California likely to be well represented at the 2014 NHL Draft

by Ian Altenbaugh
on

Sweden v United States - 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp

Photo: A native of southern California, goaltender Thatcher Demko has worked his way onto the radars of many NHL teams in the past year. Demko is beginning his freshman season with Boston College. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

If the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game is any indication, the state of California will be well represented at the 2014 NHL Draft. Four California-born players participated in the September 26th exhibition game, led by forward Chase De Leo and goaltender Thatcher Demko, both of whom head into the 2013-14 season with an 'A' ranking from NHL Central Scouting.

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2013-14 WHL Eastern Conference preview

by Glen Erickson
on
Patrik Bartosek - Red Deer Rebels

Photo: Red Deer Rebels goaltender and Los Angeles Kings prospect Patrik Bartosak earned the CHL Goaltender of the Year award in 2012-13, and is expected to aid the Rebels’ efforts to finish atop the Eastern Conference standings this season (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

 

Here’s a look at the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference heading into the 2013-14 season.

East Division

Saskatoon Blades (Last Season: 44-22-2-4; 1st in East Division)

A complete rebuild would seem accurate these days in Saskatoon as the organization enters its 50th year in the WHL. The off-season included significant change, as new ownership is now in place. In recent years, the team has traded high draft picks for veteran relief, none of which has resulted in much post-season success on the ice. Having hosted the most recent Memorial Cup tournament, it will be some time before the team threatens to earn another berth in the national championship event.

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2013-14 WHL Western Conference preview

by Glen Erickson
on
Shea Theodore - Seattle Thunderbirds

Photo: Seattle Thunderbirds defenseman and Anaheim Ducks prospect Shea Theodore will lead a young but talented Thunderbirds squad that could make some noise in 2013-14 (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

 

Here’s a look at the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference heading into the 2013-14 season.

BC Division

Kelowna Rockets (Last Season: 52-16-3-1; 1st in B.C. Division)

While it may be difficult to match the 52 victories achieved last season, the Rockets are considered a top contender in the WHL's Western Conference this season.

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2013 Rookie Tournament: Pouliot using disappointments from last season to spur him on in 2013-14

by Jason Menard
on
Derrick Pouliot - Team Canada

Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins defensive prospect Derrick Pouliot was a part of the Team Canada squad that competed last month at the 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

 

Pittsburgh Penguins’ defensive prospect Derrick Pouliot has enjoyed a number of successes over his career, but it’s a pair of disappointments that are fuelling the fire of what he hopes will be a dynamic 2013-14 season.

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2013 Rookie Tournament: Blackhawks’ McNeill, Danault building friendship as they begin pro career

by Jason Menard
on
Mark McNeill - Prince Albert Raiders

Photo: Chicago Blackhawks 2011 first round pick Mark McNeill has completed his WHL career with the Prince Albert Raiders and will most likely begin his pro career with the Rockford IceHogs (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

 

One’s a little bigger and has a bit more physicality to his game, while the other is slightly smaller, but has a little more offensive flair. One’s more serious and business-like in his approach; the other’s a little more jovial and laissez-faire. The question of which one preferred country and which preferred rock ‘n roll wasn't asked.

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