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Top 20 San Jose Sharks prospects embody hunger for success

by Craig Fischer
on
Top 20 San Jose Sharks prospects embody hunger for success

Photo: San Jose Sharks prospect Timo Meier, the team’s first top ten draft pick since 2007, is part of a European talent influx into the organization (courtesy of Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

Over the course of two off-seasons, the San Jose Sharks have vastly improved their prospect ranks. The once small and meager prospect pool has quietly evolved into a massive, shark-infested ocean.

While still lacking in true blue chip talent, this is without a doubt the strongest crop of players the Sharks have had in their system in the last ten seasons. But that comes as no surprise with the decline of the NHL roster and its recent playoff failings. After all, prospect pools and winning are typically inversely proportional.

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Success with Western Michigan, becoming NHL-ready the main goals for Tiffels

by Chapin Landvogt
on
Success with Western Michigan, becoming NHL-ready the main goals for Tiffels

Photo: Western Michigan University forward and Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Frederik Tiffels has been a fixture on Germany’s national team for the past five seasons (courtesy of Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

A recent staple in international play for Germany, Frederik Tiffels has been playing in North America for several years now, having played three seasons of USHL hockey before beginning his NCAA career. This is a route rarely taken by German hockey players. Read more »

Tampa Bay Lightning prospects pipeline stocked despite recent graduations

by Chris Roberts
on
Tampa Bay Lightning prospects pipeline stocked despite recent graduations

Photo: Although goaltenders face a longer road to the NHL than skaters, Andrei Vasilevskiy has established himself as a solid NHL netminder just three seasons since the Lightning selected him 19th overall in 2012. (Courtesy of Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have done a tremendous job at drafting and developing since Steve Yzerman took over the general manager position in 2010. The team has more hits than misses in the early rounds and has found quality late-round players that have since filled significant roles with the team. Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov are two that immediately come to mind and both players were selected in 2011, the first draft that Yzerman and his staff had a full year to prepare for. It might also end up as the team’s best in the past decade-plus. Read more »

2017 NHL Draft: Q&A with Team Finland forward Kristian Vesalainen

by Chapin Landvogt
on
2017 NHL Draft: Q&A with Team Finland forward Kristian Vesalainen

Photo: Frolunda Indians forward and 2017 prospect Kristian Vesalainen scored 10 goals and 15 points in 18 games HIFK’s U18 squad in the 2014-15 season (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)

For the 1999-born Kristian Vesalainen, the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament was an opportunity to show the international scouting community just how far he has come in his development. Already measuring in at a huge 6’3” and 203 pounds as a 16 year old, Vesalainen took a regular shift on the strong Finnish side’s second line. Read more »

2017 NHL Draft: Q&A with Team Switzerland forward Nico Hischier

by Chapin Landvogt
on
2017 NHL Draft: Q&A with Team Switzerland forward Nico Hischier

Photo: Bern forward and 2017 prospect Nico Hischier produced 28 goals and 61 points in 22 games for Bern’s U17 squad in the 2014-15 season (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt)

As an underager who will first be talked about once the 2017 NHL Draft rolls around, young Nico Hischier was recently Switzerland’s most outstanding player at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Pivoting the first line, the 5’11”, 163-pound forward often wowed the crowd with some spectacular goals and strong overall play in a very creative capacity. Having finished the tournament with three goals and six points for the seventh place Swiss entry, Hischier clearly displayed that he will be the most closely watched Swiss prospect over the next two winters. Read more »

2016 NHL Draft: Q&A with Team Slovakia goaltender Jan Koziak

by Chapin Landvogt
on
2016 NHL Draft: Q&A with Team Slovakia goaltender Jan Koziak

Photo: HC Slovan Bratislava goaltender and 2016 prospect Jan Koziak appeared in 34 games for Bratislava’s U18 squad in 2014-15, posting a 2.26 goals-against average and .936 save percentage (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt)

After several Slovak goalies were taken in the most recent NHL Draft, it’s clear that Slovak goaltenders are rightfully getting a good amount of attention from the scouting community. Jan Koziak is widely considered one of the top Slovak goalies heading into next summer’s draft. He played the 2014-15 season with HC Slovan Bratislava’s U18 and U20 teams. Read more »

2016 NHL Draft: Q&A with Team Finland defenseman Tarmo Reunanen

by Chapin Landvogt
on
2016 NHL Draft: Q&A with Team Finland defenseman Tarmo Reunanen

Photo: TPS Turku defenseman and 2016 prospect Tarmo Reunanen produced eight goals and 30 points in 42 games for the U20 team in 2014-15 (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)

Defenseman Tarmo Reunanen was a lynchpin as a top four defenseman for a surprisingly good Finnish club at this year’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Never shying away from opposition shots or physical play, Reunanen consistently battled in the corners, came away with pucks, and headily moved them up to his forward teammates. He finished the tournament with one assist along with six penalty minutes in five games. Read more »

Defensive depth evident in Colorado Avalanche Fall Top 20

by Chau Vo
on
Defensive depth evident in Colorado Avalanche Fall Top 20

Photo: Top Colorado Avalanche prospect Mikko Rantanen has over 100 professional games on his resume already (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Defense wins championships and that is what Patrick Roy returned to Denver to accomplish. Despite his team taking a step back in his sophomore season behind an NHL bench, Roy is confident the lessons learned will only help the team going forward. In addition to his role as head coach, Roy holds a second title as Vice President of Hockey Operations, giving him a voice in all player personnel decisions. The new philosophy as to how the team will be constructed both now and in the future is trending towards an emphasis on size, character, and skills. Roy has also shown he is open to drafting and signing free agents from Europe’s top leagues, something that occurred less frequently in the years prior to his return.

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2015-16 Liiga Preview, Pt. 1: Karpat shooting for threepeat as Finland’s top club

by Tony Piscotta
on
2015-16 Liiga Preview, Pt. 1: Karpat shooting for threepeat as Finland’s top club

Photo: Karpat Oulu forward and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Sebastian Aho and his Karpat teammates will be going for their third consecutive Kanada Cup championship (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

With the addition of former Mestis club KooKoo, Finland’s Liiga in 2015-16 will feature 15 teams for the first time in league history. But, while the Kouvola-based squad should enjoy an intense rivalry with neighboring SaiPa Lappeenranta in southeastern Finland, things aren’t likely to change at the top of the league standings. Read more »

2015 draftees set to supplant NHL-ready Boston Bruins prospects

by Jack Choros
on
2015 draftees set to supplant NHL-ready Boston Bruins prospects

Photo: Malcolm Subban had another good year in Providence in 2014-15, finishing with a .921 save percentage and 2.44 goals-against average. (Courtesy of Corey Silvia/Icon Sportswire)

The Boston Bruins will have no shortage of talented young prospects this fall. The team had three consecutive first-round picks in the 2015 Entry Draft, including Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk and Zachary Senyshyn—all of whom rank among the top 20 prospects. Read more »

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