Photo: Five top prospects for the 2016 NHL Draft were the guests of the NHL during the Stanley Cup Final, with forwards (L-R) Pierre-Luc Dubois, Auston Matthews, Matthew Tkachuk, Patrik Laine, and Alexander Nylander taking Game Four in San Jose (courtesy of Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
While the 2016 NHL Draft lacks some of the drama that was provided leading up to last year’s draft, when Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel vied for the right to go first overall, there is nevertheless some very good talent to be had at the top of this year’s event. And even beyond the top 5, NHL clubs drafting in the first round should be able to land some good talent that will almost certainly suit up for NHL action in the not too distant future. Read more»
Photo: Five years after he was drafted, Anaheim’s John Gibson has appeared in 66 NHL games, Garret Sparks is second with 17 (courtesy of Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire)
The Anaheim Ducks hit on some key players in their selections at the 2011 NHL Draft. The team might have walked away from the draft saying that the best case scenario is getting a top-six winger, a bottom-four defender, a starting goalie, and a bottom-six center. Hitting on all those is not a bad weekend’s work. Read more»
Photo: Lake Erie Monsters defenseman and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Zach Werenski has been impressive in AHL action since turning pro at the end of the 2015-16 NCAA season (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
Lake Erie Monsters coach Jared Bednar understands the challenge in front of his team as it prepares for the Calder Cup Western Conference Finals against the Ontario Reign.
The Reign are the defending champions, having won the title last season as the Manchester Monarchs, and return 15 players with championship rings. In addition, Ontario is big, physical and plays “Los Angeles Kings-style hockey” that wins in the playoffs. Read more»
Photo: Frolunda Gothenburg forward and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Andreas Johnson (R) won an SHL championship last month as Frolunda defeated perennial contender Skelleftea in the SHL finals (courtesy of Frolunda Gothenburg/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)
The SHL often features a plethora of NHL-drafted forwards who play an important role for their team. This year, two of those forwards, namely Andreas Johnson (TOR) and Lucas Wallmark (CAR), have been absolutely key contributors. Johnson actually finished sixth overall in league scoring and continued adding to his point collection in the playoffs. The playoffs also were a showcase for Wallmark who, after just eight goals in the regular season, scored seven in nine postseason contests. Read more»
Photo: Lake Erie Monsters goaltender and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Joonas Korpisalo was a top performer for the Monsters in their opening round sweep of the Rockford IceHogs in the 2016 AHL playoffs (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
Four teams remain in the AHL Western Conference playoff race that kicks off Thursday in California and in Cleveland.
The two matchups feature teams that met several times in the 2015-16 season, so both series could potentially go the full seven games. Read more»