Author: Ryan Dadoun

Vince Dunn
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Vince Dunn signs entry-level deal with Blues

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Vince Dunn has returned to OHL Niagara, but his time in the St. Louis Blues’ training camp wasn’t fruitless.

The Blues announced that they have signed the 18-year-old defenseman to a three-year, entry-level contract. He was taken with the 56th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

“(Dunn) can really skate,” said Blues Director of Amateur Scouting Bill Armstrong back in June, per the Belleville News-Democrat. “He probably has characteristics of playing like (Chicago defenseman Brent) Seabrook with his skating and his compete and skill level. He’s obviously got a lot of strength to gain and a lot of work to do in the gym. He’s got to push himself in the gym, but the talent and compete level is what we really like.”

Dunn sees himself as an offensive defenseman and someone who can quarterback the power play. He had 18 goals, 56 points, and 59 penalty minutes in 68 OHL contests last season.

Jackets reassign Bjorkstrand, Milano, release Sheppard from PTO

James Sheppard
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After failing to secure a contract on the unrestricted free agent market this summer, it seems forward James Sheppard’s attempt to fight his way on to Columbus as a training camp tryout hasn’t worked out either. He was among the 14 players that the Blue Jackets’ cut from their training camp roster, per the team’s website.

Although he had other PTO offers, Sheppard joined the Blue Jackets’ camp despite the fact that Columbus already had 11 forwards inked to one-way contracts, not including Alexander Wennberg or Boone Jenner.

“This, to me, is a unique situation happening right now in Columbus,” Sheppard told the Columbus Dispatch last week. He added, “The real superstars are just starting to emerge, with Foligno and Johansen, guys like that. But there’s not a name on this team that can’t be a top player.”

The 27-year-old is a veteran of 394 NHL games with Minnesota, San Jose, and the New York Rangers. He had 18 points in 71 contests last season.

This latest round of cuts also marked the end of camp for notable prospects Oliver Bjorkstrand and Sonny Milano. Bjorkstrand is coming off of back-to-back 100-plus point campaigns with WHL Portland while Milano was the 16th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Kerby Rychel has managed to survive the latest round of cuts though. The highly regarded 20-year-old forward played in five games with Columbus last season and recorded three assists.

Columbus has 35 players left in the camp.

Flames release Douglas Murray from PTO

Douglas Murray
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Defenseman Douglas Murray’s quest to extend his NHL career hit another road block as he was released by the Calgary Flames on Friday, per the team’s website.

For Murray this represents the second time this year that he has failed to secure a contract with Calgary. Attempting to return to the NHL after a stint in Germany, he joined the Flames on a tryout basis back in March while they weighed their options after losing captain Mark Giordano to a torn biceps tendon.

Although that didn’t lead to him playing in the NHL last season, The 35-year-old agreed to a second PTO with the Calgary Flames earlier this month. The problem was that the Flames already had a projected defensive group of Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, Giordano, Kris Russell, Ladislav Smid, and Deryk Engelland.

Brodie did suffer a broken hand that will sideline him for three-to-six weeks, but once again it seems an injury hasn’t tipped the scales in Murray’s favor.

Murray has played in 518 career contests, but his last NHL game was with Montreal in 2014.

Ben Bishop set to make preseason debut

Ben Bishop
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Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, who sustained a torn groin muscle in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, will play in his first game of the 2015 preseason tonight.

“Naturally you want to see where he’s at,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said, per NHL.com. “He’s had a pretty good camp. But it’s a slow process here with our regulars. This is when these guys start coming in to play a little bit more. [Bishop’s] minutes will start picking up from here on in. Tonight’s the first step. Get his feet wet here at home.”

Bishop missed one contest in Tampa Bay’s six-game series against the Chicago Blackhawks due to the injury. After having the summer to heal, he’s been able to fully participate in the team’s practice drills. He thinks it will take an exhibition game or two in order to get his timing back and feel comfortable.

He’ll only play in half of Friday’s game as Kristers Gudlevskis will also see time between the pipes. With Andrei Vasilevskiy (blood clot) sidelined, Gudlevskis has an opportunity to make the team as Bishop’s understudy.

Bruins sign defensive prospect Carlo

Brandon Carlo
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Someday defenseman Brandon Carlo could be using his 6-foot-5 frame to help frustrate opposing forwards in service of the Boston Bruins. That might still be a ways off for the 18-year-old, but he’s taken another step forward towards that goal.

The Bruins announced that they have inked Carlo to an entry-level contract. He was taken with the 37th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

“Right away you know how much area and territory he can defend,” Bruins GM Don Sweeney told NESN back in July. “He’s got athleticism in his skating ability, shoots the puck really hard. I was impressed with Brandon during the World Juniors because (Team USA) gave him a role and he really did a good job. He went out and shut down, made his first pass and identified. … That first pass execution piece will be very important for him, but he’s a guy that covers a lot of ice. We’re really excited about Brandon.”

Carlo, who had 25 points in 63 WHL games last season, would term himself as a defensive defenseman. He has labeled his poise with the puck as an area of his game he wants to work on though.

Before signing this contract, he attended the Bruins’ development and rookie camps. He then participated in two preseason games and managed to score a goal against the New York Rangers.

The 37th overall pick originally belonged to the Philadelphia Flyers, but Boston ultimately acquired it from the New York Islanders as part of the Johnny Boychuk trade.