Colorado Avalanche: News from around the NHL June 26, 2014

Ethan Miller

The Penguins have a new coach.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have insisted during their extensive front office overhaul that the on-ice product doesn’t need to change much for the franchise to return to the NHL’s elite.

Small tweaks, not big ones, are required.

Mike Johnston’s job is to figure out which ones to make and — perhaps even more importantly — how to make them work.

The Penguins hired the well-travelled Johnston to replace Dan Bylsma on Wednesday, charging the hockey lifer with creating the right system for stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to thrive in both the regular season and beyond.

Vokoun is healthy after a blood clot scare.

Severe blood clots took a full season away from Tomas Vokoun. The veteran goaltender hopes they didn’t end his NHL career.

Vokoun turns 38 next week, a day after he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Save for a minor-league rehab stint in April, he hasn’t played a meaningful game in over a year, but he’s fully healthy and hopes he can catch on as a backup somewhere.

Gaborik signed a 7 year deal.

Marian Gaborik is looking at an extended stay in Los Angeles after keying the Kings’ successful Stanley Cup run with an NHL-best 14 playoff goals.

The Kings on Wednesday announced they had agreed to a seven-year contract with the Slovakian right-winger.

Fresh off his first NHL championship, he was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"I know I could get maybe more money if I would have gone to free agency, but it wasn't about money," Gaborik said. "I wanted to stay here and be part of a great team."

Gaborik's contract is worth roughly $34 million US, likely less than a seven-time 30-goal scorer would have commanded on the open market.

Gilmour is high on Bennett.

It’s not that Sam Bennett has flown under the radar — anyone who knows anything about junior hockey knows Bennett could well be the first overall pick Friday night in the NHL draft.

It’s just that Bennett hasn’t stolen the headlines, hasn’t made himself a lock to go on top.

For example, the year Bennett was drafted into the OHL, ninth overall to the Kingston Frontenacs, was the year everyone was talking about Connor McDavid, who went first. Any talk about Bennett was about how he’d do without McDavid, as the two were teammates in minor midget before making it to the OHL.

But if there’s anybody who knows how greatness can fly under the radar, it is the man who drafted Bennett: former Maple Leaf Doug Gilmour.

Will there be a number of trades at the draft?

The question is simple: Will the talk lead to action?

We’ve heard, seen and been through this before, just last summer in fact. Big names available at the NHL entry draft and then few deals materialize when push comes to shove.

Round 1 is scheduled for Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center and the rest will take place Saturday.

“There is a lot out there and there are a lot of teams talking,” said a league executive Wednesday. “We’ll find in the next couple of days which teams really want to make moves and which are kicking tires. It should be interesting.

“There are as many names out there as we’ve heard in years. Teams want to make changes.”

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