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: Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci is tied for fourth in scoring by a defenseman at the 2016 IIHF World Championship, posting one goal and four assists in six games for the unbeaten Canadian squad (courtesy of Pavel Bednyakov/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
The next generation of Canadian defensemen.
That’s what they’re saying about the crop of defenders that have come out of the 2012 NHL Draft, and six of those are currently playing for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship in Russia. Read more»
Photo: University of Michigan forward and Winnipeg Jets prospect Kyle Connor was a runner-up for the 2016 Hobey Baker Award after a strong freshman campaign with the Wolverines (courtesy of Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
A few different considerations go into deciding the Hockey’s Future NHL Prospect of the Year – performance, expectation, and of course showing up on the monthly list throughout the season. There were standout players at every level of hockey this season, but nobody fit the criteria more than University of Michigan’s Kyle Connor (WPG). Read more»
Photo: The Lake Erie Monsters have been dominant to start the Calder Cup playoffs, bolstered by Blue Jackets prospects like Oliver Bjorkstrand (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
Despite a horrendous start to the 2015-16 campaign that the team simply couldn’t recover from, a number of young players received quality playing time with the Blue Jackets this season and get to continue their seasons now. It might be hard to hear for a fanbase that was expecting playoffs this season, but a bright future in Cleveland means good things for the Columbus Blue Jackets. A deep playoff run builds crucial experience for young players and instills winning habits. But beyond the pro level, the organization has had impressive prospect performances at both the junior and amateur level, as well as overseas.
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»