Sunday, February 28, 2010

Panthers Prospect Snap Shot

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The Florida Panthers joined the NHL back in the 1993-94 season and their early years were very promising. They barely missed the playoffs in their first year of existence and in year 3 they actually reached the Stanley Cup finals, a 4-game sweep at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche.

Unfortunately for Panthers fans, their team has only made the playoffs twice since their run to the 1996 finals, and have not seen the post season since 1999-00.

Florida has consistently worn one of the ugliest jerseys in the NHL and recently added a third sweater design that is a departure from their usual red-gold-blue disaster. However, the current alternate is basically an unoriginal mock up of the Springfield Falcons with a borrowed Quinnipiac Bobcats crest. No points for originality but at least they look a lot better.

Some of the key figures to have worn the Panthers jersey include Pavel Bure, Roberto Luongo, Scott Mellanby, Igor Larionov, Uwe Krupp and Jay Bouwmeester. Florida's prospect pool features some highly touted players and the hope is that they'll help the franchise back to the playoffs and eventual to the finals once again.

Here is a look at what's Coming Down the Pipe in Florida...

Friday, February 26, 2010

WJAC coaching staff named-Former Memorial Cup winning teammates going head to head in Semi-Final tonight

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Here are the staffs for Canada West/East for the 2010 World Junior A Challenge this being held in a location to be named later. It's a tournament for the top 19 and under players skating in the 11 Junior A leagues across Canada and select nations around the world.

Canada west has reached the final the last 2 years and lost to the U.S. Before that the club made up of players from Manitoba-B.C. won it in consecutive years.

Click here for the official release and names of coaches.

In the blast from the past department, former Brandon Wheat King goaltender Jomar Cruz is among the coaching staff. He came on the scene in the WHL at the same time I started covering it. The one time Washington Capital draft pick platooned with Jamie Hodson on a team that lost out to the Marian Hossa led Portland Winterhawks in the WHL final. Brenden Morrow was also terrific on that team that went onto win the 1998 Memorial Cup. Interesting to note the match up tonight between Hossa and Morrow with a berth in the Gold Medal Game. Speaking of that Memorial Cup, the leading scorer was from Slovakia and played in Portland, but it wasn`t Hossa. It was Andrej Podkonický who scored 6 goals and added 4 helpers in 4 games. He represented Slovakia at World Championships in the past but isn`t on the current team.

Tambellini Passes on Hall vs Seguin

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Last night in Windsor the hometown Spitfires played host to the visiting Plymouth Whalers which meant prime head-to-head viewing of the top two rated 2010 players for the second last time on the OHL calendar. (Photo: Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

With the NHL on hiatus for the Winter Olympics, this might be the first time this season that some NHL GMs would have had the freedom to take in a live game and view Taylor Hall versus Tyler Seguin for themselves.

While most, if not all, General Managers delegate the draft day decisions to their chief scout, when you're talking about potential franchise players it's reasonable to believe some first hand knowledge would be a good thing.

Flames Prospect Snap Shot

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Atlanta's loss was Calgary's gain in 1980 when the Flames relocated from the Southern United States to Southern Alberta. It didn't take long for the club to have success as the Kent Nilsson led Flames reached the playoffs in their first year after the move. Not being an expansion team undoubtedly helped speed up the process but in just a few years Calgary had one of the best teams in the NHL.

Unfortunately for Calgary in the 1980's, they shared a division and Province with the Edmonton Oilers. For a handful of seasons their own dominant teams were beaten by the Gretzky-led juggernaut to the North. The Stanley Cup Finals were played in Alberta 7 times during the decade with the Flames involved twice and winning once, in 1989 against the Montréal Canadiens.

There have been a plethora of NHL Superstars to have worn the "Flaming C" over the years including Lanny MacDonald, Theo Fleury, Jarome Iginla, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mike Vernon, Al MacInnis, Brett Hull and Doug Gilmour.

Here's a look at the next wave of Flames Coming Down the Pipe...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Does Anybody Else Miss Matt Greene?

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Anyone who has had the good fortune of being around Matt Greene knows how funny the guy is. On the ice he's an intimidating force, the guy you don't want to be anywhere near if you're on the opposition. For the media guys, Greene's always a go-to guy because every time he opens his mouth it's audio gold.

David Branch responds to Paul Kelly

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About 2 and a half months ago TPS welcomed Paul Kelly to the show. The former head of the NHLPA is now working for an organization called College Hockey Inc. which represents NCAA hockey. Kelly surprised Guy and I by firing some major shots at the CHL. He bluntly said the league is paying players under the table and that...
"anybody who doesn't think it's happening has their head in the sand."
If you haven't yet heard Kelly's full comments which included statements that the CHL is blocking players from the NCAA and that the CHL scholorship program is inferior to the NCAA version click here.

To Get a sense of the reaction North of the border, read on...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wild Prospect Snap Shot

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The Wild have drafted in the top 5 only twice in their 10 year existence. They did well with Marion Gaborik, until he left the team as a free agent. They didn't have as much luck developing Benoit Pouliot and he has since been moved to Montreal.

Here are some players Wild fans hope they have some more success with.

Huskies appeal Cormier suspension

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Thanks to Dean Millard and Guy Flaming for inviting me aboard as the new QMJHL correspondent.

Just checking in with a bit of news from the Q that got buried by Team Canada Olympic fever last night.

The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies announced they will be appealing the Patrice Cormier suspension to an independent arbitrator. As most of you probably know, the Atlanta Thrashers prospect was suspended for the rest of the season and the playoffs after elbowing Mikael Tam of Patrick Roy’s Quebec Remparts last month.

Kunyk A Cougar?

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TPS found out last night that AJHL MVP Cody Kunyk has been listed by the Prince George Cougars. The Sherwood Park forward put up 87 points including a league leading 5 short handed goals on route to winning the league hardware.

As TPS told you last night, Kunyk has retained Gerry Johansson of the sports corporation, as an advisor (NCAA kids can't have an agent, even thought that's what Johansson is), and while he has committed to Alaska Fairbanks of the NCAA, if he decides to play in the WHL it will be with Prince George.

Kunyk should get drafted as a 19 year old this year, and maybe his NHL team would like him to play in the WHL especially on a line with top 2010 draft prospect Brett Connolly.

However, said team may also want Kunyk to spend some time in college, thus giving them more time to sign him.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Top 5 Tuesday: Sabres at the Olympic Games

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No not Buffalo Sabres, but Shattuck-St. Mary's Sabres. You know the Faribault, Minnesota prep school hockey factory. The school has been around in some capacity since 1858 but became known for hockey during the early 90's, and ever since has been producing top notch players. There are currently 5 men's Olympic hockey players and 2 women's players who attended and played for the Sabres. Tonight we'll speak with the schools Director of Hockey Tom Ward to find out why they've been so successful. For now here's a look at the Sabre Alumni playing in the Olympics.

Spitfires Already Reloading for 2010-11

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The defending Memorial Cup champions are a favorite for this year's tournament and have already taken steps to ensure that they are in a similar position next season. Considering the Spits are the front runners to be chosen as the hosts of the 2011 Memorial Cup, the team has a historic three-peat of CHL domination on their mind.

The Spitfires could potentially lose a number of key players from their current roster or, like with the Brandon Wheat Kings this year, they could all return. If the squad remains intact, the new additions should make Windsor damn near unstoppable.

Sharks Prospect Snap Shot

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The NHL could be found in the San Francisco area back in the late 60's and mid 70's but when the Oakland/California Golden Seals moved to Cleveland, hockey fans were out of luck. Then in time for the 1991-92 season, an expansion team was granted which also included a smattering of Minnesota North Stars players and the San Jose Sharks were born.

There were lean years in San Jose but the Sharks have grown into a ferocious regular season franchise. Unfortunately, once the playoffs begin, tradition has shown that the Sharks loose their bite and fall to the wayside.

San Jose has become an organization that is well respected for their drafting success and for also being aggressive on the trade front and free agency as well. Some of the big names who have played for the organization over the years have included Rob Blake, Joe Thornton, Jeremy Roenick, Arturs Irbe, Owen Nolan, Vincent Damphousse and Doug Wilson who is currently the club's General Manager.

Here is a look at some of the bigger fish in San Jose's prospect pool...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Devils Prospect Snap Shot

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Because of their steady play, New Jersey hasn’t drafted higher than 17th since 1996. In that time only 9 players drafted by the Devils have played atleast 300 NHL games, which tells you either the unholy are to patient or aren’t the talent evaluating gurus some make them out to be. Zach Parise was gift wrapped to them by the Oilers, but they did select Scott Gomez, Travis Zajac, Paul Martin and Brian Gionta in the last 14 years. But the only stat that means anything is 3 Stanley Cup Championships since 1995. This year Jersey shipped out some young talent to bring in Ilya Kovalchuk, meaning the pecking order has changed.

Here now are some of the top prospects for the New Jersey Devils.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Capitals Prospect Snap Shot

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They've never won a Stanley Cup, they've held the record for the worst single season in NHL history for the past 35 years and have won only one playoff series in the past 10 years. However, the Washington Capitals might be the most desirable place to be for an impending unrestricted free agent.

For most of the years since their inception in 1974-75, the Caps have been something akin to the free space on a bingo card. They've had notable players in the past but even the likes of Peter Bondra, Joe Juneau, Adam Oates, Dennis Maruk, Mike Gartner and Scott Stevens could never get the team to the top. Washington's best year came in 1997-98 at the Stanley Cup Finals but it ended in a 4-game sweep at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings.

And yet D.C. might be the place to be for the next several years. Alexander Ovechkin, arguably the best player on the planet, leads the way but has a stellar supporting cast that some are comparing to the Edmonton Oilers of the early 80's.

Better yet for Caps fans, there's even more talent on the way to Washington. Here's a look at what's Coming Down the Pipe for the Washington Capitals...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Maple Leafs Prospect Snap Shot

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It sounded like when Brian Burke took over in the ‘Big Smoke’ that he was going to stoke the fire and build it back up into a raging inferno. Then he dealt a 2010 first and second round pick along with a 2011 first round pick for Phil Kessel. Burke did however do a nice job of signing players like Christian Hanson, Tyler Bozak and the monster Jonas Gustavsson in the off season, making up for the team’s average drafting (Luke Schenn aside) in the past. The first cup since 1967 won’t be coming for a few years as the Leafs will have a tough time restocking a baron prospects cupboard.

There are a few guys to watch for though, and here they are.

Wheat Kings cruising despite ugly ending to game

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The Brandon Wheat Kings took the Regina Pats to the woodshed Friday night, in a 10-2 pounding that was filled with fights. 3 broke out in the final minute and a half. Oilers prospect Toni Rajala notched a hattrick and chipped in with 2 assists giving him 55 points in 50 games, and 16 multi point games this season. The win gives Brandon a 2 point cushion on Calgary and Saskatoon and improves the Memorial Cup hosts to 12-0-1 in their past 13.

The game might prove costly though as Wheat King Mark Stone needed help off the ice after a scrap with Regina's Colton Teubert. This from Luber's Lounge on the incident.

It was an ugly end to the game as Stone was goaded into fighting by Teubert, who followed the winger around the ice despite his team being on a 5-on-3 penalty-kill and was going to be assessed slashing and elbowing penalties before the fight happened.

"Very disappointed and just totally unnecessary and certainly wish that it hadn't have happened...it's just a fight we didn't need," said Brandon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, "We were, I thought, doing the right thing. We had a 5-on-3 power-play late in a 10-2 game and we could have put our big boys out and jammed it down their throat and tried to make it 11-2 or 12-2 but we did what we thought was the right thing and the right way to play the game by putting out the guys that don't get that opportunity as much. I think what happened was very, very disappointing...I can't sugar-coat it, I can't say it any simpler than that, I thought it was really unnecessary."

Somehow, Teubert managed to escape an instigator penalty on the play and what would have been an automatic game misconduct.

The incident so irked the Wheat Kings that Brandon co-captain Brayden Schenn, a teammate of Teubert's on the Canadian Junior Team and a prospect with the same NHL organization (Los Angeles) came across the ice while Teubert was being escorted to the Regina dressing room to give the defenceman his opinion of what transpired.


Earlier this week Guy and I spoke with the voice of the Wheat Kings Bruce Luebke to find out what's going right for Brandon and you can hear that conversation here.

(photo courtesy Brandon Wheat Kings)

Cormier Still Suspended

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The QMJHL has updheld the suspension of Patrice Cormier. The official release can be found here. Not much to add to this as I aggree with the league.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Coyotes Prospect Snap Shot

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NHL hockey arrived in the Arizona desert in 1996 after the Winnipeg Jets relocated to Phoenix and became the Coyotes. Whether you pronounce that nickname with one syllable or two, few would try and make the case that the Desert Dogs have had a smooth ride in Phoenix.

The ongoing ownership issues have marred a franchise that probably needed nothing but positive press clippings to stay relevant in an environment where a sport played on ice is way down the pecking order.

The Coyotes have their fan base and like all NHL teams, the fans they have are passionate despite their smaller numbers. Unfortunately there hasn't been much for the buying public to get excited about over the years. The team qualified for the playoffs in 5 of their first 6 years in town but have not appeared in the post season since 2001-02. Phoenix has never won a playoff round and have not claimed a regular season division title either.

Most pundits believe that the on-ice future for the Coyotes is very bright thanks to recent drafting success and a positive rebuilding strategy. Here's a look at some of the top pups Coming Down the Pipe for the Coyotes.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We all Make Mistakes (maybe)

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I've been watching the NHL draft seriously for several years now and for the last 8 or so I've been fortunate enough to have been in a position to have media access to help analyze the event every June. In doing so, each year I have my personal favorites from each draft class and I'm happy to say that many of those guys have made me feel like I'm not as dumb as I look.

I'm not going to beat my chest and say "Hey, Troy Brouwer was my guy in 2004 and now he's having a career year with Chicago". Nope, not going to say that. I'm also not going to mention Kris Russell, Claude Giroux or Mason Raymond because for every hit... I've probably got a miss or two.

Some of the guys I viewed as strong sleeper picks are still bubbling under the surface and could still pan out. Guys like Calgary goalie Matt Keetley, Tampa's Dana Tyrell and Dustin Tokarski, Atlanta's Spencer Machacek, Washington's Braden Holtby among them.

But there are guys that I expected much more from than they have so far been able to produce and one of those guys is an Olympian who will be in action tonight against Canada.

Oil Kings list Oilers prospect

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TPS has learned that back in October the Edmonton Oil Kings added 2009 Oilers draft pick Troy Hesketh to their protected list, meaning should Hesketh decide to play in the WHL, he'll skate in Edmonton.

Flyers Prospect Snap Shot

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The Flyers last 3 first round draft picks have turned out pretty well. Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk are starring for the team, while they turned Luca Sbisa into Chris Pronger at last year’s draft. In 2009 they didn’t have a first round pick. They’re best work came in 2003 when with 2 picks snagged franchise players Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. They also selected Colin Fraser and Ryan Potulny who are playing regular shifts with other organizations.

Now here is a snap shot of the Flyers top prospects.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Avalanche Prospect Snap Shot

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1995 was the year that the Quebec Nordiques relocated their franchise to the Rocky Mountains returning NHL hockey to Denver Colorado. While it was a kick in the junk to fans in Quebec City, getting the league back in a strong U.S. hockey market was obviously a positive for the league. The fact that the Aves were a contending team and actually won the Stanley Cup the next year likely made things worse for Nords fans but it probably helped cement the team in its new home market for years to come.

I personally like the fact that the Avalanche haven't forgotten where they came from with small gestures like having the old Quebec jersey present at Joe Sakic's retirement; that shows a level of class we haven't always seen with other clubs.

Colorado has captured the Stanley Cup twice in it's tenure, in 1996 and then again in 2001. While the Colorado Rockies were somewhat of a laughing stock, the Avalanche have been a power in the league almost every year since the move from Quebec. Where once they were able to rely on free agency to build their winning teams, now they've proven they can have success through the draft which is the goal of every team in the salary cap era. Matt Duchene, Ryan O'Reilly, T.J. Galiardi and Brandon Yip have all played significant roles with the team this year as rookies.

Here is a look at some of the up and coming talent in the pipeline of the Colorado Avalanche...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Coming Down the Pipe Tonight!!!

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Rumours are flying around that the Atlanta Thrashers are moving to Winnipeg, the Moose are heading to Saskatoon and the Blades are bound for the Manitoba capital. Is it a bunch of bull or is there some truth to it? We'll discuss tonight.

Also, the Brandon Wheat Kings are surging with just one shoot out loss in their last 13 games, all this without their big trade deadline acquisition Travis Hamonic.

We'll speak with a pair of LA Kings prospects in goaltender Jonathon Bernier and Garrett Roe, and Jaden Schwartz is our 2010 draft propsect. He's leading the USHL in scoring this year.

Want to chime in with a thought or question for us or one of our guests? pipeup@theteam1260.com

Top 5 Tuesday: NCAA Free Agents Under 6'

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Last year it was Matt Gilroy, Tyler Bozak and Chris Hanson who were the hotly sought after collegian free agents, both ended up signing on with Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs. This year there are a few players of note although I really haven't heard names being tossed around quite the same way as we did last year with Bozak and Gilroy.

I started making my list and found that all, other than 6'3 Mike Testwuide from Colorado College, were under 6'. Therefore, all of them might be considered longshots for the NHL but does that preclude them from earning a pro contract from a NHL club? I think not.

I've made a list of some of the guys I'd be looking at, they might not be players that NHL teams are following as closely as I am though. This is just a list of five guys who have peaked my interest and have me wondering if they might be on the radar for a NHL club too. And they are all under 6 feet tall.

Red Wings Prospect Snap Shot

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The winged wonders have won the the 3rd most Stanley Cups in the NHL behind only original six cousins Montreal and Toronto. They’ve made the post season an astonishing 18 years in a row, but that’s not to say the organization hasn’t seen it’s fare share of lean seasons. From 1967-1983 they played past the regular season just twice, and went past the first round only once in 19 years at one point. Detroit gets a ton of credit for drafting guys like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk in later rounds, but even Red Wing scouts have admitted in the past that they were lucky to get those players when they did.

As for who might join Datsyuk and Zetterberg in the next few years, here’s a snap shot of the Red Wings top prospects.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thrashers Prospect Snap Shot

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The NHL returned to the State of Georgia in 1999, almost 20 years after the Atlanta Flames moved north to Calgary in 1980. The Thrashers, a name selected by fan ballot, took to the ice in the Fall of '99 and won just 14 times in their first season. The team has finished with a losing record in 7 of the 9 seasons it has taken part in and is currently teetering near the .500 mark this year.

Atlanta's only post season appearance ended quickly, losing in four consecutive games to the New York Rangers in 2007.

The Thrashers have had their fair share of star power but have never been able to build a winner. Dany Heatley, Ilya Kovalchuk, Marrian Hossa, Marc Savard and Salva Kozlov have all worn the Thrashers sweater (some at the same time) and yet the team has failed to even win a single playoff game let alone a series.

A combination of poor drafting and even worse asset management has hampered the team's chances at improvement. Still, there are players in Atlanta's system that could help the team get to where they want to go. Here is a look at some of the best of that group...

Schwartz To Join TPS

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This Tuesday we'll continue our look at the 2010 NHL entry draft and welcome Tri City Storm forward Jaden Schwartz to the program. The 17 year old is leading the USHL in scoring with 70 points in 45 games, after a 76 point season in 46 games with Notre Dame of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League last year. ISS had him ranked 26th on their January list, while Central Scouting put him 41st among North Americans on their mid term list.

Schwartz's rights in the WHL are held by the Tri City Americans, but he's committed to Colorado College next season where his brother Rylan is a freshman this year.

The show airs from 7-9 PM MST and you can find out more and listen online at www.thepipelineshow.com.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blue Jackets Prospect Snap Shot

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The Blue Jackets are in year 10 of their existence which has seen two General Managers and 6 coaches. Columbus held the first overall pick once, taking Rick Nash in 2002, and have selected inside the top ten for their first 9 drafts. Columbus has made the playoffs just once, which means they have been extremely underwhelming considering the draft picks they’ve had.

Here now are some of those picks in recent year...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pysyk Out With Broken Foot

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Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman, and projected first round pick for this June's draft Mark Pysyk has suffered a broken foot. Pysyk first injured his foot blocking a shot against the Prince Albert Raiders on January 31st. X-rays didn't show a break so Pysyk kept suiting up for Edmonton, but another xray on Friday revealed the break.

Blackhawks Prospect Snap Shot

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The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the "original six" teams in the NHL having joined the league in 1926. Like the New York Rangers, the Hawks have 3 Stanley Cup Championships to their credit - fewest among original six franchises. It has been 39 years since Chicago has captured hockey's top prize, their last Cup victory coming in the 1960-61 season.

From 1997-98 until 2007-08, the Hawks qualified for the playoffs just once, a first round exit in 2002 at the hands of a top rival, St. Louis. Years of futility and aggressive rebuilding strategy allowed the organization to acquire a ton of draft picks over the last decade. In 2004, Chicago made 17 draft day selection including 5 in the first two rounds. The team has become much more North American flavored through the draft than during the 1990's and some would argue that it's a major reason why the club has enjoyed a major turnaround the last two years.

with an extremely talented and young leadership core the Blackhawks are poised for success over the next several seasons. And there is plenty more top recruits Coming Down the Pipe... here is a look at some of the best prospects in Chicago's system.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hurricanes Prospect Snap Shot

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The Hurricanes arrived from Hartford in 1997 and have reached the Stanley Cup Final twice, winning the first cup in franchise history during the 2006 season. They’ve also had some lean years where they’ve netted top 5 picks, the best of which was Eric Staal taken 2nd overall in 2003. The Canes are on their way to hitting a second home run when it comes to drafting players from the Red Deer Rebels. Goaltender Cam Ward won the Conn Smythe during the ‘06 cup run, while Brandon Sutter is turning into a terrific all around centre this season with 14 goals and 27 points in 51 games. It was announced this week that the Canes AHL club is moving from Albany, New York to Charlotte, North Carolina, which will mean just a 3 hour drive for prospects getting called up from the AHL.

Here now is a look at some in the ‘Canes system.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kings Prospect Snap Shot

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The Kings have drafted inside the top 5 ten times in their 43 year history, and most of those picks have been pretty good, although not all the players went onto success with the Kings. They did however use one pick, Jimmy Carson (2nd overall in 1986) to bring Wayne Gretzky to LA….along with 15 million bucks. Lately LA has been stockpiling high end prospects, and here’s a look at some of them.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Canucks Prospect Snap Shot

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The Vancouver Canucks joined the NHL in 1970, increasing the Canadian content in the league to three teams at the time. Despite their 40-year existence, the Canucks have never won the Stanley Cup and in fact have only been to the Finals twice in that time. The closest the team has come to winning it all was back in 1994 when they took the New York Rangers to a 7-game series.

While the team is Western Canada's oldest NHL franchise, the Canucks have largely been overshadowed by the success of the two Alberta clubs which have won 6 Stanley Cups between them since joining the league much later. Since Calgary and Edmonton joined the league, Vancouver has claimed the division title only 5 times but, 3 of those years have been in the last 5 seasons played.

Notable players drafted by the Canucks who have gone on to have a significant impact of the team's performance have included Trevor Linden, Stan Smyl, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Don Lever and Pavel Bure.

Here is a look at the top prospect Coming Down the Pipe for the Vancouver Canucks...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Top 5 Tuesday: Coaches On Their Way Up

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Here at TPS we are constantly shining the spotlight on the future of hockey from a players perspective. Today though we'll take a look at some coaches who are due for a promotion. In the past few years hiring from the AHL has become a popular trend for NHL teams, that's not to say that clubs aren't recycling former NHL coaches, but those who have paid their dues in the minors are getting their opportunities.

John Anderson in Atlanta, Bruce Boudreau in Washington, and Scott Gordon on the Island
all were hired in the off season, while Dan Bylsma was a mid season replacement who went on to win a Stanley Cup with the Penguins. Then there are guys like Corey Clouston in Ottawa and Joe Sacco in Colorado, both of whom came from the AHL and should be candidates for the Jack Adams Award this season. Most, including me thought Sacco was just keeping the bench warm for Patrick Roy to take over next year, especially after Roy told us on the show that he was offered the job in the off season.

Rangers Prospect Snap Shot

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The New York Rangers are one of the "original six" franchises of the National Hockey League. They were an expansion team back in 1926 and won their first of four Stanley Cup Championship victories came at the end of the 1927-28 season. It was the first time an American team had captured Lord Stanley's Mug. The Rangers won the Cup again in '33, '40 and the most recent title came in 1994.

The Rangers missed the post season for 7 consecutive years from 1997-98 to 2003-04 despite having one of the largest payrolls in the NHL. After the lockout in 2004-05, the Blueshirts have been in the playoffs each year but have fizzled out early, not getting passed the second round.

The Rangers have had a mixture of bad luck, bad picks and tragedy when it comes to their failures at the NHL Draft. While they've made several strong picks over the years, especially in recent years, the team has had more than its fair share of misfortune as well. Netminder Dan Blackburn was forced to retire due to injury, cutting short what appeared to be a very promising career. Obviously the death of Alexei Cherepanov is tragic on its own but viewed strictly from a hockey perspective, it was also a blow to the Rangers' prospect ranks.

Here's a look at what's Coming Down the Pipe for the New York Rangers...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ducks Prospect Snap Shot

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The Ducks have seen both sides of the spectrum when it comes to getting and giving away the future. They dealt picks and defenceman prospect Ladislav Smid to get Chris Pronger from Edmonton, then won a Stanley Cup. They also received picks ‘o’ plenty when the Oilers signed Dustin Penner to an offer sheet. In the last couple of years they’ve also traded away budding power forward Eric Tangradi, and traded for Swiss star Luca Sbisa when they shipped Pronger to Philadelphia. Anaheim has drafted in the top 5 six times, most recently taking Bobby Ryan 2nd overall in 2005. Ryan is starting to hit his stride.

Now here’s a look at the rest of the Ducks future.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Finally some meaningful World Junior round robin games

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USA Hockey and the 2011 Buffalo World Junior committee announced a schedule and groupings this week. The full release can be found here.

The good news is Canada will face Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic all in the round robin. Norway is also in Canada's pool. I think this forces Canada to be sharp from the get go and prevents bad habits from setting in during 16-0 blow outs.

The other group has the defending champs Team USA, Finland, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland.

Predators Prospect Snap Shot

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NHL hockey made its debut in Music City, USA in the fall of 1998. To date, the franchise has had very little success; the Preds have only qualified for the playoffs 4 times and have never actually won a series in the post season. They still have the same coach they did on day one, Barry Trotz, a respected hockey mind that has always tried to do the best with what he's had to work with.

While the Predators have struggled for the most part, a steady stream of young talent continues to give their fan base reason to be optimistic. Scouting has been a definite strong point for the franchise since their inception.

Here is a look at the top prospects in the system of the Nashville Predators...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Senators Prospect Snap Shot

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The Ottawa Senators joined the NHL in 1992, and the expansion team watched the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first four years of their existence. The club then went on an 11 year run of making the post season, losing in the cup finals to Anaheim in 2007. They missed the post season last year, but as I write this, the Sens have won 11 straight games and look fairly secure in returning to the post season tournament. The Sens farm team resides in Binghamton.

Here now is a snap shot of the Senators top prospects.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lightning Prospect Snap Shot

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The Tampa Bay Lightning joined the league back in 1992 and have had a roller coaster existence over their 18-year history. They've finished dead last in the standings, they've won the Stanley Cup, drafted 1st overall three times, played in front of over 28,000 people in an indoor game yet have had numerous off-ice problems as well.

There are a lot of critics when it comes to the idea of hockey in Florida and yet Tampa Bay appears to be one of the more viable locations of the Southern based franchises.

There are superstars on the Tampa roster including perennial all-stars like Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. Strong draft position in recent years has allowed the team to add franchise players like Steven Stamkos and defenceman Victor Hedman to build a solid future around.

Here is a look at some of the other promising players coming down the pipe for the Tampa bay Lightning...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sabres Prospect Snap Shot

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The Sabres reside in the city of hard luck, thanks to the Bills 4 straight Super Bowl losses and Brett Hull’s skate in 1999. The Sabres have developed a lot of great talent of the years, but because the team hasn’t shelled out big bucks, they’ve developed players for other teams.

The Sabres joined up with the Portland Pirates 2 years ago. The Pirates were born in 1993-94 when they were the baby club of the Washington Capitals. That’s also the year they won their one and only Calder Cup title.

Here now is a look at the top prospects of the Buffalo Sabres

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cowen signs deal with Sens, Scary incident in Oil Kings/Rockets game, and Team USA adding 2 blueliners

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Jared Cowen has inked an entry level deal with the Ottawa Senators. He was the 9th overall pick in the 2009. Cowen played a big role in the Spokane Chiefs Memorial Cup victory in 2008 when he was +27 with 62 penalty minutes in 68 games. Cowen did suffer a knee injury the next season and while some think he still hasn't recovered, after struggling during the 2010 World Juniors, the Senators seem convinced. Read the release here

Also, things sounded a bit scary in Kelowna as Graham Skilliter was injured and needed help off the ice. No word on his condition. Maybe Rockets play by play man Regan Bartell will have an update. I missed what happen, but heard the voice of the Oil Kings AJ Jakubec talking about it. Maybe it AJ's out there he could let us know in the comments section? The game finished with the two linesman calling it and Kelowna won it in a shoot out.

Team USA is adding 2 defencemen to replace the injured Mike Komisarek and Paul Martin, according Chris Botta. Tim Gleason getting mentioned as one. I was impressed with him Monday, there's not a ton of muscle on the Canes, but Gleason has toughness. Gleason you might remember was picked up from the Canes for Jack Johnson.
(Photo courtesy Claus Anderson/Getty Images)

Blues Prospect Snap Shot

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The Blues were born in 1967 and played in the Stanley Cup Finals in each of their first three years of existence. Although the team has never captured the Stanley Cup, the Blues do hold a prestigious achievement in that they qualified for the playoffs every spring from 1980 to 2004.

St. Louis has struggled the last few years but has turned the on-ice misfortunes of the team into a windfall of top youngsters vying for a roll with the organization. Thanks to a combination of poor performance and shrewd asset management, the Blues have drafted in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft 7 times in just the last 4 years.

Here is a look at some of the top prospects in the system for the St. Louis Blues...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Top 5 Tuesday: Checking in on 2007 draft

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Last week Guy took a look ahead to the 2011 NHL draft. Many people have questioned the depth of 2011. As Guy pointed out on a recent show, maybe we've just been spoiled with 2008, 2009 and the upcoming 2010 drafts. 2011 is looking more like the 2005-2007 events, minus the super star element of Sidney Crosby from 2005. So with that, let's take a look at who's made their mark from the 2007 draft.

Bruins Prospect Snap Shot

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The Boston Bruins have been around for 86 years with 5 Stanley Cup’s in their trophy case. The last title came in 1972, and the Bruins last contended for the cup in 1990 losing to the Oilers. Boston has 3 times drafted first overall taking Barry Gibbs in 1966, Gord Kluzak in 1982, and Joe Thornton in 1997. That year the Bruins also took Sergei Samsonov 8th overall. In 2010 Boston will also have 2 first round picks (If they don’t trade one) thanks to the Phil Kessel trade with Toronto.

The Bruins top minor league team is in Providence. The baby Bruins won a Calder Cup in 1999, but are struggling right. As of this writing they were 7th in the Atlantic division.

Here now is a look at the top prospects of the Boston Bruins.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Canadiens Prospect Snap Shot

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The Montréal Canadiens are one of the oldest professional franchises in North American sports, even predating the creation of the modern National Hockey League. With a record 24 Stanley Cup Championships to their credit and a plethora of iconic players to have worn their sweater, the Habs are unquestionably the sport's most historic franchise.

The thought of playing for the Canadiens is a dream for many young hockey players but can also be an intimidating one as well. No hockey market is more volatile (although some may be on the same level) than Montréal as the team is covered by an army of media and are stalked by fans at every turn.

Montréal's primary minor league affiliate is the Hamilton Bulldogs, AHL champs in 2007. Currently the Bulldogs are the top team in the AHL's Western Conference.

Here is a look at the top prospects for the Montréal Canadiens.