Saturday, June 30th
Rich here with some instant analysis on the big prospect news of the day. The Edmonton Oilers signed free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz today. This looks to be a great fit for both player and team, as the Oilers needed another puck-moving defenseman and Schultz will get an opportunity to play, and play a lot, right away. Getting power-play time with the likes of Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov provides a great opportunity for Schultz, and he instantly becomes a Calder Candidate for the upcoming season. Schultz had 47 points in his final season at the University of Wisconsin, and at 22 years-old is a littl more mature than the typical NHL rookie. Schultz is also a native of British Columbia, so th chance to play closer to home may have been a factor in his decision.
Expect Schultz to play immediately, and get PP time right from the start. He is a polishd player, so you won't have to worry about defensive lapses costing him playing time. He is a smart, mobile d-man who should adapt quickly to the NHL game.
Thursday, June 28th
Edit: The Toronto Maple Leafs announced their Prospect Camp roster. All of their 2012 selections will be in attendance when the camp starts July 2nd. I was quite pleased to see overage forward Charlie Sarault get an invite to camp. Sarault led the Sarnia Sting in scoring this past season after coming over from Kingston. For the complete roster click the link at the bottom of the ramblings.
The Justin Schultz sweepstakes are out in full force after officially becoming a free agent Sunday night. His agency started fielding offers yesterday and it appeared that 26 of the NHL’s 30 teams made a pitch for him. This is going to be interesting….my gut feeling is his list looks like:
However, I think Tampa Bay would be a tremendous fit as well. Steve Yzerman has done a great job bringing in talent and it’s just a team, which I personally, would consider playing for.
The arrival of Dennis Wideman in Calgary certainly doesn’t help TJ Brodie as he has some more competition for PP time. Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie are all left handed shots making it more complicated…unless J-Bo and his massive contract are dealt.
The hiring of Ralph Krueger as head coach in Edmonton is certainly an interesting one. During the times that Krueger took over as head coach (Tom Renney injury and MacTavish's family obligations), the Edmonton Oilers' young guns flourished under his supervision. One player who watched his ice time increase was Sam Gagner and he thrived. Keep an eye on how Krueger handles his youthful core full of elite talent. He is certainly going to have a challenge juggling the likes of Ales Hemsky, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov and Magnus Paajarvi. We know that Ales Hemsky isn't going anywhere with his new contract. RNH and Nail Yakupov will be featured in the Oilers' lineup for the next little while and Jordan Eberle's game is too valuable to move him.
In my opinion, it's a matter of time before Sam Gagner and/or Magnus Paajarvi are moved for help in net or, more importantly, on the blue line. However, Tambellini should seriously consider moving Taylor Hall for that "elite" defenseman. His injuries are concerning and his value is still relatively high. I think I would at least, quietly, be shopping him to see what kind of return I could get. Would the Coyotes part with both Yandle and Hanzal (perfect #3 C) for Taylor Hall?
Something has to give in Edmonton on the front lines.
NHL Development camps are underway featuring the team’s top prospects from the 2012 NHL draft as well as previously drafted players and some invited walk-ons as well.
At the New York Rangers camp, first round pick Brady Skjei has apparently been playing as advertised – flawless hockey. Dylan McIlrath, the Rangers 10th overall selection in 2010, was helped off the ice after colliding knee-to-knee with a walk-on player. The injury does not to be too serious at this time. The Rangers had one of the longer lists of undrafted invities including some players with questionable issues surrounding them – defenseman Myles Bell (undrafted back-2-back due to legal troubles) and forward Dane Fox (surprisingly undrafted in 2012) were the notable players. OHL defensemen Brandon Devlin and Kyle Hope are two interesting invities to camp and the latter has notable offensive skills.
Brady Skjei (28th overall, 2012), forward Oscar Lindberg (57th overall, 2010), and goaltender Scott Stajcer (140th, 2009) were among the standouts early in camp.
Here are a few notable undrafted names who received invites to NHL Development Camps:
Michael Houser (London, G) – Panthers and Jets
Josh McFadden (Sudbury, D) - Panthers
Vladislav Shalimov (Val d’Or, F) – Red Wings
Maxime Legace (PEI, G) – Canadiens
Matt Lane (US NTDP, F) – Canadiens
Myles Bell (Kelowna, D) – Rangers
Dane Fox (Erie, F) – Rangers
Trevor van Riemsdyk (UNH, D…JvR’s brother) – Senators
Miles Koules (US NTDP, F) – Coyotes
Frank Palazzese (Kitchener, G) – Maple Leafs
Matt Rupert (London, F) – Maple Leafs
Brett Welychka (London, D) – Maple Leafs
Max Iafrate (Kitchener, D…son of Al Iafrate) – Capitals
Nathan Walker (Vitkovice, F…Australian) – Capitals
Detroit Red Wings extended some family invites to Mike Babcock, Dean and Jake Chelious too.
2012 CHL Import Draft
Wednesday featured the annual Canadian Hockey League Import Draft where members of the Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft players to fill their two designated roster spots for import players. At the 2011 CHL Import Draft, Olli Maatta (Pittsburgh Penguins 22nd overall) was selected 1st overall to the London Knights and the Quebec Remparts added Mikhail Grigorenko (Buffalo Sabres 12th overall) 2nd overall.
Yesterday, Ivan Barbeshev was taken first overall by the Moncton Wildcats and will report with enthusiasm. Barbashev is eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft and is a speedy offensive player that should garner high first round interest. He was tremendous at the Under-17 Tournament this past year that I took in.
With the second overall pick, the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders opted for German sniper Leon Draisaitl, who is best known for racking up 192 points in 29 U16 games. Draisaitl is also eligible for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
The 2012 CHL Import Draft was all about the “unexpected” and the first surprise came at the 3rd overall pick. The rebuilding Erie Otters team held the 3rd overall pick and despite rumours that the London Knights were drafting him, GM Sherry Bassin selected Columbus Blue Jackets’ 2012 2nd round pick Oscar Dansk shoring up an area of need. The London Knights could not have been happy about Erie taking the goaltender they felt would replace Michael Houser. The Otters are building a nice roster featuring 2012 OHL top pick Connor McDavid, Leafs prospects Sondre Olden and Connor Brown, Islanders prospect defenseman Adam Pelech and undrafted Dane Fox.
Two picks later, Finnish goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (Columbus’ 3rd round selection) was drafted to the WHL’s Prince George Cougars.
The next surprise came when the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds snatched up Sergei Tolchinsky (2013 Top Prospect), a speedy offensive winger that was rumoured to be going to the Windsor Spitfires at the 15th pick. That didn’t happen.
Other notable drafted players:
Kingston Frontenacs - Mikko Vainonen -D (Predators’ 4th round, 2012)
Plymouth Whalers – Ludwig Bystrom – D (Stars’ 2nd round, 2012)
Moncton Wildcats – Dmitrij Jaskin – D (Blues’ 2nd round, 2011)
Shawinigan Cataractes – Patrick Koys – F (2014 Top Prospect)
Quebec Remparts – Nikita Kucherov – F (Lightning’s 2nd round, 2011)
Oshawa Generals – Teddy Bluegers – F (Penguins’ 2nd round, 2012)
London Knights – Nikolai Prokhorkin – F (Kings’ 4th round, 2012)
Mississauga Steelheards – Andrei Vasilevski – G (Lightning’s 1st round, 2012)
Draft Picks by Position:
Forward – 52
Defence – 17
Goaltender – 8
Draft Picks by Country:
Czech Republic – 20
Russia – 20
Sweden – 8
Slovakia – 7
Finland – 6
Latvia - 5
Germany – 3
Switzerland – 3
Denmark – 2
Ukraine – 2
Slovenia - 1
Draft Picks by Birthdate and NHL Status:
1993-born and 2011 NHL Drafted – 4
1993-born and 2011 NHL Undrafted - 5
Late 1993-born and 2012 NHL Drafted – 1
Late 1993-born and 2012 NHL Undrafted – 4
1994-born and 2012 NHL Drafted – 8
1994-born and 2012 NHL Undrafted - 14
Late 1994-born and 2013 NHL Draft Eligible – 5
1995-born and 2013 NHL Draft Eligible – 28
Late 1995-born and 2014 NHL Draft Eligible - 8
Thanks for reading,