News: Preds GM David Poile addressed Ryan Ellis' contract situation Saturday, saying the main stumbling block continues to be money, according to the Tennessean. "Unfortunately at this time we have not agreed what they think and what we think is fair compensation," Poile said. "We want [Ellis]. We are not trading him, we really like him. We really like the way he played last year. It's just a disagreement on dollars." Analysis: Ryan Ellis, who has missed the first two days of training camp so far, played in 80 games last season for and finished with 27 points - his highest full season total to date. And while there is still plenty of time left to get a deal done before the start of the season, the clock is ticking. Not only is he missing out on conditioning drills and scrimmages, the more Ellis misses of training camp, the greater the chances of some other defenseman impressing the coaching staff and grabbing a roster spot that might otherwise go to Ellis. Bottom line, we think Ellis will get signed by the start of the regular season, but what his role on the team will be is anybody's guess. He's a risky fantasy pick right now, until all of the above gets sorted out.
News: Jon Merrill missed the second day of Devils' training camp on Saturday due to a head injury he suffered after colliding with teammate Ruslan Fedotenko during Friday's practice, Rich Chere of NJ.com reports. Analysis: Luckily for Jon Merrill, the Devils' first regular season game isn't until October 9th. While head injuries are never a good thing, the promising young defender should have ample time to get healthy before the regular season kicks off.
News: Joe Thornton took issue Friday with general manager Doug Wilson's offseason comments about the Sharks rebuilding and becoming a "tomorrow team," reports the San Jose Mercury News. "That's Doug's opinion," said the big center. "I think if you'd ask anybody in here I don't think they have the same feeling." Analysis: There have been plenty of rumors about Wilson doing all he can to push Jumbo Joe into a place where the center either demands a trade or the situation becomes ripe to ship him out of town. There seems to be a bit of a ripple starting in San Jose -- we'll see how far it goes.
News: Slater Koekkoek (shoulder) skated in practice Friday and said his surgically-repaired shoulders "felt 100-percent," reports the Tampa Bay Times. "I didn't play with any hesitation," said the big defender. Analysis: This guy has all the potential in the world and could be dominant. But he desperately needs to stay healthy for a full season, something that just hasn't happened in years after multiple shoulder surgeries. He'll spend a full season in the AHL this year and the Bolts hope he can prove those shoulder issues are a thing of the past.
News: Adrighetto scored a goal on a penalty shot during Montreal's intra-squad scrimmage Saturday, the Montreal Gazette reports. Analysis: Sven Andrighetto showcased some of his offensive skill, forcing a hooking penalty that led to his penalty shot goal, but the 5-9 forward was also out-muscled in one-on-one battles and was on ice for three of his opponents' goals. That sums up Andrighetto at this stage of his career. If he were to stick with Montreal, it would have to be in a third- or fourth-line role, where he would have to play a more physical role than he's accustomed to.
News: Ben Bishop (wrist) was encouraged with how he felt after Friday's on-ice work, reports the Tampa Bay Times. He did 15 minutes of individual drills and a 90-minute practice. "The first session felt really good, got a little sore toward the end of the second session, but that's kind of expected," Bishop said. Analysis: This is great news for his owners and for the Bolts. The team's playoff hopes went down the drain when big Ben Bishop got hurt late in the year. He'll build on his Vezina-nominated season and should deliver similar output this year.
News: Ryan Callahan could start the season on the top line with Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The trio was together at camp on Friday and head coach Jon Cooper was quick to tell reporters, "I don't think there's an open audition," to play with Stamkos. Analysis: Ryan Callahan didn't really spend a lot of time with Stammer last season, so he's the likely odd man out if there's juggling. But Palat had great success beside Stammer late in 2013-14. Stamkos himself liked the trio: "Obviously you want a mix of everything on a line," Stamkos said. "You want a guy who can distribute the puck, a guy that can shoot, and a guy that can go into a corner and get it. With the guys I was playing with (Friday), we had a good combination of that."
News: Ondrej Palat practiced with Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan on Saturday and Lightning coach Jon Cooper expects the trio to start the season together, reports the Tampa Bay Times. "We've got a group that has some success with him last year, and why wouldn't we go back to that again? At least at the start of the year," said the coach. Analysis: Ondrej Palat was a finalist for the Calder trophy and was a two-way revelation for the Bolts last year. He can dish the puck and did that well last year when he skated with Stammer late in the year. Palat's star is on the rise -- push him up your draft list. His two-way sensibility should insulate him against a sophomore slump.
News: Steven Stamkos opened training camp on a line with Ryan Callahan and Ondrej Palat, according to the Tampa Bay Times, and while the players were told not to read much into their line mates in camp, coach Jon Cooper was quick to suggest this trio would start the season together. "We've got a group that has some success with him last year, and why wouldn't we go back to that again? At least at the start of the year." Analysis: Steven Stamkos spent a lot of time with Palat and center Tyler Johnson near season's end last year. The Stamkos-Callahan-Palat combo is a nice mix of sniping, mucking and distributing. It looks like a good combo to us.
News: Jonathan Drouin was held out of practice Saturday and will miss Sunday's scrimmage due to an upper-body injury, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "This is not a long-term thing," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Saturday. "By no means is this serious. He'll for sure be back (this) week at some point." Analysis: Cooper indicated that Jonathan Drouin got "nicked up a bit" in a freak injury during rookie camp which opened Sept. 11. Drouin will return to action this week and be able to play in an exhibition match. The injury shouldn't impact his ability to make the team out of camp.