Prospect Ramblings: NCAA Frozen Four, College Free Agents, OHL Cup

by Peter Harling on March 21, 2016
NCAA Frozen Four

As the 2015-16 hockey season winds down in some leagues, and has ended for some leagues there will be some prospect movement coming.

The NCAA regular season has already ended and the playoffs are well under way. As some players season ends they may choose to join the pro ranks for the balance of the season. Some players who are drafted join their affiliate club, while some free agents sign their first contract.

This year’s college hockey free agent pool has already been dipped into as The Carolina Hurricanes have added Andrew Poturalski, Dan Renouf was signed by the Detroit Red Wings and Reece Wilcox was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers today.

The Frozen Four Tournament countdown begins on March 25th and Last Word on Sports has a preview here. The final sixteen teams remaining include some power house rosters with some top prospects

Boston College features

Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks)

Ian McCoshen (Florida Panthers)

Steve Santini (New Jersey Devils)

Alex Tuch (Minnesota Wild)

Colin White (Ottawa Senators)

University of Michigan features (three of the league top four scorers in Connor, Compher and Motte)

Zach Werenski (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Michael Downing (Florida Panthers)

J.T. Compher (Colorado Avalanche)

Kyle Connor (Winnipeg Jets)

Cristoval Nieves (New York Rangers)

Tyler Motte (Chicago Blackhawks)

Other Notable players include

Kalle Kossila – ST. Cloud University (Free Agent), Sam Anas – Quinnipiac (Free Agent), Jimmy Vesey – Harvard (Nashville Predators), Drake Caggiula – Universiy of North Dakota (Free Agent), and Alex Lyon – Yale (Free Agent) to name a few.

In other NCAA news, the ten finalists for the Hobey Baker award have been announced.

 

The finalists include:

JT Compher – Colorado Avalanche

Kyle Connor – Winnipeg Jets

Thatcher Demko – Vancouver Canucks

Zac Lynch – Free Agent

Alex Lyon – Free Agent

Tyler Motte – Chicago Blackhawks

Alex Petan – Free Agent

Andrew Poturalski – Carolina Hurricanes

Ethan Prow – Free Agent

Jimmy Vesey – Nashville Predators

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The OHL wrapped up its regular season and the playoffs are all set with matchups and scheduled to begin this weekend. Find the complete schedule here

The vast majority of team make the playoffs but as more teams are eliminated. More prospects will become available to see some time with their affiliate teams. The first prominent prospect is Detroit Red Wings Ville Saarijarvi who as a rookie finished tenth in league defence scoring with 12 goals and 43 points on a troubled Flint Firebirds. Expect Saarijarvi to be assigned to Grand Rapids in the AHL soon, while the big question for his future is where he will play next season.

The Flint situation is flat out ugly. The team was not very good, the owner forced his son (who is just not good enough for the OHL) onto the team and fired the Coach (twice) for not playing him. After the team walked out, the league stepped in and seized control of the hockey operations. Between front office politics and the disastrous water situation in the city, player agents are telling the team not to draft their players as they will refuse to report there. Flint owns the third and fifth picks in the draft.

The OHL Coaches Poll results were recently released. The complete list can be found here.

Outstanding performances were recognized in the Eastern Conference such as Calgary Flames prospect Andrew Mangiapane who won Most Underrated, Best Skater, Best shootout; fellow Barrie teammate and San Jose Sharks prospect Kevin Lebanc was a finalist in five categories including first in Best Playmaker and best Penalty Killer. Los Angeles Kings prospect Mike Amadio was also a big winner appearing in seven different categories with four first overall choices including Smartest Player, Hardest Working Player, Best Shot, and Best Defensive Forward. The Easter Conference Champion Kingston Frontenacs were well represented with six players appearing in 12 categories including goalie Jeremy Helvig for Most Improved, Spencer Watson (LA Kings) for Most Dangerous in Goal Area, Lawson Crouse (Florida Panthers) for Best Body checker, and Roland McKeown (Carolina Hurricanes) for Best Defensive Defenceman.

In the Western Conference the Erie Otters had seven players finish in 12 categories led by Arizona Coyotes top prospect Dylan Strome with first place in Smartest player, Best in Face-Offs, and Best in Shootouts. 2016 draft prospect Alex Debrincat placed first in Most Dangerous in the Goal Are for the second consecutive year. Fellow 2016 draft prospect Adam Mascherin was recognized for four awards and finished first for best shot.  The London Knights were heavily recognized as well lead by Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mitch Marner who finished first for Best Playmaker and Best Stickhandler.

 

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Tho OHL Cup takes place tonight and the final two teams are the Toronto Malboro’s and the York Simcoe Express. Some players of note include the son of former NHL forward Nik Antropov, Danil Antropov who is second in OHL Cup scoring with 10 points (7-3-10). Leading scorer Akil Thomas who has 13 points (6-7-13), Thomas Tinmouth (2-6-8), Allan McShane (3-2-5) and Michael Little (1-3-4) are other players of interest. Malboros goalie Elliott Tang is also having a great tournament with back-to-back shutouts with a current 125 minute shutout streak.

For the Express the key players include Cameron Hills is leading the team in scoring with a goal and seven assists in six games. Ian Vucko has seven points (3-4-7), Matthew McKim (6-0-0), Carter Robertson (3-0-3) and Justin MacPherson (0-3-0) are the key players scouts will be watching for the Express tonight.

Tonights game is on SportsNet and is a great first look at potential players for the OHL Priority selection draft coming up on April 9th.

For a sneak peek at the draft, check out a mock draft over at our friends at TheScout.ca with the top 21 picks including a scouting report, and other notable players and high profile American players to keep an eye on.

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The NHL announced that the draft lottery will be held on April 30th. If you have not yet discovered the NHL Draft Lottery Simulator, it is an excellent time waster and can be found here

The Dobber Prospects Fantasy Ranking the 2016 draft eligible prospects is the most viewed post of all time, and I plan to do an updated list once the NHL draft has occurred and all the players are seeded on teams and ready for fantasy drafts. In the meantime, be sure to visit some of the contributors’ rankings and mock drafts.

The Draft Analyst released the March top 250 prospects for the 2016 draft, click here

Draft Analyst also has up to four rounds of 2016 mock drafts posted here

Our friends at The Hockey Prophets are a little known, but excellent resource for scouting reports, and prospect rankings. Their rankings of the top 166 players can be found here Be sure to check them out.

The Future Considerations 2016 Draft Rankings can be found here

ISS Hockey ranks the top 30 players for March here

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My column this week on Todays Slapshot ranking the top 100 prospects in hockey edition 45-41 can be found here

Thanks for reading and keep your stick on the ice