection, the New York Yankees welcomed the 18-year-old to Yankee Stadium ahead of their matinee against the Texas Rangers on Sunday and gave him the full VIP experience.

Hischier got to take the field pregame and meet the entire Yankees coaching staff, including manager Joe Girardi.

He also got to meet general manager Brian Cashman, with whom he exchanged jerseys.

Of course, this was all with family by his side.

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Boudreau still thinks Wild will make a trade

Boudreau still thinks Wild will make a trade

26/06/2017, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 22959898

NHL draft weekend came and went without the Minnesota Wild making a deal for one of their five defensemen.

It was a big surprise to much of the league, including head coach Bruce Boudreau, who texted someone from the draft floor on Friday night saying: "Is no one making any moves?" according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune.

Many had defenseman Marco Scandella pegged as the most likely candidate to be moved, but as we speak, he remains with the club. All that aside, Boudreau is still under the impression general manager Chuck Fletcher will pull something off by the time the 2017-18 season kicks off.

"Something's going to happen. I just don't know what it is," Boudreau said. "Chuck's playing his cards close to his vest. But I've got to believe something will happen. Whether it happens today or in a month from now, I don't think he's in a hurry unless he gets what he wants to get."

Until then, Boudreau and Wild fans will have to wait. However, July 1 is quickly approaching and while the Wild aren't expected to be in on many of the top fish in free agency, the club is looking to fill out its fourth line and are hoping to acquire a backup goaltender.

"(Alex Stalock's) going to have to earn it," Fletcher said. "He put himself on the radar last year, but by the same token, we want to foster competition."

Luckily for the Wild, the team finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference and their lone losses in the expansion draft were Erik Haula and Alex Tuch, meaning much of the same roster should be in tact to compete for a better playoff result next season.

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5 worthy candidates of 2017 Hall of Fame class

5 worthy candidates of 2017 Hall of Fame class

26/06/2017, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 22958425

The 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame class will be announced on Monday.

Similar to the class of 2016, there aren't many slam dunks to earn the prestigious honor this season. Despite two likely shoo-ins, we could see another yet year where names that have been passed over finally get their shot at hockey's greatest recognition.

With that, here are five candidates who could potentially be named to the 2017 class:

Daniel Alfredsson

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Alfredsson never won a Stanley Cup, never led the league in scoring, and might never have been revered as the best player at any time during his playing days, but he certainly cemented himself among the league's best.

The longtime Ottawa Senators captain became the face of the franchise and concluded his career with 444 goals and 1,157 points and added another 100 points in 124 career playoff games. He ranks second among all Swedish-born players in both goals and points behind only Mats Sundin.

He earned a gold medal at the 2006 Olympic Games, a silver in 2014, captured the Calder Trophy in 1996, and ranks 51st on the NHL's all-time points list.

Teemu Selanne

Wayne Gretzky might have brought hockey to California, but Selanne helped to keep it there.

The former Anaheim Ducks captain played for an incredible 21 years, making an incredible splash when he entered the scene as a Winnipeg Jet by scoring an NHL-record 76 goals and 132 points as a rookie in 1993.

His 1,457 points rank 15th on the all-time points list, while his 684 goals are the 11th most all time.

He has a Stanley Cup, a Rocket Richard Trophy, and a Calder Trophy to his name. He's earned four Olympic medals and is the all-time leader in Olympic scoring.

He's a lock.

Dave Andreychuk

Much like Alfedsson, Dave Andreychuk was never considered the best of his generation.

In fact, Andreychuk's inclusion into the Hall of Fame has been debated hard over the last few years for that very reason. However, despite the backlash, there is no denying the longtime Buffalo Sabre's stats.

Andreychuk's 640 career goals rank 14th all time and are the most of any player besides Selanne not already in the Hall of Fame. His 274 career power-play goals are the most all time. Meanwhile, he's played the seventh-most games in NHL history, earning 1,338 career points.

In 2004 he helped lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to their first-ever Stanley Cup, earning his first and only Cup ring.

Mark Recchi

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Mark Recchi's career shares similarities to Andreychuk's.

Recchi ranks 12th all time with 1,533 career points - the most of any player not already in the Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, his 577 goals are the 20th most in NHL history.

Recchi played the majority of his career with the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens, but won Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991, the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, and the Boston Bruins in 2011. He has also served as a development coach with the Penguins for their last two Cup wins.

He never won any major awards, but played the fifth-most games all time and certainly deserves consideration.

Alexander Mogilny

While Alexander Mogilny still ranks as one of the best Russian players to ever play the game, his inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame should also be on the merits of what he meant to Russian players.

In 1989 Mogilny became the first-ever Soviet hockey player to defect from the country, secretly leaving to play for the Sabres who had drafted him in the fifth round in 1988.

Once in the league, Mogilny became on the most dynamic scorers. In the 1992-93 season, he tallied 76 goals and 127 points in 77 games. His 76 goals tied him with Selanne for the league lead, but this was six years before the Rocket Richard Trophy came to exist.

In all, he played 990 games over 16 seasons, tallying 473 goals and 1,032 points, both good enough for third spot among all Russian players behind Sergei Fedorov and Alex Ovechkin.

In 2000 he won his lone Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils, earning him a spot in the Triple Gold Club (Olympic gold medal, World Championship gold medal, and Stanley Cup).

Honorable Mention

Jeremy Roenick

Just imagine the speech Jeremy Roenick would make if he was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The outspoken personality - who now lends his talents to NBC - should also get some consideration after a solid NHL career that spanned 19 years. Roenick never earned a Cup or any major awards, but was consistent, tallying 513 goals and 1,216 points in 1,363 games.

He ranks fourth all time among American skaters in goals and points and earned a silver medal at both the 1991 Canada Cup and the 2002 Winter Olympics.

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Watch: Burns, Thornton to be featured in ESPN's Body Issue

Watch: Burns, Thornton to be featured in ESPN's Body Issue

26/06/2017, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 22958027

Beards will be one of the only things covering Brent Burns and Joe Thornton when the two strip down for ESPN's 2017 Body Issue.

3 diamonds in the rough from the 2017 draft class

3 diamonds in the rough from the 2017 draft class

26/06/2017, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 22957885

While we won't be able to read the outcome of the 2017 entry draft for at least three years, this year's draft class will realize great value in its later rounds. After all, 2015 Art Ross winner Jamie Benn didn't hear his name called until the fifth round, future Hall of Famer Pavel Datsyuk was still on the board in Round 6, and Pekka Rinne was chosen in a round that no longer exists.

For now, here are three late picks to keep an eye on from the 2017 NHL Draft:

Jason Robertson

Drafted: Round 2, 39th Overall, by the Dallas Stars

In the top third of the second round, the Stars added Kingston forward Jason Robertson, a scoring winger with a big frame who uses his size to generate offensive chances. It's this style of play that likens Robertson to Toronto Maple Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk, according to Last Word on Sports.

While skating deficiencies may be the reason for Robertson's draft-day slide, there is still a lot to like, and no doubt the Stars believe they can cash in on a player who tallied 81 points in 68 games last season to lead the Frontenacs in scoring.

Robertson placed 14th among North American skaters, as ranked by NHL Central Scouting, a significant climb from his 34th slot in the midterms. He will lace up for his third season with Kingston in 2017-18.

Ivan Lodnia

Drafted: Round 3, 85th Overall, by the Minnesota Wild

The Wild nabbed a modern winger in Ivan Lodnia of the Erie Otters. While undersized, Lodnia's playing style does not reflect his lesser stature, as scouts beam about the American-born winger's knack for maneuvering through the opposition.

A shifty playmaker, Lodnia boasts exceptional skating and high-end hockey sense, abilities that helped him notch 56 points in 66 games in his first OHL season with the Otters. Lodnia continued to impress at the Memorial Cup, adding three points in five games, and then three goals and an assist in four contests with Team USA at the under-18s.

Lodnia placed 36th among North Americans skaters in the final rankings by NHL Central Scouting, a slight uptick from his finish at the midterms. He is expected to return to the Otters next season.

Matthew Strome

Drafted: Round 4, 106th Overall, by the Philadelphia Flyers

Hockey bloodlines run deep with the Stromes, with brothers Ryan and Dylan both high picks by the New York Islanders and Arizona Coyotes, respectively, in recent years. Matthew is the latest Strome brother to come along.

But unlike his brothers, both selected inside the top five, the Flyers called on Matthew in the middle of the fourth round, a steep fall from a year ago when the early projections saw him as first rounder. Scouts point to a slow stride that could hold him back from making it to the next level, but that doesn't mean his game isn't without its strengths.

Already 6-foot-3, Strome is excellent down low, using his size to protect the puck. Coupled with high-end hockey IQ, it is this ability that helped Strome collect 62 points in 66 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he will return next season for his third OHL campaign.

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Look: Murray chirps country star with brilliant caption on signed jersey

Look: Murray chirps country star with brilliant caption on signed jersey

25/06/2017, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 22952374

Matt Murray doesn't mind rubbing it in.

All the goaltender had to do was send Dierks Bentley a signed jersey so the country star could fulfill the bet he lost when the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final.

But Murray clearly couldn't help himself. The netminder inscribed the sweater with the phrase Predators fans chanted at him during the series.

Bentley performed in Pittsburgh on Saturday night, and he held up his end of the bargain.

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