Saturday, June 24, 2006

NHL Draft Results (CHLers)

Round 1

# 2 Pittsburgh Jordan Staal (Peterborough)
# 6 Columbus Derick Brassard (Drummondville)
# 8 Phoenix Peter Mueller (Everett)
# 9 Minnesota James Sheppard (Cape Breton)
# 11 Los Angeles Jonathan Bernier (Lewiston)
# 12 Atlanta Bryan Little (Barrie)
# 14 Vancouver Michael Grabner (Spokane)
# 16 San Jose (from Montreal) Ty Wishart (Prince George)
# 18 Colorado Chris Stewart (Kingston)
# 21 NY Rangers Bob Sanguinetti (Owen Sound)
# 22 Philadelphia Claude Giroux (Gatineau)
# 26 Calgary Leland Irving (Everett)
# 27 Dallas Ivan Vishnevski (Rouyn-Noranda)
# 28 Ottawa Nick Foligno (Sudbury)
# 30 New Jersey Matthew Corrente (Saginaw)

(6 OHL, 5 QMJHL, 4 WHL)

Second Round

# 35 Washington (from BOS) Francois Bouchard (Baie Comeau)
# 36 San Jose (from CBJ) Jamie McGinn (Ottawa)
# 38 Anaheim (from NYI) Bryce Swan (Halifax)
# 40 Minnesota Ondrej Fiala (Everett)
# 41 Detroit (from FLA) Cory Emmerton (Kingston)
# 43 Atlanta Riley Holzapfel (Moose Jaw)
# 47 Detroit (TBL) Shawn Matthias (Belleville)
# 48 Los Angeles Joe Ryan (Quebec)
# 49 Montreal Ben Maxwell (Kootenay)
# 50 Boston (from EDM) Milan Lucic (Vancouver)
# 53 Montreal (from SJS) Mathieu Carle (Acadie-Bathurst)
# 57 Buffalo Mike Weber (Windsor)
# 59 Colorado (from CAL) Codey Burki (Brandon)

(5 WHL, 4 QMJHL, 4 OHL)

Third Round

# 66 Montreal (from CHI) Ryan White (Calgary)
# 69 Columbus Steve Mason (London)
# 71 Boston (from PHO) Brad Marchand (Val-D'Or)
# 72 Minnesota Cal Clutterbuck (Oshawa)
# 73 Florida Brady Calla (Everett)
# 75 Edmonton (from ATL) Theo Peckham (Owen Sound)
# 83 Anaheim (from SJS) John DeGray (Brampton)
# 84 NY Rangers Ryan Hillier (Halifax)
# 85 Columbus (from PHI) Tommy Sestito (Plymouth)
# 86 Los Angeles (from Nashville) Bud Holloway (Seattle)
# 87 Calgary (from BUF) John Armstrong (Plymouth)
# 90 Dallas Aaron Snow (Brampton)
# 93 Carolina Harrison Reed (Sarnia)

(8 OHL, 3 QMJHL, 2 WHL)

Fourth Round

# 95 Chicago (from PIT) Ben Shutron (Kingston)
# 97 Washington Oskar Osala (Mississauga)
# 96 San Jose (from BOS) James Delory (Oshawa)
# 99 Toronto (from CBJ) James Reimer (Red Deer)
# 103 Florida Michael Caruso (Guelph)
# 112 Anaheim Matt Beleskey (Belleville)
# 113 Columbus (from San Jose) Ben Wright (Lethbridge)
# 117 Buffalo Felix Schultz (St John)
# 118 Calgary (from NJ) Hugo Carpentier (Rouyn Noranda)
# 121 Ottawa Pierre Luc Lessard (PEI)
# 122 Washington (from DET) Luke Lynes (Brampton)
# 123 Carolina Bobby Hughes (Kingston)

(7 OHL, 3 QMJHL, 2 WHL)

Fifth Round
# 127 Washington Maxime Lacroix (Quebec)
# 128 Boston Andrew Bodnarchuk (Halifax)
# 133 Edmonton (from FLA) Bryan Pitton (Brampton)
# 142 Columbus (from ANA) Maxime Frechette (Drummondville)
# 143 San Jose Ashton Rome (Kamloops)
# 148 New Jersey Olivier Magnan (Drummondville)
# 151 Ottawa Ryan Daniels (Saginaw)
# 152 Phoenix (from DET) Jordan Bendfeld (Medicine Hat)
# 153 Carolina Stephan Chaput (Lewiston)

(5 QMJHL, 2 OHL, 2 WHL)

Sixth Round
# 155 Florida (from PIT) Peter Aston (Windsor)
# 158 Boston Levi Nelson (Swift Current)
# 159 Columbus Jesse Dudas (Prince George)
# 160 NY Islanders Andrew MacDonald (Moncton)
# 168 Tampa Bay Dane Crowley(Swift Curent)
# 174 NY Rangers Eric Hunter (Prince George)
# 175 Philadelphia Michael Dupont (Baie Comeau)
# 177 Washington (from BUF) Mathieu Perreault (Acadie-Bathurst)

(4 WHL, 3 QMJHL, 1 OHL)

Seventh Round
# 187 Calgary (from WAS) Devin Didiomete (Sudbury)
# 189 Columbus Derek Dorsett (Medicine Hat)
# 194 Columbus (from LAK) Matt Marquardt (Moncton)
# 197 Vancouver Evan Fuller (Prince George)
# 199 Montreal Cameron Cepek (Portland)
# 207 Buffalo Benjamin Breault (Baie Comeau)
# 208 New Jersey Kyle Henegan (Shawinigan)
# 212 Detroit Logen Pyett (Regina)

(4 WHL, 3 QMJHL, 1 OHL)

Analysis tomorrow. Good night all!

Watching/Listening to the Draft

The draft starts in less than an hour. Here is where to watch/listen if you are in Canada or the United States:

In Canada: TSN will have the first 3 hours of coverage. At 9 pm EDT, the NHL Network will pick up.

In the US: OLN will cover the first 3 hours. If you can get NHL Network, it will pick up coverage at 9 pm, EDT.

In both countries, XM Radio will cover the whole draft on channel 204; on Sirius, its channel 186.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Participants in July Canadian Development Camp Announced

The following 41 CHL players have been selected to participate in the Canadian Development Camp, which will be held in Calgary from July 23 through 28, 2006. Eleven players were chosen form the QMJHL, 15 from the WHL, and 15 from the OHL.

Canada's U20 team roster will be named in December, and almost, if not, all players will come from the roster below. A shorter list of players will be invited in late November, early December to the selection camp, which takes place in mid-December. During the Selection Camp, the coaching staff will select the 22 players that will represent Canada at the 2007 U20 World Junior Championships.

The list of CHLers that were invited to participate in July is as follows:

Goaltenders (2 QMJHL, 2 WHL, 0 OHL)
Bernier, Jonathan Lewiston (QMJHL)
Irving, Leland Everett (WHL)
Levasseur, Jean-Philippe Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
Price, Carey Tri-City (WHL)

Defense (4 QMJHL, 7 WHL, 5 OHL)
Alzner, Karl Calgary (WHL)
Bourdon, Luc Moncton (QMJHL)
de Gray, John Brampton (OHL)
Ellerby, Keaton Kamloops (WHL)
Franson, Cody Vancouver (WHL)
Gragnani, Marc-André PEI (QMJHL)
Jackson, Scott, Seattle (WHL)
Kohn, Dustin, Brandon (WHL)
Letang, Kristopher, Val d’Or (QMJHL)
McNeill, Patrick, Saginaw (OHL)
Parent, Ryan, Guelph (OHL)
Russell, Kris, Medicine Hat (WHL)
Shutron, Ben, Kingston (OHL)
Staal, Marc, Sudbury (OHL)
Vlasic, Marc-Édouard, Quebec (QMJHL)
Wishart, Ty, Prince George (WHL)

Forwards (5 QMJHL, 6 WHL, 10 OHL)
Azevedo, Justin, Kitchener (OHL)
Bass, Cody, Mississauga (OHL)
Brassard, Derick, Drummondville (QMJHL)
Brulé, Gilbert, Vancouver (WHL)
Burki, Codey, Brandon (WHL)
Cliché, Marc-André, Lewiston (QMJHL)
Downie, Steve, Peterborough (OHL)
Hamill, Zach, Everett (WHL)
Helm, Darren, Medicine Hat (WHL)
Latendresse, Guillaume Drummondville (QMJHL)
Little, Bryan, Barrie (OHL)
Marchand, Brad, Moncton (QMJHL)
McArdle, Kenndal, Moose Jaw (WHL)
Neal, James, Plymouth (OHL)
O’Marra, Ryan, Erie (OHL)
Pyatt, Tom, Saginaw (OHL)
Ryder, Daniel, Peterborough (OHL)
Setoguchi, Devin, Saskatoon (WHL)
Sheppard, James, Cape Breton (QMJHL)
Staal, Jordan, Peterborough (OHL)
Stewart, Chris, Kingston (OHL)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My Article on Donati Twins Posted at HF

I wrote an article today on Justin (and to a lesser degree Tyler) Donati that has been posted at Hockey's Future.

The link is:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Thoughts on Top CHL Prospects Going Into Saturday's Draft

I apologize to those who are expecting the last of the QMJHL draft analysis tonight, but I want to get out my top prospects thoughts tonight in anticipation of Saturday's NHL entry draft.

Everyone in creation seems to have Jordan Staal as the top CHLer, and I believe he will be the first major junior pick in the draft. But I am not as sold as everyone else on the 6'4", 215 lb center from the OHL Peterborough Petes. I think that if his last name was not Staal, he may not have been hyped half as much. No doubt, Staal has outstanding reach, can take and win face-offs, and his fitness tests at the Combine were excellent, but I did not see the playmaking that I was hoping to see throughout the season. It seems to me that the creativity that one comes to expect with this kind of hype is missing from Staal's play. That is not to say that I think he will be a bust, I am just less sure than everyone else that he will be a star. His size and on-ice vision will help him alot, but he has lots of developing to do before he is ready for the NHL. In any case, he will be the first CHLer chosen in the draft on Saturday.

I believe that the next player to be chosen will be the WHL Everett Silvertips' center Peter Mueller. A player with more creativity than Staal shows at this point, Mueller has incredible hockey sense and good hands. Although a hard worker, he can have defensive lapses that need to be worked on, but he did appear to improve on this during the last half of the season. If Mueller works on his skating and his defense, he can be very successful in the NHL.

Derick Brassard, the talented Drummondville center, can wind up being picked anywhere from 4 through 12. Central Scouting has the QMJHL phenom's final ranking at 4 and ISS at 9; however, both of these rankings were done prior to the fitness testing at the Combine, where Brassard was much less than impressive. There is no doubt that Brassard is extremely gifted playmaker, who is not afraid to play on the edge. He seems, however, to need external motivation to raise his game, and that is worrisome. Brassard is a high risk/high reward pick. There are lots of rumors that the Montreal Canadiens are very anxious to work a deal to select him, and I think this would be an excellent match for Brassard. Hopefully, that deal will get done and Brassard will have the best chance of developing his incredible talents.

Winger James Sheppard will likely be the next CHL player to be selected. Sheppard, of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, is a solid forward, who has incredible on-ice vision. At his size (6'1", 204), he does not shy away from contact, is good along the boards, and if he improved his skating some, he could be a first line player in the NHL. Another winger, the OHL's Chris Stewart, has seen his stock rising enormously over the 2005-06 season. A month ago, the big forward (6'1", 228) was on everyone's radar as a possible top 10 pick. However, post-Combine, where Stewart appeared to have a large amount of body fat, the Kingston Frontenac's stock has fallen somewhat.

OHLer Bryan Little really impressed me both during the season on the ice and at the Combine. His intensity, hockey smarts, and ability to make plays has really impressed me. When you meet Little, The Barrie Colts' center's sheer desire to play and succeed are overwhelming. I have no doubt that he will achieve this goal over the coming years. Little really should be a top 10 pick in this draft, and I believe he will be selected somewhere between 6-10.

Bob Sanguinetti, the OHL Owen Sound Attack's top offensive defenseman, is one of my favorite players in the draft. Although, in my opinion, he needs to work on his strength and toughness, Sanguinetti's offensive skills from the blueline are the among the best in this draft. After Erik Johnson, I believe that Sanguinetti is the best defenseman available in the draft.

Michael Grabner, the Austrian-born winger, is another of my favorite CHL prospects this year. A winger with the WHL Spokane Chiefs, Grabner has an incredible shot and amazing skating abilities. He has moved up in the rankings throughout the year, and it would not surprise me if he is selected between 15 and 20 on Saturday.

Also projected to be picked at between 15 and 20 is the WHL's Everett Silvertips second top prospect, center Ondrej Fiala. From the Czech Republic, Fiala was a first round Import Draft pick in 2005. Great hands and speed, combined with excellent skating, make Fiala a good bet to be a success in the NHL.

Although there is only one goaltender in the CHL that I believe will go in the first round (Jonathan Bernier), the highly talented Leland Irving has a chance to go as one of the last picks of the round. Bernier, the QMJHL Lewiston MAINEiacs fantastic netminder, is likely to be a top 20 pick in the draft. However, Irving, another player who dons the Everett uniform, is a top prospect worthy of a look toward the end of the round. His 1.91 GAA and .925 save percentage were among the best in the WHL. Plus his style and composure both lend itself to the NHL game, so wherever he is selected, Irving should be an excellent prospect for the NHL team that picks him.

The OHL Kingston Fronts' center Corey Emmerton has been in the top 20 on most scouting reports consistently through the last six months. However, for some reason, there just is not alot of excitement generated by the 5'11", 177 lb forward. He was at first touted as an potentially excellent checking center, but this season his offensive game has awakened and he scored 90 points in 66 games. He should go higher, but I believe that Emmerton will be chosen toward the end of the first round.

Three other players from the Q are potential late first round picks. Gatineau's winger Claude Giroux had an outstanding season, scoring 103 points in 69 games. Unbelievably skilled as a playmaker, Giroux can also skate like the wind. Two defensemen also have first round possibilities, Ivan Vishnevsky and Joey Ryan. Each has different strengths, with Vishnevsky being more of an offensive guy, who has the ability to be the playmaker from the blue line. Ryan is a tough, physical blueliner, who has a decent shot, but mostly can be counted on in his own end. With 202 PIM in 2005-06, Ryan is never afraid to mix it up with anyone, but he also can play, so if he does not go in the first round, it is likely that the big Massachusetts native will be chosen early in the second round.

As far as players re-entering the draft, according to Hockey News, there are no big names. While that may be true, one name shocked me. OHL Toronto St. Mike's Majors Tyler Haskins was not signed by the Detroit Red Wings. The 6'1, 185 lb center is great on face-offs, excellent in his own zone, and not afraid to take one for the team. With 75 points in 56 games, a plus/minus of +13, and 112 PIM, what is the problem? Some team should grab this guy right away.

Another St. Mike's Majors guy passed up in last year's draft also deserves notice. Justin Donati had an excellent season, with 109 points in 62 games, a plus/minus of +16, and 50 PIM. The diminutive center/winger looks like he could be blown over by a feather, but somehow the puck always finds him and Donati knows how to finish. On no scouting agency's radar, Donati could be a surprise late-round pick.

OHL London Knights Sign Two Draft Picks

Over the last 2 days, the London Knights have announced that the team has signed both Kevin Bodker and Luke VanMoerkerke to education contracts. Bodker (6'1", 190), a defenseman, was chosen in the 4th Round (80 overall) at the 2006 OHL Priority Draft. During the 2005-06 season, the 16-year old played for the Dubuque Thunderbirds Jr, where he registered 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) and 44 PIM in 31 games.

Left Winger Luke VanMoerkerke (6'3", 205) was the London Knights 6th Round selection in the 2005 OHL Priority Draft. The 16-year old played for the Thorold Blackhawks of the Golden Horseshoe Jr. B League in 2005-2006, tallying 16 points (8 goals, 8 assists) and 51 PIM in 61 games.

Both players are expected to participate in the Knights' training camp in August.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

QMJHL Draft Analysis--Part 3

Continuing the analysis of the remaining teams, 3 below, 7 for tomorrow:

Moncton (MON)-- Over the past 2 years, Moncton had traded away most of its early round 2006 draft picks to prepare for the Memorial Cup last month, so prior to draft day, Moncton sent winger Jean-Philippe Chabot to Gatineau in exchange for a fifth round pick (#90). In that slot, the Wildcats selected Alexi Pianosi, a 1989 defenseman. Pianosi (5'8", 190) had an excellent season for Dartmouth (Nova Scotia AAA Midget Hockey). Chabot (6'1", 188) may be a star in the making, so it was a big loss. In his rookie 2005-06 season, Chabot recorded 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists), with a plus/minus of +19, and 48 PIM in 60 games. The Wildcats Rookie of the Year can take face-offs (and win them), as well as play in all situations. While Pianosi can surely contribute to the team, this trade will very much hurt the team in the long run. The other major trade made prior to the draft was sending Brad Marchand to Val-D'Or for the return of Moncton's first round pick in 2008. Although Marchand, a 2006 draft-eligible center, had an outstanding season and post-season, his value may have peaked, and to obtain the return of Moncton's first round pick in 2008 is a good trade for the Wildcats (especially since the previous talent gotten as part of the trade was very productive). As stated above Moncton had few early round draft picks in this draft. With no first or second round selection, the Wildcats chose Winger Randy Cameron at number 39 overall. An older winger (born January 1989), I suppose the thinking here is that he will help the team faster than a younger forward, but I believe that this was a mistake, as there were at least 2 right wingers that were still available that I believe were more talented than Cameron. All in all, I believe that Moncton had a very poor draft this year. Although the team may have been distracted by the loss of Ted Nolan as head coach several days before, and the drafting problems this year had their roots by giving away valuable picks in years previous, there really is no excuse for the decisionmaking that was made.

PEI-- In contrast to Moncton's poor decisionmaking stands the PEI Rocket, who made some very good moves. Prior to the draft, the Rocket traded standout Slava Trukhno to Gatineau for the younger defenseman Pierre-Luc Lessard plus Gatineau's first round import draft pick. As I said previously, this was a good deal for PEI. Lessard is a excellent NHL prospect and is expected to go in the late second round early third round at this week's NHL entry draft, plus PEI needs another import pick. Excellent trade. The only other player the Rocket gave up was tough guy Steve Natywary. Although a fan favorite, Natywary's skill set can easily be replaced by a draft pick. In addition to Lessard, trades brought wingers Guillaume Doucet and Guillaume Doucet, a potential overager, to PEI. Both of these players can really produce offensively. Although in exchange for these players (and several draft picks), the Rocket were forced to give up a good number of the 2006 picks that the team had gathered, PEI still had two first round picks (numbers 4 and 17). For the fourth overall pick, the Rocket chose hometown center Chris Doyle (6'0", 188). A pure scorer and playmaker, Doyle will help the team immediately. With their second first round pick, PEI chose defenseman Jordan Southorn. To get Southorn, the Rocket had traded away their second-round pick and two lower picks to Rouyn-Noranda. There was a lot of speculation that Southorn would be drafted by Quebec, and PEI pulled off an excellent deal to prevent that from happening. Southorn (6'2", 196) played minor midget hockey for the Lac-St-Louis Tigres in 2005-06. He and third-round pick (# 44) Danick Malouin, also a defenseman will both attend the Rocket training camp starts in mid-August, but no expectations are on either blueliner to make the major junior team this coming season. I don't know how many ways I can say outstanding draft period for the Rocket. The team should have an exciting several years ahead of them.

Quebec (QUE)-- The winners of the Memorial Cup did not have a particularly active trade period ahead of the draft. The team sent defensive prospect Tommy Gauthier to Shawinigan and exchanged 1st round import draft picks with Val-D'Or. Additionally, the Remparts received the recently signed Montreal Canadien goaltending prospect Loic Lacasse from Drummondville plus a 4th round pick in exchange for Quebec's third round selection. In all, the team received 5 draft picks in exchange for 3, which really helped as previous trades had severely depleted the number of selections that the Remparts had in this draft. Quebec picked last in the first round (number 18), and many believe that the team was outpositioned for the Remparts desired pick, Jordan Southorn. Instead Quebec chose center Maxime Sauve, a solid highly skilled forward. The Remparts then chose 2 defenseman with selections 46 and 48, Vincent Bourgeois and Samuel Groulx. Both are underweight, but are expected to make some noise at camp. Sauve is a good pick, but all in all, the draft looks mediocre for the Remparts. Others have rated Quebec's draft more positively, but I believe there are some unknowns and high risk players among the selections. Time will tell whether this year was a good one for the Memorial Cup champions.

Monday, June 19, 2006

CHL News and Notes

After the Portland Winter Hawks held their prospect camp in Calgary over the weekend of June 9-11, forwards Chris Francis and Tristan King signed educational contracts with the team. Both players had impressive camps. The 17-year old Francis (5'9", 160)tallied 185 points (89 goals, 96 assists) in 71 games with his Las Vegas AA Midget team last season. King (5'11", 170) is 16 year old and was not selected in last year's bantam draft. During the 2005-06 hockey season, King played for 3 teams, a Bantam AAA rep team in Chicago, in Ontario with the AAA Midget Hamilton Bulldogs, and then back to Minnesota to finish out the year with the Elk River Bantams. According to the Winter Hawks, both Francis and King will attend the USA Select Camp in St. Cloud Minnesota later this summer.

Late today Portland made the announcement that the team had signed its first round WHL Bantam Draft pick, Riley Boychuk, to an education contract. Boychuk, who was chosen 10th overall in last month's Bantam Draft, will not be eligible to play for the Hawks full time until the 2007-08 season, when he becomes of age. It is expected that Boychuk will play either major midget or Jr. B hockey in 2005-06.

On Thursday morning, the Lethbridge Hurricanes held a press conference, in which the team announced the hiring of Matt Kayamaya as an assistant coach for the 2006-07 season. The team also announced the departure of temporary assistant coach Jason Ruff. Finally, the Hurricanes announced that goaltender/video coach Jeff Battah will be returning for the 2006-2007 season.

Late Friday, the Ontario Hockey League announced 2 trades that had taken place earlier in the day. The Barrie Colts traded 20-year old left winger Travis Fuller (6'1", 200) to the Mississauga Ice Dogs for future considerations. Fuller played 31 playoff games for the Colts during 2005-06, scoring 18 goals and 11 assists, along with 29 PIM. Fuller had been chosen by Barrie in the 9th round (173 overall)in the 2002 OHL Priority Draft. In the 2005-06 regular season, Fuller tallied 48 points (22 goals, 26 assists), with a plus/minus of +10, and 42 PIM in 68 games.

In the other OHL trade, Windsor sent defensive prospect Robert Bortuzzo to the Kitchener Rangers, in return for a conditional 2nd Round 2007 pick.

Monday Evening

Sorry I have been remiss over the last few days, but family business has required me to be away from my computer. I am aware that I still owe my readers the final installment of the QMJHL draft analysis and a full analysis of the
Chilliwack Bruins team (as drafted and traded for). Tonight I will bring everyone up to date on the news from around the CHL, and I will post the rest of the QMJHL draft reviews tomorrow. Two weeks after the NHL entry draft, I will start previews of the CHL teams for 2006-07, and Chilliwack will be my first preview.

Also in the coming days, look for previews on the 50 top CHL prospects going into next Saturday's NHL entry draft and a reviews of the CHL Import Draft. Let's talk about that for a second. The draft, which is a 2-round event, will take place by telephone on Wednesday June 28th. Because each team is only allowed 2 import prospects on the team at any given time, several trades have already been made by teams that have returning players, and more trading is expected over the coming days. It is an exciting 10 days in the CHL. Stay tuned here for both the info and analysis.