Drew Doughty offers Willie Mitchell No. 8, gains his admiration

drewdoughtyno8.jpgThe Los Angeles Kings didn’t land the big fish (Ilya Kovalchuk) this summer, but they might be better off if Willie Mitchell can actually stay healthy this season.

Mitchell admitted that one of the most significant draws (besides the sexy weather, I’m guessing) was the possibility of playing alongside – or at least on the same blueline with – Kings stud defenseman Drew Doughty. The experienced defenseman knew Doughty was super-skilled, but he found out quickly that he knows how to make a great first impression too.

Here’s more from Helene Elliott.

“I wore No. 8 in Vancouver. The first day he came in he was like, ‘Willie you can take my number,’ and I think that just speaks volumes of him as a kid,” Mitchell said.

He declined Doughty’s generous offer. “I said, ‘No, you had too good of a year last year. You’ve got to keep rocking that thing,’ ” Mitchell said, laughing.

“I think that speaks volumes of him. We were on the ice together the other day as a pair. It was fun seeing what he can do, how he reads and feels the game. I look forward to having a chance to play with him.”

That’s a great gesture from Doughty, an often dazzling player who hopefully will gain more exposure next season. Mitchell is a great fit for the team, whether the Kings opt to pair him with another defensive specialist in Rob Scuderi or a young blueliner such as Doughty or Jack Johnson. If Doughty-Mitchell is indeed a primary pairing, they certainly got off on the right foot.

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    Report: Finnish goalie Sateri eyeing NHL after strong showing at Worlds

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    Harri Sateri, the former Sharks prospect that’s spent the last three years in the KHL, is reportedly looking to come back to North America.

    Per Finnish news outlet Iltalheti, Sateri shot down an extension with his current club, Vityaz Podolsk, to try and land an NHL gig.

    The 27-year-old’s decision comes after a pretty solid showing with his native Finland at the World Hockey Championship. There, Sateri split time with Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo, finishing with a .915 save percentage and 2.26 GAA. He posted a 26-save shutout in a surprising quarterfinal win over the U.S.

    Sateri’s also been good in Russia as well. Last season, he finished with a .929 save percentage and 2.50 GAA in 42 games.

    It’ll be interesting to see if he can find a gig this summer. Sateri was originally San Jose’s fourth-round pick (106th overall) at the 2008 draft, but spent all four of his years in North America with the club’s AHL affiliate.

    In his final season, he lost out on the gig as Antti Niemi’s backup to Alex Stalock in the preseason.

    Kelly or Wingels will replace White for Senators in Game 7

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    Either Chris Kelly or Tommy Wingels will replace Colin White for the Ottawa Senators tonight.

    White, 20, made his NHL playoff debut in Game 6, but he only took seven shifts and logged 2:39 of ice time.

    Clearly, head coach Guy Boucher didn’t trust the rookie in such a big game.

    Tonight in Pittsburgh, it’s an even bigger game. Win and it’s off to the Stanley Cup Final. Lose and that’s it for the season.

    Kelly, 36, and Wingels, 29, have each played their share of big games. Kelly went to a Cup final with the Sens in 2007, and he went to a couple more with the Bruins. Wingels played for the Cup last year with the Sharks.

    “They both have lived seven games, and they both have won seven games,” said Boucher. “So those are the two guys we need to have out there.”

    Kelly has only played once this postseason, all the way back in the first round against Boston. But with Derick Brassard seemingly unable to take faceoffs, Kelly may draw in because he’s a center.

    “It will all depend if it’s a center or winger I’m going to need,” said Boucher.

    Related: Schultz and Hornqvist will be game-time decisions; Sheary may play

    Carolina has the ‘open for business sign out there’

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    Ron Francis is ready to make more deals.

    Heading into the offseason, Francis had 11 draft picks at this June’s draft, and already used one — a third-rounder — to acquire Scott Darling from Chicago.

    Now, the Hurricanes GM is prepared to use more in the hopes of adding to the roster.

    “We’ve got the open for business sign out there,” Francis said Wednesday, per the News & Observer. “We’re in a unique situation with the amount of picks we have and the amount of prospects we have. It’ll be interesting.

    “Really what it comes down to is what teams want: Do they want a player back for the asset they don’t have to protect or are they willing to take some picks and prospects?”

    It’s pretty obvious the goal for Francis and head coach Bill Peters is to get the ‘Canes back into the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The team has shown steady improvement over the last three years — going from 30 to 35 to 36 wins — and had a nice late push before ultimately falling short this season.

    “I think we have specific needs, very specific needs,” Peters said at Carolina’s end-of-year media availability. “So as a coach I’m going to give very specific names.”

    It sounds like more than just picks could be in play.

    The News & Observer said the ‘Canes “aren’t agonizing” over the expansion draft, as the team has a pretty good idea of who’ll be exposed. So it could be a case of identifying the players that will remain, and seeing what assets they may fetch in return.

    There’s been speculation that the Hurricanes might be willing to move Noah Hanifin. Though it might seem strange to dangle a gifted 20-year-old d-man with loads of potential, Carolina has good depth on the blueline with Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce. It’s expected that prospects Roland McKeown and Haydn Fleury will push for NHL jobs next year, and there’s still ’16 first-rounder Jake Bean on the horizon.

    Francis also has another asset at his disposal — cap space.

    It’s what allowed the ‘Canes to snag Teuvo Teravainen from Chicago for the price of taking on Bryan Bickell‘s contract. Another similar move could very well be in the cards, especially when the NHL releases next year’s cap ceiling figure.

    Report: ‘All signs point’ to contract extension for Ducks’ Fowler

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    “All signs point toward” a contract extension for Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    LeBrun reported this morning that talks between the Ducks and the 25-year-old defenseman are expected to resume next week. Talks so far have been “positive,” said LeBrun.

    It won’t be cheap to re-sign Fowler, who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’s coming off a 39-point season for the Ducks, and he logged almost 25 minutes per game.

    If Fowler does agree to re-sign, he’ll obviously be protected in the expansion draft, along with Hampus Lindholm. Assuming the Ducks only protect three defensemen, that would only leave one spot to protect Sami Vatanen, Josh Manson, or Kevin Bieksa — and the latter has a no-movement clause, which for now demands he be protected.

    For that reason, Bieksa will likely be asked to waive his NMC. It’s also possible he could be bought out.

    Anaheim does have the option to protect four defensemen and four forwards. However, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler all have NMCs, and the Ducks won’t want to expose Rickard Rakell or Jakob Silfverberg.

    Related: Big decisions looming for Ducks