Ex-teammate Shane Doan talks about Selanne’s return to Winnipeg

If there’s anyone that has any idea what Teemu Selanne is in for tonight when he returns to Winnipeg, it’s Coyotes captain Shane Doan. It was only two weeks ago when Doan made his own return to Manitoba to face the Jets for the first time since the team left Canada in 1996. Like Selanne, Doan was also a member of that final edition of the Winnipeg Jets 1.0. When he returned, there were fans who had waited since his rookie year to welcome him back to Winnipeg.

“They’re going to absolutely love him there,” Doan told Pro Hockey Talk this week. “I mean, everybody in Winnipeg loves Teemu. He could never do anything wrong in that city. They’re going to love him.”

It’s a wonder what kind of pull 76 goals can buy a player in a city. But it isn’t just the city that loves Selanne from his days in Winnipeg. Doan was a first year, first round draft pick breaking into the league as an 18-year-old during the Jets’ last season. That was right about the same time that Selanne was more popular than the mayor, the Prime Minister, and Rush in the Manitoban capital.

Selanne made an impression on Doan the one year they played together. “Honestly, you can’t explain how nice a man he is,” Doan shared. “As a rookie, as a young guy, he went out of his way to make me feel so comfortable. I thought, ‘he’s Teemu Selanne!’ He scored 76 goals and he was so unarming and easy to talk to. I enjoyed him a lot.”

It’s safe to say that Selanne will get a warmer reception that Doan did during his first game back. Aside from a video montage the Jets organization put together during one of the TV timeouts, many fans inside the MTS Centre booed Doan every time he touched the puck. In his case, the warm memories from the fans only went as far as the logo on his chest.

“Yeah, when you’re playing, I think you’re against their team and they’re very passionate about their team.” Doan said about his return to Winnipeg. “But at the same time, they’re all great fans. It was pretty cool what they did [the video tribute]. I appreciated it. Then I really appreciated it booing too. That’s a lot of fun too.”

We’ll see if anyone has the guts to boo Selanne in his return to Winnipeg tonight. Outlook: not likely.

Isles sign Northeastern captain Stevens

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John Stevens, who just wrapped a four-year career at Northeastern University, has signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders, the club announced on Monday.

Stevens, 22, went undrafted but emerged as a valuable player for the Huskies, culminating with a senior season in which he served as captain and averaged better than a point per game (28 in 25 contests).

Stevens is the son of longtime L.A. Kings associate coach John Stevens, who formerly served as the bench boss in Philly.

A third member 0f the Stevens clan, Nolan, also played this season at Northeastern — his junior campaign — and was taken by St. Louis in the fifth round of last year’s draft.

McElhinney to start for Leafs tomorrow

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Curtis McElhinney will start in goal for the Maple Leafs when they host Florida tomorrow.

Which means Toronto’s regular starter, Frederik Andersen, will not.

Andersen, hurt Saturday in Buffalo, only lasted 20 minutes of practice this morning. The Toronto Star, citing a Leafs source, is reporting that Andersen “took a blow to his jaw from a player in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Sabres.”

McElhinney is 4-5-0 with a .919 save percentage in 10 appearances for the Leafs this season. He told reporters that tomorrow will be the biggest start of his NHL career.

It remains to be seen who will back up McElhinney against the Panthers. The Leafs have recalled goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL on an emergency basis. All three netminders were on the ice today.

Update:

Expect Sparks to be the back-up tomorrow.

Toronto has a three-point playoff cushion, with eight games remaining.

The Leafs also recalled forward Kasperi Kapanen, the 22nd overall draft pick in 2014. Kapanen, 20, has 18 goals and 25 assists in 43 games for the Marlies this season. He’s expected to replace Ben Smith on the fourth line, alongside Brian Boyle and Matt Martin.

Habs sign d-man Mete, who ‘does everything’ for junior team

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Victor Mete, Montreal’s fourth-round pick at last year’s draft, has signed his three-year, entry-level deal, the club announced on Monday.

Mete, 18, is in his third year with OHL powerhouse London, and finished this season with 15 goals and 44 points in 50 games. He’s developed a reputation as a terrific skater, and often plays alongside fellow Knights d-man Olli Juolevi, who the Canucks took fifth overall at last year’s draft.

London assistant coach Dylan Hunter had high praise for Mete this season.

“When it comes to little nuances of his game, stick on puck, knowing when to make a play and when there isn’t a play to just get it out, he’s one of the best there is right now,” Hunter said, per the London Free Press.

“He does everything for us.”

Mete has one year of junior eligibility remaining, so it’s likely he’ll be back in London next season. At 5-foot-10 and just 180 pounds, he’s undersized and could use another year of development before turning pro.

 

After ‘great’ senior year, Pens sign Union standout Taylor

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Pittsburgh wasted little time in getting Jeff Taylor in the mix.

Taylor, the Union College senior defenseman who had his collegiate career end over the weekend, signed a two-year, entry-level deal on Monday, and also inked an ATO to join the club’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Taylor, the club’s seventh-round pick in 2014, enjoyed a career year at Union, helping the Dutchmen advance to the NCAA Tournament by setting career highs in goals (9) and points (33) in 38 games.

Back in December, Pens assistant GM Bill Guerin spoke glowingly about Taylor’s last collegiate campaign, saying he was in the midst of a “great” senior season.

“This is a kid we’ve been looking forward to getting since we drafted him,” Guerin said, per the Post-Gazette. “I remember his first development camp, everybody was like, ‘Oh, wow, look at this kid. He can move the puck, he can skate, he’s quick. He thinks the game well.’ And it hasn’t stopped.

“He’s an undersized guy, but he has the ability to get himself out of trouble because he’s got great feet and he thinks the game well.”