- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Jakob Chychrun remembers the assignment he was given when his Sarnia Sting took on London Knights in an OHL clash during his first year in the league. He was tasked with slowing down Max Domi, the forward who would post 32 goals and 102 points that season.
Fast forward two years later and Chychrun and Domi are potential future teammates after the Arizona Coyotes selected the defenseman with the 16th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Chychrun had to sit and watch 15 other names come off the board before the Coyotes, who debated picking him at No. 7, made a trade with the Detroit Red Wings to move up to that spot and select the Boca Raton, Florida native.
“You have to really prepare for anything. That’s kind of what I was doing last night,” Chychrun said. “I was kind of preparing for anything that could happen. This was unbelievable. I really wanted to go to a team that wanted me and whenever a team trades up to get you it’s special.”
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Detroit Red Wings unloaded the contract of forward Pavel Datsyuk in draft day trade with the Arizona Coyotes, which could give them the necessary salary cap space to go after Tampa Bay Lightning pending unrestricted free agent Steven Stamkos.
In the deal, the Red Wings sent the No. 16 overall pick and Datsyuk’s deal for Joe Vitale, the 20th overall selection and the 53rd overall pick. With the 16th pick in the draft the Coyotes selected Sarnia Sting defenseman Jakob Chychrun.
The move enabled the Red Wings to get rid of an unused asset and not have to deal one of the young players off their roster in order to make the trade happen.
Last Saturday, Datsyuk announced he would leave the NHL and head back to his native Russia for family reasons. If the Red Wings couldn’t find a team that needed his cap hit in order to get to the salary cap floor, they would have had to eat his $7.5 million salary for next season.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy2 hrs ago
BUFFALO, NY – Auston Matthews breeds hope. Hope breeds swagger. Swagger breeds “Auston 20:16” shirts and a “Matthews [greater-than] Eichel sign” at the NHL Draft in Buffalo.
“I think Auston Matthews is going to be a better prospect in the long run. Jack Eichel is going to be a great hockey player, but Auston Matthews is going generational talent," said Ryan Westlake, one of the true believers.
Westlake was one of three busloads of Maple Leafs fans to whom the team provided tickets to Friday night's Draft and shipped over the border. Over 160 of them. Former Leafs Darcy Tucker, Rick Vaive and Shayne Corson joined them, and everyone hit the bars before the event.
There was no doubt Matthews was going to be the name uttered by Leafs director of player personnel Mark Hunter, but one could still feel the emotional catharsis the obvious provided the Toronto fans in attendance.
Their bellowing roar when Matthews was formally theirs was fueled by a season of intentional failures and decades of involuntary ones. They waived Leafs flags. They chanted “Go Leafs Go!” They were booed lustily by everyone else in attendance.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy2 hrs ago
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Matthew Tkachuk had circled the Calgary Flames as his preferred team several weeks ago.
At the NHL scouting combine Tkachuk met with the Flames and was impressed with the organization and the people he met. From that moment on he said he hoped the draft would break a certain way so he could land in Calgary.
When the Columbus Blue Jackets selected Pierre-Luc Dubois over Jesse Puljujärvi with the No. 3 pick, the projections that had Tkachuk going No. 4 to the Edmonton Oilers over Dubois started to look different.
Tkachuk began to see his pathway to Calgary open up. After the Flames called his name an overjoyed Matthew hugged his family, which included father Keith – a former NHL All-Star. His mother cried.
“At the beginning of the day if you had told a lot of people the draft would be the order it is now they would say definitely not. I was one of those guys and it’s such a relief to go to a team you want to go to and it makes it that much better,” Matthew Tkachuk said. “Everybody says how special it is to play in the NHL, but if you really love the team that picked you it makes it that much better. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy3 hrs ago
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Nearly 20 hours after he officially turned 18 years old, Pierre-Luc Dubois heard his name called during Round 1 of the NHL Draft.
That part was expected. What shocked everyone inside First Niagara Center was when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called the name of the 6’2, 205 lbs. forward out of Cape Breton.
Most, if not all of the projections for Friday’s first round saw the Columbus Blue Jackets taking Jesse Puljujärvi with the No. 3 overall pick. Instead, it was Ville Siren, head of the team’s amateur scouting, calling Dubois’ name.
“I was a little surprised, but it’s probably my best birthday I’ve ever had in my life. Pretty happy right now,” Dubois said.
With rumors swirling around not only the Blue Jackets’ pick at No. 3 but also the Edmonton Oilers at No. 4, Dubois said it was impossible to avoid the scuttlebutt. He tried his best to avoid it all, but couldn’t help other people talking to him about what could happen around those selections.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy3 hrs ago
BUFFALO, N.Y. — It's fair to say Clayton Keller going seventh overall to the Arizona Coyotes was a bit of a surprise.
“Any doubts about Keller's ability to compete against top competition were quashed at the U-18's with his two-points-per-game pace and solid all-around play.
"Keller led the tournament in assists, and many were of the highlight variety.
“Keller also exhibited an ability to effectively kill penalties due to his elite anticipation and overall hockey sense. When combined with his speed and agility, concerns about him being able to handle a top-two center role were appreciably diminished."
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy3 hrs ago
BUFFALO, NY – Marc-Andre Fleury would have meant trading a first-rounder. Ben Bishop would have meant a significant investment in both trade assets and cap space.
But Brian Elliott? Right cost. Right return. But is he the right goalie?
The Calgary Flames traded a second-round pick, No. 35 overall and a conditional third-rounder in 2018, to the St. Louis Blues for Elliott. Elliott, 31, has one more year on his contract with a paltry $2.5 million cap hit before he goes UFA. The third-rounder goes to St. Louis if he signs with the Flames or they trade him.
Elliott played 180 games with the Blues over five seasons, going 104-46-16 with a .925 save percentage and a 2.01 goals-against average behind coach Ken Hitchcock’s system.
Elliott is coming off the playoff season of his life in 2016: .921 save percentage, 2.44 goals-against average and series wins against the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars, both in Game 7.
- Jen Neale at Puck Daddy3 hrs ago
According to WIVB, Evander Kane of the Buffalo Sabres is reportedly under investigation for two criminal complaints after allegedly 'physically harassing' two women. The incident took place late Thursday night at the Buffalo bar Bottoms Up.
A group, including Kane, had been escorted from the bar Thursday night, according to the owner of Bottom’s Up. It’s not yet clear what crimes Kane is accused of committing.
Buffalo Police are in the preliminary stages of investigating the allegations,” police spokesperson Mike DeGeorge said Friday.
WIVB's report includes video that allegedly shows Kane at the bar.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy4 hrs ago
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Columbus Blue Jackets pulled the surprise move of the NHL Draft when they took forward Pierre-Luc Dubois with the third overall pick.
The Blue Jackets bypassed Finnish winger Jesse Puljujärvi for the selection. Puljujärvi was ranked third in our mock draft, and was considered one of the top three available players.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Dubois was ranked fifth in our mock draft and had transitioned to center midway through his season with Cape Breton of the QMJHL. There he had 99 points in 67 games played.
He was ranked first amongst central scouting bureau’s North American skaters, ahead of Matthew Tkachuk.
The Edmonton Oilers then took Puljujärvi with the fourth pick.
After Columbus made the pick the crowd at First Niagara Center audibly gasped.
NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr raved about Dubois recently on NHL.com.
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy4 hrs ago
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Moments after the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Auston Matthews with the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, the Montreal Canadiens added to the excitement by making a pair of deals.
Along with acquiring Andrew Shaw from the Chicago Blackhawks, GM Marc Bergevin dealt away Lars Eller to the Washington Capitals for second-round picks in 2017 and 2018.
Eller is signed for the next two seasons and carries a $3.5 million cap hit.
Capitals GM Brian MacLellan has now delivered yet again on an off-season promise. Two years ago he wanted to improve his defense so he went out and signed Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. Last summer, he wanted to upgrade at right wing so he picked up T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams.