Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Falcons Getting More Help

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With the college signings of Jeff Petry, Matt Beca and Eddie DelGrosso plus the tryouts given to defender Tony DeHart (Oshawa Generals) and forward Jesse Gimblett (Alberta Golden Bears), the Springfield Falcons look a lot different then they did a couple of weeks ago. That appearance will continue to change as more help is on the way including someone to play between the pipes.

As more CHL teams drop by the wayside in their playoffs and NCAA players weigh their options, the list of possible recruits grows.

Linglet Recalled By Oilers

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The Pipeline Show has learned that Edmonton has recalled Charles Linglet from the Springfield Falcons today. Linglet, a 6'2 and 212 lbs winger, is currently 5th in AHL scoring with 74 points in 75 games.

The Montreal native played four full seasons in the QMJHL with Baie-Comeau where he had a career high 123 points in 2001-02.

Dean and I have both argued lately that Linglet deserved a call up simply as a carrot or reward for his performance on the farm this year. Hopefully the player will resign with Edmonton in the summer and be a key contributor again when the AHL affiliation moves to Oklahoma City.

Linglet was signed last summer to a minor league deal which means that Edmonton had to sign him to a NHL deal in order for this recall to happen. I'm told that it is for the rest of this season (so far) but beyond that might still be in the works. No details or official announcement yet from the Oilers.

Edit: The Oilers have now sent out the following press release.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

VandeVelde and Nash Look to Future

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After signing Jeff Petry to a pro contract last week the Edmonton Oilers are left with a pair of NCAA properties that they'd like to ink ASAP. One of them is North Dakota senior Chris VandeVelde and the other is Cornell junior Riley Nash.

Both were guests on The Pipeline Show on Tuesday and discussed what they perceive to be their future with the organization that drafted them.

I think it's fair to say that the two players see things a bit differently.

Top 5 Tuesday: Draft Debates

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Hall or Seguin? Centre or Winger? The debate will likely continue right up to the draft. Here now are some of the most debated first and second overall picks from the last 30 NHL drafts. I'm not sure which one was more debated then the other as some of them I was fairly young for, so I'll go from latest to oldest and let you decide which was the hardest to decide on.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Is VandeVelde Off to Springfield?

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The upsets continue at the NCAA hockey tournament as UND fell to Yale 3-2. Meanwhile, RIT continues it's improbable run with a 6-2 pasting of New Hampshire to earn a spot in the final four. Miami will meet Michigan tomorrow after both teams avoided upsets, while Boston College did the same.

The Fighting Sioux loss means that Chris VandeVelde's college career has come to and end, and should be on his way to Springfield to play out the string with the Falcons.

Meanwhile according to the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson, Jeff Petry isn't eligible to play in the NHL this season because his NHL contract doesn't start until next year.

The Oilers also signed a couple of college players this week, inking Matt Beca from Clarkson and Eddie DelGrosso out of Omaha Nebraska.

Cornell Loses - Nash Should Be On A Plane To Springfield Tonight

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As Guy told you earlier this week, Jeff Petry is now a professional. He officially signed Friday with the Oilers and played in his first AHL game against Lowell registering a plus 1 rating with one shot.

Also on Friday Cornell lost out in the NCAA tournament, meaning the season is over for Oilers prospect Riley Nash. To me if Nash isn't on a plane to Springfield right now something is wrong.

Friday, March 26, 2010

NCAA Tournament Predictions

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We love March Madness here at The Pipeline Show, but we prefer the colder version rather than the one with guys in shorts dribbling their balls. We prefer the Frozen Four to the Final Four and this year's tournament bracket features some terrific matches. The big 16-team tournament begins tonight!

Here are the bold predictions from the crew here at TPS:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Petry Deal Could Be Done Today

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The Pipeline Show has learned that a deal between Jeff Petry and the Oilers is almost done and could be completed today or tomorrow morning at the latest. As Guy Flaming reported on our show Tuesday night, Petry is expected to forgo his senior season at Michigan State University and turn pro in time to play some games this year.

However it now appears that Petry will start in the AHL with Springfield and possibly get a call up sometime in the next 9 games, as apposed to coming straight to the Oilers.

Petry had a career year with the Spartans this season scoring 4 times and adding 24 assists in 38 games. He's 6.03 and about 200 pounds with a booming shot from the point and skates very well. It should be interesting to see what kind of adjustment period Petry has while trying to get used to the pro game.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Scouting World Loses One Of Their Own

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This past weekend the NHL scouting world lost a good friend as Lou Jankowski passed away at the age of 78.

Jankowski started his scouting career with the St. Louis Blues in the early 70's. He also found future stars for NHL Central Scouting, the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers.

Jankowski was born in Regina but moved east as a teenager and wore the crest of the Oshawa Generals. His final season he scored 65 goals and notched 124 points. It earned him a tryout with the Detroit Red Wings where he spent some time on a line with Gordie Howe. Jankowski also played with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Lou was reportedly at the Tampa Bay Lighting game on Saturday before passing away early Sunday morning. He was well known at the games in Tampa and all the scouts I talked to in the last few days had nothing but great things to say about him.

I didn't know Lou, but I do know his son Ryan - who is the New York Islanders Assistant G.M. - and if father is like son then Lou must have been a pretty special person. The Pipeline Show sends our condolences to the Jankowski family.

2010 Bantam Draft Preview-Top 10 Defencemen

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Starting today The Pipeline Show will present our 2010 WHL Bantam Draft Preview series. We've picked the brains of WHL scouts and will come out with a list of players once a week leading up to the draft, as well as a ranking of players just before the teams gather for the WHL Awards ceremony/Bantam draft during the last week of April.

Here now is our first installment, where we are dealing with blueliners for the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.

Oilers and Petry Update

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Last night on The Pipeline Show I reported that talks between the Edmonton Oilers and prospect Jeff Petry were not only underway but progressing well. After speaking with a few people around or involved in the discussions It's my belief that an agreement on an entry level deal is close to being reached.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Top 5 Tuesday: Calder Watch

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Only once in the last 9 years has a player won the Calder trophy as NHL rookie of the year, in the first season after being drafted. That was Patrick Kane who went first overall in 2007 and won the award for the 2008 season. In fact only 2 first overall picks have won the award in the last 9 years, Kane is one and Alexander Ovechkin in 2006 is the other. This year both of those streaks will likely continue. Here now is a look at the top 5 candidates for the Calder trophy and a few honourable mentions.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Kabanov Goes Home (Updated)

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In an absolutely mind boggling move, the top rated 2010 draft eligible Russian playing in North America has suddenly abandoned his team and gone back to his homeland. Kirill Kabanov has officially left the Moncton Wildcats and has returned to Russia.

The Wildcats have released a statement confirming the move.

My thoughts in a second...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Goodbye Dad

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I was 8 years old when my dad bought me a pair of second hand (maybe third hand) goalie pads. They came complete with stretched and worn legs straps, patches of hockey tape to cover the myriad of stuffing-spewing holes and they had the remarkable ability to absorb and hold onto water like a Shamwow. They were dragged out of Scott Fostey's garage, weathered and beaten but doctored up as best as possible before he gave them to me for Christmas in 1979.

Bar none, those ancient pads were the best present I have ever gotten.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

NCAA Tournament Teams Set

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All six NCAA conferences have concluded their individual playoffs and the 16 teams who will partake in the annual NCAA National Tournament bracket have been finalized. Of course the six conference champs receive automatic bids and the remaining ten spots are awarded based on the NCAA's Pairwise Rankings.

The Pairwise Rankings are a complex ratings system that ranks teams based on toughness of schedule. While it sounds like it should produce a picture perfect year end bracket, the fact is that this year's 16-team list is proof that the NCAA is using a very flawed formula.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

QMJHL Playoff Preview

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The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League seems to have a different playoff format every year. Last season, they moved to four divisions, with the bottom two teams overall missing the playoffs. Teams played two series to get out of their division, with an extra team from the six-team Atlantic Division crossing over. Make sense? Don’t worry, they changed it. This year, the first round stays the same, but the teams will be re-seeded 1 to 8 for the second round. Still doesn’t make sense? Well next year, of course, it will change again, with a straight 1-16 format that will make the regular season match ups more meaningful, but set up some near-inhumane first-round series. On to this year’s match ups:

OHL Playoff Preview

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The Ontario Hockey League postseason gets underway tonight with two series dropping the puck to get it all started. While a few of the opening round match ups appear to be fairly one sided, there are also two or three that may go the distance as the two teams way a lengthy battle to move onto the second round.

On Tuesday we spoke with Sam Cosentino of Rogers Sportsnet who helped break down each series for us. Using that segment from The Pipeline Show as the basis, here is our OHL Playoff Preview...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Schroeder gone, Tikhonov back, and WHL awards

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While the Oilers await a decision from Michigan State defenceman Jeff Petry, the Canucks received good news regarding prospect Jordan Schroeder who signed an entry level deal today, leaving the Minnesota Golden Gophers after 2 seasons. The Canucks release can be found here. After a terrific freshman season where he racked up 45 points in 35 games he fell to just 28 points in 37 games on a Gophers team that struggled much of the season. I would expect Schroeder to be joining the Moose for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile Viktor Tikhonov has rejoined the Phoenix Coyotes after playing in the KHL for most of the year. He was assigned to San Antonio earlier this season but then returned to Russia where he scored 14 goals in 25 games. No word whether he'll say with the Ex Jets or be sent to the Rampage. Speaking of San Antonio, Kyle Turris was supposed to join The Pipeline Show last night, but something unavoidable came up and Turris will be joining us this coming Tuesday instead.

The WHL has released it's eastern conference all stars and award nominees today. The only unanimous all star selection was Regina Pats forward and Oiler prospect Jordan Eberle. The complete list can be found here.

WHL Playoff Preview

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The Western Hockey League post season gets underway on Thursday in one series with Calgary hosting Moose Jaw. Here now is a Pipeline Show playoff preview from Guy and I.

Cougars Win WHL Draft Lottery

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The WHL held it's draft lottery today in Calgary and with the most balls in the bucket, the Prince George Cougars have won the first overall pick. The Cougars who finished last in the WHL this year had 6 balls, followed by the Edmonton Oil Kings with 5, Lethbridge with 4, Seattle had 3, Regina 2 and Prince Albert 1.

This n' That - March 17th

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Due to an illness in the family I'll be leaving town for a couple of days and I wanted to unload some thoughts before I do so. Have no fear, Dean and I have WHL and OHL playoff previews already in the can which will hit your screens later today and tomorrow. Plus our pal Nathan White might have a QMJHL preview for us as well so there won't be any shortage of stuff to check out here at Coming Down the Pipe while I'm away.

But here's a handful of items that have caught my attention lately starting with a look back at the trade deadline day swap between Phoenix and Colorado...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Top 5 Tuesday: Hobey Baker Candidates

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On Thursday the NCAA will unveil the 10 players voted into the second stage of contention for the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in U.S. college hockey. The initial 71-man list was open to public vote through to March 7th. "Phase two of fan balloting will then begin on March 19th from the list of Top Ten Hobey Baker finalists. The fans’ vote accounts for a full 1% of the total ballot in each phase in selecting this year’s award recipient."

I suspect that my pre-season Hobey candidate list won't hold up, several of the players I predicted to be in contention actually had worse years than the previous season. Still, at least one guy is on my new top 5 list and I stand by my thoughts on the others... they failed to play to their potential this year, not me!

Here are my top 5 choices for guys who will be on Thursday's Hobey Baker list...

Junior and College players copy cat NHL stars

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It doesn't look like hockey players at any level are learning lessons from dangerous hits and lengthy suspensions. Take your pick from the NHL from the non spendable hits from Mike Richards on David Booth or Matt Cooke on Marc Savard to the Maxime Lapierre cheap shot on Scott Nichol which earned him a 4 game suspension and just 2 days ago Alexander Ovechkin running Brian Campbell from behind that has him watching for 2 games. All 4 hits were dangerous and has the hockey world buzzing about changes to the rules.

However it's not just the pro's who are playing reckless on the ice. Mike Liambas and Patrice Cormier were both suspended for the remainder of their OHL and QMJHL seaons respectively for head shots. Marco Scandella and Zack Kassian were also benched by their leagues, and on the weekend two more scary hits, one in the QMJHL and another in the NCAA.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Eberle to be evaluated by Hockey Canada

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I reported it last night on Global Sports, and today Falcons head coach Rob Daum confirmed on the TEAM 1260 that Oilers prospect Jordan Eberle (photo courtesy Springfield Falcons) will be in Springfield tomorrow. I'm told Hockey Canada officials will monitor his play and that he could receive an invite to play for Canada at the World Hockey Championship. Last year Eberle had 9 point in 9 games with the Falcons down the stretch and if he's anywhere near that production this time around he'll likely get a late call up from the Oilers. I just spoke to Eberle and he'll join Guy and myself for a quick conversation Tuesday night shortly after 7 pm MST. More details here.

Oil Kings GM Bob Green was in Phoenix last week watching listed player Henrik Samuelsson. The Oil Kings had hoped that his older brother Philip, whom they drafted would have come north but he ended up at Boston College and is now a Pittsburgh Penguins prospect. Henrik wasn't taken in the 2009 WHL draft but shortly after the Oil Kings listed him. Bob Green is very high on the 6.02, 193 pound forward who plays for the PF Chang Midget program in Arizona and has a cannon for a shot. Sameulsson attended Oil Kings training camp last year and last week was invited to attend the United States national development camp for it's U17 team, the camp takes place March 27-30.

In all 3 CHL leagues the regular season is over and all 3 leagues today announced it's playoff schedules. Click on WHL, OHL and QMJHL for each league's schedule.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Let the Petry Watch Begin

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The 7th place Michigan Wolverines have swept the 2nd place Michigan State Spartans tonight in CCHA quarterfinal action. The Wolverines posted 5-1 and 5-3 wins to oust their biggest rival not only from CCHA playoff action but in all likelihood, bumping them out of contention for an at-large bid into the 16-team NCAA tournament as well.

That won't officially be decided just yet but with the CHA now definitely getting two entries (thanks to Niagara's upset of Bemidji State on Friday) things got a lot murkier. The fact that Northern Michigan and Ferris State have both advanced to the next round won't help MSU's cause either. Both schools were below MSU on the Pairwise rankings

I've been wrong before but at this point, I can't see how the Spartans can still possibly be alive for an at-large bid which means they are done for the year. If that's true, then a few Spartans will be making pro hockey decisions ASAP.

Eberle to the World Championship? Lights Lamp for 50th time.

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Hockey Night In Canada host Elliot Friedman mentioned tonight during the Oilers/Leafs game that there is a rumour out there that Jordan Eberle will be asked to play for Canada at the World Hockey Championship in Germany starting May 7th.

I haven't heard that yet but it would be terrific for Eberle to get that chance, similar to what Jonathan Toews did after the 2007 season. Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty played last year for Canada after their rookie seasons.

Whether or not Eberle gets the call from Canada, he'll certainly get hearing from the Oilers after he wraps up his season tonight against Brandon. Eberle entered the contest with 49 goals, and notched #50 in the 2nd period. The big question is whether or not the Oilers will bring him to Edmonton or send him to Springfield?

In my opinion bringing him to Rexall Place right now is wrong. Put in him the AHL and if he plays well, reward him with a call up for the last 3 games: At home to Colorado and then on the road vs LA and Anaheim. As he did last year Eberle has played a lot of hockey this year and starting him in the AHL makes sure massive expectations aren't heaped on him. Also, if he comes to Edmonton, he might just score a few game winning goals and get them out of last place!!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

2010 Draft Prospect Nick Bjugstad

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It's been 30 years since the first high school hockey player was taken in the NHL draft as Jay North of Bloomington-Jefferson was taken by the Buffalo Sabres in the 3rd round. One year later Bobby Carpenter of St. John's prep school became the first high schooler taken in the first round when Washington called his name 3rd overall. In 1983 high school hockey was front and centre when Minnesota took Mount St. Charles left winger Brian Lawton was selected 1st overall.

Nick Bjugstad won't equal Lawton's accomplishment but he should be able to follow in the skate strides of fellow Minnesotan Nick Leddy whom the Wild took 16th overall last year. Bjugstad is the top rated high school player according to NHL central scouting and it's not hard to see why.

He's 6.05, 190 pounds and notched 35 goals in 28 games this year for Blaine High School in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Bjugstad was the Associated Press player of the year, the Metro player of the year, and is in contention for the Mr. Hockey award - the most prestigious for any high school player - this weekend. The most common words used to describe him from coaches and scouts I've talked to, are humble, character and skill. Not a bad overall package.

The Blaine bomber likes to pattern his game after San Jose's Joe Thornton.
"He makes plays like nobody else and he's a big boy and he can skate so Joe Thornton is definitely a guy I look up to."
Bjugstad's Blaine Bengals were upset in the quarterfinals of the Minnesota State Hockey Championship on Thursday and it means a very disappointing end to his high school hockey career, even though he's in grade 11. The power forward accelerated his studies to graduate early and plans on attending the University of Minnesota next year.
"I grew up watching the Gophers, it's been a dream of mine to play for them."
I'm hoping he gets chosen to play for the States at the Under 18 World Championship so we can see the big man in action. NHL central scouting has him ranked 12th among North American skaters in their mid term report. He's also the 3rd highest American born player behind Cam Fowler and Derek Forbort.

Guy touched on the future of the current Gophers coaching staff with Bjugstad who seems destined to be a Gopher. Those answers and more here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

First overall a first for Sea Dogs

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Things are almost settled in the QMJHL heading into the regular season’s final weekend.

First overall has been decided, with the Saint John Sea Dogs clinching home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs with a 5-2 win over the Halifax Mooseheads Sunday.

It’s a first in team history for the fifth-year franchise, which played in front of a pair of sellout crowds (6,488) on the weekend.

“With three games left, to clinch, it feels pretty good to go into playoffs in top spot,” said 18-year-old forward Steven Anthony, a Vancouver Canucks prospect. “There’s a lot more hockey to be played, but this was our first goal to achieve to set us in motion to have home ice all throughout this playoffs.”

Head coach Gerard Gallant has obviously had success with this group in his first year behind the bench, but he’s quick to put the regular-season accomplishment behind him.

Math Atheist

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Sometimes I get jealous of the blogging community and not just because 'Lowetide' draws visitors like Disneyland or 'Oilers Nation' reminds me daily that I have zero Photoshop skills. I get jealous of the intelligence of the various QWERTY mashers out there, specifically those in the "Oilogosphere". I'm impressed by the guys who have the ability to navigate the fine print of the NHL CBA and those who have mastered the art of stats analysis for use in their blog posts.

Speaking strictly for me, I understand that there is value, probably great value, in all the stats work that's done but it doesn't hold my attention at all. I'm not trying to say that David Staples' "error stat" isn't worth the time he spends with it but just that between that new stat and "Corsi numbers" and "Qual Comps" and whatever else is out there... I quickly get headaches.

So like Calvin, I'm declaring myself to be a math atheist.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Top 5 Tuesday:From Russia with Love

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2009 was the year of the Swede at the NHL entry draft as 7 players from Tre Kronor country were taken, including 3 in the top 10. Contrast that with Russia and you have a very lopsided game as only Dmitri Kulikov heard his name called in round one, and he actually dropped because teams feared he might head home after the season and skate in the KHL.

This year Mother Russia should be smiling a little more as several of her native sons have a chance at going in round one.

Here's a look at who I think will be the top Russians taken this June.

Coming Down the Pipe Tonight!!!

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Who are the teams to watch in the WHL as they get set for the post season? Guy and I will discuss the eastern conference tonight and welcome Tri City G.M. Bob Tory to the show for the western conference perspective.

As Aaron Vickers from Future Considerations reported earlier, Mikael Tam has been suspended for a hit from behind by the QMJHL. Tam if you'll remember is the player who was knocked silly by Patrice Cormier who was benched by the league for the rest of the season. Does this prove that hockey players learn nothing from previous experience?

We also plan on touching on some of the top Russian prospects for the upcoming draft. Check back for Top 5 Tuesday later today.


As for our guest list, Kevin Marsh is an assistant coach with the Spruce Grove Saints - the top Junior A team in the country - as well as an instructor with Pipeline Show supporter The Hockey Program so we'll get his thoughts on the AJHL playoffs as well as some upcoming events at The Hockey Program.

Nick Bjugstad is the top rated high school hockey prospect for the 2010 draft, and he's a big boy. We'll introduce you to Nick, who should be graduating next year, but he'll be busy playing for the Minnesota Golden Gophers after accelerating his studies so he can graduate a year earlier.

Patrik Killeen is a name Penguin fans should start to get to know. He was a 6th round pick 2 years ago and his having a terrific year on an average team from Brampton of the OHL.

And finally, our first guest of the night will be Ken Schott, a writer who covers the ECAC conference of the NCAA. The playoffs are underway, were there any big upsets? Who should represent the conference in the Frozen Four?

The answers to these questions and more tonight on The Pipeline Show, where the future of hockey plays here...now.

Listen live on the TEAM 1260 in the Edmonton area, or online through www.thepipelineshow.com. If you have a thought or question for Guy, myself or any of our guests, you can pipe up by dropping us a line at pipeup@theteam1260.com.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stars Prospect Snap Shot

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The Stars haven’t drafted a super star since taking Jarome Iginla 11th overall in 1995, and while he never helped them directly, Iginla did net them current G.M. Joe Nieuwendyk as a player who played a large role in Dallas winning the 1999 Stanley Cup. The franchise – going back to Minnesota – still has a first overall pick in the line up with Mike Modano, and guys like Brenden Morrow, James Neal and Jamie Benn are making the stars scouting staff look good.

Here’s who else Dallas scouts are counting on in the future.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

This n' That

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I've been sick for the last handful of days and so I've been stuck at home (skipped a pretty entertaining Edmonton vs Saskatoon game yesterday) spending most of my time reading or watching things online. When that happens I find all sorts of things that get my mind going.

Here's a few thoughts that I've had bouncing around inside my cranium the last few days.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Islanders Prospect Snap Shot

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The Islanders joined the NHL in 1972 in what was a move by the league to keep the WHA from setting up stakes in the area. The team failed to reach the playoffs in its first two years which is to be expected, but success started to come in season three when the Islanders reached the semi-finals. They lost that year and again the next two seasons but 3 semi-final appearances in their first 5 years was tremendous.

As the 70's came to an end so did the domination of the Montréal Canadiens. The New York Islanders captured their first of four consecutive Stanley Cup Championships at the end of the 1979-80 with an overtime goal by tough guy Bob Nystrom. The club played in 5 straight finals losing the last to the Edmonton Oilers who would then go on to establish their own dynasty. Still, no team has captured 4 straight Stanley Cup titles since the Islanders of the early 80's.

Some of the modern era legends that have worn the Islanders sweater include Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Clake Gillies, Pat LaFonataine, Dennis Potvin, Billy Smith and Brent Sutter.

Here is a look at some of the top prospects Coming Down the Pipe for the New York Islanders...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oilers Prospect Snap Shot

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Despite their late arrival into the NHL Edmonton has as many Stanley Cups as original 6 franchise Boston, one more then the rangers and their 5 titles are 2 more than Chicago. However their last cup win was 20 years ago and only once since then have they advanced to the cup final. The current scouting staff gets lambasted for bad picks like Jesse Niinimaki and Marc Pouliot while passing on players like Cam Ward and take your pick from 2003. However there have been some very good non first round picks and the cupboard is as stocked as well as it’s ever been right now.

Here’s a look as the Oilers prospect snap shot.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

AHL Prez On Deck For Aircraft Carrier Game

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A couple of weeks ago the AHL held an outdoor game which featured the Syracuse Crunch and the Binghamton Senators. This past Tuesday evening on The Pipeline Show we had the opportunity to speak with AHL President Dave Andrews about that event as well as some other timely subjects. We touched on this year's version of the outdoor game and our conversation grew from there.

You'll recall that last year it was reported right here at Coming Down the Pipe that there was another proposal for an outdoor game which would have captured the imagination of hockey fans everywhere. Something so incredible that "it couldn't possibly be legitimate". An idea "too good to be true" "bordering somewhere between fantasy and ludicrous".

Right?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Penguins Prospect Snap Shot

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The Penguins have drafted inside the top five 14 different times, with 3 of those picks being number one overall. They have 3 Stanley Cups to show for their high draft picks with players like Mario Lemieux, Marc Andre Fleury and Sidney Crosby being the 3 number one picks. Players like Evgeni Malkin, Jaromir Jagr and Jordan Staal were other top 5 picks who helped with cups, while Craig Simpson who was drafted 2nd overall was packaged for defenceman Paul Coffey. Pittsburgh gave up picks and prospects a few years ago to get Marian Hossa at the deadline, but the well isn’t dry.

Here’s a look at the Penguins prospect snap shot.

QMJHL Update

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Lots of news from the QMJHL this week, and it isn’t all good.

I’m going to start with the good stuff, and if you want controversy, dirt, and gossip you’ll have to click through for more!

Goalie Jake Allen of the defending champion Drummondville Voltigeurs is red hot right now. The league named him defensive player of the month Tuesday after he went 11-1 with a 1.59 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. After back-to-back shutouts, he finally allowed a goal Sunday, stopping his shutout streak at 188 minutes, 47 seconds, second-longest in league history.

It’s nice to see the St. Louis Blues prospect hasn’t hung his head since Canada’s disappointing loss in the gold-medal game at the world junior championship. Allen leads the league with a 2.30 GAA and .920 SP.

In other good news, top NHL draft prospect Kirill Kabanov of the Moncton Wildcats is back in action after missing most of the season with a wrist injury.

The 17-year-old from Moscow scored in his first two games back, and had four points in four games heading into Tuesday’s action. While he’s played just 15 games thanks to the injury and transfer problems from Russia, he’s tallied 18 points and sits No. 7 on the International Scouting Services ranking of eligible draft prospects.

“He’s played pretty solid hockey considering that he missed almost 40 games,” said Moncton coach and director of hockey operations Danny Flynn, who thought he might lose Kabanov for the season at one point.

Top 5 Tuesday: Projected 2nd Rounders

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With the NHL trade deadline on the immediate horizon and the recent flurry of activity that has included 2nd round picks, it's probably time to look at the list of names projected to still be available with the 30-60th picks this June.

The Florida Panthers have acquired a pair of 2nd rounders in the last month, the first coming from Montréal for Dominic Moore and the second coming back from the Penguins in exchange for defenceman Jordan Leopold. New Jersey and Atlanta swapped second rounders this year in the multi-asset deal that featured Ilya Kovalchuk. In early February the Carolina Hurricanes sent Niclas Wallin to San Jose and got the Sabres' 2nd rounder (acquired by San Jose in 2008) and then also picked up Ottawa's for Matt Cullen. Yesterday the Edmonton Oilers collected the 2nd rounder that the Nashville Predators had in exchange for Denis Grebeshkov. Today the Islanders sent Andy Sutton to Ottawa for the pick the Senators got from the Sharks in the Dany Heatley deal.

Boston currently holds Toronto's and Tampa Bay's 2nd rounder as well as their own as well.

By no means do we think those teams are certain to be using those picks to select players, it's as likely that they'll try and use them as trade fodder to move even higher. Still, should efforts to do that fail, plan B is still pretty good as there are players in the Class of 2010 who will be available in round 2 that teams will be happy to draft. Is there a Ryan O'Reilly among them? Only time will tell.

Here are 5 guys who have peaked my interest who are currently listed outside the top 20 in North America/top 5 in Europe by NHL Central Scouting including goalies not named Calvin Pickard and Jack Campbell.

Contests, Polls, Guest List, and Youth Being Served at Olympic Games

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We gave away the first of our 3 monthly Sports Performance Analyzer-coaches drill package today. If you want to get your hands on one you need to enter here.

Don't forget to head to our main site and vote on our weekly poll about who will represent the QMJHL at the Memorial Cup.

It's a topic we'll be talking about tonight with our Q insider Nathan White. We'll also speak with Oilers head amateur scout Stu MacGregor who recently took in the Windsor/Plymouth game featuring the top 3 picks for this June's draft. AHL commish David Andrews will lead off our guest list tonight, there's been team movement in the minor leagues and we'll find out what rule changes the NHL might be in store for as the AHL is the test pattern for that. Paula Weston from USCHO.com will preview the CCHA playoffs in the college game, and our 2010 draft prospect is Erik Gudbranson of the Kingston Frontenacs, who's a big mobile blueliner.

Listen online at www.thepipelineshow.com, from 7-9 PM MST, and if you want to get involved drop us a comment or question for one of our guests, pipeup@thepipelineshow.com.

One topic Guy and I will be discussing is how youth was served recently at the Olympics. Check out this breakdown of guys who not that long ago were playing in junior or college.

2005 WJC – 25 total players

Canada (7) – Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Getzlaf, Cory Perry, Mike Richards, Shea Weber, Brent Seabrook
Russia (3) – Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Radulov
Belarus (3) – Kostytsin bros, Andrei Karev
Czech Republic (3) – David Krejci, Roman Cervenka, Roman Polak,
Finland – O
Germany (3)- Tomas Greiss, Kai Hospelt, Andre Rankel
SWitzerland (3) – Rafael Riaz, Roman Wick, Julien sprunger
USA (2) – Ryan Suter, Phil Kessel
SWE (1) – Loui Erikkson

Drafted in last 7 years - 37 players total

2009 – 0
2008 – 2 – Doughty-Can, Sbisa-SUI
2007 – 1 – Kane-USA,
2006 – 5 - Johnson-USA, Toews-Can, Backstrom-Swe, Kessel-USA, Varlamov-Rus,
2005 – 3 -Crosby-Can, Ryan-USA, Jack Johnson-USA,
2004 – 3 - Radulov-Rus, Malkin-Rus, Ovechkin-Rus
2003 – 20 - (12 first rounders) Fleury-Can, Staal-Can, Michalek-CZE, Suter-USA,
A Kostystsin-Bel, Brown-USA, Seabrook-Can, Parise-USA, Getzlaf-Can, Kesler-USA, Richards – Can, Perry-Can, Weber-Can, Eriksson-Swe, Bergeron-Can, Backes-USA, Enstrom-Swe, Pavelski-USA, Hejda-CZE, Kukkonen-Fin

How many guys from the 2003 draft would not have played in the 2005 WJC if the lock out didn't happen?