Photo: Blainville-Boisbriand Armada forward Nikita Jevpalovs had been passed over three times in the NHL Draft but was just signed to a contract by the San Jose Sharks (courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)
The NHL Draft often signals the beginning of a future professional career for many young hopefuls. For those not drafted, it can become a motivator to improve and put in the work necessary in order to be noticed. The Off the Radar article is a monthly feature that spotlights prospects that have been overlooked in previous drafts who could be worthy of another chance. Read more»
Photo: Defenseman Nikita Zadorov is one of several young players to suit up for the Buffalo Sabres this season. Zadorov is a first round pick from the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)
The Buffalo Sabres have not won a game in the 2015 calendar year, but all eyes are on the future, as the rebuild continues. A string of injuries and poor performances by the Sabres’ veterans opened up opportunities for some of the organization’s top AHL players to showcase their skill in the big leagues, and although the results have been mixed, generally speaking the franchise is in good shape for the future.
Photo: Team Finland forward and 2015 prospect Mikko Rantanen is ranked second among European skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings for the 2015 NHL Draft (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
In retrospect, the expectations that Finland might be able to match its gold medal-winning performance from the 2014 World Junior Championship were probably overly optimistic. Struggling to score goals through the entire 2015 edition of this tournament, the defending champions finished seventh after falling to rival Sweden, 6-3, in the quarterfinal round. Read more»
Photo: Team Russia defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov was named the Best Defenseman of the 2015 World Junior Championship by the IIHF Directorate (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
After a hard-fought round robin at the 2015 World Junior Championship, with a loss against Czech Republic and a shootout needed to defeat Denmark, Team Russia had a strong showing during the playoff round. They defeated the USA and Sweden to move on to the gold medal game, only to drop a one-goal game to Canada en route to a silver medal. Valeri Bragin did a great job of motivating the team, even during the championship game when Canada was leading by three goals. Read more»
Photo: Martin Jones of the Los Angeles Kings has struggled to replicate his strong play of last season (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Icon Sportswire)
The Los Angeles Kings have had an up and down season in 2014-15. They are a team that has struggled during the regular season year after year, but this year the team has faced other challenges. With suspensions, injuries, and inconsistent play from several veteran players, the Kings have turned towards some of the younger members to step forward. With a history of young players making a difference (Dwight King and Jordan Nolan in 2012, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli in 2014), it remains to be seen who will be the 2014-15 spark.