Mike Halford

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Get to know a draft pick — Dante Fabbro

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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 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from Ryan Kennedy, associate senior writer and prospect expert at The Hockey News.

Dante Fabbro (D)

Height: 6-foot Weight: 189 pounds Shoots: Right

Team: Penticton Vees (BCHL)

Country: Canada

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 18 North American skater

Kennedy says: “Like his teammate Tyson Jost, Fabbro probably hasn’t gotten enough credit for just how good he was this season. On top of putting up big points from the blueline for Penticton, Fabbro was excellent at the World Jr. A Challenge, where he helped Canada West win gold.

“A two-way defenseman with shutdown potential, Fabbro’s worth at the next level depends on the scout you talk to. Some see more offensive upside, some see more defensive upside. Either way, he’s very valuable and will be part of a great Boston University program next season.

“Fabbro has a big-time shot, and the only slight knock is that his skating isn’t dynamic.”

Click here for all the 2016 NHL Draft profiles.

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    Get to know a draft pick — Kieffer Bellows

    BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 24:  Max Jones #10 and Kieffer Bellows #9 of Team Plante prepare to play Team Roenick during the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on September 24, 2015 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
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    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 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

    But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from Ryan Kennedy, associate senior writer and prospect expert at The Hockey News.

    Kieffer Bellows (LW)

    Height: 6-foot Weight: 196 pounds Shoots: Left

    Team: U.S. U-18 (USHL)

    Country: U.S.

    NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 10 North American skater

    Kennedy says: “The best way to neutralize Bellows is to keep him away from the puck, because if he gets it, you’re probably toast.

    “Like his ex-NHLer father Brian, Bellows has a wicked fast shot and scouts have compared the two in terms of their offensive wizardry. Kieffer’s challenge from here on out is to diversify his game, because right now goal-scoring is by far his strongest dimension.

    “He’ll get a chance to do so next season at Boston University, where he will join an excellent recruiting class that includes NTDP teammates Chad Krys and Clayton Keller. Bellows can also work on his consistency while he’s playing the college game.”

    Related: Bellows wins USHL rookie of the year

    Click here for all the 2016 NHL Draft profiles.

    Get to know a draft pick — Julien Gauthier

    LONDON, ON - MAY 16:  Julien Gauthier #12 of the Val'Dor Foreurs skates against Gemel Smith #14 of the London Knights in Game One of the 2014 Mastercard Memorial Cup at the Budweiser Gardens on May 16, 2014 in London, Ontario, Canada. The Foreurs defeated the Knights 1-0. (Photo by Kenneth Andersen/Getty Images)
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    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 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

    But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from Ryan Kennedy, associate senior writer and prospect expert at The Hockey News.

    Julien Gauthier (RW)

    Height: 6-foot-4 Weight: 225 pounds Shoots: Right

    Team: Val-D’or (QMJHL)

    Country: Canada

    NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 12 North American skater

    Kennedy says: “Gauthier is a fascinating player. His father and grandfather were both champion bodybuilders and the young right winger has been hitting the gym since he was nine years old.

    “He was also an incredible sniper this season, with a lopsided stat line of 41 goals and just 16 assists (we like to refer to that as ‘Cy Young numbers’ in the industry).

    “Gauthier is seen as a Rick Nash type of winger thanks to his great talent , size and speed, but he could use a little more snarl in his game. The fact he exhibited such little playmaking this season is also curious, but there’s a lot of potential here.”

    Click here for all the 2016 NHL Draft profiles.

    NHL releases schedule, here are five key takeaways

    COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 24:  A general view of the NHL logo prior to the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition at the Nationwide Arena on January 24, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Following yesterday’s home openers reveal, the NHL on Tuesday announced its full 1,230-game regular season schedule for the 2016-17 campaign.

    Click here for full details

    Five key takeaways from today’s announcement:

    1. It’s condensed, and tightly-packed

    September’s World Cup of Hockey will result in a later-than-usual start to the regular season, and the implementation of “bye weeks” — see more on those here — makes for some pretty compressed parts of the schedule.

    2. The celebratory stuff

    The Maple Leafs are celebrating their 100th season by hosting the first-ever NHL Centennial Classic, an outdoor game on Jan. 1 at BMO Field against the Red Wings.

    Speaking of those Red Wings, they’ll be commemorating their final season at Joe Louis Arena with 18 home dates against Original Six opponents.

    The Kings are celebrating their 50th anniversary by hosting the 2017 NHL All-Star Game at Staples Center, while the Blues are celebrating their 50th by hosting the Winter Classic at Busch Stadium against the Blackhawks.

    The Penguins and Flyers are also heading into their respective 50th anniversary seasons, and will face off in a Stadium Series game at Heinz Field on Saturday, Feb. 25.

    3. Noteworthy contests

    — Stanley Cup Final rematch between the Penguins and Sharks will go on Thursday, Oct. 20 from Consol.

    — The Heritage Classic between the Jets and Oilers, to be played outdoors at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, is on Sunday, Oct. 23.

    — Edmonton’s first game at its new rink, Rogers Place, will be against provincial rival Calgary on opening night (Wednesday, Oct. 12).

    — Detroit’s last-ever regular season game at the Joe will be against the Devils on Sunday, Apr. 9.

    4. Dates and breaks

    Opening night is Oct. 12, and the final day of the regular season is Apr. 9.

    Christmas Break is from Dec. 24-26, and the All-Star Break is from Jan.27-30.

    The trade deadline, per Cap Friendly, is Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. ET.

    The league’s annual “Black Friday” showcase is loaded up, an 11-game slate including matinees between the Rangers-Flyers, Penguins-Wild, ‘Hawks-Ducks and Isles-Sharks.

    5. Reunions

    — New Minnesota head coach Bruce Boudreau returns to Anaheim for the first since being fired on Jan. 8, when the Wild take on the Ducks at Honda.

    — Old Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo, now the Blues’ bench-boss-in-waiting, returns to Xcel for the first time since being fired on Nov. 26, when St. Louis takes on the Wild.

    — Randy Carlyle goes back to Toronto on Monday, Dec. 19 when the Ducks take on the Leafs at the ACC.

    Related: Penguins to raise Stanley Cup banner against Ovi and the Caps

    Agent: All quiet on Ben Bishop trade front

    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06:  Ben Bishop #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning stretches prior to the third period against the New York Islanders in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on May 06, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Allain Roy, the agent for Vezina-nominated netminder Ben Bishop, told the Tampa Bay times on Tuesday everything is “quiet” with regards to trade rumblings about his client.

    If you’re asking “wait, how did we get to this point?” — allow PHT to explain.

    Tuesday morning, a reporter from Tampa’s Fox13 tweeted this:

    Nobody was sure what these reports were or where to find them, but hockey insider Bob McKenzie had a theory.

    From his appearance on TSN 1040, by way of Today’s Slapshot:

    “Somebody asked me about what will Calgary do now that they didn’t get Freddie Andersen, they were after Freddie Andersen from Anaheim. The Leafs got him and signed him. What’s their next move. And I said obviously they need a goaltender. They have talked, or they will talk, to the Tampa Bay Lightning about Ben Bishop. That was it. That’s all I said. The same as they’ve talked to Pittsburgh about Marc-Andre Fleury.

    “Is it possible the Tampa Bay Lightning could trade netminder Ben Bishop? Yeah, absolutely it’s possible. I would have told you that during the Stanley Cup playoffs. They’ve got a cap crunch coming in Tampa, with or without Stamkos. Ben Bishop is a year away from unrestricted free agency. They’ve got a tremendous goaltender, a young goaltender in Vasilevskiy, who played very well in the playoffs. They’d be foolish not to explore their options. That’s not a news story. That’s not a flash.

    “Now apparently some dim bulb in Tampa has started to say that ‘there’s reports out of Canada that Calgary has a deal in place for Ben Bishop,’ which, if they do, it’s news to me. I certainly didn’t say that, and I’m not aware of anybody else who did either.”

    Bishop’s heading into the last of a two-year, $11.9 million deal with a $5.95M average annual cap hit. He turns 30 in November and while he’s been spectacular for the Bolts over the last two years, he is quite injury prone.

    There’s also the Lightning cap situation to consider. Bishop wouldn’t be the only key player staring at free agency next summer — Victor Hedman, set to go unrestricted, will need a new deal, as will prized RFAs Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin.

    Update: For what it’s worth, Bishop told the Tampa Bay Times that he expects to stay with the Lightning … but he’s not stressing out about it either way.

    “I expect to be back,” Bishop said. “It’s never really crossed my mind going somewhere else. As far as I’m concerned, I have another year here and I fully expect to be back. If I’m not, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

    “But I’m not going to sit here and worry about the ‘what ifs.’ It’s a waste of time.”