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Colorado Avalanche: News From Around the NHL October 29th, 2014

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

NHL great Gordie Howe suffered a significant stroke yesterday.

Hockey Hall of Fame member Gordie Howe is resting after having a serious stroke Sunday in Texas, the Detroit News reported Tuesday.

Howe, 86, lost some function on one side of his body and has difficulty speaking, the News reported. He is resting at his daughter's home in Lubbock, Texas, his son, Dr. Murray Howe, told the newspaper.

"Basically, sometime in the early morning on Sunday, he suffered a pretty bad stroke," Murray Howe said.

"The right side of his body is very, very weak. He's unable to stand without help. He's able to speak, but very, very difficult to speak.

The legend of Connor McDavid continues to grow as he literally destroyed a puck yesterday.

If you're a hockey fan, you've likely heard Connor McDavid's name pop in conversation as of late.

McDavid, who leads the Ontario Hockey League with 34 points in 12 games, is the most hyped and prized draft prospect since Sidney Crosby entered the NHL in 2005 and could very likely be the No. 1 overall pick in next summer's draft.

On Tuesday, the 17-year-old took his explosive game to a whole new level. Literally.

According to former NHL defenseman Jay McKee, who is currently an assistant coach for McDavid's junior team in Erie, McDavid destroyed a puck while practicing with the Otters this afternoon.

Leon Draisaitl celebrated his 19th birthday by learning he'll be staying with Edmonton this season.

The Oilers extended their winning streak to four games with a 3-0 victory against the Montreal Canadiens and Draisaitl was informed he would not be returned to his junior team.

Draisaitl will play his 10th game with the Oilers on Wednesday against the Nashville Predators, which activates the first year of his entry-level contract.

"He's part of our hockey team, he's earned his right to be here at practice [Tuesday] and be in the lineup [Wednesday]," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "It shouldn't be a distraction for our team. It's part of the process of us getting better. It's not a big topic at all in our room. All we are concerned with is practice [Tuesday] and the Nashville Predators [on Wednesday]."

The Oilers selected Draisaitl with the third pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Beyond Draisaitl, there are 8 other teams looking to make their own decisions on whether or not to return players to their junior clubs.

If a club decides to keep an underage junior on its NHL roster beyond the nine-game threshold, they burn one year of the player’s affordable entry-level deal.

A second milepost arrives 39 games into the young rookie’s career. Play a 40th game in at the top level, and you inch one year closer to free agency. For example, if the New York Rangers’ Anthony Duclair skates in 40 NHL games this year, he will move one year closer to unrestricted free agency.

We already know Oilers centre Leon Draisaitl is staying for a 10th game (that’s the Edmonton way).

But as other notable NHL rookies approach the 10-game mark, we take a look at which teenagers will stay in the big league and which ones are likely to be sent down before burning that precious first year of their entry-level contract.

The Caps' Nicklas Backstrom is silently having a great start to his season.

"He is sneaky good. I knew he was, but you appreciate it more when you see it every day," said defenseman Matt Niskanen, who signed with Washington on July 1. "Quietly is always in the right spot, always has the puck. A lot of times, it doesn't look like he's doing a whole lot, but he has it and he's just waiting for someone to be out of position or find a teammate busting, and he's really, really good at getting people the puck in a position where they can make something happen."

Defenseman Brooks Orpik, who regularly matched up against Backstrom as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, said, "He's not a real, real loud guy, but he's a guy you can tell right away all his teammates respect him a ton."