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Empty Netter Assists - Wrapping up the draft - 06-28-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-General manager Jim Rutherford is still looking for a top-six winger.

-Second rounder Daniel Sprong (above) took a tumble from first-round projections.

-Scouting Sprong.

-Scouting fifth rounder Dominik Simon.

-Scouting sixth rounder Frederik Tiffels.

-"I think Pittsburgh got the steal of the draft, and I think they feel the same way. I know they were surprised he was still there. We are really excited for Freddy, and it's a great situation for him there." - Western Michigan coach Andy Murray on Tiffels.

-Scouting seventh rounder Nikita Pavlychev.

-Co-Director of Amateur Scouting Randy Sexton speaks:

-Via his Instagram account, Pavlychev was a Penguins fan prior to being drafted:

 

A photo posted by Nikita Pavlychev (@npavlychev) on

-For the entire draft, click here.

-Happy 37th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Ric Jackman. Acquired midway through the 2003-04 season in a deal which sent Drake Berehowsky to the Maple Leafs, Jackman spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. In 25 games with the Penguins that campaign, Jackman was highly productive as he scored 24 points. During that season, the highlight of Jackman's Penguins career was an overtime goal in a 4-3 win at Phoenix which snapped an unofficial NHL record 18-game losing streak (below). Following the lockout, Jackman returned to the Penguins in 2005-06, and appeared in 49 games while recording 28 points. After falling out of favor with new coach Michel Therrien, Jackman was traded to the Panthers in exchange for Petr Taticek at the trade deadline. In 74 regular season games with the Penguins, Jackman scored 52 points. He is currently a member of Braehead Clan in the United Kingdom's EIHL.

-Happy 35th birthday to former Penguins forward Niklas Nordgren. Acquired from the Hurricanes at the 2006 trade deadline along with Krys Kolanos and a draft pick in exchange for Mark Recchi, Nordgren's Penguins career amounted to 15 games and zero points in 2005-06. In the 2006 offseason, he signed with Rapperswil of the NLA in Switzerland. He is currently a member of MODO of Sweden's SHL.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Rangers acquired the signing rights of pending restricted free agent forward Emerson Etem and a second rounder (No. 41 overall) from the Ducks in exchange for forward Carl Hagelin, a second rounder (No. 59) and a sixth rounder (No. 179). Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.25 million, Hagelin, 26, appeared in 82 games this past season and scored 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists). Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $870,000, Etem, 23, appeared in 45 games this past season and scored 10 goals (five goals, five assists).

-EN Says: This is a salary dump for the Rangers. Hagelin (right) is due a substantial pay raise while Etem is coming off an entry-level contract. Hagelin is a speedy complete player who was a significant part of the Rangers' success in recent seasons. In exchange, they get a young player in Etem who was a first rounder in 2010. A fast, physical player, Etem has shown the ability to produce at lower levels of hockey but has yet to put everything together at the NHL level. 

-"This is a tough day because [Hagelin] has been a great Ranger. He's a terrific guy. He really fit our team well." - Rangers assistant general manager Jim Gorton on Hagelin.

-The Rangers acquired goaltender Antti Raanta from the Blackhawks in exchange for minor-league forward Ryan Haggerty. Entering the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $750,000, Raanta, 26, appeared in 14 games last season and had a 7-4-1 record with a 1.89 goals against average, a .936 save percentage and two shutouts. Entering the final year of an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $925,000, Haggerty, 22, appeared in 76 games with the AHL's Hartford Wolfpack last season and scored 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists).

-EN Says: After moving goaltender Cam Talbot to Edmonton (read below), the Rangers needed a new backup goaltender. Raanta has shown he's capable in that role. In 2013-14, he played in 25 games and had a 13-5-4 record. For the Blackhawks, with the emergence of Scott Darling, Raanta was the odd man out. Haggerty is a mid-level prospect. The greatest beneft in this deal for the Blackhawks is that it creates a little bit of salary cap space.

-The Hurricanes acquired goaltender Eddie Lack from the Canucks in exchange for a third rounder (No. 66) yesterday and a seventh rounder in 2016. Entering the last year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.15 million, Lack, 27, appeared in 41 games last season and had an 18-13-4 record with a 2.45 goals against average, a .921 save percentage and two shutouts.

-EN Says: With incumbent starting goaltender Cam Ward entering the final year of his contract, the Hurricanes want some options in net for a starter. Lack (right) is younger and healthier than Ward. For Vancouver, they have some depth at the position with starter Ryan Miller and new backup Jacob Markstrom. Lack was a luxury they converted into draft picks.

-The Hurricanes acquired defenseman James Wisniewski from the Ducks in exchange for goaltender Anton Khudobin. With three years remaining on a contract with a salary cap hit of $5.5 million, Wisniewski, 31, appeared in 69 games last season and scored 34 points (eight goals, 26 assists). Entering the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.25 million, Khudobin, 29, appeared in 34 games last season and had an 8-17-6 record with a 2.27 goals against average, a .900 save percentage and one shutout.

-EN Says: With Lack, the Hurricanes didn't need Khudobin and moved him to Anaheim. Khudobin is a capable backup who joins a crowd in Anaheim. Between Khudobin, Frederik Andersen and John Gibson, the Ducks need to sort out their goaltending situation. With Wisniewski, the Ducks needed to shed some salary and did so with Wisniewski who never seemed to be popular with the coaching staff in his brief time there this season. The Hurricanes get a legitimate top-four defender who can produce offense.

-The Devils will not re-sign pending unrestricted free agent forward Scott Gomez.

-With a sixth-round pick (No. 172) the Islanders selected Lawrenceville (N.J.) defenseman AnDong Song. He is the first native of China to be drafted by an NHL team.

-The Flyers hired former Kings minor league goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh as their NHL goaltending coach.

-EN Says: This is a significant move for the Flyers. Dillabaugh, who worked with Flyers general manager Hextall in Los Angeles, played a major role in the development of the Kings' franchise goaltender Jonathan Quick as well as other NHL goaltenders such as Jonathan Bernier, Martin Jones and Jeff Zatkoff. Goaltending has been a weakness forever in Philadelphia. Dillabaugh will be in a position to improve it.

Atlantic Division

-The Maple Leafs acquired the signing rights to pending restricted free agent defenseman Martin Marincin (right) from the Oilers in exchange for the signing rights of pending restricted free agent minor league forward Brad Ross and a fourth rounder (No. 107). Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $730,000, Marincin, 23, appeared in 41 games last season and scored five points (one goal, four assists). Coming off the final year of an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $706,666, Ross, 23, appeared in 32 games with the AHL's Toronto Marlies last season and scored eight points (four goals, four assists).

-EN Says: This is a curious deal. Marincin was one of the few bright spots on defense for Edmonton last season. A tall player (6-foot-4, 188 pounds), Marincin is good on the puck and can take on a shut-down role. The Oilers don't exactly have an abundance of bodies on defense so moving him is a head scratcher. Ross is a failed former second rounder from 2010 who has never panned out.

-“You’re never going to get me to say that. If we go to the conference finals in two years and you ask me if we’re going to make the playoffs the next year, I’m not going to say that." - Sabres general manager Tim Murray on his team's playoff hopes for next season.

-The Canadiens made slight changes to their jerseys. The red home jersey will have a white collar as it did from the 1940's though the 1970s. Additionally, the home and road jerseys will have white laces on the collar and copper grommets.  Finally, both jerseys will have the French "LNH" logo as opposed to its English counterpart "NHL."

-Canadiens first rounder Noah Juulsen showed off the new home jersey:

-The Twitter account of Panthers forward and former Penguins captain Jaromir Jagr keeps on producing magic:

Central Division

-The Wild re-signed pending unrestricted free agent goaltender Devan Dubnyk to a six-year contract worth a total of $26 million. Coming off a one-year contract with a salary cap hit of $800,000, Dubnyk's new deal will have a cap hit of $4,333,333. Appearing in 58 games last season, Dubnyk, 29, had a 36-14-4 record, a 2.07 goals against average, a .929 save percentage and six shutouts.

-EN Says: Dubnyk meant everything to the Wild's playoff run last season. The team was in a meltdown midway through last season. Then it traded for him and he dragged them into a playoff berth. It will be curious to see how he will play without the motivation of a contract year however.  If he can play at the same level he did this past season, this will be a bargain.

-The Stars acquired the signing rights to pending unrestricted free agent goaltender Antti Niemi from the Sharks in exchange for a seventh rounder (No. 193) yesterday. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $3.8 million, Niemi, 31, appeared in 61 games last season and had a 31-23-7 record, a 2.59 goals against average, a .914 save percentage and five shutouts.

-EN Says: This is a head scratcher for the Stars. Incumbent starter Kari Lehtonen struggled quite a bit last season and the Stars seem to want to bring in a "1A" starter with Niemi. The main problem with that is Niemi has struggled with consistency during his career as well. There's something to be said for the Stanley Cup ring Niemi won as the Blackhawks' starter in 2010, but there are better options available.

-We missed this yesterday. The Avalanche has a new secondary logo on the shoulder of its jerseys. Avalanche first rounder Jean-Christophe Beaudin modeled it to the right:

Pacific Division

-The Oilers acquired the signing rights to pending unrestricted free agent goaltender Cam Talbot and a seventh rounder (No. 209) from the Rangers in exchange for a second rounder (No. 59), a third rounder (No. 79) and a seventh rounder (No. 184). After the deal, the Oilers signed Talbot to a one-year deal worth $1.45 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $562,500, Talbot, 27, appeared in 36 games last season and had a 21-9-4 record, a 2.21 goals against average, a .926 save percentage and five shutouts.

-EN Says: Talbot goes from one of the best defensive teams in the NHL to ... well ... the Oilers. He won't have wave after wave of teammates playing excellent defense as he did in New York. That said, he did an outstanding job for the Rangers and helped them win the Presidents' Trophy when starter Henrik Lundqvist suffered a throat injury and was sidelined several weeks. Talbot offers a distinct upgrade in net for Edmonton.

-The Oilers acquired defenseman Eric Gryba from the Senators in exchange for minor league forward Travis Ewanyk and a fourth rounder (No. 107). Entering the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.25 million, Gryba, 27, appeared in 75 games last season and recorded 12 assists. Entering the final year of an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $713,333 at the NHL level, Ewanyk, 22, appeared in 69 games with the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons and scored eight points (five goals, three assists). The No. 107 pick was originally the Penguins' but was traded to the Maple Leafs as part of the deal which brought forward Daniel Winnik to Pittsburgh. It was eventually traded to Edmonton then Ottawa. With that pick, the Senators selected forward Christian Wolanin of the USHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks. Wolanin is the son of former Devils/Nordiques/Avalanche/Lightning/Maple Leafs defenseman Craig Wolanin.

-EN Says: For the Oilers, they get an NHL-caliber defenseman, albeit one who is probably a bottom-pairing blue liner. Gryba is a large body (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) who will hit anything and is more than willing to drop the gloves. His abilities with the puck are limited. For the Senators, they shed some salary. Ewanyk is a mid-level prospect who will be a bottom-six forward if he ever makes the NHL.

-The Coyotes acquired defensemen Chris Pronger (right) and Nicklas Grossman from the Flyers in exchange for forward Sam Gagner and a conditional fourth rounder in 2016 or third rounder in 2017. The 40-year-old Pronger, who has not played since suffering a head injury in 2011-12, has two years remaining on a contract with a salary cap hit of $4,941,429. Entering the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $3.5 million, Grossman, 30, appeared in 68 games last season and scored 14 points (five goals, nine assists). The Flyers will retain $500,000 of his salary cap hit. Entering the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $4.8 million, Gagner, 25, appeared in 81 games last season and scored 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists). 

-EN Says: Pronger, for all intents and purposes, is retired. But since he signed his contract after the age of 35, if he were to formally retire, his cap hit would still count towards whatever team has him on the roster. The Flyers have been able to get cap relief from his deal by putting him on long-term injured reserve the last few seasons. With this deal, the Flyers get rid of this headache and and the slow-footed Grossman and most of his considerable salary cap hit. They get back an underacheiving playmaker in Gagner who may get a refreshing change of scenery with a more offensively-minded Flyers team. For the Coyotes, they will likely keep Pronger on the active roster as they are approximately $13,864,129 below the salary cap floor. What is important with this deal is that while Pronger's cap hit is high, his actual salary is very low ($575,000). For the cost-conscious Coyotes, that means everything. With Grossman, he is reuinted with head coach Dave Tippett who led him in Dallas. Tippett and assistant coach Jim Playfair have a knack for getting the most out of defensemen. Perhaps they can do the same with Grossman.

That all said, this is a sham of a trade. The Flyers' press release referred to "the contract of Chris Pronger" and not Pronger himself. Each team has every obligation to take advantage of every loophole in the CBA in order to perform better, but this is very, very underhanded by each side. Additionally, since Pronger works for the NHL's department of player safety, there's a huge question of ethics involving any discipline involving the Coyotes. This entire situation is just foul.

-The Sharks re-signed pending restricted free agent forward Melker Karlsson (right) to a two-year contract worth a total of $3.25 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $825,000, Karlsson's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.625 million. Appearing in 53 games last season, Karlsson, 24, scored 24points (13 goals, 11 assists).

-EN Says: Karlsson broke through as an NHLer last season and produced a fair amount of offense in a limited role. He'll get a chance to show he deserves a larger role next season.

-The Sharks re-signed minor-league goaltender Troy Grosenick, a pending restricted free agent, to a two-year, one-way contract worth a total of $1.2 million. Coming off a two-way contract with a salary cap hit of $625,000, Groesnick's new deal will have a cap hit of $600,000. Groesnick, 25, appeared in two NHL games last season and had a 1-1-0 record, a 2.63  goals against average and a .906 save percentage. The Sharks also re-signed minor league defenseman Karl Stollery to a one-year contract worth $665,500.

-What do the Sharks do in net after trading Niemi?

-The Sharks received a third rounder (No. 86) yesterday as compensation for the Oilers hiring former head coach Todd McLellan.

-The Sharks acquired the rights to defensive prospect Patrick McNally from the Canucks in exchange for a seventh rounder (No. 210) yesterday.

Smythe Division

-Three Erie Otter players were drafted this weekend:

No. 1 overall - Connor McDavid, C, Oilers
No. 3 overall - Dylan Strome, C, Coyotes
No. 34 overall - Travis Dermott, D, Maple Leafs

-Seven players with ties to the Youngstown Phantoms were drafted:

No. 17 overall - Kyle Connor, C, Jets
No. 121 overall - Kyle Shea, D, Blackhawks
No. 126 overall - Luke Stevens, LW, Hurricanes
No. 140 overall - Chase Pearson, C, Red Wings
No. 178 overall - Steven Ruggiero, D, Ducks
No. 192 overall - Patrick Shea, C, Panthers
No. 207 overall - Ryan Bednard, G, Panthers

-Bednard, who played for the Johnstown Tomahawks last season, was the first player in the history of that franchise to be drafted by an NHL team.

-Stevens is the son of former Penguins all-star forward Kevin Stevens.

-Former Rangers/Blues goaltender Chris Holt has joined Braehead Clan.

-Former Bruins/Blackhawks forward Pascal Pelletier has joined Admiral Vladivostok of Russia's KHL.

(Photos: Al Bello/Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images, Christian Petersen/Getty Images, Mike Stobe/Getty Images and Elsa/Getty Images)

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Newspaper Ban

Written by Rob Rogers on .

The higher-ups at UPMC were not happy with the coverage they were getting in the P-G, so they did what any totalitarian regime would do: they outlawed journalism! Ok, maybe not quite that, but they did pull their advertising and ban the paper from their hospitals

062815 Newspaper Ban

 

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Penguins draft Pavlychev in seventh round - 06-27-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

 

A photo posted by Nikita Pavlychev (@npavlychev) on

The Penguins drafted center Nikita Pavlychev in the seventh round (No. 197 overall) of the draft.

A native of Yaroslavl, Russia, Pavlychev, appeared in 42 games with Des Moinse of the USHL last season and scored 16 points (six goals, 10 assists).

Committed to play at Penn State next season, Pavlychev, 18, is listed at 6-foot-7, 200 pounds. Like second rounder Daniel Sprong, Pavlychev has spent time with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights program.

-A scouting report from Elite Prospects:

"A tall, lanky center with an acute understanding of the game. A deceptively strong skater with good balance. Relies on using his size to shield the puck in the neutral zone and is usually the one to start plays in the offensive end. Defensively reliable; exhibits very well-rounded habits in his own end. All-in-all, an intelligent defensive player whose instincts at both ends of the ice will aid his maturation into a versatile, complete two-way forward."

Some highlights set to music:

 

A tall, lanky center with an acute understanding of the game. A deceptively strong skater with good balance. Relies on using his size to shield the puck in the neutral zone and is usually the one to start plays in the offensive end. Defensively reliable; exhibits very well-rounded habits in his own end. All-in-all, an intelligent defensive player whose instincts at both ends of the ice will aid his maturation into a versatile, complete two-way forward. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015) - See more at: http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=248436#sthash.DNkJG2IY.dpuf

 

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Penguins draft Tiffels in sixth round - 06-27-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Penguins have drafted left winger Frederik Tiffels in the sixth round (No. 167 overall) in the NHL draft.

Tiffels, 20, appeared in 32 games last season with Western Michigan and scored 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists).

A left-handed shot, Tiffels is listed as 6-foot-1, 201 pounds. The German-born Tiffels has also played for Muskegon, Fargo and Cedar Rapids of the USHL.

-A scouting report from SB Nation's college hockey blog:

"Speed is the number one asset that Tiffels brings to the game. He's incredibly difficult to handle in one-on-one situations because of he has the ability to vary his speed, making it difficult for the defenseman to gap him, before hitting an extra gear and blowing by a defenseman. He has good hands and is able to make plays with the puck even at top speed. His vision and playmaking ability is a strong asset as well.

Tiffels is listed at 6'1" 200 lbs., but doesn't play that big yet. He could still become more physically mature and harder to knock off the puck. He uses his speed to attack on the perimeter well, but could improve at using his speed to attack interior lanes to get into high-quality scoring areas. In the past, a lack of finishing ability has been a problem for him on the offensive end, but he showed improvement in that area this past season."

-There aren't many video highlights of Tiffels. Here's a goal he scored for Germany against the Czech Republic during the 2014 World Junior Championship tournament:

(Photos: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

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Penguins draft Simon in fifth round - 06-27-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Penguins have drafted forward Dominik Simon with their fifth pick (No. 137 overall) in the draft.

Simon, 20, appeared in 52 games for HC Plzen of the Czech Republic's ELH and scored 30 points (18 goals, 12 assists. Former Penguins star forward Martin Straka is the general manager of that team.

A left-handed shot, Simon, a native of the Czech Republic is listed as 5-foot-11 and 176 pounds.

A brief report on Simon from Hockey's Future:

"Simon has been one of the most refreshing participants in the tournament. The undrafted 20-year-old has been part of many Czech junior teams, having even been a key ingredient to beating Canada at the 2013 U20 World Junior Championship. This past season he broke through as a pro with HC Plzen, putting up 19 goals and 33 points in 56 games [including playoffs], making him one of the few members of the team to have spent the season in the Czech Republic. That he now has a goal and five assists at the World Championship is nothing more than an exclamation point on the type of player he’s become."

-There aren't many highlights of Simon. Here's a goal he scored off an assist from former NHLer Martin Ruchinsky for the Czech Republic in a Euro Hockey Tour game against Russia in February:

-Here's a slick shootout goal he scored against Canada in a 2013 World Junior Championship tournament game:

(Photo: Martin Rose/Getty Images)

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