Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

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Report: Leafs pass on Keaton Middleton 05-23-2018
Keaton Middleton D TOR
The Toronto Maple Leafs have reportedly decided against extending an entry-level contract to Keaton Middleton.

Dhiren Mahiban on Twitter
That would lead to Middleton re-entering the draft pool. Toronto took Middleton with the 101st overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. The defenseman had four goals and 24 points in 64 OHL contests this season.
Buffalo signs Rasmus Asplund to an ELC 05-23-2018
Max Lajoie D OTT
Rasmus Asplund has agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres.

Sabres.com
Asplund had eight goals and 28 points in 50 Swedish league games this season. The Sabres selected him with the 33rd overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Braden Holtby is expected to start in Game 7 05-23-2018
Braden Holtby G WAS
Braden Holtby will of course be the Capitals' starter for Game 7 Wednesday night.

Isabelle Khurshudyan on Twitter
While Holtby has had some rough patches in the Eastern Conference Final, he came up big in Game 6 with a 24-save shutout. He has a 2.16 GAA and .919 save percentage in 17 playoff games this year.
Ondrej Palat back with Point and Johnson 05-23-2018
Ondrej Palat LW TB
Ondrej Palat will be back alongside Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson in Game 7 versus Washington on Wednesday night.

Bryan Burns on Twitter
Palat had been seeing most of his playing time on the first line since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. He had plenty of success with Point and Johnson earlier in the postseason, though, while helping to shut down the best players on the opposition.
Alex Killorn moves up to Tampa Bay's top line 05-23-2018
Alex Killorn LW TB
Alex Killorn skated on the top line during Wednesday's morning skate.

Bryan Burns on Twitter
Killorn is projected to play alongside Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov in Game 7 against Washington. He has notched five goals and two assists in 16 postseason matches this year.
Kevin Klein re-signs with Swiss team 05-23-2018
Kevin Klein D NYR
Kevin Klein has re-upped for another season in Switzerland with the ZSC Lions.

Chris Johnston on Twitter
Klein earned 10 goals, 22 points and 60 penalty minutes in 45 games with the ZSC Lions last season. He also had 12 points in 17 playoff matches.
Panthers high on G prospect Montembeault 05-23-2018
Samuel Montembeault G FLA
Samuel Montembeault impressed Florida Panthers assistant GM Eric Joyce during his first AHL season.

Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
"Sam has all the talent in the world," said Joyce, who also serves as the GM of the Springfield Thunderbirds. "It's up to him, just like it's up to a lot of our guys, to put the time in in the off-season and make sure he's committed to doing the things we told him. If he does those things, the sky's the limit for him." Montembeault's .896 save percentage and 3.25 goals-against average over 41 games doesn't looked good on paper, but he faced the 11th-most shots on goal (1,142) in the AHL. The 21-year-old will look to continue his development in the minors next season.
Penguins were just barely under the cap 05-23-2018
Mike Sullivan C ARZ
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended up just $962 under the salary cap in 2017-18.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
With that, the Penguins narrowly avoided an overage penalty that would have limited them next season. Nine other teams ended up with overage penalties with the Toronto Maple Leafs' topping the list with their $2.55 million penalty for the 2018-19 campaign. The Penguins' biggest win as far as the salary cap went was finding a way to get Vegas to retain $2 million of Derick Brassard's annual salary in a three-way trade that sent Brassard from Ottawa to Pittsburgh. The Penguins also made use of the LTIR for a total of 56 days over the season.
Toby Enstrom's future is uncertain 05-23-2018
Tobias Enstrom D WPG
Toby Enstrom, who is a pending unrestricted free agent, may have played in his last NHL season.

Winnipeg Sun
"Toby is a special player in this organization," said Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. "And regardless of how things move forward, whether he chooses play again and then whether there's an opportunity to play here, that chapter of things is still to be written." Enstrom has played 11 seasons with the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers. He skated in 43 games during the 2017-18 campaign because of injuries and he contributed six points. Enstrom didn't speak with the media during Tuesday's exit meetings.
Ehlers didn't like his playoff performance 05-23-2018
Nikolaj Ehlers LW WPG
Nikolaj Ehlers was disappointed that he didn't score a goal in 15 playoff games.

Winnipeg Sun
"It sucked. Personally, I didn't feel like I played my best hockey in the playoffs," said Ehlers. "There were some games where I felt really good, but overall I didn't play my best hockey. Of course, I would have liked to score goals ... I've got to get back home this summer to make sure that happens a little more (next) season." He wasn't able to play in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final because of an illness and he skipped Game 5 versus Minnesota in the opening round with what coach Paul Maurice referred to as a "malaise." Ehlers contributed seven assists in his first taste of the postseason.
Scratch didn't sit well with Andrew Copp 05-23-2018
Andrew Copp C WPG
Andrew Copp didn't like being a healthy scratch for Game 5 of the Western Conference Final.

Winnipeg Sun
"It was really, really tough ... something that stung," Copp said. "You play every single game. You're in the fight. You feel like you have a lot of ownership of this team, and then to not be able to battle it out at the end when we're fighting for our lives, it's really hard. It'll sit with me for a while. I don't know when that'll go away." Copp wasn't in the lineup when Vegas eliminated the Jets from the playoffs. He had played in all 82 games during the regular season as well as 16 of Winnipeg's 17 playoff outings.
Carter Hart joins AHL roster for playoffs 05-23-2018
Carter Hart G PHI
Carter Hart has joined AHL Lehigh for the rest of its playoff run.

NBC Sports Philadelphia
Hart led WHL Everett to the WHL Final, where they ultimately fell short. He had a 1.60 GAA and .947 save percentage in 41 WHL regular season games this season, which earned him the Four Broncos Trophy as the WHL's MVP. There's also a good chance that he'll win the CHL Goaltender of the Year award again. Hart probably won't play in the AHL postseason, but being there could still be a good experience for him.
Report: Tavares happy with Lamoriello hiring 05-23-2018
John Tavares C NYI
John Tavares was reportedly happy to hear that Lou Lamoriello has been hired as the Islanders' president of hockey operations.

New York Newsday
Tavares can become an unrestricted free agent this summer and if Lamoriello can help the Islanders lock Tavares into a long-term contract, then that alone would make him worth hiring. Losing Tavares on the free agent market would be a huge blow for the Islanders, but they still have a little over a month to work something out before he would become a UFA on July 1. Even at that point, it's still possible that after exploring his other options, Tavares would ultimately decide to just re-sign with the Islanders.
Blake Speers underestimated the AHL 05-23-2018
Blake Speers RW NJ
Blake Speers admitted that the AHL took him by surprise in his first pro season.

New Jersey Online
"The first thing he said to me, 'I had no idea how hard this league was,'" AHL Binghamton coach Rick Kowalsky said. "'I literally thought I was going to come down to the American League for two weeks or a month, then be an NHL player.'" Speers ended up spending the full 2017-18 campaign in the AHL, scoring 12 goals and 19 points in 62 contests. Those aren't the numbers they were hoping for, but Speers did improve as the campaign went on. With the benefit of a full season at the AHL level under his belt, he should come into the 2018-19 campaign much better prepared.
Adrian Kempe came up big in gold medal run 05-23-2018
Adrian Kempe LW LA
Adrian Kempe made significant contributions in Sweden's run to a gold medal in the 2018 World Championships.

LAKingsInsider
Kempe finished the tournament with two goals and eight points in 10 games despite averaging a modest 12:11 minutes per contest. He's coming off a campaign where he scored 16 goals and 37 points in 81 games with Los Angeles. The 21-year-old will be looking to build upon those numbers next season and hopefully the experience from this gold medal run will help him accomplish that.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson helps Sweden win gold 05-23-2018
Oliver Ekman-Larsson D ARZ
Oliver Ekman-Larsson had two goals and seven points in 10 games in the 2018 World Championships.

Arizona Republic/Phoenix Gazette
Ekman-Larsson's efforts helped him earn a gold medal with Team Sweden. He was also selected as part of the tournament's All-Star team. "It feels great," Ekman-Larsson said. "We played a really good tournament, and everybody has been working so hard. It's so fun that everybody gets to experience this feeling." This is the second straight gold medal for Sweden and Ekman-Larsson at the Worlds. He also won an Olympic silver medal in 2014.