Friday, July 06, 2007

More NHL Development Camps Announced

Two more teams announced development camp rosters today. The Buffalo Sabres (who frankly probably had other things on their minds the past few days) began their camp today (it runs through the 12th).

CHL attendees include only draftees:

TJ Brennan, D, St. John's Fog Devils (2nd round, #31 overall, 2007)
Drew Schiestel, D, Niagara Ice Dogs (2nd round, #59 overall, 2007)
Jean-Simon Allard, C, St. John's Fog Devils (5th round #147 overall, 2007)
Paul Byron, C, Gatineau Olympiques (6th round, #179 overall, 2007)
Mike Weber, D, Barrie Colts (2nd round, #57 overall, 2006)
Felix Schutz, C, Val-d'Or Foreurs (4th round, #117 overall, 2006)
Ben Breault, C, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (7th round, #207, 2006)
Marc-Andre Gragnani, D, PEI Rocket (3rd round, # 87 overall, 2005)

The Los Angeles Kings will hold their camp from Sunday July 8 -Saturday July 14th. No rosters are available yet.

The Montreal Canadiens camp will run from July 10-15. Its CHLers include:

P.K. Subban, D, Belleville Bulls (2nd round, #43 overall, 2007)
Olivier Fortier, C, Rimouski Oceanic (3rd round, #65 overall, 2007)
Yannick Weber, D, Kitchener Rangers (3rd round, # 73 overall, 2007)
Ben Maxwell, C, Kootenay Ice (2nd round, #49 overall, 2006)
Mathieu Carle, D, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (2nd round, #53 overall, 2006)
Ryan White, C, Calgary Hitmen (3rd round, # 66 overall, 2006)
Ryan Russell, C, Kootenay Ice ( NYR, 7th round, #211 overall,2005; traded 5/31/07)
Loic Lacasse, G, Oshawa Generals (6th round, # 181 overall, 2004)
Thomas Beauregard, RW, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (AHL free agent contract)
Andrew Loverock, G, Niagara Ice Dogs (tryout)

Atlanta Thrashers Prospect Camp Includes Three CHL Tryouts

The Atlanta Thrashers began their prospect camp today, and several undrafted CHLers are among the invitees. The following list includes those CHL players that were drafted by the Thrashers. The camp runs through July 12.

Spencer Machacek, RW, Vancouver Giants (3rd round, #67 overall, 2007)
Bryan Little, C, Barrie Colts (1st round #12 overall, 2006)
Riley Holzapfel, C, Moose Jaw Warriors (2nd round, #43 overall, 2006)
Artus Kulda, D, Peterborough Petes (7th round, #200 overall, 2006)
Ondrej Pavalec, G, Cape Breton Screamng Eagles (2nd round, # 41 overall, 2005)
Chad Denny, D, Lewiston MAINEiacs (2nd round, #49 overall, 2005)
Tomas Pospisil, RW, Sarnia Sting (5th round, #135 overall, 2005)
Myles Stoesz, RW, Regina Pats (7th round, #207 overall, 2005)
Arron Alphonso, RW, Soo Greyhounds (tryout)
Dan Kelly, D, Kitchener Rangers (tryout)
Andrew Perugini, G, Barrie Colts (tryout)

Friday's OHL News

In the biggest news of the day, just as quickly as the Saginaw Spirit announced that the team had hired Sheldon Ferguson to be the GM, today he stepped aside "for personal reasons." Eventually the whole story will come out, but for now, the search goes on. The signing of the team's first round selection, Daniel Pachis, pales by comparison to this story.

On Wednesday, the Barrie Colts announced that the team had signed its first pick Mitch Lebar. The Colts management said it had been holding its collective breath, but it seemed like the most reasonable move for Lebar to make. Being able to live at home in Aurora and go to school there was one of the sticking points, so when he got that from Barrie, this was a no-brainer.

Also in the OHL, the Owen Sound Attack made public the hiring of Dale DeGray as the team's new GM on Wednesday. DeGray has scouting, coaching, and a GM background in professional hockey and should be an excellent addition to the team.

The hottest buzz in the OHL is, however, will Pat Maroon join the London Knights. Everything is very hush-hush, but word is out that a decision may come over the weekend.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

More NHL Prospect Camp Rosters

Three teams have made public the rosters of their development camp. What follows is a list of CHL attendees.

The Boston Bruins have announced that their prospect development camp will be held from July 9-14. CHL players who will be attending are:

Zach Hamill, C, Everett Silvertips (1st round, # 8, 2007)
Jordan Knackstedt, RW, Moose Jaw Warriors (7th round, #189, 2007)
Milan Lucic, LW, Vancouver Giants (2nd round, #50, 2006)
Brad Marchand, C, Val d'Or Foreurs (3rd round, #71, 2006)
Andrew Bodnarchuk, D, Halifax Mooseheads (5th round, #128, 2006)
Levi Nelson, C, Swift Current Broncos (6th round, #158, 2006)
Radim Ostrcil, D, Ottawa 67s Import Selection (6th round, #169, 2007)
Wacey Rabbit, C, Vancouver Giants (5th round, #154, 2005)
Adam McQuaid, D, Sudbury Wolves (CLB, 2nd round, #55, 2005; acquired by trade 5/07)
Jared Walker, C, Prince George Cougars (tryout)

The Detroit Red Wings 7-day prospect camp began today. The CHLers in attendance are as follows:

Randy Cameron, RW, Moncton Wildcats (5th round, #148, 2007)
Zach Torquato, C, Erie Otters (6th round, #178, 2007)
Cory Emmerton, LW, Kingston Fronts (2nd round, #41, 2006)
Jan Mursak, LW, Saginaw Spirit (6th round, #182, 2006)
Logen Pyett, D, Regina Pats (7th round, #212, 2006)
Jakub Kindl, D Kitchener Rangers (1st round, #19, 2005)
Darren Helm, C, Medicine Hat Tigers (5th round, #132, 2005)
Pier-Olivier Pelletier, G, Drummondville Voltigeurs (tryout)
Real Cyr, G, Prince Geroge Cougars (tryout)
Andrew Engelage, G, Windsor Spitfires (tryout)

The St. Louis Blues Development Camp will run from July 9-13. CHLers in attendance will include:

David Perron, LW, Lewiston MAINEiacs (1st round, #26, 2007)
Brett Sonne, C, Calgary Hitmen (3rd round, #85, 2007)
Anthony Peluso, D, Erie Otters (6th round, #160, 2007)
Ryan Reaves, RW, Brandon Wheat Kings (5th round, #156, 2005)
Nicholas Drazenovic, C, Prince George Cougars (6th round, #171, 2005)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

2007-08 Acadie-Bathurst Titan Season Preview

The Titan came in fifth in the East Division last year and was defeated in the second round of the playoffs by Cape Breton this past spring. Gone from the team will be Thomas Beauregard, Charles Bergeron, and Zach Ferlotte, as well as head coach John Chabot, who just yesterday accepted a position as an assistant coach for the NHL New York Islanders.

Goaltending--This will be a very important year for netminder Antoine Tardif. He and Brant Miller manned the nets in 2006-07, and both did an adequate job. It was Tardif's rookie season and expectations were that he would have an adjustment period. He is now expected to take over the reins, with the backup probably being the newly traded for Tommy Legault. Miller is expected to come to camp and could battle Legault for the backup spot, but is not likely to win the role. Tardif has 3 more season of eligibility and should get better and better over that period of time, therefore, the other goalies on the camp roster have little chance of anything but a backup role should any make the team. Big netminder Andrew MacRae has the best shot among the camp invitees.

Defence--With Maxime Renaud, Nicolas Sigouin, Marc-Antoine Desnoyers, Carl Chamberland, and Brad Tesink just starting to hit their stride, there is not very much room for other blueliners to make the team. With a good possibility of overager Mathieu LaBrie returning to the blueline, Gabriel Carle, Shane Robar, Jean-Simon Legros and 2007 draft selection Remi Blanchard may be fighting for only 2 positions.

Forwards--The key to Acadie-Bathurst's success up front is the return and continued good play of Mathieu Perreault. Although there have been some rumours that Perreault will be playing in Washington this fall, that is very unlikely, so that the Titan will have their key scoring ingredient for one more year. If Martin Bartos returns (and there have been hints that he will not), he will be a major player on the top forward lines. Young players Tomy Joly, Spencer Jezegou and Samuel Morneau are expected to have have matured sufficiently his year to add a strong backbone to the team. Added to that is potential overager Jordan Clendenning. So there could be a really solid six forwards on this team to start the 2007-08 season. Sufficient third and fourth liners can be added to make this a very good playoff team, but all the stars must align for this to happen.

What is more likely to happen is that a trade will bring at least one very strong older player to the team to give the Titan a more potent offense. This will almost certainly be Perreault's last CHL season, and Acadie-Bathurst will want to take advantage of it. To do so, Tardif must be solid and at least one more forward must be added.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tuesday's CHL News

OHL Changes--In the OHL, the Saginaw Spirit have announced that Sheldon Ferguson will be the team's next GM. Ferguson has been the Director of Amateur Scouting for the Carolina Hurricanes, and according to the Spirit, Jim Rutherford's "right-hand man."Ferguson spent 12 years with the Hurricanes, and before that was involved in scouting and coaching in the OHL and WHL, respectively.

Sudbury Wolves assistant coach Bob Jones has moved west to Windsor to become associate coach of the Spits. Not unexpected, given his relationship with the Spits' owner, but it became offical yesterday.

NHL Signings--Also in the news is the signing of 2 CHLers to entry-level contract. The Carolina Hurricanes signed QMJHL Val-d'Or Foreurs winger Jerome Samson to an entry-level contract. Samson went undrafted in his two years of NHL eligibility. Also undrafted, but now signed, is the Cape Breton Screaming Eagle's Jean-Claude Sawyer. Sawyer was invited to participate in the Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp and was signed to an entry-level contract on the first day of the camp.

Philadelphia Flyers Prospect Camp
Camp Dates: July 8-13

CHL Attendees:
Kevin Marshall, Lewiston MAINEiacs (2nd round, 41st overall, 2007)
Garrett Klotz, Saskatoon Blades (3rd round, 66th overall, 2007)
Mario Kempe, St. John's Fog Devils (5th round, 122nd overall, 2007)
Claude Giroux, Gatineau Olympiques (1st round, 22nd overall, 2006)
Michael Dupont, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (6th round, 175th overall, 2006)
Ryan Parent, Guelph Storm (Nashville's 1st round, 18th overall, 2005; obtained by 2/15/07 trade)
Steve Downie, Kitchener Rangers (1st round, 29th overall, 2005)
Oscars Bartulis, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (3rd round, 91st overall, 2005)
Jeremy Duchesne, Val-d'Or Foreurs (4th round, 119th overall, 2005)
Josh Beaulieu, London Knights (5th round, 152nd overall, 2005)
David Laliberte, PEI Rocket (4th round, 124th overall, 2004; signed as free agent)
Dylan Quaile, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (tryout)

Monday, July 02, 2007

2007-08 Barrie Colts Season Preview

The Colts came in first in the OHL Central Division (Eastern Conference) during the 2006-07 regular season, and looked formidable as the playoffs began. However, the team lost to Sudbury in the second round, prematurely ending any Memorial Cup hopes. The team had made several trades to set it up for the playoff run last year, so the 2007-08 season does not look as bright for Barrie. Much of their talent up front is gone, in that the Colts' three top scorers, Bryan Little, Hunter Tremblay and Richard Clune, will not be back. Because the three accounted for 166 points during the 2006-07 regular season, and it will be very hard to replace that amount of scoring from the current roster, at least one trade over the coming months is in order.

Goaltending--The net is the Colts strongest position this coming season. The team has two goaltenders that should have no trouble carrying the load during the 2007-08 season. The bulk of the work is expected to go to OHL veteran Andrew Perugini. Despite a very good performance in 57 games (40-16-0-1, 2.83, .917) during the 2006-07 season, Perugini was overlooked in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Certainly his (lack of) size had something to do with this, but a really stellar performance this coming season could erase some of the NHL teams' trepidations about his ability to play well at the next level. Competing for playing time will be the younger (and bigger framed) Michael Hutchinson, who also needs a big workload in this, his NHL draft, year. Hutchinson was not quite ready for the big time this past season, but if he proves himself early on, there may be a logjam in Barrie. It is a nice problem to have and it will be interesting to see how the Colts use it to solve their offensive woes.

Defence--Barrie just picked up Czech blueliner Jaroslav Kruzik in the Import Draft last week. A solid two-way D-man, Kruzik will go along way to helping solidifying the Barrie defence. He can score, but he is also very steady in his own zone. He joins NHL Top 2008 Prospect Brian Lashoff along the blueline. Also solid in his own zone, Lashoff had an excellent rookie season during 2006-07. Pro-sized Chris Purves may join them, along with Kyle Van de Bospoort and possible overager Tyson Aitchenson. The team also hopes that 2007 Priority Draft selection Scott Dawson, who, at 15 years old, is already 6'2", 180, is ready for OHL action this season.

Forwards--Tomas Marcinko could quite possibly be the top forward on the Colts' team this coming season. That is, if the Slovakian import does not make the NY Islanders out of camp this Fall (he was the NHL team's 4th round selection in 2006, is of pro size, and was in the Islanders prospect camp this past week). Potential overagers Kris Sparre and Michael Lombardi are also expected to contribute quite a few points to the team if they are back with the team. Third year player Vladimir Nikiforov should continue to produce too (although there is some question about his return as well). But that is certainly not enough to make the Colts a contender. 2006 Priority Draft selections, and last year's rookies, Stephan Della Rovere and Andrew Hutchings are expected to really step things up this season, and, in fact, they both look to put more points on the board. But the team is really counting on some wild cards, who must produce offensively, if the Colts are to be competitive. It was hoped that Cory McGillis, who came over from Windsor in January, would have continued his offensive production into the post-season, but he did not. The winger will be expected to continue his tough style of play, but big offensive production is questionable. Ryan Bellows, who joined the Colts mid-season from Dartmouth and had an excellent end to his regular season, may come back, break out and contribute more offensively in the coming year. But the team cannot really count on that happening. Can any or all of Thomas Battani, Joe Pleckaitis, and George Lovatsis step up? We shall see, because if none of the five find their scoring touch, it will be a long season for the Colts and their fans.

Monday at CHL News

With the flurry of NHL free agency signings over the last 30 hours, CHL news and "CHL News" may have been overlooked, but let's get back to it now.

First, the St. Louis Blues have announced that their prospect development camp will take place from July 9-13th. The roster has not been announced yet, but as soon as it is, the list of CHLers will appear here.

As the teams continue to bring their prospects into camp and undrafted major junior players are given tryouts, we will let you know.

Now, for what will be going on in these pages over the next few weeks (i.e., until training camps begin).

First, we will have the news on where the CHLers who have exhausted their eligibility have signed.

Then there will be reviews for all the teams. Since I did not have time to get anywhere near completion of the 2006-07 reviews, those will be included in my team previews. For those teams for which I did season reviews, I will quickly get into the previews (starting tomorrow).

Also by the beginning of the 2007-08 season, CHL News will have a new look (and a companion website, not on blogspot), so we are working on that too over the next 6 weeks. It is our aim to give you better coverage of not only major junior hockey, but also of the CHL draftees that are still playing midget hockey.

As we go through this expansion of coverage, please don't hesitate to send comments and requests for what you would like to see. This is an exciting time and I hope you will be a part of our changes here at CHL News.