Mike Halford

Detroit Red Wings v Florida Panthers
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Zetterberg to start at wing, centered by Nielsen

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This summer, Detroit GM Ken Holland announced that prized prospect Dylan Larkin would be making the move to center, after finishing top-five in Calder voting last year as a winger.

Now, it looks like the Wings are going all in with the move.

On Wednesday, head coach Jeff Blashill said Henrik Zetterberg will play the wing to start the campaign, with Frans Nielsen as his center.

That ties directly into the Larkin move — last year, the two were mates on a line centered by Zetterberg, who “took a lot of the responsibility off Dylan,” according to Holland.

So, what does it mean for Larkin?

Speed, potentially.

During the exhibition campaign, Blashill toyed with an intriguing line of Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou — a trio loaded with youth, skill and skating ability.

It looks like a trio Detroit could go to early and often this season, which would allow the Zetterberg-Nielsen and Vanek-Helm duos to stick together, and try and establish some chemistry.

Related: Zetterberg admits he ‘ran out of gas’ the last couple of seasons

Jackets release Stoll, Aulie, Bergeron and Brown from PTOs

Jarret Stoll
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Columbus’ training camp was, at one point, filled with veteran invitees.

But not anymore.

On Wednesday, the club announced the release of four players from their professional tryouts — defenseman Keith Aulie, defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, right wing Mike Brown and center Jarret Stoll.

Of the four, Stoll is the most prominent release. The 34-year-old, who won a pair of Stanley Cups in Los Angeles, saw an opportunity in Columbus given the club’s relative lack of depth down the middle, and was hopeful to continue his NHL career after splitting last season between the Rangers and Wild.

But it didn’t work out.

Head coach John Tortorella has enough options at center with Brandon Dubinsky, Boone Jenner, Alexander Wennberg and William Karlsson, and there is hope Pierre-Luc Dubois — the No. 3 overall pick at this year’s draft — can crack the opening-night roster.

Stoll did anticipate the possibility of getting released but, earlier this week, told the Columbus Dispatch getting dropped from his PTO wouldn’t mean he’d contemplate retirement.

“I definitely think I have a lot left in the tank and my body feels good,” Stoll said. “I understand the game is getting younger – young, skilled and fast — but I feel like I can still contribute.”

Brown, a journeyman tough guy, didn’t do enough to stand out and earn a contract. Same goes with Aulie and Bergeron, both of whom were always likely to end up getting dropped from their respective offers. Columbus has a fairly deep blueline at the moment, especially with prized rookie Zach Werenski expected to play a significant role this year.

Oilers lose Hendricks for ‘weeks’ with lower-body injury

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Matt Hendricks #23 of the Edmonton Oilers warms up prior to the start of the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on October 14, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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The Oilers have lost one of their veteran leaders for the foreseeable future — on Tuesday night, Matt Hendricks suffered a lower-body injury that will keep him out “weeks,” per head coach Todd McLellan.

Hendricks, 35, is one of the most experienced players on the Edmonton roster and, while he doesn’t wear a letter, is one of the club’s leaders as well. He served as Team USA captain at the 2015 Worlds, and has been a good penalty killer for the Oilers in each of the last three seasons.

His absence could be a boon for one of the youngsters looking to stick in Edmonton. The likes of Anton Slepyshev and Tyler Pitlick are hoping to start the year with the

 

 

 

Jets cut first-rounders Roslovic, Stanley from training camp

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 26:  Jack Roslovic poses after being selected 25th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 26, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Winnipeg trimmed its training camp roster down to 33 players on Tuesday, and two names sent packing stood out from the rest:

Jack Roslovic and Logan Stanley.

Roslovic, the 25th overall pick in 2015, is on his way to AHL Manitoba while Stanley, the 18th overall pick this year, has been returned to his junior club in OHL Windsor.

Neither comes as a massive surprise.

Stanley was always headed back to junior — at 6-foot-7 and 228 pounds, he was drafted largely as a project, one that needs more seasoning before being ready to compete for a spot at the NHL level.

“He is a guy that is going to continue to grow, grow into his body, grow into his frame, grow into his game,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff told NHL.com. “There’s lot of room for development, and that’s what makes him a really exciting prospect.”

Roslovic’s departure is a tad more intriguing.

The 19-year-old left Miami (OH) University shortly after his freshman year to sign an entry-level deal and turn pro. At the time, he said his goal was “to play as high as I possibly can this season” — not that kind of high, you stoners — but tapped the brakes when it came to predicting a spot with the Jets.

“Am I ready for the NHL? Maybe not,” Roslovic said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “We’ll see. I’m a lot stronger than I was. But the only way to see if you’re ready is training camp.”

Roslovic played in last night’s 4-2 exhibition win over Ottawa, getting just 9:39 of ice time. In that same game, the guy Winnipeg took eight spots ahead of Roslovic — touted prospect Kyle Connor — scored the game-winning goal, his third of the preseason.

The Penguins now play at PPG Paints Arena

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 20:  An exterior view of Consol Energy Center before Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers at Consol Energy Center on April 20, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Goodbye, Consol.

Hello, PPG Paints.

On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced they’ve entered a 20-year arena naming rights agreement with PPG Paints, a Pittsburgh-based paint company that’s been in business for more than 130 years.

More, from the club:

Previously known as “CONSOL Energy Center,” the facility now will be named “PPG PAINTS Arena.” PPG also becomes the official paint supplier of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Financial terms for the 20-year agreement were not disclosed.

In the coming weeks, signage inside and outside the facility and all related marketing materials will transition to reflect the new name and logo.

Today’s news marks the end of Consol’s eight-year run as the naming rights holder.

During that spell, the Penguins captured a pair of Stanley Cups.