Tampa Bay Lightning

Caps select Samsonov — a first-round goalie pick!

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SUNRISE — There wasn’t one last year, or the year before.

But this year, we got one — with the 22nd pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Washington broke the mold and selected Russian netminder Ilya Samsonov from KHL club Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

Samsonov, 18, was one of the Russian league’s top junior-age goalies this season, and appeared in one game for the senior Metallurg squad. At 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds, his size and athletic ability put him out in front among draft-eligible goalies this season.

As mentioned above, we haven’t had a goalie go in the first round for quite a while. Calgary took Mason McDonald 34th overall in 2014 and, the year prior, Montreal took Zachary Fucale with the 36th pick. The last goalies to go in Round 1 were both in 2012, when Andrei Vasilevskiy went No. 19 to Tampa Bay and Malcolm Subban went at 24 to Boston.

It’ll be interesting to hear why Caps GM Brian MacLellan opted to go this route. His starter, Braden Holtby, is still just 25 years old and the new backup, Philipp Grubauer, doesn’t turn 24 until the fall. That said, it’s been an awfully long time since the team drafted a goalie — three years ago, the Caps took Sergei Kostenko in the seventh round.

Report: Rangers won’t re-sign St. Louis

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The Martin St. Louis era in New York is apparently over.

Per the Post, the Rangers won’t be bringing back the 40-year-old veteran for a third season with the club. The news doesn’t come as a huge surprise — the Rangers don’t have a ton of financial wiggle room with new deals still needed for Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast — but the development is still noteworthy, given what GM Glen Sather paid to acquire St. Louis and all that happened during his time as a Blueshirt.

New York advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in St. Louis’ first year with the club, then came within one game of getting back this season. While the veteran winger’s production dropped in 2014-15 — 52 points was his lowest total in over 10 years — St. Louis still managed to score 20 goals during the regular season and, given the Post’s report that he’s not ready to retire, there could be suitors for him in free agency.

Acquired at the ’14 deadline in exchange for Ryan Callahan and a first-round pick, St. Louis will finish his time in New York with 60 points in 93 games, and 22 points in 44 playoff appearances.

Get to know a draft pick — Mitch Marner

Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.

Mitch Marner (C)

Height: 5’11 Weight: 160 Shoots: Right

Team: London Knights (OHL)

Country: Canada

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 6 among North American Skaters

What kind of player is he?

A diminutive skill guy, at a time when diminutive skill guys are all the rage.

Sure, that might be overstating things a bit, but we did just wrap a Stanley Cup Final in which Patrick Kane (5-foot-11, 181 pounds) and Tyler Johnson (5-9, 175) finished tied for the playoff scoring lead. And if you’re looking for offense, look no further than Marner — he finished second in the OHL in scoring this year (126 points in just 63 games), became the fastest 17-year-old in London history to score 40 goals and became the 46th player in franchise history to notch 100 points, joining the likes of Kane, John Tavares and Corey Perry.

“The NHL has changed,” Marner said earlier this month. “It’s not about height. It’s not about cross-checking as hard as you can. It’s not about hooking. All those get you a penalty nowadays. It’s a speed game now. It’s about thinking.

“If you have the brain to play in the NHL, no matter how tall you are, you can play. If you can dodge hits, you can play.”

Seidel says:

“The Kane comparisons are inevitable because both are undersized, offensive machines that had phenomenal careers with London. Marner is a magician with the puck and had the OHL scoring race locked up — until the final day of the season, when Dylan Strome notched six points to snatch the title. Although Marner needs to get stronger, concerns about his size are overstated as he’s shown a willingness to go into the dirty areas to make plays. It also shouldn’t be overlooked that he came into the OHL as a one-dimensional offensive star, only to evolve into a complete player under the tutelage of Dale Hunter. Marner has the potential to become a superstar in the NHL, and shouldn’t drop out of the top-five.”

NHL comparable: Kane/Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.

The Price is Right: Habs’ goaltender wins Hart Memorial Trophy

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Carey Price is the 2015 winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy.

Price becomes the first goaltender since 2002 to win both Vezina Trophy and Hart Trophy.

The 27-year-old is also the first goaltender since Dominik Hasek in 1997 and 1998 to win the Vezina Trophy, Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award.

Price is first goaltender in NHL history to win the Hart Trophy, Vezina Trophy, Ted Lindsay and Jennings.

It’s the first MVP award for Price who helped the Canadiens earn the top seed in the Atlantic Division despite Montreal finishing 20th overall in goals for per game during the regular season.

“It’s coming together,” Price told NHL.com on Tuesday. “It’s always been a process. A lot of goaltenders my age have already had a lot of success. I feel like my career is progressing in the right direction, but I’m still looking for what I ultimately want.”

Price led the league in wins (44), G.A.A. (1.96) and save percentage (.933) during the 2014-15 season.

“I think the biggest thing is I was trying to focus more on being successful as opposed to focusing on what I needed to do to be successful. That basic mindset was a big difference,” Price said of his MVP season. “[Stephane Waite] has definitely helped with that, my dad’s helped with that, but ultimately it takes the individual to accept that. Over the last couple of years, I think I’ve really done that.”

Price beat out New York Islanders’ captain John Tavares and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.

Here are the full voting results:

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd)
1. Carey Price, MTL 1498 (139-14-2-0-0)
2. Alex Ovechkin, WSH 888 (8-75-45-18-4)
3. John Tavares, NYI 739 (4-41-63-27-16)
4. Devan Dubnyk, MIN 410 (6-16-25-30-23)
5. Sidney Crosby, PIT 138 (0-2-3-25-34)
6. Ryan Getzlaf, ANA 124 (0-2-6-20-20)
7. Rick Nash, NYR 70 (0-1-4-9-16)
8. Pekka Rinne, NSH 49 (0-2-4-4-3)
9. Erik Karlsson, OTT 32 (0-1-1-5-5)
10. Jonathan Toews, CHI 31 (0-1-3-2-3)
11. Steven Stamkos, TBL 29 (0-1-0-5-7)
12. Jamie Benn, DAL 23 (0-0-0-5-8)
13. Jiri Hudler, CGY 16 (0-1-0-3-0)
14. Vladimir Tarasenko, STL 14 (0-0-0-3-5)
15. Andrew Hammond, OTT 9 (0-0-0-1-6)
16. P.K. Subban, MTL 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
17. Drew Doughty, LAK 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
18. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Braden Holtby, WSH 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Zach Parise, MIN 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Shea Weber, NSH 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

Here are the MVP-winners and the second-place guys since 1990:

Year Winner Runner-up
2015 Carey Price, Mtl. Alex Ovechkin, Wsh.
2014 Sidney Crosby, Pit. Ryan Getzlaf, Ana.
2013 Alex Ovechkin, Wsh. Sidney Crosby, Pit.
2012 Evgeni Malkin, Pit. Steven Stamkos, T.B.
2011 Corey Perry, Ana. Daniel Sedin, Van.
2010 Henrik Sedin, Van. Alex Ovechkin, Wsh.
2009 Alex Ovechkin, Wsh. Evgeni Malkin, Pit.
2008 Alex Ovechkin, Wsh. Evgeni Malkin, Pit.
2007 Sidney Crosby, Pit. Roberto Luongo, Van.
2006 Joe Thornton, S.J. Jaromir Jagr, NYR
2004 Martin St. Louis, T.B. Jarome Iginla, Cgy.
2003 Peter Forsberg, Col. Markus Naslund, Van.
2002 Jose Theodore, Mtl. Jarome Iginla, Cgy.
2001 Joe Sakic, Col. Mario Lemieux, Pit.
2000 Chris Pronger, St.L Jaromir Jagr, Pit.
1999 Jaromir Jagr, Pit. Alexei Yashin, Ott.
1998 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Jaromir Jagr, Pit.
1997 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Paul Kariya, Ana.
1996 Mario Lemieux, Pit. Mark Messier, NYR
1995 Eric Lindros, Phi. Jaromir Jagr, Pit.
1994 Sergei Fedorov, Det. Dominik Hasek, Buf.
1993 Mario Lemieux, Pit. Doug Gilmour, Tor.
1992 Mark Messier, NYR Patrick Roy, Mtl.
1991 Brett Hull, St.L Wayne Gretzky, L.A.
1990 Mark Messier, Edm. Ray Bourque, Bos.

Lightning’s Yzerman handed GM of the Year Award

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The Tampa Bay Lightning fell just short of the Stanley Cup, but they took great strides this season and for his role in it, Steve Yzerman has won the GM of the Year Award.

Yzerman was fortunate enough to inherit Steven Stamkos, but he’s backed the superstar with a strong supporting cast that includes Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat. The general manager also acquired Ben Bishop and drafted Andrei Vasilevskiy to help solidify the Lightning’s goaltending situation.

The GM of the Year Award is voted on by the league’s 30 general managers as well as a panel of NHL executives and media personnel. It seems Yzerman has earned the respect of his peers because 24 of those ballots included his name in the top three. With 80 points, the Lightning GM cleanly topped Glen Sather and Bob Murray, who finished in second and third place respectively.

Here are the voting results for the award, cutting off at the top 10:

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd)
1. Steve Yzerman, TBL 80 (9-10-5)
2. Glen Sather, NYR 49 (7-3-5)
3. Bob Murray, ANA 36 (3-6-3)
4. Bryan Murray, OTT 32 (5-1-4)
5. Garth Snow, NYI 28 (3-3-4)
6. David Poile, NSH 24 (2-4-2)
7. Kevin Cheveldayoff, WPG 19 (2-2-3)
8. Chuck Fletcher, MIN 19 (1-3-5)
9. Brad Treliving, CGY 15 (3-0-0)
10. Stan Bowman, CHI 13 (1-2-2)

The GM of the Year Award is still pretty new, but here are the past winners:

Year Winner Team
2015 Steve Yzerman Tampa Bay
2014 Bob Murray Anaheim
2013 Ray Shero Pittsburgh
2012 Doug Armstrong St. Louis
2011 Mike Gillis Vancouver
2010 Don Maloney Phoenix