Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2014 Draft Blog: Brendan Perlini Pt.1

Each season we extend a blogging invitation to a select few players entering their NHL Draft year. Frequent visitors to The Pipeline Show know the extensive list of players who have taken us up on the offer over the last half a dozen years. 

This year we have already been introduced to Brandon Wheat Kings goaltender Jordan Papirny and forward Tanner MacMaster of the Camrose Kodiaks. 

Today we get the first entry from our guest blogger playing in the Ontario Hockey League. Niagara IceDogs forward Brendan Perlini shares us his back story, one that is definitely one of the more unique paths a NHL-bound player has been on. 

Are you ready? After the jump, the first chapter in the 2013-14 Guest Draft Blog from a sure-fire 1st round pick, in his own words. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

One To Watch: Ottawa Senators

I did not purposefully leave the best for last but it is just a coincidence that Ottawa is the final team to come up in the One To Watch series and the Sens have one of my personal favorite prospects. 

While they haven't become established NHL players yet, late picks like Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau have increased their value since draft day. Others that had more hype as 18-year-olds such as Robin Lehner, Mike Zibanejad and Cody Ceci still project to be main pieces in the NHL one day so all in all, kudos to the Sens. 

2012 Choice: Mark Stone - His first professional season was OK, I'd hesitate to say it was more than that because I didn't see him play with my own eyes. Judging by his stats line, 15 goals and 38 points in 54 AHL games, Stone's numbers certainly don't wow me but I don't know that big production was expected of him in year one. Last year I wondered if he might stick with the big club out of camp but Sens fans wrote in saying not to expect it and they were right. A fair bar for him to beat this year should be a full season and increased production with improved skating. 

My selection for One to Watch in 2013-14 will come as no surprise and it's after the jump. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

One To Watch: Toronto Maple Leafs

I think a person could make a pretty good argument that Toronto's prospect strength comes on the blueline. Perhaps the Buds would agree considering they didn't add to that particular position at the 2013 NHL Draft.

Obviously Morgan Rielly leads the pack of would-be future NHL blueliners and he's proving early on this year that that future could be sooner than some expect. Stu Percy and Matt Finn are fine prospects in their own right and Jesse Blacker provides depth in the organization. 

I'm not selling the organization short at other positions though as there are a number of young players that I have liked through their junior careers and a few that I like even still as pros. 

2012 Choice: Joe Colborne - I figured that last year was going to be the breakthrough season for the former Camrose Kodiak and Denver Pioneer. He overcame a wrist injury that hampered his productivity and confidence and it seemed to me that Colborne was an opportunity away from sticking with the big club. It didn't happen though and the Calgary native eventually found himself playing for the Flames this year and he's having a modicum of success with his third NHL organization. 

My pick for 2013-14 One to Watch with the Leafs comes after the jump.

Friday, November 1, 2013

One To Watch: Montreal Canadiens

Excellent drafting has helped Montreal stay competitive in a tough division for most of the last few years. Sure they have had their lottery pick year but for the most part the Habs are picking in the second half of the first round. 

Now the organization is reaping the benefits of that drafting as their last 4 1st round picks are all contributing at the NHL level and deeper picks are finding their way too.  Jarred Tinordi, Alex Galchenyuk, Louis Leblanc and Nathan Beaulieu are the high picks panning out but Brendan Gallagher has had as big of an impact as any of them and he was a 5th round swing for the fence. 

2012 Pick: Mike Cichy - Montreal fans were all over me for singling out the mostly forgotten collegian but it was his decent into relative obscurity that intrigued me. It was his first season playing with Western Michigan after beginning his college career at North Dakota but leaving after his sophomore year. Unfortunately it was a pretty vanilla campaign with the Broncos, 4 goals and 18 points. I believe it's safe to say that unless he has a massive year at WMU this season, Cichy won't be offered a deal in the spring of 2014. 

My pick for One to Watch this year for Habs prospects comes after the jump.