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: Arizona’s 2011 first-round pick Connor Murphy has developed into an NHL defender, as well as a consistent blueliner for Team USA (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)
The 2010-11 season produced a playoff berth for the Phoenix Coyotes, but one that ended poorly, in a sweep at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings. With that bitter defeat in mind, and having conceded 18 goals in those four games, toughness seemed to be the foremost goal at the draft table. The offensive flair the Coyotes have added in recent years is missing, but some of these players have indeed gone on to help the franchise’s cause.
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: Barrie Colts defenseman and Calgary Flames prospect Rasmus Andersson had a productive 2016 playoff, posting two goals and 15 points in 15 games for the Colts (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
While the elite quality of OHL defensemen from the 2015-16 season may not resemble the ranks of the past – or even what we are likely to see next season – there is a solid roster of depth defensemen that can bring some quality and value to NHL ranks. Read more»
Photo: Edmonton Oilers rookie forward Connor McDavid will compete for Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship that begins next week in Moscow and St. Petersburg (courtesy of Bob Frid/Icon Sportswire)
The race for the 2016 Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie was certainly interesting. But, if the staff at Hockey’s Future is right, the winner of this year’s award will be the person many expected to win it when the season started, that individual being the Edmonton Oilers‘ Connor McDavid. Read more»