Rossy’s Friday Prospect Ramblings

Dean Youngblood

2014-03-07

 

Friday, March 7th

 

Beginning outside of the prospect world, I just wanted to touch on one thing….Joe Louis Arena looks complete now with Niklas Lidstrom’s #5 hanging from the rafters. Lidstrom epitomizes everything hockey should be.

 

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Considering you’re reading this, one would assume that you are a fan of hockey prospects. I think you’ll enjoy my 2014 NHL Entry Draft Guide courtesy of my Youngblood Series. Included in the Youngblood Special Edition are rankings, profile write-ups and a mock draft of the opening round.

 

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Are you a fan of OHL hockey? I recently published an OHL Mock Draft for the upcoming OHL Priority Selection Draft scheduled for April 5th. Have a look!

 

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UPDATE: Bob McKenzie tweets out that Jack Eichel, Connor McDavid’s biggest rival to go 1st overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, is considering his options….

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>There are whispers elite 2015 prospect Jack Eichel may consider not going to BU if he could play head-to-head in OHL vs. Connor McDavid.</p>— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) <a href=”https://twitter.com/TSNBobMcKenzie/statuses/442001510239436800″>March 7, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
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Jack Eichel’s rights were originally owned by the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads before being traded to St. John’s….

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>Only way to go from Q to O is to be waived by all Q teams, then claimed on waivers by OHL team. Hard to see it but if CHL wants a player…</p>— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) <a href=”https://twitter.com/TSNBobMcKenzie/statuses/442003172341477376″>March 7, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
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<blockquoteclass=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>If Jack Eichelwants to play Major Junior next season, it will have to be in the <a href=”https://twitter.com/QMJHL”>@QMJHL</a></p>— Mark Seidel (@MarkSeidel) <a href=”https://twitter.com/MarkSeidel/statuses/442003193942122496″>March 7, 2014</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
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What does that mean? It’s Boston University or the QMJHL for Jack Eichel. There is zero chance Eichel clears waivers in the QMJHL. Teams wouldn’t let that happen.

 

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The New Jersey Devils are breathing a little easier today after the NHL decided to modify the Devils’ penalty for the Kovalchuk contract

The New Jersey Devils will now be entitled to the 30th selection overall in the 2014 NHL Draft (the last pick in the first round), regardless of the Devils’ final standing following the 2013/14 season.

The Club will not be permitted to trade or transfer its right to the 30th overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft.

The Club’s fine has been partially reduced.

 

As of today (March 7th) the Devils sit with the 11th overall pick but as the release states, they will select 30th overall regardless of their final standing.

 

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Staying with OHL prospects, the OHL Cup begins Tuesday, March 11th in Toronto and runs the entire week ending Sunday with the Championship game. If you’re in the area, stop by to catch some of the next great prospects. The OHL Cup features the top 20 minor midget teams in Ontario. These are the best of the best players in the 1998 age group and is headlined by future 1st round NHL selections in Jakob Chychrun and forwards Mikey McLeod and Adam Mascherin.

 

 

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Nathan MacKinnon is in some elite territory…

 

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<blockquoteclass=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>Nathan MacKinnon extended his point streak to 13 games last night, breaking Wayne Gretzky’s record for an 18-year old <a href=”http://t.co/8z0ZTYRzP0″>pic.twitter.com/8z0ZTYRzP0</a></p>— NHL on TSN (@NHLonTSN) <a href=”https://twitter.com/NHLonTSN/statuses/441931106321842177″>March 7, 2014</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
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This is an impressive feat…for any team…at any level of hockey…

 

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<blockquoteclass=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>With a 4-3 victory over the <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23IceDogs&src=hash”>#IceDogs</a>, the Plymouth <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Whalers&src=hash”>#Whalers</a> have clinched a playoff spot in the Western extending playoff streak to 22 years</p>— Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RossyYoungblood/statuses/441783349032783872″>March 7, 2014</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
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The Whalers playoff streak runs 22 years and spans four franchise names (Detroit Compuware Ambassadors, Detroit Junior Red Wings, Detroit Whalers and the current Plymouth Whalers). The only year the Whalers missed the playoffs was in their inaugural season (1990-91) as the Compuware Ambassadors.

 

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Caught the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and London Knights game Thursday evening. Some thoughts:


Darnell Nurse (Edmonton Oilers) – He was excellent and a real treat to watch skating about the ice with ease. He made some good reads jumping into the rush and creating chances with his speed and mobility. He’s still a bit gangly in his skating and looks extremely lean. Defensively, he yields a quick accurate stick that seems to span the width of the ice. I know Oilers’ fans want him in Edmonton soon but I think he’d be best served playing a full year of AHL action next season.

 

 

Sergey Tolchinsky (Carolina Hurricanes) – Tolchinsky is an exciting waterbug on the ice and a pleasure to watch with his dazzling one-on-one attacks and ability to bounce off opponents and maintain possession of the puck. He’s extremely small but he has a no fear approach and several times skated right at the towering Nikita Zadorov with no hesitation.

 

 

Tyler Gaudet (Phoenix Coyotes) – A prospect we don’t hear too much about but he was the most impressive forward on the ice last night. Phoenix signed him as a free agent this season. He’s big and rangy and always seems to be in the right position on the ice. Excelled playing a chip-and-chase game showing good puck retrieval skills and strong board work. Projects as a bottom six forward but was extremely effective.

 

 

Jared McCann (2014 NHL Draft prospect) – McCann was the player I went to watch and unfortunately, he didn’t show very well versus the Knights. There were at least three times that McCann decided to dangle through the neutral zone only to be stripped for a prime scoring chance the other way. That’s not the McCann we know. I will be attending his game again Friday evening for another viewing.

 

Give my good friend Brock Otten’s article a read on Jared McCann

An increased focus on the minor details of the game is one of the many reasons that McCann has rocketed up draft charts this season. He’s universally considered a top 20 draft pick at this current time, and even finds himself nearing top 10 consideration on a few lists.

 

 

Matt Murray (Pittsburgh Penguins) – Murray was outstanding between the pipes last night making some extremely difficult game breaking saves to keep the Greyhounds in the game. His lateral coverage of the net is excellent and he’s a real battler, never giving up on pucks.

 

 

Anthony Stolarz (Philadelphia Flyers) – Much like Murray, Stolarz was excellent as well. He earned the 37-save shutout and his night was summed up well by a sequence of brilliant saves in the dying seconds of the 2nd period, all without a stick in his hands. He’s a butterfly style of goaltender who covers post-to-post well in the bottom half of the net but if there’s a weakness in his game, I feel that his reactions are a bit hesitant high blocker side.

 

 

Max Domi (Phoenix Coyotes) – Benched in the first period, Domi came out flying after the 1st intermission. He still hasn’t played to the level I expected out of him and seems to be a difficult linemate to read. The chemistry just doesn’t seem to be there. He flashed that game-breaking skill several times but it surfaces too inconsistency for my liking.

 

I tend to agree with my former coach’s tweet here:

 

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<blockquoteclass=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>Amazing how dominant Domi can look and how idiotic he can look moments after. Would be a hard guy to play with! Scott Gomez like.</p>— Bob Hamilton (@hammy921) <a href=”https://twitter.com/hammy921/statuses/439587650383536128″>March 1, 2014</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
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Bo Horvat (Vancouver Canucks) – Bo knows hockey. He’s that player that’s going to show up every shift, gets the puck deep and tires the opposition through an unforgiving forecheck. Displayed his underrated shot several times last night but unfortunately, Horvat left the game with a leg injury and didn’t finish the night. Stay tuned.

 

 

Mitch Marner (2015 NHL Draft prospect) – Marner joins Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and Travis Konecny as a favourite of mine heading towards the 2015 NHL Draft. No word of a lie, Marner has been the Knights most impressive player (in my opinion) in every single Knights’ game I’ve taken in this season (about 10 or so). He’s smart, slippery and can be trusted in every situation. Marner stands out every shift he takes and his ability to generate scoring chances is outstanding.

 

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<blockquoteclass=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>Mitch Marner= STUD. Makes something happen every shift. Can trust him in every situation <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%232015NHLDraft&src=hash”>#2015NHLDraft</a></p>— Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RossyYoungblood/statuses/441744930323443712″>March 7, 2014</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
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Ryan Rupert (Toronto Maple Leafs) – Teamed with Bo Horvat and twin brother Matt, Ryan had a very strong game. Hunted down pucks with great energy and showed a quick-striking ability. It will be interesting to see how Ryan Rupert develops once he turns pro and what kind of playing style the Leafs want him to maintain.

 

 

Nikita Zadorov (Buffalo Sabres) – Just a stud defender. He’s clearly playing below his skill level but what I like is that he has let that go to his head maintaining the same approach as if he were in Buffalo. He doesn’t cheat and plays his hard hitting and hard shooting game perfectly. He’ll be patrolling Buffalo’s blue line next season.

 

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Some random thoughts on a few key prospects moved at the #NHLTradeDeadline:

 

Garth Snow panicked and ended up taking the best offer for Thomas Vanek he got as the 3pm deadline closed in. Awful job by Garth Snow considering he held two big trade chips in Vanek and Andrew MacDonald. The Islanders landed prospect Sebastian Collberg (no sweat to the Habs since they’ve got more than enough promising prospects on the upswing). From all reports I have read, Collberg has struggled this season and didn’t seem to be taking that next step.

 

Another franchise with great young prospects were afforded the opportunity to land a proven scorer by sending a prospect the other way when the Red Wings acquired David Legwand for Calle Jarnkrok +. Entering Nashville’s system shouldn’t hurt Jarnkrok one bit as he will be afforded more opportunity in Music City. Jarnkrok has made a good debut in North America and while he is undersized, his playmaking and offensive instincts are strong. Good deal for both teams.

 

Cool Fact: Jarnkrok is cousins with Elias Lindholm of the Carolina Hurricanes.

 

I really liked the Brayden McNabb++ for Hudson Fasching+  trade for the Buffalo Sabres. Fasching was a prospect I liked heading into the 2013 NHL Draft and he’s made a seamless transition into the NCAA with the University of Minnesota Gophers. The freshman sits third in team scoring with a near point-per-game pace (31GP 27P). He’s a raw prospect and his early development is promising.

 

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Rising rapidly up the #2014NHLDraft boards in Jonathan Drouin-like fashion is JDrouin’s teammate Nikolaj Ehlers. I’m a big Ehlers guy….

 

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<blockquoteclass=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>Halifax’s <a href=”https://twitter.com/NikolajEhlers24″>@NikolajEhlers24</a> nets his third straight hat trick in rout over Cape Breton: <a href=”http://t.co/TV1miSv7my”>http://t.co/TV1miSv7my</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23QMJHL&src=hash”>#QMJHL</a></p>— SunayaSapurji(@sunayas) <a href=”https://twitter.com/sunayas/statuses/441237057201922048″>March 5, 2014</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
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Nikolaj Ehlers registered a hat trick for the third straight game and Jonathan Drouin had a goal and five assists as the Halifax Mooseheads hammered the host Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 10-1 on Tuesday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action.

 

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Alex Nedeljkovic is heating up at the right time as scouts keep him on his radar for the upcoming NHL Draft. Nedeljkovic was named the OHL Goaltender of the Week (ending March 2nd) and has a good shot at being one of the top goaltenders off the draft boards this summer.

 

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<blockquoteclass=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>Alex Nedeljkovic(<a href=”https://twitter.com/PWhalers”>@PWhalers</a>) named <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23CHL&src=hash”>#CHL</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Vaughn&src=hash”>#Vaughn</a> Goaltender of the Week after posting 0.97 GAA, .973 SV%, 1 SO. 2-0-0-1 record <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%232014NHLDraft&src=hash”>#2014NHLDraft</a></p>— Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RossyYoungblood/statuses/440998279564632064″>March 4, 2014</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
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In the WHL, another draft prospect picked up weekly honours as well….

 

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<blockquoteclass=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>JayceHawryluk(<a href=”https://twitter.com/bdnwheatkings”>@bdnwheatkings</a>) had 6G 10P, +6 in three <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23WHL&src=hash”>#WHL</a> games. <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23CHL&src=hash”>#CHL</a> Player of the Week <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%232014NHLDraft&src=hash”>#2014NHLDraft</a></p>— Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RossyYoungblood/statuses/440996691244621824″>March 4, 2014</a></blockquote<