Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

Stars add Barnes and Wilson to Hitch’s staff, retain Fraser

Dallas filled out Ken Hitchcock’s coaching staff on Thursday, with a host of familiar faces.

Hitchcock’s longtime assistant, Rick Wilson, has come aboard, as has former Stars forward Stu Barnes. In announcing those hires, GM Jim Nill also revealed the club would retain the services of assistant Curt Fraser, who has been with the club since 2012.

“The three have a unique familiarity with the club from the time they spent here,” Nill said in a release. “We’re excited for the wealth of knowledge and experience they will add to our coaching staff.”

Wilson, 66, worked with Hitch in Dallas from 1995-2002 and, together, captured the Stanley Cup in ’99. He also worked with Hitchcock in St. Louis over the last few years.

Barnes, 46, finished his 17-year NHL career in Dallas, then quickly transitioned to the coaching side of things in 2009, spending two years as a Stars assistant under Marc Crawford.

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    NHL Draft profile — Owen Tippett


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    Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

    And, for the second year in a row, we’re featuring special guest analysis from Ryan Kennedy, associate senior writer and prospect expert at The Hockey News.

    Owen Tippett (RW)

    Height: 6-foot-0 Weight: 203 pounds Shoots: Right

    Team: Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

    Country: Canada

    NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 7 North American skater

    Kennedy says: “Tippett may be one of the most divisive talents available in the draft. The offensive tools are undeniable: he’s fast, he’s big and he’s got a wicked shot. But some teams wonder about his play away from the puck.

    “The Mississauga Steelheads star certainly knows he needs to work on his defensive game and he has time to hammer those details out, but NHL teams must buy what he is selling. Some are already on board and would much rather have a talent such as Tippett who can change the game with one rush up the ice, since defense can always be coached. How high that particular team drafts (or trades up) may determine when this Rick Nash-type gets picked.

    “And for what it’s worth, Tippett had a very solid playoff run in the OHL.”

    For the rest of the 2017 NHL Draft profiles, click here

    NHL Draft profile — Cale Makar

    THN Banner

    Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

    And, for the second year in a row, we’re featuring special guest analysis from Ryan Kennedy, associate senior writer and prospect expert at The Hockey News.

    Cale Makar (D)

    Height: 5-foot-11 Weight: 187 pounds Shoots: Right

    Team: Brooks Bandits (AJHL)

    Country: Canada

    NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 9 North American skater

    Kennedy says: “Makar first came into the hockey world’s consciousness at the World Jr. A Challenge when he set a tournament record by tallying five points in one game for Canada West. From there, he carved up the Alberta Jr. A League, taking his Brooks Bandits all the way to the national championship game (they lost to underdog Cobourg).

    “What makes Makar so intriguing is his skill set. He’s not a big defenseman by any means, but he can skate like the wind and handle the puck. It probably goes without saying that he watches a lot of Erik Karlsson video and also likes Shayne Gostisbehere.

    “On top of his skill set, Makar also plays with a bit of an edge and has a competitive streak. He is scheduled to play for the University of Massachusetts Minutemen next season, where he would get ample playing time while facing competition in Hockey East, one of the NCAA’s toughest conferences.”

    Related: Makar makes for a compelling prospect

    For the rest of the 2017 NHL Draft profiles, click here

    After stockpiling picks, Vegas aims to ‘draft our way to success’


    On Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena, the Las Vegas Golden Knights took form.

    But there’s no denying this team will really take shape at the next couple of entry drafts.

    That was the big storyline this evening, as Golden Knights GM George McPhee introduced his 30-man roster, almost in the shadow of an unprecedented stockpiling of draft picks from rival clubs.

    “[The objective] was to acquire prospects and surplus draft picks that can help draft our way to success,” McPhee explained. “Time will tell if we met those objectives, but we’re certainly delighted with the way that it went.

    “It was a fascinating experience.”

    We’ll get to see the fruits of McPhee’s labor shortly. When the dust settled this evening, he and the Golden Knights emerged with three top-15 picks in Friday’s first round of the draft — the sixth, which Vegas got in the lottery, the 13th, acquired in a trade with Winnipeg, and the 15th, acquired from the New York Islanders.

    In addition to that, the Golden Knights also received:

    • Buffalo’s sixth-round pick on Friday (as part of drafting William Carrier)

    • Carolina’s fifth-round pick on Friday (as part of drafting Connor Brickley)

    • Tampa Bay’s second-round pick on Friday, and the Bolts’ fourth-rounder in 2018 (for laying off the club’s young d-men, and taking Jason Garrison)

    • The Islanders’ second-round pick in 2019 (for taking on Mikhail Grabovski, in addition to the first-rounder listed above)

    • Columbus’ second-round pick in 2019 (for not taking Josh Anderson or Joonas Korpisalo, also in addition to the deal above)

    • Winnipeg’s third-round pick in 2019 (for taking Chris Thorburn instead of Tobias Enstrom, and also in addition to the above deal)

    • Pittsburgh’s second-round pick in 2020 (as part of drafting Marc-Andre Fleury)

    Add it all up, and the Knights now have 12 picks at the upcoming draft in Chicago, with five of them coming in the first two rounds. It’ll result in a huge influx of talent and, given the relatively thin nature of the active roster, a real chance for the kids selected on Friday to have a shot at NHL minutes in the fall.

    But remember — until these picks have been used, they’re assets. And that’s worth mentioning, because the league-wide trade freeze lifts at 8 a.m. ET Thursday morning.

    Stay tuned.

    Report: Golden Knights take Engelland, who used to play in Vegas


    In a move first reported by Sportsnet, Flames d-man Deryk Engelland is on his way to Vegas via the expansion draft.

    Engelland, an unrestricted free agent, is coming off a three-year, $8.75 million deal with a $2.92M average annual cap hit. The 35-year-old enjoyed a career year in Calgary last season, posting career-highs in games played (81), TOI (18:20) while finishing with 16 points, one off his personal best.

    Vegas opted to select Engelland ahead of some more intriguing Calgary skaters. The club could’ve had three-time 20-goal scorer Troy Brouwer, who was left unprotected, or young d-man Brett Kulak, who appeared in 21 games last season.

    As mentioned in the headline, Engelland does have ties to Sin City. He began his career there 14 years ago — plying his trade for the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers — and, per the Toronto Star, has made it his home for the last 13 years.

    “It’s a small town in a big-city type of thing,” said Engelland, who grew up in Chetwynd, B.C., which has a population of about 3,000.

    Equally attractive were the sunny, dry climate, outdoor lifestyle and proximity to the West Coast. Housing is also affordable in a market that was hit hard by the recession.

    The whole package was reason enough for the Engellands to put down roots.

    “I don’t see that changing anytime soon,” said Engelland.

    The family just built a new house.

    Of course, this story might not have the perfect ending. It’s possible Vegas could pass on signing Engelland, in which case he’d go to market on July 1.

    The Golden Knights could also flip him.

    Related: Vegas reportedly in on veteran d-men Methot, Emelin