Rasmus Ristolainen D BUF 2 Days
Ristolainen reported to training camp at 205 pounds, 25 pounds lighter than he was the previous season, reports John Vogl of The Buffalo News.
This is good news for Sabres and Ristolainen, who said he shed some of his baby fat. The 19-year-old defenseman is one of the league's top young players and over a summer of training has increased his footspeed, agility and overall strength. Ristolainen is the team's future franchise defenseman and looks more like it with each passing season. Tyler Myers may still be the team's most valuable defenseman in fantasy, but there's a good chance Ristolainen takes over that top spot by the end of the season. Ristolainen is a potential sleeper defenseman and a key target in keeper leagues, if you can live with a few more seasons of growing pains and playing on a non-playoff team.
Patrick Kaleta RW BUF 2 Days
After being demoted to the AHL and suffering a season-ending ACL injury, Kaleta is ready to return to the lineup and says his focus has never been better, reports the Olean Times Herald.
Kaleta was handed his fourth NHL suspension after a hit to the head of Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson. An aggressive player and a childhood Sabres fan, Kaleta is relishing a return into the lineup and noted his admiration for head coach Ted Nolan, who was coach of the Sabres in the '90s. Kaleta is vying for a spot on the team's fourth line and brings plenty of grit and experience to the lineup. If he can stay focused, he has a very good chance of earning a spot in the lineup. Though Kaleta was previously a reliable source of penalty minutes, cleaning up his game might serve him better in real life than in fantasy. His value is minimal at this point.
Simon Hjalmarsson F CLS 2 Days
With Nathan Horton sidelined indefinitely due to back trouble and Ryan Johansen not at camp due to a contract dispute, Hjalmarsson will be one of the players looked at as a possible replacement among the Blue Jackets' top nine forwards.
The Swedish import was expected to begin his North American career in the AHL, but an impressive camp could land him in Columbus to begin the season. He scored 27 goals and 57 points last season in the SHL, but don't expect that kind of offense from Hjalmarsson in the NHL.
Ryan Johansen C CLS 2 Days
The Blue Jackets have rejected the latest contract offer from Johansen's agent Kurt Overhardt, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
This isn't a big surprise, as the increasingly bitter negotiations seem poised to drag on for a while yet. Brandon Dubinsky, who is also represented by Overhardt and went through his own nine-day absence from camp during his days as an RFA with the Rangers, says that the locker room will welcome the young center back without reservation once the contract dispute is settled, so that's at least a sliver of good news for Johansen owners.
Nathan Horton RW CLS 2 Days
Horton (back) may not participate at all in training camp, and he could be sidelined for the initial stages of the regular season, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
The Blue Jackets have apparently known for a while about Horton's back injury, but managed to keep it under wraps. Horton managed to play in just 36 games last season due to shoulder and abdominal injuries, and 2014-2015 is starting out in much the same way. Be very cautious before drafting him this year.
Francis Bouillon D MON 2 Days
Bouillon will skate with the Canadiens during training camp, the Montreal Gazette reports.
Bouillon, who was with the Canadiens in 2013-14, was not signed in the offseason. If he makes the opening-night roster, it would be mean something has gone wrong with the development of younger defensemen like Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi or Greg Pateryn.
Alex Galchenyuk C MON 2 Days
Galchenyuk will open training camp playing center, the Montreal Gazette reports. Groomed as a center man, Galchenyuk's played primarily at left wing in his first two NHL seasons.
The Canadiens are still deep at the center position, so we expect Galchenyuk to move back to wing by the time the regular season opens. It appears having him play center in training camp is planting the seed for an eventual move to the position.
Samuel Morin D PHI 2 Days
Flyers defensive prospect Samuel Morin collected several hits, a fight, and 'overall impressive play,' as the Flyers rookies beat up on the Capitals rookies, reports Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia.
Given Kimmo Timonen's recent self-proclaimed "really slim" chances of playing this year, there could be an opportunity for the 6-foot-7 Morin to see regular time in the big leagues. Regardless, he's worth stashing in any dynasty leagues.
Vincent Lecavalier C PHI 2 Days
After ending the season being benched in the final period of the game seven playoff loss to the Rangers, Flyers Center Vincent Lecavalier said he is optimistic about his opportunities this season, reports Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia.
Lecavalier was even more enthusiastic about this season after learning that Flyers Coach Craig Berube plans to start him at center, his natural position. Last season, Berube experimented with placing Lecavalier in several different spots on several different lines. While some renewed eagerness and consistency will certainly benefit the aging center, don't forget that he is just that -- an aging center.
Josh Harding G MIN 2 Days
Harding (broken foot) has been suspended by the Wild since he suffered a broken right foot while kicking a wall after an off-ice altercation with a teammate, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
He won't be paid a prorated portion of his $2.1 million salary and he won't count against the Wild's salary cap while suspended. Harding is expected to miss at least two to three months with the broken foot and it's assumed his suspension will end when healthy.