Cam Tucker

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Vegas parlays second-round pick into prospect forward Keegan Kolesar

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The Vegas Golden Knights had a surplus of draft picks in the opening two rounds this weekend, and they used one of those to make a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

The Golden Knights sent the 45th overall pick in this year’s draft to Columbus in exchange for 20-year-old prospect forward Keegan Kolesar, who has spent the last four years with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.

In each of the last two years, Kolesar has put up good numbers, scoring a junior career high of 30 goals and 61 points in 64 games in 2015-16. He had 60 points this past season, but played in 10 fewer games due to a sports hernia surgery, so he was on pace to far exceed his totals from the previous campaign.

He was most impressive for the Thunderbirds in the 2017 WHL playoffs. In 19 games, he scored 12 goals and 31 points. Great production for that time of year. But in addition to those numbers, what may be most intriguing to Vegas is that Kolesar brings tremendous size down the right wing. Standing 6-foot-2 and 223 pounds, his physical play for the Thunderbirds was lauded during their postseason run, which resulted in a Memorial Cup berth.

“Keegan is one of the most important guys to our success,” Thunderbirds coach Steve Konowalchuk told the Columbus Dispatch. “He could easily have been a co-MVP of the playoffs. Not only does he produce a ton of points, but his physical play has had a huge impact on every playoff series.”

Having turned 20 in April, Kolesar will be eligible to play in the AHL or NHL next season, per the Golden Knights.

Kings sign Andreoff to two-year extension

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The L.A. Kings have brought back pending restricted free agent forward Andy Andreoff.

The Kings announced Saturday that they have re-signed Andreoff to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $677,500.

He appeared in only 36 games last season, spending time on injured reserve, adding two assists. The previous year, however, he played in 60 games for L.A., scoring eight goals with 10 points.

At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Andreoff is known more for his physical style and checking abilities than offensive production, with 146 penalty minutes combined over the last two seasons.

You’re hired: Panthers, Wild name assistant coaches

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The Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild have added to their coaching staffs.

The Panthers announced on Saturday the hiring of Paul McFarland as an assistant coach on Bob Boughner’s staff. McFarland is only 31 years old, which is relatively youthful in the coaching ranks, but he has spent the last three years as the head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs.

He is a year removed from helping guide Kingston to a 46-17-0-5 record.

“In three seasons as a head coach in Kingston, Paul’s team has not missed the playoffs,” said Boughner in a statement. “He is young, intelligent and can relate to our team’s young core.”

Less than a full month after Scott Stevens resigned as an assistant coach in Minnesota, the Wild have named Bob Woods to the position, making it official on Saturday.

Woods spent last season as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres. It was recently reported that organization would not be bringing back their assistants for next season, providing Woods the opportunity to look elsewhere in the league for an opportunity.

There is quite a familiarity between Woods and Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau.

Per the Wild, Woods has worked as an assistant with Boudreau on three previous occasions, most recently with the Anaheim Ducks from 2012 to 2014.

‘I feel I needed a change,’ says former Coyotes coach Tippett

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Dave Tippett has spoken, offering insight into why he felt it was time for him and the Arizona Coyotes to go their separate ways.

The move comes just days after it was revealed the Coyotes, based on a decision from owner Andrew Barroway, would not be bringing back Shane Doan, the team’s captain since 2003 and an original member of the franchise from its days in Winnipeg prior to relocation.

That decision, it can certainly be argued, was one that needed to be made. Doan is in his 40s, had a down season and was a pending unrestricted free agent. But the manner in which the situation was handled has garnered criticism from many.

In conversation with the Arizona Republic, Tippett reiterated one particular theme for Thursday’s decision. He mentioned a number of issues — ownership, arena, etc. — that have plagued the franchise over the years and that a change was necessary.

“It’s been a long go here trying to keep things going, and now with the change of ownership again – or change of direction again – the instability of the rink and stuff, it just seemed like the right time for them and for me,” Tippett said. “There’s nothing I could put my finger on. Just time for a change.”

He continued:

“You feel it’s time for a change,” Tippett said. “I feel like I needed a change now. Seemed like the right time with ownership changing and Doaner and Smitty – not that those are excuses. But just a lot of things built up and just time to try something new.”

This season seemed to be particularly frustrating for Tippett. With the Coyotes going through a well-known youth movement, their coach was, on a number of occasions, critical of certain performances and team problems throughout the year. Arizona finished 28th in the overall standings with 30 wins and 70 points.

In May 2016, Tippett signed a five-year contract extension and was named executive vice-president of hockey operations.

Related: The Coyotes are going in a ‘new direction’ — and that’s an understatement

Report: Former Canucks bench boss Desjardins to coach Canada at Olympics

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Willie Desjardins’ time behind the Canucks bench ended in April, following three seasons, one playoff appearance, two years in which they finished near the bottom of the standings, and plenty of questions about deployment issues and his usage of younger players.

However, it seems he’ll soon find himself back behind the bench.

According to Steve Simmons of Postmedia, Desjardins is expected to be named coach of Team Canada for the upcoming 2018 Olympics. Nothing has been announced from Hockey Canada.

Desjardins has experience coaching on the international stage. He was an assistant working with Pat Quinn when Canada took gold in the 2009 World Juniors, and was the head coach the following year when Canada took silver.

Now, it will be interesting to see how respective hockey nations fill out their Olympic rosters for 2018. The NHL has announced its schedule for the upcoming season — cementing the fact the league will not be participating in South Korea.

Based on earlier reports, Canada will look to build a roster with players competing in Europe and in the American Hockey League.

Related: In farewell to Vancouver, Desjardins defends his approach to young players