Photo: Defenseman Nikita Zadorov is one of several young players to suit up for the Buffalo Sabres this season. Zadorov is a first round pick from the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)
The Buffalo Sabres have not won a game in the 2015 calendar year, but all eyes are on the future, as the rebuild continues. A string of injuries and poor performances by the Sabres’ veterans opened up opportunities for some of the organization’s top AHL players to showcase their skill in the big leagues, and although the results have been mixed, generally speaking the franchise is in good shape for the future.
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Photo: Team Finland forward and 2015 prospect Mikko Rantanen is ranked second among European skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings for the 2015 NHL Draft (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
In retrospect, the expectations that Finland might be able to match its gold medal-winning performance from the 2014 World Junior Championship were probably overly optimistic. Struggling to score goals through the entire 2015 edition of this tournament, the defending champions finished seventh after falling to rival Sweden, 6-3, in the quarterfinal round. Read more »
Photo: Team Russia defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov was named the Best Defenseman of the 2015 World Junior Championship by the IIHF Directorate (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
After a hard-fought round robin at the 2015 World Junior Championship, with a loss against Czech Republic and a shootout needed to defeat Denmark, Team Russia had a strong showing during the playoff round. They defeated the USA and Sweden to move on to the gold medal game, only to drop a one-goal game to Canada en route to a silver medal. Valeri Bragin did a great job of motivating the team, even during the championship game when Canada was leading by three goals. Read more »
Photo: Martin Jones of the Los Angeles Kings has struggled to replicate his strong play of last season (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Icon Sportswire)
The Los Angeles Kings have had an up and down season in 2014-15. They are a team that has struggled during the regular season year after year, but this year the team has faced other challenges. With suspensions, injuries, and inconsistent play from several veteran players, the Kings have turned towards some of the younger members to step forward. With a history of young players making a difference (Dwight King and Jordan Nolan in 2012, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli in 2014), it remains to be seen who will be the 2014-15 spark.
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Photo: Los Angeles Kings prospect Nick Shore recently received his first call up to the NHL. Shore was picked by the Kings in the third round of the 2011 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire)
Welcome to the January 2015 edition of On the Rush, a monthly column featuring prospects at various levels of competition who are either exceeding expectations or falling a little behind.
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Photo: Sioux City Musketeers forward and 2015 prospect Robert Carpenter is currently 11th overall in USHL scoring with 35 points (16G, 19A) in 36 games (courtesy of the USHL)
The Can’t-Miss Kid. That’s what they called Bobby Carpenter when he was a 17-year-old at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, MA in 1981. “Today, 17-year-old Bobby Carpenter of Peabody, Mass., a city of 48,000 some 15 miles north of Boston, is the best high school hockey player in America,” wrote the legendary E.M. Swift in a 1981 Sports Illustrated cover story. “More than that, he’s one of the top amateur prospects in the world. In the NHL Draft in June, Carpenter’s expected to be one of the first six players selected. Read more »
Photo: Philadelphia forward Scott Laughton has been solid in his rookie NHL season, managing two goals and four assists while playing mostly in the Flyers bottom six. Laughton was picked in the 1st round of the 2012 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire)
Injuries to Philadelphia Flyers blue line left room for defensive call ups this season. Shayne Gostisbehere was one player promoted, and appeared in his first NHL game. Scott Laughton, one of Philadelphia’s top prospects also saw his first NHL action—and is showing why he should stay.
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Photo: Saint John Sea Dogs forward and Nathan Noel (R) is ranked 55th in NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings for the 2015 NHL Draft (courtesy of David Connell)
When Daniel Cleary was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the 1997 NHL Draft, it was a slight disappointment for the top-projected prospect, but a tremendous high for hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador. Read more »
Photo: Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander will make his official North American debut when he suits up for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies this weekend against former national team cohort Jacob de la Rose and the Hamilton Bulldogs (courtesy of Mark Spowart/Icon Sportswire)
The AHL’s Toronto Marlies will get a boost as William Nylander joins the squad for this weekend’s home-and-home against the Hamilton Bulldogs. Read more »
Photo: Minnesota’s Erik Haula has struggled to perform in a tough-minutes role (courtesy of Brad Rempel/Icon Sportswire)
The NHL’s salary cap forced Chuck Fletcher and the Minnesota Wild into a tough balancing act. On the one side are the well-paid veterans whose skill levels are established, if subject to bad luck and other kinds of decline. On the other side are the players on a first contract or an entry-level deal: the rookies and the young core. These players offer occasional glimpses of their best selves, but often disappoint with mistakes or other kinds of regression, especially when they are thrust into new roles. Mediocrity is the result when rookies fail to make the leap to consistent good play and veterans fall back a step.
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