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2 years agoThe Dallas Stars have announced that the team has signed defenseman Stephen Johns to a three-year contract extension (worth $7 million) on Friday. Johns, a physical two-way blue liner, posted a career-high 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) as well as 41 penalty minutes and a plus-10 rating last season. Johns is a valuable fantasy option in leagues that count hits and/or blocked shots, as the 26-year-old registered 155 and 201 in each respective category. Acquired along with Patrick Sharp by the Stars back in 2015, Johns' offensive game still has room to grow and as a result, the Pennsylvania native might be worth a late-round flier in standard leagues as well next season.--Chase Davis - RotoBallerSource: ESPN
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2 years agoThe Los Angeles Kings have agreed to sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a three-year NHL contract, reportedly worth $18.75 million, on Saturday. Kovalchuk, who last played in the NHL back in 2012-2013 with the Devils, spent the last five seasons playing back home in the KHL. Despite now being 35 years old, Kovalchuk posted 816 points (417 goals, 399 assists) in his previous NHL stint in Atlanta and New Jersey and was characterized as being perhaps one of the league's most dangerous goal scorers over that time period. While Kovalchuk likely won't return to those productions levels, he should be a candidate to pot 25-plus goals potentially playing alongside Anze Kopitar in L.A. this season.--Chase Davis - RotoBallerSource: Chris Johnston
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2 years agoWith the 91st overall (third round) draft selection in Saturday's draft, the Winnipeg Jets nabbed center Nathan Smith. Smith, a native of Tampa Bay, Florida, spent his 2017-2018 season playing in the United States Hockey League for Cedar Rapids, posting 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists) to go along with 88 penalty minutes in 51 games. The 6-foot, 170-pound forward has been described as being a very good skater and someone who uses his edges well and has good skills with the puck. Smith has committed to play for Minnesota State next season and will undoubtedly spend a few seasons there before making a decision to turn pro.--Chase Davis - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com
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2 years agoWith their only pick in the third round at 90th overall, the Tampa Bay Lightning selected Russian defenseman Dimitry Semyin. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 201 pounds, Semyin posted 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 41 games while playing for Kapitan Stupino of Russia's MHL. Expected to go later in Saturday's draft, Semyin is known for his physical style of play and is not afraid to throw his body around to separate an opponent from the puck. As his numbers indicate, Semyin has an ability to occasionally find the scoresheet as well. The 18-year-old blue liner will need some time to continue to develop but should be considered a good add to the Lightning prospect pool.--Chase Davis - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com
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2 years agoThe Boston Bruins selected Czech forward Jakub Lauko with the 77th overall draft pick on Saturday in Dallas. Lauko, an electric skater, played for Piráti Chomutov in Czech's Extraliga last season, recording nine points (three goals, six assists) in 42 games. The 6-foot, 179-pounder can play at center or left wing and has a unique ability to beat defenders off the rush and use his heavy shot. Lauko appears to play with an edge to his game as well and is not afraid to agitate his opponent. However, the versatile 18-year-old is considered a work in progress and will need a few years to continue to develop his game at both ends of the ice before getting a look at cracking the Bruins NHL roster.--Chase Davis - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com
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2 years agoThe Vegas Golden Knights selected Russian center Ivan Morozov with their second-round draft pick on Saturday. Morozov played primarily with Mamonty Yugry of Russia's MHL last season, putting up 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 30 games. The 6-foot-1, 179-pound forward also suited up for 16 games for his country's U18 national team and registered 14 points (10 goals, four assists). Morozov is known as a gifted passer and excellent finisher but also for his ability to beat defenders to the net due to his great skating stride. Morozov looks primed to jump to SKA-1946 St. Petersburg of the MHL next season and is likely two to three years away from getting a look to crack the Knights NHL roster.--Chase Davis - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com
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2 years agoThe Winnipeg Jets took center David Gustafsson with their 60th overall draft pick on Saturday in Dallas. Gustafsson, a 6-foot-2, 196-pound well-rounded player out of Tingsryd, Sweden, registered 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 45 games for HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League last season. As an 18-year-old playing in Sweden's top professional league, Gustafsson's limited point totals can be attributed to playing lighter minutes in 2017-2018. Gustafsson is known for his terrific play in his own zone, and the main question surrounding the forward's game is if he'll ever be able to produce enough offensively to warrant his second-round selection. Gustafsson will likely return to the SHL next season and could be quite a valuable asset to the Jets if he can take a step forward in the offensive zone.--Chase Davis - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com
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2 years agoThe Tampa Bay Lightning added left winger Gabriel Fortier to their deep prospect pool on Saturday, selecting the LaSalle, Quebec native with the 59th overall draft pick. Fortier, listed at just 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, registered 59 points (26 goals, 33 assists) in 66 games playing for Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season. Despite being an undersized forward, Fortier has been described to play a big game and is someone who fights for every inch of ice in front of the net and in the corners. The left-handed winger has great speed to go along with his revered work ethic and should continue to develop his game in major junior next season.--Chase Davis - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com
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2 years agoThe Vancouver Canucks have taken University of Michigan defender Quinn Hughes with the seventh overall pick on Friday night. One of the top-ranked defenders in the draft, Hughes dominated in his freshman year, posting five goals and 29 points in 37 games. Somewhat undersized at 5-foot-11, Hughes believes he's ready to compete at the NHL level right now, and the Canucks need for firepower on the blue line make that a strong possibility. Even at seventh overall, Hughes was a huge steal for the Canucks, as some consider him the best defender in this year's class not named Dahlin. He's expected to become one of the NHL's impact players on defense somewhere between Torey Krug and Kris Letang.--Barry MilesSource: Elite Prospects
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2 years agoWith the 57th overall pick in the NHL Draft, the Boston Bruins selected defenseman Axel Andersson. Andersson, a smooth-skating talented puck-moving blue liner, posted 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) in 42 games while playing for Djurgårdens IF J18 of the SuperElit league in Sweden last season. The Jarna, Sweden native checks in at 6-foot and 178 pounds. Described as an extremely gifted player in the attacking zone, Andersson is likely two to three years from taking his game to the NHL level and will need to focus on improving his game in his own end. Andersson will likely return to play for Djurgardens next season.--Chase Davis - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com
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2 years agoThe Montreal Canadiens took Jesse Ylonen with the 35th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. The US-born right winger most recently played in Finland, where he scored 27 points in 48 games. Ylonen is a very strong skater and excels around the perimeter of the ice, but he will need to improve his defensive play and ability to get to the middle of the ice before coming to the NHL. His upside is likely as a second-line winger, but he is expected to continue to play in Finland and it will probably be at least another year or two before he gets a solid chance to make Montreal's roster.--Russ Ivanac - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com
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2 years agoWith the final pick of the first round, the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals have chosen 18-year-old Alexander Alexeyev, a defender currently playing for the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL. The hulking Russian managed 37 points in 45 games last season and is considered by some as perhaps close to NHL-ready. Comparable to players like Brian Dumoulin and Derek Engelland, Alexeyev is not likely to fill the score sheet every night but brings a strong physical presence and a decent playmaking ability to go with a booming shot from the back end. The Caps have a few defensive prospects ahead of him in terms of development, and he won't likely suit up until the 2019-20 season at the earliest.--Barry MilesSource: Jasper's Rink
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2 years agoThe Pittsburgh Penguins selected defenseman Calen Addison with the 53rd overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft on Saturday. Addison, a Manitoba native, has been evaluated as a very smooth skater who possesses great hockey sense. The 18-year-old blue liner played for the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League last season, posting 65 points (11 goals, 54 assists) in 68 games. Addison projects as a potential second-pairing defenseman that could be an effective option on the back end on a power play. Listed at just 5-foot-10 and 179 pounds, Addison will likely need a few more years to develop physically before making the jump to the NHL game.--Chase Davis - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com
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2 years agoThe Colorado Avalanche selected forward Martin Kaut with the 16th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. Kaut was not as highly ranked as some of the other players available with this pick, but after his strong showing in the most recent World Juniors (seven points in seven games) and inclusion on the Czech World Championship roster over sixth overall selection Filip Zadina, his stock has been climbing. The right winger will need to work on his physicality and consistency before making the jump to the NHL, but his puck control and playmaking ability give him the ability to be a middle-six winger sooner rather than later.--Russ Ivanac - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com
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2 years agoThe New York Islanders added defenseman Noah Dobson with the 12th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. With their second-round pick they improved their defensive depth, but we likely won’t see Dobson in the NHL for another year or two. Dobson is a well-rounded, two-way defenseman that was expected to go in the top 10 of the draft after scoring 69 points in 67 games in the QMJHL this season. His draft-day slide is New York's gain as they add a high-upside defenseman that should play in their top four before too long.--Russ Ivanac - RotoBallerSource: NHL.com

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