Avalanche

Cal Foote, son of Avalanche great, goes 14th to Tampa Bay Lightning
Colorado native Cal Foote, the son of former Avalanche defenseman and team captain Adam Foote, stole NHL-draft bragging rights from his father Friday. Cal, an 18-year-old defenseman born in Denver, was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning with the 14th pick in the first round of the 2017 draft at the United Center in Chicago. Adam Foote was drafted 22nd (second round) by the Quebec Nordiques in 1989. “He pretty much taught me everything, or most, of what I know about the game,” Cal told reporters at the United Center. “Just being around him. He’s helped me a ton and I’m very fortunate to have him on my side.” Cal played youth hockey for the Littleton Hawks and Colorado Thunderbirds and considered the University of Denver. He chose the major-junior route and the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. He likely will begin his third season with the Rockets and again play with his 16-year-old brother Nolan, who could be an NHL draft pick in 2019. Related ArticlesJune 23, 2017 Avalanche select defenseman Cale Makar with the No. 4 pick in NHL draft June 22, 2017 Colorado Avalanche 2017-18 regular season schedule June 22, 2017 At No. 4, Avalanche could select top-rated defenseman June 22, 2017 Las Vegas-bound goalie Calvin Pickard: “It’s sad to leave the Avalanche” June 21, 2017 NHL expansion: Avalanche loses goalie Calvin Pickard to Vegas Golden Knights “It’s a two-way style,” Cal Foote said when asked to describe his game. “I like to play defense but jump up in the play as well. I like to add to the offense.” In an NBC Sports Network interview, Adam Foote said of his eldest son: “Just an all-around defenseman that can add some offense and shut down (attackers).” Footnote. Incoming Denver Pioneers freshmen Ian Mitchell and Dayton Rasmussen are expected to be drafted Saturday. Mitchell, a defenseman from Calahoo, Alberta, is ranked No. 35 among North American skaters. The Minnesota-born Rasmussen, who lived in Colorado and played for the Colorado Thunderbirds, is No. 6 among North American goalies. Both Mitchell and Rasmussen participated in the recent NHL draft combine in Buffalo.   [...]
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At No. 4, Avalanche could select an elite young defenseman
The NHL’s weakest team lost big in April’s draft lottery but still could be in position to select the draft’s best defenseman with the fourth overall pick. The Avalanche has many needs, but an elite young defenseman is at the top of the list. The candidates are Canadian junior-A star Cale Maker and Finnish professional Miro Heiskanen. Makar, 18, is the top-ranked North American defenseman (ninth overall) and Heiskanen, 17, is the No. 1 prospect among European blue-liners (fourth overall). The New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers have the first two picks, respectively, and forwards Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick are expected to have their names called before Dallas goes on the clock with the third pick. The Stars will consider Maker, Heiskanen or a forward such as Cody Glass or Gabe Vilardi, both of major-junior’s Canadian Hockey League. Avalanche director of amateur scouting Alan Hepple said the team will take “the best available player,” regardless of position, but having Makar or Heiskanen on the board at No. 4 could change that plan. Colorado has selected just two defensemen in the first round in the last 10 drafts (Kevin Shattenkirk in 2007, 14th overall; Duncan Siemens in 2011, 11th overall). TOP PROSPECTS The order of the following rankings were made by Craig Button, TSN director of scouting. The comment is by Mike Chambers, The Denver Post. Top five forwards Nico Hischier, 6-foot-1, 176 pounds, Halifax (QMJHL) — In excellent position to become the highest-drafted Swiss-born player ever, Hischier led QMJHL rookies with 38 goals and 86 points in 57 games. He was named the leagues’s and Canadian Hockey League’s rookie of the year and awarded the Mike Bossy Trophy as the QMJHL’s best professional prospect. Plays like former Detroit star Pavel Datsyuk. Nolan Patrick, 6-2, 199, Brandon (WHL) — Given the CHL’s top draft prospect award after an injury-plagued season in which he produced 20 goals and 46 points in 33 games. Patrick is the No. 1 overall prospect by most scouts. … Was named the 2016 WHL playoff MVP after leading Brandon to league title. Cody Glass, 6-2, 178, Portland (WHL) — Perhaps the draft’s best two-way forward, Glass amassed 32 goals and 94 points in 69 games last season but is similarly impressive on the defensive end. Models his game after Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and his idol is Chicago’s Jonathan Toews — two of the NHL’s best two-way forwards. Gabe Vilardi, 6-3, 203, Windsor (OHL) — The Canadian had 29 goals in 49 games for the Memorial Cup-winning Windsor Spitfires. He won’t turn 18 until Aug. 16 and will be one of the youngest players in this year’s draft. … Compares his style of play to John Tavares. Martin Necas, 6-1, 178, Brno (Czech) — Ranked fifth among European skaters, Necas represented the Czech Republic at the 2017 World Junior Championship and the 2016 under-18 worlds and Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, where he served as captain and led the Czech’s to the gold medal. Says he likes to emulate Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Washington’s  Evgeny Kuznetsov. Related ArticlesJune 22, 2017 Colorado Avalanche 2017-18 regular season schedule June 22, 2017 Las Vegas-bound goalie Calvin Pickard: “It’s sad to leave the Avalanche” June 21, 2017 NHL expansion: Avalanche loses goalie Calvin Pickard to Vegas Golden Knights June 21, 2017 New Avalanche uniforms revealed for 2017-18 season June 21, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announces 2017 home opener Top five defensemen Cale Makar, 5-11, 187, Brooks (AJHL) — Widely considered the draft’s top defenseman, the University of Massachusetts-bound Makar put up extraordinary numbers (24 goals, 75 points in 54 games) before being named Canadian Junior Hockey League MVP, an award covering the entire 132-team CJHL. … Ranked ninth among North American skaters but could go as high as third overall. … Models his game from Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson. Miro Heiskanen, 6-1, 172, HIFK (Finland) — Just 17, Heiskanen played in Finland’s top professional league last season after dominating the junior scene. He has been a staple in Finland’s under-18 and World Junior Championship international teams and his experience diminishes his age; he turns 18 on July 18. … Lists Pavel Datsyuk as his childhood hockey idol. Timothy Liljegren, 6-0, 188, Rogle (Sweden) — LIke Heiskanen, Liljegren is his country’s best draft-eligible puck-moving defenseman. He has starred for Sweden in the various international tournaments and patterns his game after Swedish star Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators. Pierre-Olivier Joseph, 6-2, 163, Charlottetown (QMJHL) — He is ranked [...]
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Avalanche to begin 2017-18 season with three-game East Coast trip
The 2016-17 NHL-worst Avalanche will begin 2017-18 in the trenches of an East Coast trip beginning Oct. 5 at the New York Rangers. The three-game trip continues through New Jersey and Boston before completing a home-and-home set against the Bruins on Oct. 11 in Colorado’s home-opener at the Pepsi Center. The Avs open against the Rangers for the first time in club history, and the three-game trip marks the first of its kind to begin the season since 2000-01, when they opened with a four-game trip and went on to win the Stanley Cup. Related ArticlesJune 22, 2017 At No. 4, Avalanche could select an elite young defenseman June 22, 2017 Las Vegas-bound goalie Calvin Pickard: “It’s sad to leave the Avalanche” June 21, 2017 NHL expansion: Avalanche loses goalie Calvin Pickard to Vegas Golden Knights June 21, 2017 New Avalanche uniforms revealed for 2017-18 season June 21, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announces 2017 home opener Colorado’s season is highlighted by the NHL Global Series — two regular-season games against the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden, Nov. 10-11. The Avs’ first meeting against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights is Oct. 27 in Las Vegas. The Avs have 26 games against Central Division foes, four fewer than last season. The Avs will play Dallas and St. Louis five times apiece; and Chicago, Minnesota, Nashville and Winnipeg four times each. Colorado will face two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh twice in eight days. The Avs visit the Penguins on Dec. 11 and host the Pens on Dec. 18. The Avalanche’s longest homestand is six games from Dec. 27 to Jan. 6, and their longest road trip is six games from Jan. 22 to Feb. 3 — but the team will return home in the middle of it for the all-star break. 2017-18 Avalanche schedule OCTOBER Day Date Opponent Time Thursday Oct. 5 at NY Rangers 5 p.m. Saturday Oct. 7 at New Jersey 5 p.m. Monday Oct. 9 at Boston 11 a.m. Wednesday Oct. 11 BOSTON 7:30 p.m. Friday Oct. 13 ANAHEIM 7 p.m. Saturday Oct. 14 at Dallas 6 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 17 at Nashville 6 p.m. Thursday Oct. 19 ST. LOUIS 7 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 24 DALLAS 7 p.m. Friday Oct. 27 at Vegas 4 p.m. Saturday Oct. 28 CHICAGO 7 p.m. NOVEMBER Thursday Nov. 2 CAROLINA 7 p.m. Saturday Nov. 4 at Philadelphia 5 p.m. Sunday Nov. 5 at NY Islanders 4 p.m. *Friday Nov. 10 OTTAWA (Sweden) 12 p.m. *Saturday Nov. 11 at Ottawa (Sweden) 11 a.m. Thursday Nov. 16 WASHINGTON 7 p.m. Saturday Nov. 18 at Nashville 6 p.m. Sunday Nov. 19 at Detroit 4 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 22 DALLAS 7 p.m. Friday Nov. 24 at Minnesota 2 p.m. Saturday Nov. 25 CALGARY 8 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 29 WINNIPEG 7:30 p.m. DECEMBER Friday Dec. 1 NEW JERSEY 7 p.m. Sunday Dec. 3 DALLAS 6 p.m. Tuesday Dec. 5 BUFFALO 7 p.m. Thursday Dec. 7 at Tampa Bay 5:30 p.m. Saturday Dec. 9 at Florida 5 p.m. Monday Dec. 11 at Pittsburgh 5 p.m. Tuesday Dec. 12 at Washington 5 p.m. Thursday Dec. 14 FLORIDA 7 p.m. Saturday Dec. 16 TAMPA BAY 7 p.m. Monday Dec. 18 PITTSBURGH 7 p.m. Thursday Dec. 21 at Los Angeles 8:30 p.m. Saturday Dec. 23 at Arizona 6 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 27 ARIZONA 7 p.m. Friday Dec. 29 TORONTO 7 p.m. Sunday Dec. 31 NY ISLANDERS 6 p.m. JANUARY Tuesday Jan. 2 WINNIPEG 7 p.m. Thursday Jan. 4 COLUMBUS 7 p.m. Saturday Jan. 6 MINNESOTA 1 p.m. ** BYE WEEK ** Saturday Jan. 13 at Dallas 7 p.m. Monday Jan. 15 ANAHEIM 1 p.m. Thursday Jan. 18 SAN JOSE 7 p.m. Saturday Jan. 20 NY RANGERS 1 p.m. Monday Jan. 22 at Toronto 5 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 23 at Montreal 5:30 p.m. Thursday Jan. 25 at St. Louis 6 p.m. ** NHL ALL-STAR BREAK ** Tuesday Jan. 30 at Vancouver 8 p.m. FEBRUARY Thursday Feb. 1 at Edmonton 7 p.m. Saturday Feb. 3 at Winnipeg 5 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 6 SAN JOSE 7 p.m. Thursday Feb. 8 at St. Louis 6 p.m. Saturday Feb. 10 at Carolina 5 p.m. Sunday Feb. 11 at Buffalo 5 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 14 MONTREAL 7:30 p.m. Friday Feb. 16 at Winnipeg 6 p.m. Sunday Feb. 18 EDMONTON 1 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 20 at Vancouver 8 p.m. Thursday Feb. 22 at Edmonton 7 p.m. Saturday Feb. 24 at Calgary 2 p.m. Monday Feb. 26 VANCOUVER 7 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 28 CALGARY 7:30 p.m. MARCH Friday Mar. 2 MINNESOTA 7 p.m. Sunday Mar. 4 NASHVILLE 1 p.m. Tuesday Mar. 6 at Chicago 6:30 p.m. Thursday Mar. 8 at Columbus 5 p.m. Saturday Mar. 10 ARIZONA 1 p.m. Tuesday Mar. 13 at Minnesota 6 p.m. Thursday Mar. 15 at St. Louis 6 p.m. Friday Mar. 16 NASHVILLE 7 p.m. Sunday Mar. 18 DETROIT 1 p.m. Tuesday Mar. 20 at Chicago 6:30 p.m. Thursday Mar. 22 LOS ANGELES 7 p.m. Saturday Mar. 24 VEGAS 1 p.m. Monday Mar. 26 at Vegas 8 p.m. Wednesday Mar. 28 PHILADELPHIA 8 p.m. Friday Mar. 30 CHICAGO 7 p.m. APRIL [...]
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Edmonton’s Connor McDavid wins first Hart Trophy as NHL MVP
LAS VEGAS — Connor McDavid has won his first Hart Trophy. Hardly anybody in hockey believes it will be his last. The Edmonton captain claimed the award as the NHL’s most valuable player Wednesday night at the league’s postseason awards show at T-Mobile Arena, the new home of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. The league also revealed the results of the Golden Knights’ expansion draft to an arena filled with new fans of the NHL’s 31st franchise. McDavid also won the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the league’s most outstanding performer in a vote of his fellow players. The honors capped a remarkable sophomore season for the 20-year-old center, who won the scoring title and led the Oilers back to the Stanley Cup playoffs after an 11-year absence. The former No. 1 pick beat out fellow finalists Sergei Bobrovsky of Columbus and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby. “I’m so proud to be in Edmonton,” McDavid said. “I’m so proud to be an Oiler, and so proud to play with the guys.” McDavid is the third-youngest player to win the award. Only Crosby and Wayne Gretzky claimed the Hart as teenagers. Boston center Patrice Bergeron won the Selke Trophy for the fourth time as the NHL’s best defensive forward, and San Jose’s Brent Burns won his first Norris Trophy as the top defenseman. Toronto center Auston Matthews easily took the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, and Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky won his second Vezina Trophy. Nashville’s David Poile was named the NHL’s top executive after the Predators’ first Western Conference title, and Columbus’ John Tortorella won the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach. Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson won the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Anderson left the Senators during the season to support his wife, Nicholle, in her fight against throat cancer, but returned to become Ottawa’s career victories leader. Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanlike play. Bobrovsky got 25 of the 30 first-place votes to outdistance Braden Holtby and Carey Price after leading the league with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. Bobrovsky, the first Russian to win the award twice, and Tortorella played major roles in the Blue Jackets’ revival for the best season in franchise history. Bergeron also won the Selke in 2012, 2014 and 2015. The two-way Bruins star beat out Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler and joined Bob Gainey as the only players to win the Selke four times. Bergeron paid tribute to Gainey after the Montreal great presented the award to him. “I think it’s the way that he played the game hard and was always in the right position,” Bergeron said. “Not only him on the ice, but also him off the ice as a role model, as a person, I’ve always respected him for that. It was special to receive that award from him, because he was such an important player for the NHL.” Burns beat out Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson for the Norris in a duel of two 70-point scorers. Burns doesn’t think offensive numbers alone determine the Norris winner. Related ArticlesJune 21, 2017 Marc-Andre Fleury leads Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft choices June 20, 2017 Vegas Golden Knights may get franchise goalie, young roster June 19, 2017 Cal Foote, son of Avalanche legend Adam Foote, a likely first-round NHL draft pick June 19, 2017 Vegas Golden Knights hold cards as NHL expansion draft nears June 19, 2017 Analysis: Avalanche enters NHL’s crucial offseason stretch with significant needs “That’s the way I play the game,” Burns said. “For me to be successful, to help the team, I’ve got to help create offense and get into the plays. If I’m not doing that, if I’m not skating and creating things, then I’m not really doing much out there.” Matthews was the no-brainer choice for the Calder after his 69-point rookie season for the Leafs, who hadn’t had a Calder winner since Brit Selby in 1966. The Arizona-raised center was grateful to accept the award in Las Vegas, where he hopes more desert kids will be inspired by the Golden Knights. “I think it’s going to be great,” Matthews said. “For myself, when the Coyotes moved (to Phoenix), that’s how I got into hockey. Seeing the teams in California kind of encouraged kids growing up to pick up the stick and start playing. (The Golden Knights) will definitely grow the game.” [...]
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Marc-Andre Fleury leads Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft choices
LAS VEGAS — The Vegas Golden Knights finally have some players to put on the desert ice this fall. Stanley Cup-winning goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, defensemen Marc Methot and Alexei Emelin, 30-goal scorer Jonathan Marchessault and forwards David Perron and James Neal are among the veterans selected by the Golden Knights in the NHL expansion draft Wednesday night. Golden Knights owner Bill Foley and general manager George McPhee announced their choices during the NHL’s annual postseason awards show at T-Mobile Arena, where Vegas will begin play in the fall. Fleury took the stage in a Golden Knights jersey to wild cheers from his new home fans. The three-time Cup winner lost his starting job with the back-to-back champion Penguins, but he’ll get to start over in the desert with two years on his contract. The picks included defensemen Trevor van Riemsdyk and Brayden McNabb, forward Oscar Lindberg . The Golden Knights also announced additional acquisitions of a handful of veterans and free agents, including Anaheim defenseman Shea Theodore and Florida forward Reilly Smith. The NHL wrote its draft rules to give the Golden Knights more opportunities to compete early in their existence, and their expansion draft choices certainly appear to form a solid core that could make noise in the Pacific Division. “They’re way past getting off the ground,” Nashville general manager David Poile said. “I think this is by far the best expansion team ever.” Thousands of fans braved 116-degree afternoon heat to gather on the south end of the Strip for the unique combination of the awards show and the chance to learn the identities of the home team’s first NHL veterans. The Golden Knights are Las Vegas’ first franchise in a major professional sport. After meeting with the Board of Governors earlier in the day, Foley said he was already “very proud” of the roster assembled by McPhee. “I believe we’ve put together a great team from the net out,” Foley said. “I believe fans are really going to like the team, and the trades and the draft picks and the prospects that we have. It’s not just a player per team. In many cases, it might have been two players a team. It might have been an upgraded draft pick plus a player, all kinds of different situations.” The expansion draft is a celebratory night, but it only reveals a portion of the franchise-building done by McPhee over the past few months. The Golden Knights were allowed to reveal certain trades made with other teams to dissuade Vegas from picking particular players, and additional deals are likely to be revealed throughout the week. The Golden Knights sat in a strong position created by the favorable expansion draft terms granted to Foley, who paid a $500 million expansion fee to join the league. McPhee is likely to land even more veteran players and choices before the draft wraps up in Chicago this weekend. Related ArticlesJune 21, 2017 Edmonton’s Connor McDavid wins first Hart Trophy as NHL MVP June 20, 2017 Vegas Golden Knights may get franchise goalie, young roster June 19, 2017 Cal Foote, son of Avalanche legend Adam Foote, a likely first-round NHL draft pick June 19, 2017 Vegas Golden Knights hold cards as NHL expansion draft nears June 19, 2017 Analysis: Avalanche enters NHL’s crucial offseason stretch with significant needs The Golden Knights also have signed a handful of free agents. They announced a deal with former Calgary defenseman Deryk Engelland, who still lives in Las Vegas during the offseason after playing for the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers a decade ago. “My roots are here,” Engelland said. “It’s kind of been in the back of your mind since they announced the team. For it to finally happen, it’s amazing.” Minnesota center Erik Haula, who was chosen in the expansion draft, reportedly has already agreed to a multi-year deal with Vegas. “What surprised me was the quality of some of our forwards that we were able to get out of this situation,” Foley said. “The people of Las Vegas are going to be happy with what we did. They’re going to be pleasantly surprised.” [...]
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Vegas Golden Knights may get franchise goalie, young roster
George McPhee can’t wait to fill the white board, the one in the Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft room. On Wednesday night, the staff will start adding the names of players who will become part of the expansion team for its first NHL season. “We’re going to put our team together and we’ll watch it come to life in front of us,” McPhee said. What will that team look like when it takes the ice in early October? It won’t have all the top-end talent available because side deals will allow Vegas to stockpile draft picks and prospects for the future, but it will probably be the most competitive expansion team in the league’s history. “I’m really pleased with what’s available,” McPhee told reporters in Las Vegas on Sunday. “This has worked out very well for the Vegas Golden Knights, and we expect to put a good, entertaining club on the ice.” Here’s a projection of who the inaugural Golden Knights might snap up by Wednesday night: GOALTENDERS (MINIMUM 3) SURE BET: Three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury seems like the most reliable pick on the board, a recognizable face of the franchise who can easily start 50-60 games and give the Golden Knights chances to win. Fleury waived his no-movement clause so the Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t have to force another trade, and the 32-year-old can go back to being a clear No. 1 goalie. WORTH THE GAMBLE: Fleury could be joined by an established 20-something backup, like Philadelphia’s Michal Neuvirth, Detroit’s Petr Mrazek, Colorado’s Calvin Pickard or New York’s Antti Raanta. McPhee and Vegas goaltending coach Dave Prior have connections to Neuvirth and Washington’s Philipp Grubauer from drafting them with the Capitals. McPhee described Neuvirth as “almost technically perfect.” “It was just about him growing up and maturing,” McPhee said at the scouting combine. “We thought that when that happened, he’d be an outstanding goaltender. And he’s at that point now. He can be really good.” ROLLING THE DICE: Maybe Vegas wants to groom its starter of the future, in which case Grubauer, Boston’s Malcolm Subban, Detroit’s Jared Coreau or Toronto’s Antoine Bibeau could fit the bill. Related ArticlesJune 19, 2017 Cal Foote, son of Avalanche legend Adam Foote, a likely first-round NHL draft pick June 19, 2017 Vegas Golden Knights hold cards as NHL expansion draft nears June 19, 2017 Analysis: Avalanche enters NHL’s crucial offseason stretch with significant needs June 18, 2017 NHL salary cap set at $75 million for 2017-18 season June 18, 2017 Avalanche exposes Calvin Pickard to expansion Vegas Golden Knights DON’T SLEEP ON: Vegas controls the trade market and can make some extra picks to flip a goalie or two. Arizona and Philadelphia are in need of starters. DEFENSEMEN (MINIMUM 9) SURE BET: Assuming Anaheim has already worked out a trade to keep Vegas away from Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson — perhaps at the cost of a first-round pick — there are still plenty of young, affordable defensemen to choose from along with some veterans. Dion Phaneuf refusing to waive his no-movement clause forced Ottawa to protect him and expose 31-year-old Marc Methot. Minnesota’s plethora of blue liners made Matt Dumba, 22, and Marco Scandella, 27, available unless the Wild is willing to fork something over, and 25-year-old right-shooting Trevor van Riemsdyk from Chicago seems ticketed for the Golden Knights. WORTH THE GAMBLE: With speed, skating and puck-moving skills a priority, Detroit’s Xavier Oullet (23), Washington’s Nate Schmidt (25) and Montreal’s Nikita Nesterov (24) all could fit well. Want some more size and physicality? Vegas could look at Boston’s Colin Miller (24), Edmonton’s Griffin Reinhart (23) and Buffalo’s Zach Bogosian (26). ROLLING THE DICE: Pending free agent Kevin Shattenkirk of the Capitals wants to be a No. 1 defenseman and could get that role in Vegas. “It’s a very interesting situation,” Shattenkirk said. “Usually, you’re talking to teams or thinking of teams and you have some sort of idea of how they’re built or their history or whatever it may be, and they are completely fresh.” DON’T SLEEP ON: The Golden Knights will be young, but San Jose’s David Schlemko (30) and Paul Martin (36) and New Jersey’s Ben Lovejoy (33) are veteran options. FORWARDS (MINIMUM 14) SURE BET: This is where elite talent already under contract is hard to find, outside of maybe Nashville’s James Neal, a 10-time 20-goal scorer, and 32-year-old Minnesota center Eric Staal. Vegas could use free agency to stock its top forwards, as it already has by signing Vadi [...]
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Cal Foote, son of Avalanche legend Adam Foote, a likely first-round NHL draft pick
During a joyous occasion in 2001 at the Pepsi Center, Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote was being interviewed at his locker stall when 2-year-old Callan Foote approached his dad for a congratulatory hug. The interview continued, as did the hug. The Avs had just defeated the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, and Adam Foote couldn’t let go of the moment with his first-born son. Sixteen years later, the former Avalanche captain will share a similar moment with Callan, who now goes by Cal. A 6-foot-4, 215-pound defenseman of his father’s ilk, Cal is all but certain to hear his name called in the first round of the NHL draft at the United Center in Chicago. He’s rated 12th among draft-eligible North American skaters, and third among defenseman. He is exactly what the Avalanche need — a possible franchise defenseman who is effective in all three zones — but probably not worthy of fourth overall, the Avs’ first pick. However, Cal is bound to be selected sooner than his father, who went No. 22 to the Quebec Nordiques in 1989. “I know both of my parents are going to be proud,” Cal said recently from Denver. “They’re going to be excited, like my brother and the rest of the family. I know they’re going to be excited about what lies ahead.” Cal, a product of the Littleton Hawks (Double-A) and Colorado Thunderbirds (Triple-A), recently completed his second season with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, and his first with younger brother Nolan Foote on the team. Nolan, a 16-year-old forward, was the Rockets’ youngest player who contributed 19 goals and 35 points in 52 games. Cal had 57 points (51 assists) in 71 games. “It was unreal. It was special for not only him and I, but my parents,” Cal said of playing with Nolan, a possible first-round NHL pick in 2019. “First time we’ve played hockey together. He had a great year and I’m excited for what he has to offer next year.” The Footes will likely play together in Kelowna again next season — unless the team that drafts Cal has different ideas. “My goal is to develop as much as I can and try to improve on my weaknesses and raise my game,” Cal said. “You want to make the next level as a kid but I might not be ready to make that jump. I want to be back in Kelowna; I’m excited for our year up there and playing with my brother again.” Adam Foote declined to talk about his son and the draft besides saying, “it’s Cal’s time and I’ve decided not to be interviewed by media until after he has been drafted.” Cal said he interviewed with all 31 teams, including the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, but didn’t meet with any team twice. With the Avalanche, he interviewed with general manager Joe Sakic’s advisors. Sakic wasn’t in the room, he said. “It was cool for me,” Foote said of his meeting with the Avalanche. “I grew up, obviously, a fan of them for many years. It was special to be in the room with them.” Foote is the latest NHL product of the Thunderbirds, who previously developed alums Seth Jones (Columbus Blue Jackets), Jaccob Slavin (Carolina Hurricanes), Gustav Olofsson (Minnesota Wild) and Brandon Carlo (Boston Bruins). Thunderbirds director and 16-under coach Angelo Ricci, a former University of Denver forward, coached each of those players. “Cal has the potential to be right up there with all of those players,” Ricci said. “One thing I always continue to stress is all these young men didn’t rush the process. They each took their time and allowed the proper development process to work for them. It’s really great to see. I am so proud of these guys. And another special piece of it is all these guys have worn a ‘C’ or ‘A’ for me, which speaks volumes about their character.” Related ArticlesJune 19, 2017 NHL draft: Avalanche could trade No. 4 pick or choose another forward June 19, 2017 Analysis: Avalanche enters NHL’s crucial offseason stretch with significant needs June 18, 2017 Avalanche exposes Calvin Pickard to expansion Vegas Golden Knights June 15, 2017 NHL announces draft order; Avalanche has seven selections June 15, 2017 Paul Stastny, Kelly Cup to appear at Dawg Bowl VII hockey fundraising event Adam Foote coached both his boys with the Thunderbirds. “I remember watching the old Thunderbirds practices and seeing guys like Carlo out there,” Cal said. “He was always a guy I looked up to, especially being a late (month) birthday and going to the WHL. And I played with Slavin’s younger brother, Josiah, and (Jaccob) is obviously having a lot of success. It’s cool to see. And Olofsson, I got the chance to sk [...]
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NHL draft: Avalanche could trade No. 4 pick or choose another forward
Avalanche director of amateur scouting Alan Hepple said Monday that the team could trade the No. 4 overall pick for multiple picks if it does not select “the best available player” at that position at the first round of the NHL draft Friday in Chicago. Colorado, which finished with a league-low 48 points last season, is in a roster rebuild but an elite young defensemen is at the top of the needs list. Problem is, the draft’s highest-rated defensemen don’t appear worthy of the No. 4 overall pick. Right-shooting Cale Makar of Canada is the top North American defenseman but is rated ninth among North American prospects. Finland’s Miro Heiskanen, a lefty, is the top European defenseman, but No. 4 overall among his peers. The Avs, who have selected just two defensemen in the first round of the draft’s past 10 years, might trade down to select Makar or Miro Heiskanan — or even home-grown product Cal Foote of Englewood, who is No. 3 among North American defensemen and projected to go between picks 10 and 15. “There’s always a chance of trading back,” Hepple said. “We would have to see what we’re given, what’s presented to us, and we’ll take it from there. We’re ready for that scenario.” If Colorado keeps No. 4 in the first round, it could be a forward for the fifth consecutive year. The Avs’ last four first-rounders were forwards Tyson Jost (No. 10, 2016), Mikko Rantanen (No. 10, 2015), Connor Bleackley (No. 23, 2014) and Nathan MacKinnon (No. 1, 2013). The Avs didn’t have a 2012 first-round pick and their last first-round defenseman was Duncan Siemens in 2011 (No. 11). Siemens has played just four NHL games. “At the time of that fourth pick, it will be the best player available,” Hepple said. “And you know what? There could be a D gone before then. So we’ll just have to see.” Foote, a right-handed shooter, is the eldest son of former Avalanche defenseman and team captain Adam Foote. Cal is 6-foot-4 and nearly 200 pounds, with a size-16 shoe. He played with the triple-A Colorado Thunderbirds before choosing the major-junior route and the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. “We’ve got a good book on Cal, from his dad and things like that,” Hepple said of the younger Foote. “We know a lot about him. He’s gotten better over the last two, three years and he’s going to keep (developing). His skating’s got to (improve) but he’s big enough, smart enough and a good puck-mover. Like I said, we know him very well.” Wherever Foote is drafted, he’ll likely return to Kelowna next season. But if the Avs keep the No. 4 pick, the player they select has a chance to play in the NHL immediately. “There’s always pressure in that first round. We want that guy to play, we want that guy to be somebody to come in and make an impact,” Hepple said. “It might not be right away. But definitely down the road. … There’s a development time to those guys. We want smart players, we want fast players. The NHL now, it’s a track meet every night. It’s fast. And not only do you have to skate fast, you gotta think fast. That’s what we’re looking for now.” The Avs have seven total picks, including the first selection in rounds 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 on Saturday at the United Center. They traded their third-round pick to New Jersey for defenseman Eric Gelinas on Feb. 29, 2016. Colorado obtained the 21st pick of the fourth round (114th) from the New York Rangers a year ago for defenseman Nick Holden. [...]
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Avalanche exposes Calvin Pickard to expansion Vegas Golden Knights
In advance of Wednesday’s NHL expansion draft in Las Vegas, the league announced each team’s protected list Sunday morning. The Avalanche protected 11 players, including goalie Semyon Varlamov, and left the likes of goalie Calvin Pickard, forward Mikhail Grigorenko and defenseman Mark Barbario available to the Vegas Golden Knights. Each team will lose one player to the Knights. In alphabetical order according to position, the Avs protected forwards Sven Andrighetto, Blake Comeau, Matt Duchene, Rocco Grimaldi, Gabe Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Nieto; defensemen Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson and Nikita Zadorov; and Varlamov in net. Varlamov, who was traded from Washington to Colorado in 2011 by Vegas general manager George McPhee, the former Capitals’ GM, is coming off two surgeries to his groin/hip area and his save percentage has declined the past three seasons, going from .921 to .914 to .898. He is under contract for the next two seasons, at a $5.9 million cap hit. Related ArticlesJune 15, 2017 NHL announces draft order; Avalanche has seven selections June 15, 2017 Paul Stastny, Kelly Cup to appear at Dawg Bowl VII hockey fundraising event June 15, 2017 Avalanche removes Francois Beauchemin from roster with buyout June 14, 2017 Colorado Eagles in discussions to become the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate June 13, 2017 Avalanche not identifying players protected from NHL expansion draft Protecting Varlamov, 29, over Pickard, 25, could be simply a show of support for the veteran goalie, because it is believed McPhee has no interest in working with the Russian for another time in a different city. Pickard isn’t considered a bona fide NHL starting goalie, but a highly serviceable backup and outstanding teammate. The Golden Knights also are expected to select goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Fleury is under contract at $5.75 million over the next two seasons, and that’s another reason why Vegas won’t consider Varlamov. It is highly doubtful the Knights would choose two goalies with a combined cap hit of nearly $12 million through 2018-19. First- and second-year players and unsigned prospects are exempt from the expansion draft. So up-and-coming Avs players Mikko Rantanen, Tyson Jost and Andrei Mironov, among others, are not in Wednesday’s picture. Here’s a complete list of Colorado’s unprotected players: forwards Troy Bourke, Gabriel Bourque, Rene Bourque, Joe Colborne, Turner Elson, Felix Girard, Grigorenko, Samuel Henley, John Mitchell, Jim O’Brien, Brendan Ranford, Mike Sislo, Carl Soderberg; defensemen Barberio, Mat Clark, Eric Gelinas, Cody Goloubef, Duncan Siemens, Fedor Tyutin, Patrick Wiercioch, Joe Cannata; goalies Pickard, Jeremy Smith. [...]
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NHL salary cap set at $75 million for 2017-18 season
NEW YORK — The NHL salary cap has been set at $75 million for this season in a slight increase over last year. The league and NHL Players’ Association announced the cap and the salary floor of $55.4 million in a joint statement Sunday. The figures are set by the league’s hockey-related revenue. It’s an increase of $2 million from the $73 million cap last season, as players elected to use their escalator clause to raise it. Even a slight increase can help several teams that are up against the cap, like the Chicago Blackhawks and Presidents’ Trophy winning Washington Capitals. For budget teams, the floor increased just $1.4 million from $54 million. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights must spend at least to the salary floor in their first season. [...]
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Colorado Eagles in discussions to become the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate
The Avalanche might move its primary minor-league interests from San Antonio to less than an hour drive north of Denver, to Loveland, joining forces with the Colorado Eagles, who could become the Avs’ American Hockey League affiliate as early as 2018-19. The Eagles, the Avs’ current ECHL affiliate who recently won the Kelly Cup as ECHL champions, are mulling opportunities for AHL membership, according to president and general manager Chris Stewart, and hoping to increase their partnership with Colorado’s NHL team. The ECHL is considered Double-A, a level below the AHL. “There have been some discussions,” Stewart said of Eagles’ AHL venture with the Avalanche. “Obviously, the proximity and logistics, there’s a lot of sense for an affiliation that could possibly take us to the American Hockey League. I can’t confirm anything at this point, by any means, because there are way too many moving parts.” The Eagles’ AHL opportunity became available because of the NHL expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who will share the AHL’s Chicago Wolves with the St. Louis Blues in 2017-18 before the Blues sign elsewhere. There will be 31 NHL teams next season, but just 30 AHL teams. St. Louis could conceivably replace the Avalanche as the San Antonio Rampage’s parent team in 2018-19. The Avs will continue to place their top prospects in San Antonio for the upcoming season, and beyond if the deal with the Eagles doesn’t work out. Because the Avs remain under contract with the Rampage, they declined to comment about the Eagles and the AHL. “We are interested. The Avalanche has some interest,” Stewart said of the possible AHL relationship. “Whether or not that works with their San Antonio agreement or not, I don’t know. Like I said, there are a lot of moving parts. But we would want that affiliate at another level.” He added: “When you’re talking with the NHL, and especially the Avalanche, which has done so much for the good of hockey in the state of Colorado, I don’t want to step out of line. We’re very respectful of the Avalanche and what they’ve done for hockey, and the Eagles, as hockey continues to grow in this state.” The Eagles play at the 5,289-seat Budweiser Events Center, a county-owned facility, and have sold out 431 home games in 14 seasons. The Budweiser Events Center opened in 2003 and seats 7,200 for concerts but just 5,289 for hockey. The Hershey Bears led the AHL in attendance this past season with an average of 9,309, but 18 teams averaged just less than 6,000. Related ArticlesJune 15, 2017 Paul Stastny, Kelly Cup to appear at Dawg Bowl VII hockey fundraising event June 5, 2017 Colorado Eagles sweep South Carolina Stingrays to win first Kelly Cup May 25, 2017 Luke Salazar is back skating in his home state, seeking ECHL title with Colorado Eagles May 24, 2017 Avalanche prospects helped Colorado Eagles reach the upcoming ECHL Finals “I don’t believe that the AHL would accept the building as it sits today,” Stewart said of the Eagles’ arena. “I’m not just talking about seats. The facility in general, the locker rooms, I do think there would have to be some mitigation done to the building to help facilitate an American Hockey League franchise if we went in that direction.” Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic and AHL commissioner David Andrews attended Eagles home games last season. “People saw those gentlemen there, watching the game,” Stewart said. “They’re public figures, and there with a sharp, keen eye, wanting to see how we presented the game. They liked it, from what everything they had to say to myself and (Eagles owner) Martin Lind. We love to put on a good show and our fans are electrifying. They really bring energy into that building every night.” [...]
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Avalanche removes Francois Beauchemin from roster with buyout
Defenseman Francois Beauchemin will not return to the Avalanche next season. The team announced Thursday morning it will buy out the final year of the 37-year-old’s $4.5 million annual contract, with no salary-cap benefit for 2017-18. The move opens a roster spot and allows Colorado to protect another player from next week’s expansion draft. Beauchemin had a no-move clause, automatically putting him on the protected list. According to TSN hockey journalist Pierre LeBrun, Beauchemin’s agent Bob Sauve said the Avs never asked the player to waive his NMC for the expansion draft. Beauchemin spent two seasons with the Avs after being acquired from Anaheim as an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2015. He had 34 points (eight goals) in 2015-16 but slipped to 18 points (five goals) last season. He played in 163 of a possible 164 games for Colorado and was named alternate captain by first-year coach Jared Bednar last season. Because Beauchmin is over age 35, the Avs cannot spread out a buyout benefit, thus his $4.5 million salary will count against the team’s cap next season. However, the team only owes Beauchemin on a two-thirds ratio, $3 million, and will pay it in $1.5 million increments next season and in 2018-19, according to CapFriendly.com. The same situation unfolded last season with defenseman Brad Stuart, whose entire $3.6 million salary counted against the cap after the Avs bought out then then-36-year-old. For next Wednesday’s expansion draft in Las Vegas, the Avalanche will protect seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender or eight combined forwards/defensemen and a goalie. All first- and second-year players are exempt, along with unsigned prospects. Colorado is bound to protect defensemen Erik Johnson (NMC), Tyson Barrie and Nikita Zadorov, and possibly Mark Barbario if it goes the 8/1 route. Related ArticlesJune 15, 2017 NHL announces draft order; Avalanche has seven selections June 15, 2017 Paul Stastny, Kelly Cup to appear at Dawg Bowl VII hockey fundraising event June 14, 2017 Colorado Eagles in discussions to become the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate June 13, 2017 Avalanche not identifying players protected from NHL expansion draft June 13, 2017 Lunch Special: What is Matt Duchene’s future with the Avalanche? [...]
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Buffalo Sabres hire Phil Housley as head coach
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Phil Housley began his Hall of Fame playing career in Buffalo. It is also where he will open his NHL head-coaching career after being hired by the Sabres on Thursday. Housley’s hiring completes an offseason overhaul for the Sabres in replacing coach Dan Bylsma, who was fired along with general manager Tim Murray in April. He represents the first significant move made by first-time general manager Jason Botterill, who took over the job last month. Housley takes over a team that stagnated under Murray in extended its franchise-worst playoff drought to six seasons. With a 33-37-12 record, Buffalo finished last in the Atlantic Division, 26th overall, and with two fewer wins than last season. Related ArticlesJune 16, 2017 Looming expansion draft turns up trade chatter around NHL June 15, 2017 NHL announces draft order; Avalanche has seven selections June 15, 2017 Jonathan Drouin traded by Lightning to Canadiens for Mikhail Sergachev June 14, 2017 650,000 fans at parade cheer Penguins for Stanley Cup win June 14, 2017 Colorado Eagles in discussions to become the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate Housley has spent the past four years as an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators. He is credited for overseeing a highly skilled and speedy group of defensemen that helped Nashville make its first Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history. Botterill was forced to place his coaching search on hold to wait for the Predators’ season to end, which came with a 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday in Game 6. “Based on his experience as a player and coach, we think Phil is uniquely qualified to be our head coach and help us achieve our organizational goals,” Botterill said in a statement released by the team before a late-afternoon news conference. “His approach to the game aligns with the way we envision our hockey team playing, and we’re excited to see where his leadership will take us.” It’s a home coming for Housley, who was selected with the No. 6 pick in the 1982 draft by Buffalo and spent his first eight of his 21 NHL seasons playing for the Sabres. He also had a connection to Botterill from their playing days. Though Botterill was mostly a minor-league journeyman, he and Housley both played for the Calgary Flames from 1999-2001. Housley has head-coaching experience but not at the NHL level. He was head coach of the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 2013 World Junior championships. Starting in 2004, Housley spent nine seasons coaching Stillwater Area High School in his native Minnesota. As a player, Housley’s 1,232 career points (338 goals and 894 assists) rank third among American-born players and fourth among all NHL defensemen. [...]
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