Friday, September 28, 2012

Game Report: Calgary 4 Edmonton 1

1st Period
CAL P. Padakin (1) , 5:42

2nd Period
CAL G. Chase (1) (B. Macek), 4:47 (PP)
EDM T. Foster (2) (M. St. Croix), 17:13

3rd Period
CAL B. Brassart (2) (A. Roach, B. Macek), 0:28
CAL C. Samoridny (1) , 18:10 (EN)

Chris Driedger 34/35

Laurent Brossoit 33/30

1. Greg Chase C - Scored the goal that was the eventual game winner. Used his speed to create and on the rush and was a thorn in the side of Oil Kings defenders all night. Has enough versatility in his game where he could play center or wing, but his game seems to be more beneficial playing wing, although his defensive game as a center looked strong as well tonight. Should become one of the leading scorers on the Hitmen this season as he heads into his draft season.
2. Chris Driedger G  - Best game I have seen him play, well, ever. Very composed and stayed very square to the puck. Offered up very little in terms of rebounds and stood up the traffic the Oil Kings offered up all night. Very impressed with him tonight and he has come a long way to become a solid starting goaltender.

1. T.J. Foster C - Foster was likely the best forward on the Oil Kings tonight. Pretty much willed a goal by driving the net with reckless abandon to score the only Oil Kings goal kinda like Glenn Anderson did on that same ice in the '80s. Foster is a player that is likely missing Dylan Wruck being out of the lineup the most. Missing that setup guy that can setup one timers off the rush. I'm surprised that Foster hasn't received more recognition from pro scouts.
2. Aaron Irving D - It was Irving's first WHL regular season game. The former 2011 1st round pick of the Oil Kings played well, all things considering. You can see a lot of rawness in his game, but it reminded me a lot of what former Oil King Mark Pysyk was as a 16 year old. You can see the thought process when he is on the ice, now its just a matter of experience for him. Irving may never be a big time point producer but he plays the game with a calm demeanor and is always looking for the make a solid first pass.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Game Report: Prince Albert 5 Saskatoon 2

P.A L. McVeigh, (1) (M. Winther, A. Bardaro), 2:38 (PP)
P.A J. Knutsen (1) (L. Draisaitl, E. Morden), 6:31
P.A L. McVeigh, (2) (M. Winther, J. Morrissey), 10:29 (PP)
SAS B. Walker, (1) (C. Cox, S. McColgan), 16:55 (PP)


2. SAS D. Dietz, (1) (S. McColgan, M. Stransky), 0:21 (PP)
2. P.A A. Corbin, (2) (J. Morrissey), 12:01 (PP)


3. P.A S. Lange, (1) (J. Morrissey, A. Bardaro), 0:26 (PP)

Prince Albert
Luke Siemens 28/30

Andrey Makarov 25/30

Prince Albert
1. Mike Winther C - Winther had about about as much impact as one player could one period of hockey. Setup both goals by Logan McVeigh using his smarts and vision. 30+ goal player last season, looks to become a bigger part of the Raiders offense this season. Winther has a real cerebral, overall game going for him. Initially, I had him pegged as a 3rd liner at the pro level, but if he keeps up his offensive ways, he may graduate to a scoring role. Got kicked out of the game early in the 2nd period for being a part of a 2nd fight on the ice.
2. Josh Morrissey D - Morrissey is a player that I feel is very similar to recent draft pick Morgan Rielly. Flighty defenseman that is seemingly all over the ice making plays. Has a lot of conviction in his game, meaning he never 2nd guesses his plays. A lof of crispness to his game. Smooth skater, stocky and doesn't mind the physical activity. I have him rated as a mid 1st rounder in the upcoming NHL Draft, but he is a player that could have a Morgan Rielly type surge up the charts.

1. Brenden Walker RW - Walker tallied his first goal as a Blade tonight. A nice play where he came out from behind the net, puck protected, and wheeled a shot by Siemens glove side. Walker was a nice pickup as an overager from Brandon in the offseason. Walker should give the Blades a nice blend of grit and secondary scoring on their march towards the Memorial Cup as the host team.
2. Darren Dietz D - Dietz played a usual steady game for the Blades and scored the other marker for them tonight. Dietz leads a veteran laden defensive corps and is my odds on favorite to be the next captain if the Blades decide on one. Duncan Siemens would be the other candidate. As of now, the Blades are battling on without a captain, until all the new acquisitions acclimate themselves. Dietz plays a very simple game for the most part but isn't shy about shooting the puck from the point.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Preseason Top 30 2013 Draft Prospects

1 Seth Jones D 6.03 205 R Portland
Comments: All around #1 Dman  
2 Nathan MacKinnon C 5.11 180 R Halifax
Comments: Scoring forward
3 Sean Monahan C 6.02 180 L Ottawa 67's
Comments: Two way all purpose center
4 Aleksander Barkov C 6.02 205 L Tappara (SM-Liiga)
Comments: Offensive talented center
5 Ryan Pulock D 6.00 195 R Brandon
Comments: All around Scoring Dman
6 Hunter Shinkaruk C 5.10 165 L Medicine Hat
Comments: Goal scoring winger
7 Curtis Lazar C 6.00 190 R Edmonton
Comments: Two way all purpose center
8 Max Domi C 5.09 185 L London Knights
Comments: Bullish scoring winger
9 Kerby Rychel C 6.01 185 L Windsor Spitfires
Comments: High scoring winger
10 Adam Erne RW 6.00 200 L Quebec
Comments: Power forward scorer
11 Rasmus Ristolainen D 6.03 210 R TPS (SM-Liiga)
Comments: All purpose defender
12 Elias Lindholm C 6.00 183 R Brynas (Elitserien)
Comments: Two way center
13JT Compher C 6.00 170 R USNTDP
Comments: Two way center
14 Bo Horvat C 6.00 195 L London Knights
Comments: Dependable two way center
15 Anthony Duclair LW 6.00 160 L Quebec
Comments: High scoring winger
16 Jonathan Drouin C 5.11 175 L Halifax
Comments: Playmaking winger
17 Zachary Fucale G 6.00 170 L Halifax (QMJHL)
Comments: Athletic Goaltender
18 Josh Morrissey D 6.00 185 L Prince Albert
Comments: Smooth skating Dman
19 Ryan Hartman RW 5.11 185 R Plymouth Whalers
Comments: Offensive winger
20 Alex Forsberg C 5.10 170 L Prince George
Comments: Playmaking center
21 Andre Burakowsky LW 6.01 176 L Malmo (Allsvenskan)
Comments: Goal Scoring Winger
22Valeri Nichushkin RW 6.03 180 L Chelyabinsk (MHL)
Comments: Power forward
23Morgan Klimchuk C 5.11 180 L Regina
Comments: Playmaking center
24Ian McCoshen D 6.03 205 L USNTDP
Comments: All around defender
25Eric Comrie G 6.00 175 L Tri-City (WHL)
Comments: Butterfly athletic goaltender
26Nick Sorenson RW 6.01 175 R Quebec
Comments: Offensively gifted winger
27Madison Bowey D 6.01 195 R Kelowna
Comments: Puckmoving Dman
28Anthony Mantha LW 6.02 170 L Val-d'Or
Comments: Offensive winger
29Hudson Fasching RW 6.03 190 R USNTDP
Comments: Raw power forward
30Taylor Cammarata C 5.06 160 L Waterloo
Comments: Highly offensive small center

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Game Report: Edmonton 5 Kootenay 3

1. EDM M. St. Croix, (1) (M. Moroz, C. Corbett), 1:01
1. EDM B. Baddock, (1) (K. Lowe), 2:44
1. KTN J. Martin, (1) (J. Leach), 16:23
1. EDM K. Lowe, (1) (A. Sautner, T. Ewanyk), 18:59

2. KTN T. Muth, (1) (J. Descheneau), 5:15
2. EDM H. Samuelsson, (1) (M. St. Croix, G. Reinhart), 12:14 (PP)
2. KTN B. Montgomery, (1) (E. Pearce, J. Dirk), 18:08 (PP)

3. EDM C. Benson, (1) (K. Wilson, K. Lowe), 8:33

Mackenzie Skapski 28/33

Laurent Brossoit 25/28

1. Brock Montgomery RW - 20 year old had a solid game tonight. Had a goal bounce of his skate and was generally a pain in the backside of Oil Kings defender all night with a relentless forecheck. Rode shotgun with Kootenay star Sam Reinhart. While Reinhart had a quiet night, Montgomery did a good job of retrieving pucks for the Kootenay squad. Should be the beneficiary of some stellar nights by young Sam Reinhart.
2. Joey Leach D - Leach is lynchpin for the Kootenay defense. He played a ton and plays in a variety of roles as Kootenay's defense is a rather no name bunch. Played the game with a lot composure and chipped in with an assist. Oil Kings recently release puckmoving Dman Ryan Dech, Kootenay might be wise to look him up.
1. Michael St. Croix RW - St. Croix scored 61 seconds into the game and that really set the pace for the game. St. Croix figures to have another large point total for the Oil Kings and he is likely to be the biggest beneficiary of the large bodies the Oil Kings brought in over the summer. For the lack of a better term, he's the Oil Kings version of Ales Hemsky. He orchastrates the offense and makes sure everyone gets their touches. If its possible to say, I think the Oil Kings could even be better than their championship season.
2. Keegan Lowe D - Lowe was everywhere tonight. A goal, two assists, a fight, and solid positional defense. Lowe and Griffin Reinhart figure to be the lockdown pair for the Oil Kings this season but tonight they helped out on the offensive side of the ledger. Lowe's gutsy play is infectious tonight and rode the Oil Kings to victory.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Team Predictions For 2013 WHL Season

East Division

1. Saskatoon Blades - The Blades are the 2013 Memorial Cup hosts. Addition of Shane McColgan and Brendan Walker, to go along with many returning veterans, should make the Blades the top horse in the division. Two very solid imports in Stransky on the wing and Makarov in goal. Returning defender Duncan Siemens, Darren Dietz and Dalton Thrower give the Blades a formidable backend. Look for the Blades to continue to make moves going down the stretch.

2. Moose Jaw Warriors - The Warriors lost many key veterans in the offseason but have a nice undercurrent of youth to take its place. The team should be Morgan Rielly's team to lead. Have a trio of emerging young forwards in Brayden Point, Carter Hansen and Andrew Johnson. The question marks for this team are in goal as they traded incumbant Luke Siemens away to Prince Albert.

3. Brandon Wheat Kings - Brandon Wheat Kings lost many key forwards in the offseason, Mark Stone, Michael Ferlund, Darian Dziurzynski to name a few. What they do have is potential top 10 pick in 2013, Ryan Pulock, Eric Roy and Ayrton Nikkel patrolling the backend and solid keeper in Corbin Boes. Someone will need to emerge as a goalscorer on this club in order for it to stay afloat. Alessio Bertaggia and Nick Buonassisi are two of the better bets to emerge.

4. Prince Albert Raiders - The Raiders look to take the next step in their evolution by vying for a playoff spot and beomcing more of a threat in the East Division. After being doormats for the past two seasons, the likes of Mark McNeill, Mike Winther and super import rookie Leon Draisaitl to help with their scoring woes. Highly touted 2013 draft prospect Josh Morrissey roams the blueline and Luke Siemens, acquired from Moose Jaw stabilizes their goaltending.

5. Regina Pats - The Pats figure to regress losing their best scorer Jordan Weal and team leader Brandon Davidson. The keys to the team will be given to 2013 draft eligible Morgan Klimchuk. They also have returning goaltender Matt Hewitt, who played well for them last season. The Pats have holes in the defense as well as a lack of depth on the scoring front. Someone will need to emerge for this team to go forward.

6. Swift Current Broncos - The Broncos figure to be bringing up the rear this season. Outside of Coda Gordon and perhaps Adam Lowry, its a team thin on goal scoring. The defense figures to be a strong point with Reece Scarlett, Richard Nedomlel and Dillon Heatherington all returning. Goaltending is a big question mark as they figure to be starting a raw rookie this season.

Central Division

1. Edmonton Oil Kings - The Oil Kings figure to be the cream of the crop in the Eastern Conference once again this season. Oil Kings are deep in every position, an excellent blend of youth and experience. Michael St. Croix, Dylan Wruck, T.J. Foster, Henrik Samuelsson, and Curtis Lazar figure to carry the offense while Griffin Reinhart, Keegan Lowe, Martin Gernat and Cody Corbett will anchor the backend. Brossoit will look to continue his winning ways in goal and Tristan Jarry will back him up if Brossoit falters.

2. Medicine Hat Tigers - Projected Top 10 Pick, 49 goal scorer Hunter Shinkaruk headlines this club heading into the 2013 season. New acquisition Miles Koules figures to help Shinkaruk in the goal scoring category. The Tigers have a pleathora of hardnosed role players in Curtis Valk, Boston Leier and Kale Kessy amongst others. Question marks on the defense as they break in a lot of new players as well as having a new starting goaltender with the loss of Tyler Bunz. Also lost star forward Emerson Etem. Goals against maybe an issue for this team.

3. Calgary Hitmen - Super rookie Jake Virtanen figure to become the face of that franchise in the very near future. Figures to have a nice supporting cast with 2013 draft prospect Greg Chase, Victor Rask and Alex Gogolev. Offense from the defense may be a concern. Have hard nosed defensive vets in Jaynen Rissling, Alex Roach and Keegan Helgesen. Chris Driedger will need to emerge as the full time starting goaltender this season for Calgary to become competitive.

4. Lethbridge Hurricanes - Lethbridge was awful to begin last season, but slowly got better as the season went on. Will need big years from 2013 draft prospects Jay Merkley and Jamal Watson as well as '96 born Reid Duke. A little thin on the backend. Macoy Erkamps will have to emerge as a point producer on the backend. Picked up Ty Rimmer from the Tri-City Americans to solidify their goaltending. All in all, I expect Lethbridge to be an exciting, surprise team this season.

5. Kootenay Ice - Tough to predict the Ice this season. They have super scoring youngster Sam Reinhart returning for his 2nd season. Other than that its a team that is very young and unproven. Joey Leach heads up the backend for the ice. And it looks like Mackenzie Skapski will finally get his shot at the starting goaltending job. Plenty of team toughness with the likes of Drew Czerwonka and Spencer Wand roaming the ice. Import Petr Vesely figures to help out in the goal scoring department.

6. Red Deer Rebels Rebels took a step back last season after losing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the Edmonton Oilers and really haven't been able to replace that scoring void since. With Alex Petrovic moving on, this figures to be star defenseman, Mathew Dumba's team. Patrik Bartosek should give them solid goaltending as long as he can stay healthy. Other than that its a hard working, meat and potatoes type team they will be icing this upcoming season.

B.C. Division

1. Kamloops Blazers - Kamloops has a nice blend of speedy scorers and tough as nails role players that lead them to success. Scoring led by Brendan Ranford, Tim Bozon and Colin Smith. 2013 Draft prospect Matt Needham fills a role as a tenacious forechecker that can score a bit. The defense is a little light on depth but is lead by all around defender Austin Madaisky. Cole Cheveldave emerged as a top flight WHL goaltender. The incumbants will be tough to beat in the B.C. Division.

2. Kelowna Rockets - The Rockets are an emerging team that is going to be led by its defense group. Damon Severson will become the leader of the defense with 2013 Draft Prospects Madison Bowey and Jesse Lees ready to take on a bigger role. Forwards led by robust wingers Colten Sissons and Carter Rigby. They traded away goal scorer Shane McColgan and acquired enigmatic center Ryan Olsen. Potential is there but it needs to shine through more often. Goaltending battle between Jackson Whistle and Jordan Cooke as long time Rocket Adam Brown has moved on.

3. Vancouver Giants - The Giants are in the middle of a mini rebuild having lost their two best scorers Brendan Gallagher, Jordan Martinook, defenseman Neil Manning and goaltender Adam Morrison. Returning defensmen David Musil and Wes Vannieuwenhuizen stabilize the defense. Even though where the goal scoring will come from on this team, coach Don Hay always seems to get the most out of his players. While I think this team will have a setback, I don't think they will fall off the map completely. Liam Liston, acquired from Lethbridge, figures to get the bulk of the games as the backstop.

4. Prince George Cougars - Prince George is a team that should, in theory be better this upcoming season. I have belief that Alex Forsberg will have a breakout year and become the leader they expect him to be. SOlid supporting cast with Troy Bourke, Jordan Tkatch, and newly acquired Colin Jacobs from Seattle to give the forward rank some depth. Defense is a big question mark on this club. They did acquire WHL veteran Dallas Ehrhardt from Moose Jaw to give the defense a face. This team should be able to score, how they will keep pucks out of their own net is the question. 20 year old Drew Owsley gives them veteran goaltending.

5. Victoria Royals - Royals are a team looking for an identity. They have returning scorers Logan Nelson, Steven Hodges, Brandon Magee, and Jamie Crooks. The Royals are expecting 2013 Draft Prospect Keegan Kanzig to become that menacing lockdown defender they were hoping he would be. Import Patrik Polivka hopes to stabilize the goaltending. It's a team that is long on try but short on game changing talent and depth. Royals figure to roll with a fairly young team this season.

U.S. Division

1. Portland Winter Hawks - Could very well be the class of the WHL. Depth at all positions and some very talented players at the skill positions. Ty Rattie returns to continue his assault on the WHL scoring title. Newly acquired top 2013 NHL prospect, defender Seth Jones, figures to make an impact all over the ice. Winter Hawks figure to be dealing with the losses of two superstars in Joe Morrow and Sven Baertschi, but have plenty of depth and emerging players. Pedigree is also abundant as the sons of Pierre Turgeon (Dominic) and Sean Burke (Brendan) are on the WinterHawks roster.

2. Tri-City Americans - Tri-City figures to be hot on the heels of the Portland Winter Hawks all season. After suffering the losses of high end 20 year olds Brendan Shinnimin and Adam Hughesman from last years club, last years depth players Patrick Holland, Justin Feser, Connor Rankin and Brian Williams figure to take a bigger role this season. Defense is led by the steady Zach Yuen. With the dealing of goaltening incumbant Ty Rimmer, 2013 goaltending propect Eric Comrie figures to get the bulk of the games this season.

3. Spokane Chiefs - Spokane is a middle of the pact team that lost a couple of leaders and overagers in Darren Kramer and Steve Kuhn. Defenseman Brenden Kichton looks to return for his 20 year old season and be the leader of the Chiefs. Chiefs will be looking for scoring from players Dominic Uher, Mitch Holmberg and Todd Fiddler. Mac Engel and newly acquired Eric Williams will battle it out for the top goaltending spot. I figure Spokane to have a simliar type team as they had last season. Gutsy team that will struggle to score goals from time to time.

4. Seattle Thunderbirds - Seattle should take a step this season towards respectiblity. Thunderbirds will need improved scoring years from the likes of Branden Troock, Justin Hickman, and Brendan Rouse. 2013 Draft top prospects Shea Theodore and Jared Hauf look to help stabilize the backend with veterans Jesse Fordberg and Brad Deagle. Newly acquired Brandon Glover figures to get most of the starts in goal this season. A team that light on depth especially at the forward position. Super rookie Matthew Barzal may or may not get a chance to show his stuff for the Thunderbirds this season depending whether or not Barzal wants to report to the team.

5. Everett Silvertips - Top 2012 Draft pick Ryan Murray may buy this team some wins as long as an NHL lockout is in effect. But once the lockout ends Ryan Murray figures to head back to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Another super rookie, Tyler Sandhu figures to make his debut this season. Other than that, the Silvertips forwards are long on try but short on talent. The defense should be alright as long as Murray stays on the club. Nick Walters looks to take on a bigger role and import all around defender Mirco Mueller will make his debut this season. Kent Simpson figures to see a lot of rubber if he stays with Everett this season but has always been steady.