As the American Hockey League returns from the All-Star break, several teams are in playoff contention and will be kicking things up a notch heading down the stretch. There have been plenty of standouts throughout the first half of the season, but who will lead the way for AHL teams out West down the stretch? Read more»
The Calgary Flames continue to move in a positive direction with their rebuild process as their prospects make an impact at the NHL level. The additions of Johnny Gaudreau and Josh Jooris have enhanced the team offensively, while Markus Granlund has provided reliable support in place of injured forwards.
For the second year in a row, the Florida Panthers made a major trade at the NHL Entry Draft. After sending Olli Jokinen to Phoenix in 2008, the Panthers shipped the rights to defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to the Calgary Flames. In return, they received a third-round pick and the rights to defenseman Jordan Leopold. Florida also pulled off another swap, on a much smaller scale, when they received a fourth and fifth-round pick in 2009 in exchange for third-round pick in 2010.
The Panthers made a point of acquiring forwards, calling the names of six over the course of the two-day festivities in Montreal. Their first selection was the lone exception.
Dmitry Kulikov, D
Last year, the Panthers benefitted when goaltender Jacob Markstrom fell to them with the lead-off selection in round two. Again the Panthers got a little bit lucky, when a consensus top-ten prospect, Kulikov, became available in the 14th spot. Kulikov acknowledged that he was always on Florida’s radar.
“We talked with them in the meetings and they have been pretty interested in me,” he said. “I just didn’t know if I would have stayed until the 14th pick or they wouldn’t move up.”
Corban Knight is the definition of a rising star.
A year ago at this time, Knight was coming off his first midget AAA season and a playoff run with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Okotoks Oilers. He wasn’t just passed over in the 2008 NHL draft, he wasn’t even on the radar.
But the 2008-09 season was the turning point in Knight’s hockey career.
After going undrafted in the WHL draft as well, Knight turned heads in his only season with the UFA Bisons in 2007-08, forcing the Oilers to give him a full-time shot.
This past season, Knight not only turned heads, but snapped necks with his speed and creativity, notching 34 goals and 38 assists in 61 AJHL games.
His superb season has earned him a full ride to the University of North Dakota in 2010 and has him on a flight to this weekend’s NHL Entry Draft in Montreal as the 64th-ranked North American skater by Central Scouting and the 147th ranked player overall by International Scouting Services.
The 6-foot-1 180-pound center also tested well at last month’s draft combine, attended by the top 100 prospects, further enforcing the fact that he has become a legit NHL prospect.
"Overall, I had a really good time there," Knight said of the combine. "I had a really good scores at the fitness testing and I thought my interviews went well. I Read more»