Friday, April 30, 2010
The WHL Draft is in the books and the OHL has their version this weekend. Our old friend Mark Seidel from North American Central Scouting (not to be confused with NHL Central Scouting) was kind enough to forward his mock draft and with his permission, you can check that out below.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
“After discussions with his agent J.P Barry, it was felt that the priority is to attend to the rehab of his injured hand. Kirill will head to Calgary where his agent is based. He is scheduled to attend the NHL Combine in late May in Toronto. We will keep him on our protected list and we are optimistic that his wrist will return to 100%,” Wildcats Director of Hockey Operations and Coach Danny Flynn said in a release.
The talented forward, who could still end up a first-round NHL draft pick, had a rough year, missing more than half his team's game with transfer problems and a wrist injury/surgery. After being benched in the first round of playoffs, the Cats sent him home to get ready for the world under-18 championship with Russia. Then the Russian team cut him loose, raising more questions. Now that Moncton has cleared up the confusion, it remains to be seen where he'll be drafted, and where he'll play next season.
Nathan White is a journalist based on the East Coast. He writes for The Hockey News and a variety of other publications. Read Nathan White's blog or follow his work on Facebook or Twitter.
Geertzen put up 22 points in 33 games with Leduc in the Alberta AAA Bantam league this year. He also added 38 penalty minutes and was impressive at the recent Alberta Cup. He`s 6.0 160 pounds.
From our draft preview series here's a description of Lazar who`s listed at 5.08 and 170 pounds by the Pursuit of Excellence website, but I have been told he`s closer to 5.10.
Makes plays at high speed, good touch around the net, can show a physical side.
Lazar was ranked 7th among forwards on our list, but the Oil Kings saw something they really liked. Maybe it was this goal.
You can find out more about Lazar and the rest of the team`s picks by watching Global Edmonton Sports tonight at 6.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The Western Hockey League honoured it's current stars today and tomorrow will draft it's future ones. For a full rundown of who won what click here. I'll get to our final bantam draft rankings in just a bit but first some tidbits I picked up in conversations today.
After the World Junior Championship TPS was ripped by anonymous posters because we insisted that Travis Hamonic was only dealt to Brandon because he was injured. According to a G.M. with intimate knowledge of the deal today, Brandon tried like crazy to get Hamonic before the WJC but the Warriors didn't want to deal him, especially after a blow out loss to the Wheat Kings, they told the Wheat Kings they needed Hamonic in order to make the playoffs. After the injury the talks resumed and a deal was done. But if the injury didn't happen, Hamonic would have remained a Warrior and when you consider how close they came to upsetting Calgary in the first round it makes you wonder what would have happened with the talented Dman in the line up.
Speaking of Brandon according to another G.M. they were one of several teams in the running for Jordan Eberle. Apparentley Pats G.M. Brent Parker was looking for 2 picks and 2 players and while the Wheat Kings made a good run at Eberle, word is Saskatoon came the closest.
As for the bantam draft I don't expect Prince George to trade their first overall pick but I'm not really sure what the Oil Kings will do. I thought for a while they would take one of defenceman Josh Morrissey or forward Morgan Klimchuk out of Calgary but I heard from a few people that they aren't high on taking another defenceman and Klimchuk likely won't be a forward they will be taking. Could they trade down? One G.M. who will draft in the top 5 told me he's willing to do that as you might be able to get a similar player at 10 or 11 as you can at 4 or 5.
While the Cougars aren't likely trading the first overall bantam pick, their first overall European pick could be on the block. Edmonton has the 4th overall pick and getting 2 Euro picks in the top 4 I'm told is something that the Kings are investigating.
One more before the bantam draft pick. If the Cougars select Alex Forsberg, as most expect they will, are they looking at asking the WHL to let him play as a 15 year old? He tore up the Saskatchewan AAA Midget League this year and some scouts have told me they think he could play right now. That would immediately unite the Forsberg brothers in PG.
Now onto our top 22 rankings. A list we've compiled after talking to several scouts throughtout the year.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Checking in with a quick update from the QMJHL. The Saint John Sea Dogs finished off the Victoriaville Tigres with a 7-1 win in Game 6 to advance to the final against the Moncton Wildcats. Victoriaville had a banged-up blueline and goalie Kevin Poulin was playing hurt as well, so it was a credit to the Tigres that they forced a return trip to Saint John for Game 6.
A lot had happened over the last couple of weeks and that's provided me with a few topics worth touching on in another variety column. These are just some quick notes, observations, nuggets from eavesdropping with some random speculations thrown in for good measure.
The U18s, the Alberta Cup, the Doyle Cup, the recent Edmonton Oilers "culture changes" and some Edmonton Oil Kings news as well.
The significance of the picture above? None. It just makes me smile.
Friday, April 23, 2010
The United States successfully defended their U18 crown with a 3-1 win over Sweden Friday afternoon in Belarus. Over the last several years, the Americans have dominated the annual April tournament having collected a medal every year but once since 2002. If nothing else, this is a clear sign that USA Hockey's National Team Development Program is working.
The US-NTDP has a U17 and U18 version that shares a regular season schedule in the USHL. The players get to grow and develop together over the course of an entire season and that obviously is paying huge dividends when it comes to a spring tournament like the World U18 Championship.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Each year The Pipeline Show is excited to bring you entries to our blog written by players in their draft year and 2009-10 is no exception. So far we've heard from Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman Mark Pysyk and Prince George Cougars forward Brett Connolly.
Today we're able to bring you the 4th chapter in Pysyk's ongoing series that we've called 'On the Mark'. The member of the Edmonton Oil Kings represented the team at the annual CHL Top Prospects Game in January but missed the last two months of the season with a cracked bone in his foot and that's where we'll pick things up with Mark... (Photos: Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings)
Yesterday I wrote a pretty harsh piece on the way the firing of Kevin Prendergast and subsequent announcement was handled by the organization. After writing it and then guesting on Edmonton Sports Night Live with Corey Graham and Wil Fraser I had a chance to go online a sift through the piles of reaction to the news.
Some of it made me take a step back and look at things again.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The Edmonton Oilers announced late this afternoon that GM Steve Tambellini has fired Assistant GM Kevin Prendergast ending the executive's 20-year association with the organization. While the decision does not shock me, I wrote back in January that I felt this outcome was pretty much inevitable, I am stunned and disappointed with the classless nature with which it was carried out.
Recently there was a lot of talk about Sportsnet writer Mark Spector's story that quoted Sheldon Souray's request to be traded. More to the point, the timing of the story was what some people had an issue with - the fact that Spector sat on the information until such time that the player was OK with the story being published.
Mainstream media in town quickly came to the defence of Spector (not that he needed it) explaining that sitting on information until the right, or appropriate time, happens on a regular basis.
Allow me to bring that thought back to today's news that the Oilers have gassed Kevin Prendergast.
(See the last couple of paragraphs for some thoughts on information that came my way late on Wednesday night.)
Nicolas Petan was the most skillful player according to a few WHL scouts. The five-foot-seven 150-pound centre from North Delta was among the top point getters. Petan finished tied for second in the tournament with four goals and six points.
Matthew Needham was the top point producer with six goals and two helpers. The son of former NHLer Mike Needham is a great skater with an extra gear. One scout did mention to me that
Other players who stood out were Pursuit of Excellence forward Curtis Lazar, defenceman Kyle Burroughs from
Overall, one scout told me it is a depth year for BC players. Another scout mentions BC players do not seem to crash and bang as much as players in the other Western Provinces. Of course, with the WHL draft coming up Thursday April 29 everyone is waiting to see whom the Prince George Cougars will select with the first overall pick. Cougars Director of Player Personnel Wade Klippenstein told CKPG Sports that they have it narrowed down to four players and will make their decision after the Alberta Cup in Leduc this weekend. Most teams and people believe Alex Forsberg will be selected first overall by the Cougars. His brother Jesse patrolled the blue line for the Cats this past season. Forsberg played as an under age in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League where he was tied for third in scoring in the league. We will find out in just over a week. With the Down Low with Bristowe.
I’m Allan Bristowe
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Rumor has it that Russian forward Kirill Kabanov has returned to the QMJHL after his short lived mission to play in the World U18 Championship and that he may rejoin Moncton in their series against Drummondville.
In other news, a pig was seen flying over a frozen hell and monkeys did fly out of someone's butt.
This could be a pretty long list considering the numerous European players the Edmonton Oilers have drafted over their history only to have them not develop, fail in North America or simply stay home. I decided to go back to the 1999-2006 drafts to cut it down significantly and because those players are still playing at various professional levels.
You'll notice the quotation marks in the title of this blog post, that's because I'm not one that considers all of the following draft day choices to be mistakes. Some of them clearly were, some of them weren't and there might be a player or two that only now are starting to show some of the results Edmonton foresaw when they selected them.
You be the judge.
Monday, April 19, 2010
NCAA hockey is done for the year, only 12 CHL teams across Canada are left alive in the playoffs, the RBC Cup draws ever closer, the USHL playoffs have reached the semi-finals, the WHL Bantam draft is ten days away and the U18s in Belarus have reached the playoff round with Canada no where to be found.
Even if two thirds of the teams we follow have hung them up for the year there is still a ton to talk about. Here are some thoughts kicking around my cranium lately...
Saturday, April 17, 2010
You can be sure the Oilers brass are still keeping their eye on possible first overall pick Taylor Hall of the Windsor Spitfires. Hall outscored his draft competition Tyler Seguin by 6 points in the Windsor/Plymouth series, but now he's on the opposite end of the spectrum as the Spitfires are down 2-0 to Kitchener. Rangers forward Jeff Skinner who netted 50 this year, has 4 goals in 2 games - Hall has one.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Scott Allen's power play goal at 5:58 of overtime and Nate Fleming's 3-point effort helped the Spruce Grove Saints to capture game 1 of the 2010 Doyle Cup. In a game that featured 11 goals but never a lead of more than a single goal, the AJHL and BCHL champions duked it out like true heavyweights trying to land a knockout punch.
They are down the the final four in the Western Hockey League and one could argue that there really hasn't been an upset yet. The Vancouver Giants were a somewhat of an underdog against Portland but only by the slimmest of point differentials so the fact that they came out victorious from their series isn't really a stunner.
Here's how TPS sees it shaping up for the next ten days...
Tampa Bay finished the season strong this year...so strong they played themselves out of a lottery pick. They also played so bad this year that they finished 6th worst in the league and watched their head coach and GM get the axe. Now there's word that Martin St. Louis might want out...or atleast he wants to win now. You can read his comments in a story that Jonathan Willis wrote here. And click to read on about why Tbay might make a good trading partner for the Oil.
As I attempt to keep my perfect record on QMJHL playoff predictions (12 for 12 so far), the matchups are getting much tougher to call in the third round. The four remaining teams are the top four teams from the regular season, all bona fide contenders with the pieces to win not just the semifinals, but the QMJHL championship and even the Memorial Cup. There’s no Cinderella here, just four teams built on great goaltending with plenty of weapons that keep coming in waves.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Also heading to the Worlds, but wearing stars and stripes will be Oilers forward Ryan Potulny and defenceman Taylor Chorney. Potulny was one of the first cuts this training camp, but made his way back up for good and scored 15 times while adding 17 assists in 64 games. Chorney struggled in his first full season putting up just 3 assists while racking up a -21 rating. Here's hoping a trip to the Worlds will help him regain his confidence after a shaky year.
While it's good news for these three, it doesn't appear to be the same for Dustin Penner who's name hasn't been called out yet by Hockey Canada, and according to some insiders I spoke to today, likely won't.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
After a year of disappointment and suffering, Oilers fans finally got something to cheer about yesterday as the NHL lottery played out with Edmonton receiving the #1 overall pick at the June Entry Draft. As you would expect from The Pipeline Show, we were all over it as we expanded to 3 hours last night on the TEAM 1260.
We began the show by opening up the phone lines and keeping a running tally of who the listeners wanted Edmonton to announce on June 25th assuming the lottery went the way of the Oilers. Personally I was a little surprised at the outcome although I have to admit I don;t argue with it.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The draft lottery goes tonight and The Pipeline Show will be all over it. We're on the air from 6-9 pm mst with extensive draft lottery coverage.
Scheduled to join us will be:
Oilers G.M. Steve Tambellini and
Possible 1st overall pick Tyler Seguin
We'll also take your calls and emails. Who do you want your team to pick if they win the lottery?
From 7-9 we'll speak with EJ McGuire of NHL central scouting. AJ Jakubec and Nathan White on the WHL and QMJHL playoffs, Chris Kreider who just won an NCAA championship with Boston College, and we'll preview the Alberta Cup.
Listen online www.thepipelineshow.com email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, April 12, 2010
With all the excitement of the playoff stretch drive in the NHL, the CHL playoffs and the Frozen Four the news of all the free agent and entry level signings during the last month or so. If you're wondering who recently picked up NCAA free agents or signed their drafted CHL prospects I've tried to piece together a team-by-team list.
There are way too many players to go into depth on each guy but I'll give you a bit of info along the way.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The Boston College Eagles have captured their 4th National Championship and second in three years after defeating the Wisconsin Badgers 5-0 on Saturday in Detroit. The Eagles scored 4 times in the third period and carried the play for most of the game. The win caps off a season which saw Boston College also win the annual BeanPot Championship and the Hockey East Conference title.
For my thoughts on the final game, the 2010 Frozen Four in general and more... click Read More.
Friday, April 9, 2010
A week ago this would have made a great April Fool's joke.
The Moncton Wildcats sent Kirill Kabanov home during a playoff run so he could "focus on the world under-18 championship." That official explanation of course, is widely believed to have been the wink-wink, nudge-nudge version of "the team was better off without him so we got rid of the headache."
Now the Russian team has sent him home as well. Kabanov has gone from highly touted to highly troubled. He dropped to No. 31 from No. 15 on Central Scouting's North American skater rankings for the 2010 NHL draft, and could freefall with yet another question being raised about his ability to fit into a team.
No word yet on what's next for Kabanov. At this point you have to wonder if he could even stick with a house league team. One time my weekly pickup game pooled money together to pay a guy not to play the rest of the year because we got so sick of him. That's what this situation reminds me of, of course there's much more talent and an NHL future on the line.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
The Frozen Four is down to the two finalists after a pair of lopsided semi-finals kicked off NCAA hockey's marquee event. The Wisconsin Badgers laid a 8-1 beating on the RIT Tigers and a couple hours later the Boston College Eagles stunned the Miami RedHawks to the tune of 7-1.
While most expected RIT to be outmatched, and they were, the late game was supposed to be a much closer affair. In the end we'll get to see a rematch of the 2006 National Championship game as the Badgers will tackle the Eagles.
It hasn’t been much of a second round in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.
The second round could be wrapped up by Friday, with no series going longer than five games. Two sweeps are already in the books: The top-seeded Saint John Sea Dogs handled the young Gatineau Olympiques, while the Victoriaville Tigres topped the Quebec Remparts without Patrick Roy’s perennial contenders taking a single game.
More on playoff highlights, draft prospects and teams in trouble after the click...
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Hockey fans, especially Edmonton supporters, are keeping a watchful eye on the OHL playoff series featuring the top 2 ranked players for the 2010 NHL Draft. The Spitfires have now swept the Whalers in 4 straight games (edited to update stats). The head-to-head comparison has Taylor Hall with 6 points and a +6 rating while Tyler Seguin was held pointless and is -6.
For us, the stats and series standings have done nothing to change our opinion on who should go 1st overall. We've spoken with a lot of people over the course of the season and have built our opinions over time and Dean and I feel this small sample size needs to be taken in to context, especially in light of things we've heard as of late.
The final ranking for NHL Central Scouting was released today and the list has a number of players vaulting up the charts with others tumbling as a result. The 2010 Draft is very strong and unless you're Toronto, Philly or Calgary (barring a trade), teams have a chance to strike it rich through he first couple of rounds.
Here's a quick rundown of some of the names that jumped out at me, both risers and fallers for this June's big event.
We do it every year as we call it one of our 4 Majors. Every April we are proud to offer up all four bench bosses from the NCAA programs that have reached the pinnacle event on the college hockey calendar. Last night on The Pipeline Show it was the 2010 Frozen Four Coach's Show.
The first year we ventured to put together the special show we were only able to secure one of the four coaches. Ironically, Michigan State and coach Rick Comley would go on to win the 2007 National Title.
Perhaps it was seen as an omen because in 2008, Jeff Jackson (Notre Dame), Dave Hakstol (North Dakota), Red Berenson (Michigan) and Jerry York (Boston College) all found time in their busy schedules to join us. The Eagles would eventually go on the become champs that year.
The 2009 Frozen Four Coach's Show was another full house with Enrico Blasi (Miami), Tom Serratore (Bemidji State), Jack Parker (Boston University) and Kevin Sneddon (Vermont) all on board. The Terriers claimed the 2009 crown after an amazing late game comeback that forced overtime.
This year... only 3 programs were represented. Which school has decided to test Karma? We'll tell you in a click of the mouse...
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The 2010 World U18 Championship is set to begin a week from today in the Belorussian cities of Minsk and Bobruisk and as usual, Canada will ice a team full of players under the watch of NHL scouts.
Some have been on the radar all season while others have gained steam as the year has gone on. All will have the chance to raise their stock in the last big international event before the 2010 NHL Draft and this tournament is considered as important, if not more, than the U20 World Juniors played over the New Year's holiday season.
Here are the top 5 Canadians who are on the 'Must Watch' list for scouts headed to Belarus next week.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
A couple of days after USA Hockey - the defending champs - released their U18 roster, their neighbours to the north have done the same. You can find the complete roster here.
All but two players are draft eligible in 2010 with Halifax Moosehead forward Gabriel Desjardins representing next year's draft and Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips not available until 2012, although he just missed being available for 2011.
The Pipeline Show has learned that the contract between the Edmonton Oilers and prospect Chris VandeVelde is to be settled on Sunday. The timing sounds a bit odd considering the holiday but since the deal was apparently very close to being inked on Tuesday evening, it's already a bit overdue.
The Springfield Falcons have just three games remaining on their schedule this season, the next coming on Friday night in Providence. In fact, the AHL club completes its Oilers affiliation next weekend with three games in three days finishing at home on Sunday against Manchester.
One has to assume that VandeVelde will be in the line up for that final trio of contests.
The Moorhead Minnesota product played 4 full seasons at North Dakota and ended his NCAA career as the leading scorer for the Sioux during the 2009-10 season. At 6'2 and 210 lbs center will compete down the road with the likes of Riley Nash, Ryan O'Marra, Anton Lander and Geoff Paukovich for a role one day with the Oilers.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
USA Hockey recently released the names on its roster that will attempt to defend the gold medal they won in Grand Forks when the 2010 World U18 Championship gets going in Belarus later this month.
The official release can be found here with the full roster here.
Friday, April 2, 2010
The second round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs begins tonight. If anyone's counting, I went 8-for-8 in first-round predictions, although a lot of the first-round matchups were mismatches. The second round will be a lot tougher to predict, particularly two of the series. After playing divisional opponents, the teams are now re-seeded 1 through 8, with division winners taking priority. Here’s a quick preview of the four quarter-finals:
As for the height and weight, well it might be off a little as kids do tend to grow during the season. Enjoy.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall? Ask that question to an even number of scouts and you'll likely end up with a split, they're that even right now.
So I asked a number of scouts three questions about the top two picks for this year's draft. Some answered all of them while some are too close to picking one of them and didn't want to take part for fear of tipping their hand, and some chose to answer only one or 2 of my questions.
Here now, as the top two prospects get set to face each other in a 7 game series, are the questions and answers. All scouts involved requested anonymity and I will provide that.