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.
Photo: Severstal Cherepovets forward and New York Rangers prospect Pavel Buchnevich produced 13 goals and 30 points in 48 KHL games in 2014-15 (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
The eighth KHL season has begun as this year, the league’s first game – the Opening Cup game between SKA St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow – took place on August 24th. The reason for the early start is that the 2016 IIHF World Championship will be held in Russia, and therefore the league will need to finish a bit earlier than usual to accommodate the international competition. Read more»
Photo: Colorado Avalanche 2015 first round pick Mikko Rantanen signed an entry-level deal with the team in July (courtesy of Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Entering the 2015 NHL Draft, there was much uncertainty regarding the prospects coming out of Finland. TPS Turku center Mikko Rantanen was the top-ranked European skater according to Central Scouting, but after that it was anybody’s guess as to how things would go in Sunrise, Florida. Read more»