Photo: Karpat Oulu forward and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Sebastian Aho (#16) turned in a strong 2015-16 season, winning gold at the U20 World Junior Championship and finishing among the top scorers in Liiga (courtesy of Karpat Oulu/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)
If there was a theme to the season in Liiga in 2015-16 it can best be described by the old adage, “Youth shall be served.”
Much of the attention focused on 17-year-olds Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi — who barring any major surprises will be among the top three players picked in the 2016 NHL Draft. In terms of drafted forward prospects, three of their teammates on the gold medal champion U20 team also had big seasons and could be signing NHL contracts in the near future. Read more»
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: Frolunda Gothenburg forward and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Andreas Johnson (R) won an SHL championship last month as Frolunda defeated perennial contender Skelleftea in the SHL finals (courtesy of Frolunda Gothenburg/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)
The SHL often features a plethora of NHL-drafted forwards who play an important role for their team. This year, two of those forwards, namely Andreas Johnson (TOR) and Lucas Wallmark (CAR), have been absolutely key contributors. Johnson actually finished sixth overall in league scoring and continued adding to his point collection in the playoffs. The playoffs also were a showcase for Wallmark who, after just eight goals in the regular season, scored seven in nine postseason contests. Read more»
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»
Photo: Barrie Colts defenseman and Calgary Flames prospect Rasmus Andersson had a productive 2016 playoff, posting two goals and 15 points in 15 games for the Colts (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
While the elite quality of OHL defensemen from the 2015-16 season may not resemble the ranks of the past – or even what we are likely to see next season – there is a solid roster of depth defensemen that can bring some quality and value to NHL ranks. Read more»