Friday, August 03, 2007

Trades and Signings

There were two trades in the Q announced today, when defenseman Brad Ouskun and winger Francis Guérette-Charland were sent packing in exchange for draft picks. Ouskun was sent to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and a 5th round pick in the 2008 QMJHL Entry Draft was given to the Moncton Wildcats in return. The 19-year old had a good, but not outstanding, rookie season with the Wildcats, solid in his own end and able to contribute on the power play. It is hoped that he will play a larger role with the Huskies during the upcoming season.

Guérette-Charland was traded from Victoriaville to the Saint John Sea Dogs for a 6th round pick in the 2009 entry draft. The winger is eligible to be an overager during the 2007-08 season.

As for the professional signings announced today, this afternoon, Columbus inked their 2007 first round pick, Jakub Voracek, to an entry-level contract. Voracek, a Czech winger who played for the Halifax Mooseheads during the 2006-07 season, is expected to fight for a roster spot with the Blue Jackets this fall.

Also this afternoon, the Phoenix RoadRunners signed former Medicine Hat Tigers' winger Chris Stevens to an ECHL contract. Stevens had put up some very good numbers in his overage year and was a big contributor to the Tigers in the playoffs this past spring.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

NHL Signing/Another Prospect Development Camp

The Boston Bruins announced today that the team has signed winger Milan Lucic to an entry-level contract. Lucic was the team's second round selection in 2006, and has spent the last 2 seasons as a member of the WHL Vancouver Giants. If Lucic does not stick with Boston after training camp, he will return to Vancouver to play one more WHL season.

Also announced today were the attendees of the Carolina Hurricanes development camp, which will be held from August 14-19. Six CHLers will be participating, including two free agents. Those players are as follows:

Drayson Bowman, C, Spokane Chiefs (3rd round, # 72 overall, 2007)
Justin McRae, C, Saskatoon Blades (4th round, # 102 overall, 2007)
Chris Terry, LW, Plymouth Whalers (5th round, # 132 overall, 2007)
Brett Bellemore, D, Plymouth Whalers (6th round, # 162 overall, 2007)
Stefano Giliati, LW, Lewiston MAINEiacs (tryout)
Jerome Samson, RW, Val-d'Or Foreurs (free agent)

First QMJHL Transaction of August Trading Period

The first trade of the month was announced in the Q today when overage defenceman Sebastien Bernier was shipped from Drummondville to Gatineau. Bernier was traded for a seventh round 2008 entry draft selection. This trade has been in the works for some time, but was not announced until this morning. If Bernier joins the Olympiques this Fall, it will be the sixth QMJHL team for which he has played.

Thursday's CHL News

After a mini-vacation, CHL News is back this morning. Let's catch up on the news before we continue the team previews.

In the OHL, yesterday the Niagara Ice Dogs signed their first round 2007 Priority Draft selection, Andrew Agozzino. The diminutive centre was selected 15th overall after the expected Ice Dogs' pick, Riley Sheehan, announced that he had decided to go the college route (which actually may not be the case after all; lucky Erie). Agozzino is a highly skilled playmaker with great hands. A strong skater, with an excellent shot, if he is able to give a consistent effort on every shift, he will be successful at this next level.

On Tuesday, the Owen Sound Attack named Mark Reeds as head coach of the team. Reeds had been the Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach of the UHL (now IHL) Kalamazoo Wings. A former UHL Coach of the Year, Reeds is a proven winner and is an excellent addition to the Attack staff.

Back on Monday, it was announced that Sudbury Wolves centre Kevin Baker has been invited to attend the Ottawa Senators rookie camp later this month. There is no truth to the rumour that he quit hockey or that he decided not to return to Sudbury. If he returns for an overage season in the OHL, he is expected to be with the Wolves. Two WHLers have also been invited to NHL camps this coming September. Potential Prince Albert Raiders overagers Jeff May and Mike Gauthier will try-out with the Minnesota Wild and Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively.

In WHL news, Keith Seabrook has decided to forgo the rest of his college eligibility and join the Calgary Hitmen. The defenceman is expected to make a major contribution to the Hitmen blueline, and is a big coup for the team. On the other hand, DU's announcement of Seabrook's decision to leave college is the ugliest I have seen in awhile. Denver sounds angry and childish in their article "Seabrook Leaves DU to Begin Professional Career"[our italics]. Starting with the title and then throughout the article, Denver seems to forget that Seabrook is young and it is within the rules for him to change his mind and leave for the WHL. No matter how much was invested in him, or how DU feels he was lured away, it happens. And Denver should have just moved on and wished him well. Instead the team showed sour grapes. They certainly can't think that doing something like this would help their recruiting in the future.

Last week the Kelowna Rockets announced that, effective immediately, the team's former assistant coach, Ryan Huska, has been promoted to head coach. Huska has served under former head coach Jeff Truitt, who last month was named assistant coach of the AHL Springfield Falcons. Former NHL blueliner Jeff Finley will fill Huska's former job as the Rockets' assistant coach.

On Tuesday, the Lethbridge Hurricanes signed their first round 2007 Bantam Draft selection, Alex Therieau, to an education contract. An offensive defenceman, Therieau has a cannon of a shot, and is an excellent skater. On the same day, 2006 bantam draft selection (3rd round, # 51 overall) Alex Pym signed with the Regina Pats. Also a defenceman, Pym can really move the puck and has very good on-ice vision. A third blueliner, Wayne Werbowski, a sixth round 2006 Tri City Americans bantam draft selection signed an education contract this week. Werbowski is strong in his own end and is a good skater; he is expected to make a big contribution along the blueline for the Americans this season.

As far as professional signings go, on Tuesday, the ECHL Bakersfield Condors signed former Brandon Wheat Kings captain Mark Derlago to a professional contract. The winger completed his overage year with the Wheaties this past May.

And free agent winger Victor Oreskovich was signed to an NHL entry level contract by the Colorado Avalanche earlier this week. The 20-year old former Kitchener Ranger had been drafted in 2004 by Colorado but was never signed.

In the Q, the August trading period officially beginning yesterday, many transactions are expected over the next 3 1/2 weeks.

Finally along the line of signings, yesterday the St John's Fog Devils announced that 2007 CHL Import Draft selection Timo Pielmeier informed the Fog Devils that he would be joining the team for the 2007-08 season.