Cam Tucker

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Oilers sign Chris Kelly to a PTO

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Peter Chiarelli has brought in a familiar face from his days in Boston to try out for the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers confirmed Sunday that veteran center Chris Kelly will attend Oilers training camp on a professional tryout.

Kelly is now 36 years old and knows Chiarelli from their time together with the Bruins. Boston brought in Kelly several weeks before its 2011 playoff run, which culminated in a Stanley Cup.

He had 13 points in 25 games that post-season, and then spent the next five seasons in Boston.

As he has continued to get older, Kelly’s production has dropped from the 20 goals and 39 points he recorded in 2011-12 to five goals and 12 points in 82 games last season with Ottawa. He’s also dealt with injuries, including a left femur fracture early in the 2015-16 season — his last in Boston.

Prospect d-man Chabot sets sights on making Senators

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With training camps soon opening up, Thomas Chabot is making clear his plan to make the NHL this season.

He has one game experience at the NHL level, before getting sent back to juniors last season. Now, he’s positioned to make the jump to the Ottawa Senators lineup, particularly with the departure of Marc Methot in the offseason. Erik Karlsson also hasn’t started skating following his offseason foot surgery and his status for opening night is right now in jeopardy.

That may mean another opportunity for Chabot to get into the lineup — at least at the beginning of the season.

“They know I can skate and I can do things with the puck, but I just want to show that I can play real well and solid in my own zone,” Chabot told NHL.com.

“That’s what it is, that’s what it’s all about nowadays in the NHL. Everyone is just so good, you have to watch everyone, so to be a good defenseman in the NHL you have to be good in your own zone. That’s what I’m focusing on going into main camp, but obviously my goal is to have a spot for the season with the Senators.”

Chabot is now 20 years old. His lone NHL contest last season came in October against the Arizona Coyotes. He played just over seven minutes. It wasn’t until November, however, that he was sent back to the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. Back in junior, he put together a solid season and had an impressive showing for Team Canada at the world juniors, as well.

The Senators believe, however, that his brief time spent in Ottawa early last season should benefit Chabot now as he looks to make the club on a full-time basis this year.

“I think he’ll be more ready to step into our lineup this year, in whatever the role might be, than if we wouldn’t have kept him around for a month,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion told the Ottawa Citizen.

With contract situation looming, winning Stanley Cups is the ‘bottom line’ for Doughty

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Keep an eye on Drew Doughty‘s contract situation.

The L.A. Kings defenseman now has only two years remaining on his current eight-year, $56 million deal and he will be eligible for unrestricted free agency at the conclusion of this contract in 2019.

Doughty has been the centerpiece of the Kings’ blue line since joining the organization as the second overall pick in 2008, winning the Norris Trophy in 2016 and helping L.A. to its hockey rejuvenation with a pair of Stanley Cup championships and another lengthy playoff minus a title in 2013.

The success of that three-year stretch has since given way to more difficult times with one abbreviated playoff appearance in the last three years. For the organization, the disappointment of missing the 2017 post-season resulted in some big changes in the front office and coaching staff, with the dismissal of Dean Lombardi and Darryl Sutter.

That’s why Doughty’s contract situation will be of particular interest as the season goes along.

“My first love will always be L.A.,” Doughty told The Hockey News.

“It’s one of the best organizations in all of sports, not just hockey. It’s unbelievable. They treat us first-class, and it’s a good place to play. Living in Los Angeles, you can’t beat it. I’d love to re-sign in L.A. But if our team isn’t going in the right direction…I want to win Cups. I don’t give a s— where I play. I just want to win Cups, and that’s the bottom line.”

The Kings were once a dominant team in the West, but the landscape has also shifted of late with the rise of the Nashville Predators, the Connor McDavid-led Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames appear poised to take another step in their progression after an active summer.

It was also pointed out this summer at PHT that a number of key players for the Kings struggled last season and are only getting older, while locked into long-term contracts beyond the end of this Doughty deal in 2019.

Report: Sakic expects Duchene to report to Avalanche training camp

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Matt Duchene‘s absence from voluntary practices earlier in the week set off speculation about whether or not he will report to Colorado Avalanche training camp.

For months, Duchene has been at the center of trade rumors but so far no deal has been made, although general manager Joe Sakic has previously maintained he’ll continue to listen to offers.

Much has been made about the relationship — or the perceived deterioration of the relationship — between the organization and Duchene, the third overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. But Sakic and the Avalanche appear to be working under the assumption the now 26-year-old forward will be at camp when it begins in a few days.

“He’s under contract and I expect him to be here on the 14th,” Sakic told BSN Denver. “He doesn’t have to be here ’til the 14th. Not everybody always come to camp early. It’s not for me to (say), but I assume on the 14th, he’ll be here.”

That certainly echoes the comments of team captain Gabriel Landeskog from earlier this week. Duchene’s agent Pat Brisson told TSN.ca at the time that, “All I want to say is, for the moment Matt is skating in Toronto.”

It’s been known for a while that there was a possibility Duchene could begin this season in Colorado, with pundits like Elliotte Friedman pointing out that the two years he has remaining on his contract could be a possible hindrance to any potential deals with other clubs.

Meanwhile, restricted free agent defenseman Nikita Zadorov remains without a contract.

Blackhawks great Pierre Pilote dies at 85

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Pierre Pilote, who won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1961 and the Norris Trophy three times, passed away Saturday.

He was 85 years old.

The Blackhawks confirmed his passing in a statement on Sunday.

“The Chicago Blackhawks offer our sincere condolences to the family of Pierre Pilote as we mourn his passing,” the organization wrote in a statement.

“Pierre was one of the most decorated defenseman in NHL history and was a valuable member of the 1961 Stanley Cup championship team. He will be remembered for his toughness, leadership and reliability on the ice, as proven by his captaincy and streak of 376 consecutive games played. We will forever be grateful for his incredible contribution to the Blackhawks and the game of hockey.”

He played 890 games in the NHL, scoring 80 goals and 498 points, while spending 13 of his 14 years in the league with the Blackhawks. He captained the Blackhawks from 1961 to 1968. He finished his career in 1969 following one season with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His No. 3 jersey was retired to the rafters at United Center in 2008.

“A consistent, durable, dependable defender who enjoyed the offensive aspects of the position, Pierre Pilote was a team captain, an eight-time post-season All-Star and a three-time Norris Trophy winner,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement.

“Mainstay of the Blackhawks’ 1961 Stanley Cup champion, Pierre also was a man of humor and great dignity and a proud member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The National Hockey League mourns Pierre’s passing and sends heartfelt condolences to his family, teammates and many friends.”