Ryan Dadoun

Jack Eichel

Eichel planning to move in with Moulson

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After all the hype and preparation, Jack Eichel’s debut with the Buffalo Sabres is only about a month away. Of course he still has to go through training camp and the preseason before he officially makes the team, but barring an injury or surprise turn of events, he should be playing for the Sabres in their opener on Oct. 8.

“I think it’s starting to get real,” Eichel said, per Buffalo News.

While he’s already had to deal with plenty of attention and high pressure situations, the shift to the NHL is still a major undertaking, even for players as talented as Eichel. It should help that he’ll have plenty of support, particularly from veteran forward Matt Moulson, who has opened his home to Eichel.

“I know that everyone who knows him well says great things about him,” Eichel said. “I haven’t heard a bad thing about the guy. The way he offered his house to me shows what kind of person he is. He’s a really generous guy, a good guy to be around.”

Eichel might also end up playing on a line with Moulson, although at this point that’s purely speculation. The Sabres will be entering the season with a bolstered offense after finishing last in scoring in 2014-15 and has a new coach in Dan Bylsma, so one of the interesting aspects of the Sabres’ training camp will be what lines are experimented with and which ones gel.

Lightning’s trip to Stanley Cup Final boosts season ticket sales

Stamkos
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The Tampa Bay Lightning will start the 2015-16 campaign in a much better position from a tickets sold perspective and it seems reasonable to credit their run to the Stanley Cup Final for that boost.

After reaching the final round for the second time in franchise history, the Lightning have sold 13,500 season tickets, per the Tampa Bay Times. That’s up from 11,500 from the 2014-15 campaign.

The Lightning were already doing a great job of filling out Amalie Arena as they enjoyed an average attendance of 18,823 last season, which was good enough for ninth place in the league. It helped that even before their playoff run, the Lightning were giving fans plenty of reasons to see them as they posted a 50-24-8 record.

They will enter the 2015-16 campaign with largely the same group of players and are expected to be very competitive again this season.

Tampa Bay will begin to sell single game tickets on Friday.

St. Louis offers Upshall a professional tryout

Scottie Upshall
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Will Scottie Upshall be the one to take advantage of the hole left in the St. Louis Blues’ roster by Patrik Berglund’s major shoulder injury? He’ll get that chance as the Blues have invited him to training camp on a tryout basis, per the team’s website.

Upshall, who will turn 32 on Oct. 7, is a veteran of 553 career NHL games. He has reached the 30-point mark on five separate occasions, but he was limited to eight goals and 15 points in 63 contests with the Florida Panthers last season.

He is coming off of a four-year, $14 million deal. Under other circumstances, he might have been able to secure a new contract by now to serve as a bottom-six forward, but with many teams up against the cap or their internal budgets, this has become a particularly rough summer for many veteran players.

The Blues have taken advantage of that by offering Scott Gomez a PTO as well, but St. Louis also has some young forwards vying for spots with two of the most noteworthy examples being Robby Fabbri and Ty Rattie.

Related: Hitch finds silver lining in Berglund injury

Crosby, Toews, Weber, Price lead pack in NHL 16’s ratings

2014 NHL Stadium Series - Pittsburgh Penguins v Chicago Blackhawks
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After unveiling the top 10 goaltenders for the upcoming video game NHL 16, EA Sports has done the same for every other position.

As was the case last season, Sidney Crosby has the highest overall rating at 96, but there are some alterations after that. In 2015, Steven Stamkos ranked second overall with a 93 rating and he kept that rating for 2015-16, but he’s been leapfrogged by Jonathan Toews (94), Shea Weber (94), and Carey Price (94).

Pavel Datsyuk (93) and John Tavares (92) round out the top-five among centers. Both Detroit and Pittsburgh have two players in the top-10 with Henrik Zetterberg (92) and Evgeni Malkin (92) securing eighth and sixth place respectively.

As previously established, Weber leads the pack among defensemen and is followed by Duncan Keith (93), Drew Doughty (93), Ryan Suter (93), and Erik Karlsson (91). Nashville is the only team with two defensemen in the top-10 as Roman Josi (90) ranks ninth.

When it comes to right wingers, Corey Perry (92) got the top position, although he’s closely followed by Patrick Kane (92). Vladimir Tarasenko (91), Jakub Voracek (90), and Marian Hossa (90) make up the remainder of the top-five. Phil Kessel, who was traded from Toronto to Pittsburgh over the summer, saw his rating slip from 90 in 2014-15 to 89 following a rough campaign with the Maple Leafs.

When it comes to left wingers, it won’t surprise many to learn that Alex Ovechkin secured the top rating at 93. He’s followed by Jamie Benn (92), Taylor Hall (90), Zach Parise (90), and Max Pacioretty (89). The Dallas Stars’ acquisition of Patrick Sharp means that they now have two players in the top-10 as Sharp took the final place on that list with his 89 rating.

NHL 16 will be out on Sept. 15 in North America and Sept. 17 in Europe. If you want to see each position’s top-10 list, you can view them here.

Marchand rehabbing from offseason elbow surgery

Brad Marchand
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Brad Marchand won’t be playing through an elbow injury in 2015-16 like he was last season, but before he can move past it he needs to complete his rehab process. Fortunately he’s upbeat about his recovery from his offseason surgery.

“It just started feeling better around the start of August,” Marchand told NHL.com. “So it was tough. I couldn’t do a whole lot of upper-body workouts for the first three months off. The last month has been good though. It’s come around and it’s feeling pretty good. But I’m still in the rehab process. So I’m trying to get my strength back up.”

He believes he’ll complete that process in time for the start of training camp.

This recovery has impacted his summer workout schedule as he was confined to a cast for six weeks and then spent an additional three or four weeks in a splint. Over that stretch he wasn’t able to engage in any weight training.

The trade off though is that, ideally, he’ll be pain free this season, which is in stark contrast to the 2014-15 campaign. There were times last season where he wasn’t able to hold a stick and the injury impacted his ability to shoot the puck. He was originally hurt during the 2014 playoffs so while there were days that were better than others, it meant that he spent the whole campaign playing injured.

Despite that, Marchand participated in 77 contests, chipping in 24 goals and 42 points. Excluding his 20-game stint in 2009-10 though, his 13.3 shooting percentage last season was the worst of his career.