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Pats’ Klimchuk hoping for NHL shot, but WJC berth could be his consolation prize

by Ken McKenna
on

Morgan Klimchuk - Team WHL

Photo: Regina Pats forward and Calgary Flames prospect Morgan Klimchuk posted 30 goals and 44 assists in 57 games for the Pats in the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)

 

With appearances in both of Team WHL‘s matches versus Russia in the 2013 Subway Super Series, Regina Pats forward Morgan Klimchuk was provided with a great opportunity to showcase his skills for Team Canada’s World Junior coaching staff. Read more »

Nylander leads emerging group in Toronto Maple Leafs 2014 Fall Top 20

by Ed Dermit
on

Josh Leivo - Toronto Maple Leafs

Photo: Forward Josh Leivo is one of several Toronto Maple Leafs prospects who are expected to take the next step in their development. Leivo was a third round pick in 2011. (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty Images)

 

 The Toronto Maple Leafs have featured a lot of high character, two-way forwards in their prospect pool over the years, but few with pure offensive instinct or elite skill. That is changing with the drafting of high-end talent William Nylander and the progress shown last season from the likes of Josh Leivo, Andreas Johnson, Carter Verhaeghe, and others.

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Chris Bigras leads group of new prospects in Colorado Avalanche Fall 2014 Top 20

by Chau Vo
on

Chris Bigras was voted

Chris Bigras was voted “best defensive defenseman” by the OHL’s Western Conference coaches in 2013-14 (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

 

Two key Colorado Avalanche players did not stay prospects for long as both surpassed the 65-NHL-game mark in 2013-14. 18-year-old forward Nathan MacKinnon entered the league under the bright spotlights of being the 2013 NHL Draft’s first overall pick and did not disappoint. He ended the season as the Calder Trophy favorite and was unanimously voted as the trophy winner. Tyson Barrie also had a statement season when he cemented himself as a key figure on the Avalanche blue line, contributing offense in even-strength situations as well as on the power play.

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New York Islanders boast skill and depth at all positions in 2014 Fall Top 20

by Christian Litscher
on

Ryan Strome - New York Islanders

Photo: Forward Ryan Strome is one of several New York Islanders prospects who will be competing for an NHL roster spot in the 2014-15 season. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

 

The New York Islanders have a deep prospect pool and have now accumulated high potential players at every position. General manager Garth Snow has done a good job assembling the Islander’s pool with drafting and shrewd additions. Several of the team’s top prospects, including Ryan Strome, will be vying for regular NHL duties this upcoming season.

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Wallmark enjoying the journey to an NHL career

by Ken McKenna
on

Lucas Wallmark - Team Sweden

Photo: Team Sweden forward and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Lucas Wallmark has represented his country in international competition the past four seasons, and is likely to make it five when he suits up for the 2015 WJC (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

 

Despite the fact that Carolina Hurricanes prospect Lucas Wallmark hails from Umea, a small but growing city in the otherwise sparsely populated northern Sweden region, competing at USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp in New York’s more rural and mountainous Adirondack region didn’t necessarily remind him of home. Read more »

Wolves’ Baptiste impressing with his versatility

by Ken McKenna
on

Nick Baptiste - Sudbury Wolves

Photo: In 195 OHL games so far, Sudbury Wolves forward and Buffalo Sabres prospect Nick Baptiste has produced 74 goals and 90 assists for 164 points to go along with 145 penalty minutes (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

 

Late in the first period of Team Canada’s 6-3 exhibition win over Russia last Thursday night, Canadian forward Nick Baptiste displayed a great burst of speed on the penalty kill to swoop in for a shorthanded chance that was stopped by Russian goaltender Ilya Sorokin. After the whistle, Baptiste tangled with a Russian player along the boards, an encounter that ended with Baptiste receiving a face-wash from his opponent. Read more »

Reinhart leads deep, promising group of prospects in Buffalo Sabres’ 2014 Fall Top 20

by Jason Chen
on

Sam Reinhart - Buffalo Sabres

Photo: Selected second overall in the 2014 NHL Draft, forward Sam Reinhart comes to the Buffalo Sabres with high expectations. Reinhart managed 36 goals and 69 assists with the Kootenay Ice of the WHL last season. (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

 

There is little doubt that the future is very exciting for the Buffalo Sabres. With one of the league’s deepest pool of prospects already and another five picks in the first two rounds of the 2015 NHL Draft, general manager Tim Murray is aggressively laying down the foundations for the rebuilding Sabres.

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Beyond Tomorrow: The Class of 2016

by Chau Vo
on

Auston Matthews - U.S. NTDP

Photo: Team USA forward Auston Matthews is considered to be a top prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

 

With the 2016 NHL Draft just a little under two years away, there is still a lot to be learned about these late-1997 and 1998-born players. There is no overwhelming consensus as to who will be picked first overall like there is for the 2015 draft, but Dmitry Sokolov is one of a few favorites as well as Sean Day, the fourth player to be granted “exceptional player status” by the Ontario Hockey Federation. Read more »

Wolverines’ Downing working on rounding out his game

by Ken McKenna
on

Michael Downing - University of Michigan

Photo: University of Michigan defenseman and Florida Panthers prospect Michael Downing posted two goals and 10 assists along with 60 penalty minutes in his freshman season with the Wolverines (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)

 

At the midpoint of the first period in the USA’s first post-cutdown game at the 2014 National Junior Evaluation Camp, Team USA defenseman Michael Downing took a pass from University of Michigan teammate J.T. Compher and fired a point shot past Sweden goaltender Jonas Johansson to score the opening goal in what would be a 7-1 romp for the U.S. squad. Read more »