Jonathan Drouin never got used to the speed of the NHL game and is now bound for Halifax. (Mark Humphrey/AP)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Many pundits saw winger Jonathan Drouin as a strong contender for the Calder Trophy. Steve Yzerman did not share their enthusiasm. The Lightning GM returned the third-overall pick to the QMJHL on Sunday, saying Drouin wasn't yet ready for the rigors of the NHL. Equally surprising: the team also cut camp standout forward Brett Connolly.
• The Blackhawks were presented with their Stanley Cup rings on Sunday. They're pretty shiny.
• Among Jack Todd's preseason predictions: He likes Carey Price's chances for a bounceback season in goal for the Canadiens, and he picks the Devils to surprise in the East.
• The Maple Leafs waived a pair of veteran defenders Sunday, opening up a roster spot for young blueliner Morgan Rielly.
• Montreal is working on improving its 23rd-ranked penalty kill, and is hoping that rookie Jarred Tinordi can be part of the solution.
• The Rangers decided ice time was more important than the big time and sent top prospect Chris Kreider to the AHL. With him out of the picture, the Blueshirts are experimenting with another big name in the role of first line left wing.
• Despite a glut of veterans on the blueline, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren doesn't foresee using a trade to clear things up. Still no word from Philly on the fate of Hal Gill, who was in camp on a PTO.
• It looks like first rounder Valeri Nichushkin has made the cut with the Stars. He struggled in camp, but he also created a couple of highlight reel plays that made it impossible to let him go. It'll be interesting to see how Dallas uses him this season.
• It's kinda cute how excited the Flames seems to be about acquiring forward Jumbo Joe Colborne in a trade with the Maple Leafs. Hey, hopefully he lives up to all the potential that Toronto and the Bruins saw in him at one time or another, but odds are he'll remain the same contact-averse, perimeter player he's always been.
• Dale Tallon should be forced to wear an orange safety vest if he's going to continue picking up everyone's discards off the side of the road. The Panthers' GM found defenseman Ryan Whitney out there yesterday and barely had time to dust him off before signing the slow-footed vet to a one-year deal.
• The demands of cap compliance might force New Jersey to cut Adam Larsson again.
• The Wild's roster will sport a pair of rookies after forwards Jason Zucker and Jake Dowell were sent to the minors yesterday. Defenseman Matt Dumba could still be returned to juniors, but Minnesota likes his big shot from the point.
• The Red Wings found a way to comply with this year's strict cap regulations, but it's going to cost them former first-round center Cory Emmerton.
• Increasing the league's northern exposure is a no-brainer as a business plan, but expansion isn't the only option when it comes to entering a new market. Could the Ducks migrate to the Pacific Northwest?
• While most teams around the league seem to view a player's need to shave as a dealbreaker when it comes to naming a captain these days, the Oilers went old-school in handing out their C yesterday. They made a great choice.
• Edmonton waived a key piece from the Shawn Horcoff trade, and picked up a bruising winger from the Stars.
• The Capitals dealt center Mathieu Perreault to Anaheim to clear space for a prospect who would not be denied a roster spot.
• Sean Avery had a run-in with customs officers while returning to the States this weekend. Probably, he forgot to declare how awesome he is.