Thursday, Septemeber 12th, 2013
You’re getting spoiled here with the third consecutive day in a row I’m throwing prospect ramblings at you. If you missed Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s ramblings then I highly suggest you venture back to give them a perusal, as they’re jam packed with information from prospect tournaments.
As an avid follower and supporter of the Ontario Hockey League, I am watching OHLers closely during camps. Two players I am interested in to see their fate for 2013-14 are Knights Bo Horvat and Max Domi. London will be hosting the 2014 Memorial Cup and their success relies largely on getting these two players back in their lineup.
As I mentioned yesterday, Bo Horvat certainly has a chance to crack the Canucks roster and Tortorella is going to love having Bo going forward.
Max Domi is getting serious consideration for a pro-longed stay in Phoenix.
This is the first time under coach Dave Tippett’s regime that a first-round pick has been considered for the NHL roster in his draft year. That evaluation won’t be completed until the 18-year-old lines up next to the veterans in training camp, but the buzz is a refreshing change for a team that doesn’t usually mull over offensive upstarts.
“That’s part of it, but Max is a dynamic player,” Tippett said. “The position he plays, I think, is probably one of the easiest positions to break in. …Winger would be the one area where a guy could come in and possibly have an impact. So he’s got a couple of those things going for him.”
Of course, nothing is a guarantee with prospects and I eventually think Domi returns to the OHL (to lead it in scoring) but this line was intriguing….
“You can never, never, ever, ever make a mistake by sending a player back to junior,” General Manager Don Maloney said. “You often make mistakes by keeping people here so young. With that being said, he has a skill set that we’re looking for, and we have positions available for that.”
Carolina Hurricanes just released news that defenseman Joni Pitkanen will miss the entire 2013-14 season with his injury. The door is wide open for Ryan Murphy….he just needs to step through it.
San Jose’s Tomas Hertl is a player who may benefit from injury [Martin Havlat] as well.
Rookie Tomas Hertl, 19, will get a chance to lock down a spot on the opening night roster. He could potentially take the place vacated by Marty Havlat, who is expected to begin the season on the injured list after offseason pelvic surgery.
“Is he ready to play at the NHL level? He’ll answer that question over the next few weeks, not me today,” McLellan said.
Hertl has a shot but I expect he spends some time in Worcester (AHL) first.
Mentioned yesterday, Matt Nieto is another Sharks prospect to watch after a strong showing at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, BC.
“The two games I saw in Penticton (at the just completed Young Stars tournament in British Columbia), I thought he played well there and had an impact in both of them,” McLellan said. “But, it’s a large jump to make that transition. He’ll have the same opportunity as everybody else.
“Put it this way – somebody has to play. It doesn’t really matter where they came from, as long as they are ready and can contribute.”
The former 2011 2nd round selection of the Sharks, Nieto potted 18 goals and gathered 19 assists (37 points) in 39 games for Boston University to finish second in team scoring. Nieto received an 11 game tryout with Worcester last season where he picked up a pair of goals and six points.
Yesterday, I spoke about many Flames prospects that showed well in Penticton but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Michael Ferland’s strong performance. After a rough season last year that witnessed him cut from the Abbotsford Heat (due to poor conditioning), demoted to the ECHL and later charged with assault. Ferland was re-assigned to the WHL after three ECHL games and spent the majority of last season with Brandon WheatKings and later the Saskatoon Blades, after a trade.
The 2010 5th round selection put himself into better position after training all summer and it showed in a very impressive performance finding the scoresheet several times while dropping the mitts as well in Penticton. Ferland, 21, will likely be headed Abbotsford of the AHL but there may be a small opening with their need for toughness and grit in Calgary.
The higher-ups at the Saddledome are optimistic the young power forward could be the next coming of Vancouver Canucks brute Zack Kassian, and Flames GM Jay Feaster tried to reinforce that feeling last season by sending Ferland a collection of positive reviews of Kassian’s contributions on the West Coast.
It’s a long-shot, but with the Flames anxious to add pugnacity and truculence — to steal a couple of words from Brian Burke’s now-infamous speech in Toronto several years ago — to their lineup, Ferland could even muscle his way into their plans for the upcoming season.
“I think that the experience last year was important for him and that he realizes how tough it is to be a pro and what you have to do,” Feaster said. “This is an important time for him. I’ve talked to him at length, and (Flames head coach Bob Hartley) has talked to him at length. Bob talked to him — he talked to his billets.
“This is a young man who, in our opinion, has no idea what kind of a true opportunity exists for him or how good he could be.”
The Detroit Red Wings will have a fierce battle for forward spots during their training camp.
“In the nine years I’ve been here that was the best rookie (class) we’ve had by far,” Babcock said. “We have 16 forwards in camp that plan on playing in the NHL, that’s too many. So the competition from within is as high a level as we’ve ever had it, which is a positive thing.”
It doesn’t appear that many rookies will have a true chance at cracking the lineup with their top nine pretty much set:
The third and fourth lines aren’t locked in so we must keep an eye on players like Tatar, Sheahan and Tomas Jurco.
Speaking of Jurco, he was one of the Red Wings’ standout prospects in Traverse City.
“To me, he was probably our most improved player [in Grand Rapids] last year,” Griffins coach Jeff Blashill told NHL.com. “He had to learn how to play the pro game, how to play from both sides of the puck, and over the course of the year did a great job of learning. He’s also more physical, and I think he has a chance to be a top-six forward in the NHL someday.”
“We talked before the tournament and told him this was his opportunity to be the go-to guy [in Traverse City],” Blashill said. “He’s going to have to be that for Grand Rapids this year since [Tomas] Tatar, [Gustav] Nyquist and [Joakim] Andersson aren’t there anymore. I think he’s shown he can be that guy.”
NHL.com’s Mike Morreale touches on 10 other top players from the Traverse City Prospects Tournament that include: Joel Armia (BUF), Mathew Dumba (MIN), Dmitrij Jaskin (STL), Boone Jenner (CBJ), Oscar Lindberg (NYR), Ryan Murphy (CAR), Ryan Murray (CBJ), Valeri Nichushkin (DAL), Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF) and Sergey Tolchinksy (CAR).
Open Ice Episode with Ryan Murphy (CAR). I love how nervous Ryan gets when he “shoots” the first pitch at the Durham Bulls baseball game haha…
Max Domi at 2013 Coyotes Camp:
Thanks for reading,