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Posted On Friday, 09.28.2012 / 4:52 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game Blog

What's next for the Prospects Game?

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The puck won't drop on the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game until Saturday, but some talk already has turned to the future of the game.

USA Hockey Assistant Executive Director of Hockey Operations Jim Johannson said he envisions the Prospects Game as something the next generation of NHL hopefuls growing up in the United States can use as a goal.

"One of the things we hope this event does is become another marker in a young players' development, to say I want to make the All-American Prospects Game," Johannson said. "The National Team Development Program was a key part of our growth and development and we have kids aspiring to make the National Team Development Program and we want them to aspire to make the Prospects Game."

As far as any changes to the set-up or timing of the game, Johannson said that will come in the days and weeks following Saturday's game here at First Niagara Center.

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Posted On Friday, 09.28.2012 / 4:37 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game Blog

Buffalo, Sabres are excited hosts

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres and USA Hockey formed a strong partnership for the 2011 World Junior Championship, so bringing the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game to Buffalo was a pretty easy decision.

And the response from the area has been solid.

Sabres president Ted Black wouldn't give a number on tickets sold, but said he expects about 5,000 fans to be in the First Niagara Center for the game Saturday night.

"I think the fans are very excited about it," Black said. "I don't know what our ticket count is right now but we expect to have over 5,000 fans in the building, and for an event of this caliber, I think that's a pretty good start. Tickets are available and we expect a pretty strong walk-up crowd."

Black said beyond tickets, he said success will be measured by the amount of fun the players and fans have. The players, who started arriving Friday, will be treated to a special private event at the First Niagara Center, hosted by Sabres owner Terry Pegula, and his wife, Kim.

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Posted On Friday, 09.28.2012 / 3:57 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game Blog

Housley watching with eye on World Junior

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Phil Housley, who will coach one of the teams at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Saturday, also will coach the U.S. at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. So you can be sure he'll be taking lots of notes on potential candidates for the team he takes to Ufa, Russia for the event.

The World Juniors generally is a tournament for 19- and 20-year-olds, but Housley said he would keep an open mind for any player to make the team. Of the 45 players USA Hockey invited to its junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid in August, two -- defenseman Seth Jones and forward Ryan Hartman -- were 18, and both made the initial cut-down and played well in exhibition games against Finland and Sweden.

"Certainly we're going to keep an open mind," Housley said.

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Posted On Friday, 09.28.2012 / 11:35 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game Blog

Bailey, Cook out of Prospects Game with injuries

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Injuries will force forwards Justin Bailey and Dawson Cook to skip the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Saturday here at First Niagara Center.

With the game so close, each team will skate with 11 forwards.

Bailey, a center with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, was scheduled to play for Team McClanahan. Rated as an A player to watch in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players-to-watch list, is scoreless in three games this season, with four penalty minutes. Playing for the Pat Lafontaine-coached Long Island Royals last season, the 6-foot-3.25, 194-pound forward had 21 goals and 34 points in 22 games.

Cook, a left wing with the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team, had been assigned to Team Housley. Rated a C player to watch, Cook has one goal in three preseason games. Last season, he had two goals and 10 assists in 54 games for the USNTDP U-17 team.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.27.2012 / 8:03 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-American Prospects Game Blog

Top U.S. talent set for All-American Prospects Game

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The puck drops for the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Saturday, and that first puck will be dropped by Hockey Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman.

Bowman coached the Sabres from 1979-87, compiling a record of 210-134-60. His best season coming in his first, as the Sabres finished with 110 points, tied for the second-most in franchise history. Bowman also played a role in bringing AAPG coaches Phil Housley and Rob McClanahan to Buffalo.

The rosters for Team Housley and Team McClanahan will feature 40 of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.

That list includes Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones, a candidate to hear his name called first next June, playing for Team McClanahan.

"I've got to say I'm very jealous because Rob has Seth Jones," Housley said on a conference call. "Extremely talented. It just seems like he's made for today's game. He's big, fast, strong, can move the puck and make that first pass out of the zone, can play in all situations. I'm mad at Rob for taking him."

Housley will have more than a few good players of his own, among them defenseman Ian McCoshen of the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL and forward J.T. Compher of the U.S. National Team Development Program. Both are ranked as A skaters on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list.

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Posted On Monday, 09.24.2012 / 9:55 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Petan, Drouin receive league honors

Monday was a chance for two of the top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft to pick up some hardware for their efforts last week.

Portland Winterhawks center Nicolas Petan and Halifax Mooseheads Jonathan Drouin were named the Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League players of the week.

Petan, a C-ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary watch list, had a league-best eight points with a plus-6 rating in three games to earn the Denny's WHL Player of the Week award.

He had a goal and an assist in Friday's season-opening 5-2 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds, but followed with a goal and three assists Saturday in a 6-2 rematch with the Thunderbirds in Portland. He capped his weekend with two goals in Portland's 4-2 defeat of the Tri-City Americans. Petan was named the first star of the game in the last two games of the weekend.

Drouin was named the Telus First Star of the Week after starting the season with seven points and a plus-6 rating in three games. A 5-foot-10.75, 185-pound forward, Drouin had a goal and an assist in the Mooseheads' 4-3 win at the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Friday, and had a goal, four assists and a plus-4 rating in Halifax's 8-1 win at PEI on Sunday.

Another 2013 draft prospect, Rimouski Oceanic goaltender Carl Hozjan, was named the QMJHL's third star of the week after winning both of his starts, stopping 45 of 46 shots in the process. He made 28 saves on 29 shots in a 5-1 win at the Sherbrooke Phoenix on Friday. Saturday, he entered the game seven minutes into the second period in relief of starter Philippe Desrosiers with the Oceanic trailing 3-0, and stopped all 17 shots he faced in regulation and overtime as Rimouski rallied to tie the game. He then turned aside all four chances he faced in the shootout as the Oceanic beat the defending Memorial Cup champion Shawinigan Cataractes 4-3.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Monday, 09.24.2012 / 11:36 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Petan's big weekend tops draft prospect roundup

Seth Jones is the top name among 2013 NHL Draft eligible players on the Portland Winterhawks, but it was his teammate, center Nicolas Petan, who stole the show over the weekend,

Petan, a 5-8.5, 163-pound center rated as a C player to watch on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings, had four goals and four assists in three games for Portland over the weekend as the Winterhawks went 2-1-0.

He opened his weekend with a goal and an assist in a 5-2 season-opening home loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday, then had a goal and three assists in Saturday's rematch in Seattle, and finished with a pair of goals in the Winterhawks' 4-2 win at the Tri-City Americans on Sunday.

In the Tri-City game, Jones, a defenseman regarded by some scouts as the best player available for this year's draft, picked up his first WHL point, assisting on Petan's second goal of the game.

Petan wasn't the only top 2013 draft prospect to have a big weekend. Here's a recap of some of the best performances from Canadian Hockey League players:

WHL

* Moose Jaw's Andrew Johnson scored in overtime to lift the Warriors to a 4-3 win Friday against Swift Current.

* Riley Sheen had two goals and two assists in the two games against Portland. He scored twice in Friday's win, and had a pair of assists Saturday.

* Landon Cross had a goal and two assists to help the Kamloops Blazers to a 6-5 overtime win against the Kelowna Rockets on Friday.

* Zane Jones scored twice Saturday to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-1 win against the Kootenay Ice.

* Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Ryan Pulock, an A skater in Central Scouting's rankings, had three assists in a 7-4 win at the Regina Pats on Saturday.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.22.2012 / 8:33 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Varied results for MacKinnon, Jones in season debuts

Halifax Mooseheads forward Nathan MacKinnon and Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones, the top two candidates to hear their names called first at the 2013 NHL Draft, made their season debuts Friday night, but had very different levels of success.

MacKinnon, the 6-foot, 182-pound center starting his second season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, scored an overtime power-play goal to help the Mooseheads to a 4-3 road win against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

MacKinnon drew a tripping penalty on Cape Breton's Jonathan Oligny 51 seconds into the 4-on-4 overtime, and then beat goalie Philippe Trudeau on a one-timer at 1:17 to give Halifax the win after it had surrendered a 3-1 third-period lead.

MacKinnon finished with five shots, a plus-2 rating, and won 21 of 28 faceoffs.

MacKinnon wasn't the only top-rated Halifax draft prospect to have an impact on the game. Goalie Zachary Fucale, rated as an A goaltender in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings, stopped 15 of 18 shots. And left wing Jonathan Drouin, an A-ranked skater, scored Halifax's first goal and added an assist.

On the other side of the continent, things didn't go as well for Jones, who was a minus-1 in the Winterhawks' 5-2 home loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds.

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Posted On Friday, 09.21.2012 / 10:02 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Solid opening night for Ottawa's Monahan

Sean Monahan is a name fans will hear a lot about in reference to the 2013 NHL Draft. The Ottawa 67s center is rated an A player to watch in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings, and he showed why as the Canadian Hockey League season opened Thursday.

Monahan, named a team co-captain -- he'll wear the C for road games, while defenseman Cody Ceci will wear it for home games -- had a pair of goals and an assist as the 67s opened the Ontario Hockey League season with a 6-4 loss to the Barrie Colts.

Barrie took a 2-0 lead late in the first period, but just 19 seconds after Barrie scored its second goal, Monahan scored to cut Ottawa's deficit to one, and then set up Michal Cajkovsky's power-play goal to tie the game with 19 seconds left in the first.

After Barrie went ahead in the second, Monahan scored a power-play goal late in the period to make it 3-3.

Monahan wasn't the only draft-eligible player to have a good night.

In the OHL, Niagara left wing Anthony DiFruscia scored the game-winning goal 4:34 into the third period of the IceDogs' 4-2 win against the Erie Otters. Niagara goalie Christopher Festarini stopped 27 of 29 shots to register the win.

Owen Sound center Cameron Brace had two goals and an assist in the Attack's 6-1 win at the Windsor Spitfires.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.20.2012 / 2:19 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Wheat Kings name Pulock captain

Earlier today it was Medicine Hat's Hunter Shinkaruk, and now another top-rated 2013 NHL Draft prospect has been named his team's captain.

The Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League on Thursday handed the captaincy to defenseman Ryan Pulock, rated an A list player by NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary ranking of players for this year's draft.

A 6-foot, 210-pound defenseman, Pulock was third among WHL defensemen last season in goals (19) and points (60) while posting a plus-33 rating in 71 regular-season games, and added five points in nine playoff games. He also had two points in six games to help Canada win the bronze medal at the 2012 World Under-18 Championship.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelamn@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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