Photo: San Antonio Rampage goaltender and Colorado Avalanche prospect Calvin Pickard turned in a strong showing in NHL action in 2014-15, but will begin the 2015-16 season in the AHL (courtesy of Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
When Calvin Pickard was a 9-year-old in Winnipeg he made one of the most important decisions of his life — he wanted to be a goalie.
Pickard had first been “thrown into” the net when he was eight. And he played “pretty well” in goal, but still split time between forward and goalie until that all-important decision. Read more»
Photo: The Los Angeles Kings’ top farm club in 2014-15, the Manchester Monarchs, raised a championship banner last season, but many of the players from that team have moved cross-country to compete for the Kings’ new AHL team, the Ontario Reign, in 2015-16 (courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)
The American Hockey League vastly changed the hockey universe’s landscape when it moved five teams to California for the start of the 2015-16 season. And the Pacific Division will be ground zero for the experiment, where the California five will share a division with the two Texas-based franchises. Read more»
Photo: 2014 first-round pick Conner Bleackley has been a great leader for the Red Deer Rebels, but more production this season should help him secure an entry-level contract from the Avs (courtesy of Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy have used the last three drafts and two summers to turn a once dismal prospect pool into an underrated one. The key to continued success in the NHL is to have good depth and cheap replacements: two things a strong pipeline provides. Before the duo took over the front office, the team depth had been hurt by immediate graduation of top picks and lack of success in the later rounds in addition to free agency duds.
Photo: Barrie Colts forward and Calgary Flames prospect Andrew Mangiapane goes head-to-head with Ottawa 67’s forward and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Travis Konecny on opening weekend in the OHL (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
Prospect Faceoff returns to Hockey’s Future with a pair of recently re-assigned Philadelphia Flyers prospects kicking off their junior season in style. In Ottawa, Travis Konecny goes one-on-one against one of 2015’s breakout stars in Andrew Mangiapane. Another Flyers prospect recently returned to his junior team, Travis Sanheim, goes against a steady performer in Luke Philp. The QMJHL is already underway, and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Dmytro Timashov’s playmaking abilities will be tested against Nicolas Meloche. Finally, the USHL kicks off their regular season this weekend and two late-round European prospects should see a lot of each other in a prime weekend venue. Read more»
Photo: Top Colorado Avalanche prospect Mikko Rantanen has over 100 professional games on his resume already (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Defense wins championships and that is what Patrick Roy returned to Denver to accomplish. Despite his team taking a step back in his sophomore season behind an NHL bench, Roy is confident the lessons learned will only help the team going forward. In addition to his role as head coach, Roy holds a second title as Vice President of Hockey Operations, giving him a voice in all player personnel decisions. The new philosophy as to how the team will be constructed both now and in the future is trending towards an emphasis on size, character, and skills. Roy has also shown he is open to drafting and signing free agents from Europe’s top leagues, something that occurred less frequently in the years prior to his return.