Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: prospects
From Craig Custance’s blog in the Sporting News,
It’s good to be back at the rink every day, and the prospects event in Traverse City, Michigan has been impressive. The turnout has been great, with the stands packed for all the games. Each team has played two games, and today was an off-day with practices. Here are some early impressions on the teams and players:
- Statistically, St. Louis’ Patrik Berglund is not having as dominant a tournament as he did last year when he led all scorers with ten points, but I saw him score a good-looking goal yesterday coming down the left wall and firing one past a Minnesota goalie. One scout said he’s going to be a star and his reach really is impressive.
From Jon Kreiser at NHL.com,
It’s been a tough stretch for the Los Angeles Kings. Five non-playoff seasons have left the franchise reeling, and a last-place finish in the Western Conference cost coach Marc Crawford his job.
Most of the Kings’ problems have come in their own zone. While Los Angeles has an excellent group of young forwards, the defense has been inconsistent and the goaltending unsettled.
But between this year’s Entry Draft and a talented group in the minors and amateur hockey, things may be turning around.
continued… with a look at the prospects coming up in the Kings system this year
Over 100 of the top prospects available in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft are in Toronto to take part in the league’s Combine. The players will take part in physical testing and most have a series of interviews set up with representatives from NHL clubs.
TSN is at the combine, too, and will file reports on the various activities throughout the day in this Combine Blog.
9:39 - The NHL annual meat market is already well underway with one group having completed the physical testing portion. The prospects are all wearing heart monitors so their heartbeats can be tracked during the workouts.
updates being added throughout the day.
From Michael Traikos at the National Post,
The family had just built a new house in Littleton and knew little of Canada. But after playing in a tournament in North Vancouver, where Bowman faced real competition for the first time, everyone realized that the young centre needed to be challenged.
“It ended up being a really good decision,” said Drayson Bowman, who was a third-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in last year’s NHL draft. “I wouldn’t be here today, I don’t think, unless we did it.”
Making the move was only possible because Mark Bowman owned his own financial consulting company. Still, there were sacrifices to be made. Mark had to fly back to the home office in Littleton almost every other week. And for about four years, life revolved around the two boys’ hockey career.
more *Drayson Bowman is competing for the Memorial Cup this Sunday.
From Zach Bogosian at NHL Connect:
My name is Zach Bogosian and I play junior hockey for the Peterborough Petes in the Ontario Hockey League. This is my draft year for the NHL and I am currently rated No. 3 among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings. NHL.com has asked me to do a blog about my experiences leading up to the NHL Entry Draft this June in Ottawa.
You can read the 17-year old’s first post here.
From Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
As the trading deadline approaches, fans prepare for the familiar scene.
The also-rans ship out their veterans. In return, they may take youngsters with potential, but only when they can’t get first-round draft picks. Those first-rounders are widely believed to be the most valuable currency in the National Hockey League.
Listen to the average fan and he knows the answer: “You’ve got to build through the draft,” he will say. “You need to start with good young kids and you only get them with high draft picks.”
Nice theory. Totally wrong.
From Mike Brophy at The Hockey News,
So here’s the thing, if you are the Los Angeles Kings or the Toronto Maple Leafs, it is probably in your best interest – speaking big picture, that is – to lose the remainder of your games.
It would be better for both teams – and probably Florida, Tampa Bay and Buffalo, too – if they just gave up on this year and did everything in their power to get the top pick in the 2008 Entry Draft; in all likelihood Steven Stamkos.
The problem is: How do you tell 20 players, who are essentially auditioning for next year, as well as a coaching staff whose career might possibly hang in the balance with every victory or defeat, that you want to tank the year?
From Sam McCaig at The Hockey News,
Here’s a team-by-team look at NHL rookies who are making some noise this season:
There isn’t a Calder candidate in Anaheim; left winger Drew Miller was leading the Ducks rookies with two goals and five points in 26 NHL games played through Jan. 28. Bobby Ryan, the second overall pick behind Sidney Crosby in 2005, made his big-league debut this season and had three goals and five points in 13 games.
The Thrashers feature one of the most surprising rookies of 2007-08 in Swedish defenseman Tobias Enstrom. He’s among the freshmen leaders in assists and ice time, and may make it onto the Calder ballot.
From the CP:
Oshawa Generals defenceman James DeLory has been suspended eight games for his spear on Sarnia Sting star Steven Stamkos. He’s among seven players and coaches who will miss a total of 23 games for an ugly Ontario Hockey League brawl that followed Oshawa’s 4-3 win last Sunday.
DeLory, 19, touched off the brawl by spearing Stamkos, the 17-year-old forward projected to be the first pick in this summer’s NHL draft.
Here’s the brawl that started it all:
From Jim Matheson at Canwest News via the National Post,
Jared Staal, a six-foot-three right-winger from Thunder Bay., Ont., is projected as a second-round pick in this April’s draft. That might be because it’s a very deep draft pool this year and because Staal’s skating needs some work.
“He certainly has skill, but there’s a lot of pressure on Jared following his three brothers. This is a big week for Jared,” said Kevin Prendergast, the Edmonton Oilers’ vice-president of hockey operations.
Staal is keeping the Top Prospects game in perspective.
“I’ve got to realize it’s just one game,” he said. “I don’t think it’ll make or break things for me ... I’m just trying to show I deserve to be here.”
more… on the next Staal heading towards the NHL
From Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News, their weekly look at players of the future to keep an eye on:
1. John Tavares, C – Oshawa Generals (OHL): The phenom continues his dominant ways, notching 18 goals and 41 points in just 17 games.
2. Steven Stamkos, C – Sarnia Sting (OHL): Excuse the pun, but until further notice, it’s Stammer Time.
While John Tavares may get all the publicity, it’s Sarnia’s Stamkos who is the front-runner to be drafted No. 1 overall at the NHL entry draft this year.
And why not?
continued… with 15 picks total, including a sleeper pick each week
From Kevin Allen at USA Today,
Based on early season reviews, there seem to be four to six Americans with strong first-round potential, led by 6-7 defenseman Tyler Myers of the Western Hockey League and Boston University center Colin Wilson. He is the son of Carey Wilson, who played 13 seasons in the NHL with Calgary, Hartford and the New York Rangers.
Myers is a native Texan whose family moved to Alberta because his dad worked in the oil industry. Right now he’s probably rated in 10 to 16 range, but some believe he has a chance to be another Pronger.
more… looking at Myers and others.
Also, Kevin Allen’s blog looks at various top 2008 prospects today.
From Craig Custance at the AJC,
This season’s crop of rookies may the deepest since the lockout. There’s not another Crosby, but then again, when will there ever be? But there’s a young goalie in Montreal who people are already comparing to Patrick Roy and the Blackhawks have a player providing hope for a bright future. In honor of Thrashers rookie defenseman Mark Popovic, who wears No. 7, here are the top seven rookies already making an impact:
1. NICKLAS BACKSTROM, Forward, Capitals
from the Chicago Tribune,
The obvious reason Blackhawks coach Denis Savard has taken Patrick Kane under his wing is to groom the 18-year-old into the marquee player the franchise craves. But the NHL Hall of Famer has a personal reason as well.
“I’m going to keep my promise — I told his dad I would take care of him,” Savard said. “He’s a great kid.”
by George James Malik
It’s that time of year again, that time again for each and every one of us, regardless of the teams we root for. Training camp has ended, and the exhibition season has begun, and whether you’ve seen scrimmages and exhibition games in person, online, or whether all the information you can find is the “official” line from the mainstream media, you think you’ve got a pretty good idea as to which of your team’s prospects, try-outs, and new free agents are going to pan out—especially if you’ve seen them in action.
from the Edmonton Sun,
“You need that in your organization,” said head coach Craig MacTavish. “For our long-term success, it’s important that one of those guys does it, almost immediately.”
Some of them have stepped up, with Sam Gagner, Kyle Brodziak and Robert Nilsson leading an impressive class, but scrimmages and pre-season tilts against watered-down opponents don’t always translate into season success.
Patrick Thoresen, for instance, looked brilliant early on last year but faded big time as the season wore on.
“You see it every year, players play well in camp and excel in the preseason and it remains to be seen how they play in the regular season, and further down the road, how they play 20 games into the regular season,” said Ethan Moreau. “It’s not to be negative ... but you don’t know, you can’t tell until you have stiffer competition.”
from the AP via Sports Illustrated,
Rookie center Jonathan Toews, Chicago’s first-round pick in last year’s draft, broke his right index finger Wednesday night during the Blackhawks’ 4-3 preseason loss to Columbus and is expected to be sidelined two-to-three weeks.
From Larry Brooks at the NY Post,
The Rangers may have an impressive group of prospects within the organization, but there’s a good chance that not a single one of them will be on the roster for the Oct. 4 NHL opener at the Garden against Florida.
How different would that scenario appear, and how more powerful would the Rangers be, had management been keener with its three first-round picks in 2003 and 2004 Entry Drafts that yielded three players who so far have not played in a single NHL game among them, and who probably won’t for at least a while?
Take a tour of the training camps with Canada.com, where you can read stories like this…
Leafs in good hands with Belak
Wade Belak is heading into the final year of his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. And he was asked, as a player who sometimes spends more time in the penalty box than on the ice, how he could best impress management this season.
“I’m a good kiss-ass,” he said smiling.
It has been four years since the 31-year-old scored a goal in the National Hockey League, and he has never finished a season with more than nine points. He managed only three assists last season and was barely given five minutes of ice time per game, but the Leafs still value his hands, precisely because they were never created to score goals.
read on for more NHL bits from numerous NHL teams…
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Blues coach Andy Murray thinks 19-year-old center Patrik Berglund has a chance to make the NHL roster. Berglund believes it, too. So will he be with the team when it opens the season Oct. 4 in Phoenix?
“He just has to be above one centerman we have in our lineup right now,” Blues coach Andy Murray said….
“I’m very happy about it,” said Berglund, the 25th pick in the 2006 NHL draft. “They show a lot of interest in me and they give me a chance to play with the best players in the world and that means a lot to me.”
from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette,
Regardless of how management classifies him, it seems extremely unlikely that Esposito will spend this winter with the Penguins.
They have a surplus of NHL-caliber talent up front, so there is no need to force-feed the league to Esposito instead of sending him back to the junior league Quebec Remparts.
“Just like everyone else, you want to make the team, but if I don’t make this team this year, I’m still young,” Esposito said. “I want to come in here and learn a lot and we’ll see what happens.”
No matter what transpires the next few weeks, Esposito figures to take at least one enduring memory out of this camp: He is expected to be in the lineup when the Penguins face Montreal in a preseason game tonight at 7:38 p.m. at the Bell Centre.