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Posted On Friday, 10.12.2012 / 11:42 AM

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

Dazzling plays show why MacKinnon is a top prospect

Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon is regarded as the potential top pick of the 2013 NHL Draft for his incredible offensive skills. The 6-foot, 182-pound center led all first-year players in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season with 47 assists, was second with 78 points and tied for third with 31 goals.

He's gotten off to a sensational start this season, with nine goals -- third in the League -- and 15 points in eight games.

His most recent goal might be his most spectacular. In a game Wednesday against the Moncton Wildcats, Halifax led 4-1 and after already scoring one power-play goal, he got another chance when Halifax went on the power play early in the third period.

MacKinnon took a pass at the Moncton blue line and carried the puck into the offensive zone. As Moncton defenseman Cameron McDonald stepped up to defend, MacKinnon slid the puck between McDonald's skates and went around the bewildered blueliner.

The puck rolled on net, where Moncton goalie Alex Dubeau tried to swat it into the corner. He whiffed on the attempt, however, and as the puck bounced off Dubeau's pads, MacKinnon controlled it and shot it under Dubeau.

That goal came one game after MacKinnon put on another show in an 11-2 rout of two-time defending league champion Saint John Sea Dogs. The 17-year-old forward had a hat trick, but the prettiest goal was his second.

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Posted On Monday, 10.08.2012 / 10:52 PM

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

QMJHL draft prospects earn league honors

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles center William Carrier showed why he's an A-list skater in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft, totaling four goals and four assists in four games to earn the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's First Star of the Week award.

Carrier, a 6-1.5, 198-pound forward, started his week with both Cape Breton goals in a 5-2 loss Wednesday to Rouyn-Noranda. He had a goal in Saturday's rematch with the Huskies, and had a goal and an assist Saturday in a 5-3 win against Val-d'Or. And on Sunday, he had three assists in a 7-3 loss to Foreurs.

Carrier now has a point in a league-high nine straight games, and with 16 points, he's tied for second in the league in scoring.

Another A-rated skater earned the QMJHL Second Star of the Week, as Halifax Mooseheads left wing Jonathan Drouin was honored after totaling seven points in three games. Drouin had a goal and an assist in a 6-2 win against Acadie-Bathurst, and followed that with a goal and an assist, plus a game-high six shots, in a 4-3 win against Saint John. And in Saturday's 11-2 rout of Saint John, Drouin had a goal, two assists and a plus-4 rating. The three-point game was Drouin's fifth multi-point game in seven this season, giving him 15 points in seven games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.02.2012 / 12:08 PM

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

Dea, Kujawinski, Shinkaruk win player of week awards

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies center Jean-Sebastien Dea has burst to the top of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scoring race after another outstanding week.

The 6-foot, 155-pound forward had six goals and two assists in three games last week. He had his second hat trick of the season in a 9-2 win at the Sherbrooke Phoenix on Wednesday, with two of the goals coming shorthanded, and he also added an assist. He had two more goals and an assist Friday in a 4-2 win at the Drummondville Voltigeurs, and he had a goal in the Huskies' 5-4 shootout win at the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Saturday.

His effort also earned him the Telus First Star of the Week.

Dea leads the QMJHL in goals (nine), power-play goals (four), shorthanded goals (two) and points (13).

Another 2013 draft prospect, Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender Sebastian Auger, was named the Third Star of the Week, stopping 97 of 101 shots in three games. He stopped 21 shots in a 4-2 win against the Moncton Wildcats on Wednesday, made 34 saves in a 3-1 win against the Gatineau Olympiques on Friday, and stopped 42 of 43 shots in a 5-1 win at Moncton on Sunday.

On the season, Auger is 4-1 in five games, and second in the league with a .944 save percentage and fourth with a 1.78 goals-against average.

The QMJHL isn't the only place 2013 draft hopefuls have been turning heads.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.29.2012 / 8:39 PM

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

Second period: Jones helps McLanahan to 4-0 lead

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Team McClanahan turned the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game into a bit of a rout with three second-period goals to take a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes here at First Niagara Center.

Seth Jones and Jacob Montgomery scored 2:11 apart early in the second, and Quentin Shore later scored off his own rebound to break the game open.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.29.2012 / 7:51 PM

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

First period: Fasching goal gives McClanahan lead

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Hudson Fasching scored the only goal of the first period, giving Team McClanahan a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes at the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.

Ryan Fitzgerald carried the puck down the left side into the Team Housley zone and showed great patience waiting for Fasching to find space at the far post, where he tapped the puck past Team Housley goalie Eamon McAdam at 15:54.

Team Housley outshot Team McClanahan 6-4 in the period, and play was fairly even and high-paced.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.29.2012 / 7:45 PM

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

Leafs GM Burke excited to see Prospects Game

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Few NHL officials are as intimately involved with USA Hockey as Brian Burke, and the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager was one of the more than 100 NHL scouts and GMs in attendance for Saturday's inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.

Like some others, Burke sees the game as the next logical step in USA Hockey's evolution as an elite developer of future NHL talent.

"I think USA Hockey had a vision 15 years ago when they started the [National Team Development Program]," Burke told NHL.com. "And they've built quality in the under-18s and they've built quality in the World Juniors and they've built quality in the Olympics, and this is the logical next step. Let's take the best kids and showcase them."

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Posted On Saturday, 09.29.2012 / 7:06 PM

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

Girgensons shares wisdom with teammate Downing

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman Michael Downing grew up about five hours away in Canton, Mich., but he'll have a pretty solid cheering section at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, thanks to one of his old teammates.

Zemgus Girgensons, a 2012 first-round NHL Draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres, was in attendance here at First Niagara Center prior to heading to Rochester for training camp with the Sabres' American Hockey League affiliate, the Rochester Americans.

Girgensons chatted with Downing briefly prior to Saturday's game and gave him the benefit of his experience in dealing with the pressure of a player's NHL-draft season.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.29.2012 / 4:23 PM

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

Lineups set for All-American Prospects Game

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Coaches Phil Housley and Rob McClanahan have set their lineups for tonight's inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game. Each team will skate with 11 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders. The teams each are down a forward following injuries this week to Kitchener's Justin Bailey, who would have played for Team McClanahan, and Dawson Cook of the U.S. National Team Development Program, who was on Team Housley's roster.

Here are lineups each team will use:

TEAM HOUSELY

Anthony Louis - J.T. Compher - Ryan Hartman

Tyler Motte - Sean Malone - Ross Olsson

Frank Vatrano - Tyler Kelleher - Evan Allen

Devin Tringale - Will Merchant

Ian McCoshen - Steven Santini

Mike Downing - Keaton Thompson

Scott Savage - Cody Corbett

Eamon McAdam will start in goal, with Hunter Miska replacing him midway through the second period.


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Posted On Saturday, 09.29.2012 / 1:43 PM

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

Scouts happy to have best of the best in one place

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Scouts are used to being on the road to see the prospects they need to evaluate each season. But when the prospects can all come to them, it makes the lives of some of the hardest-working people in hockey just a little bit easier.

For the scouts who examine U.S.-based prospects, they get a treat this weekend when 38 of the best American-born players showcase themselves at the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Saturday here at First Niagara Center.

With the season just getting under way in the Canadian junior leagues and about a week away in the USHL, Saturday's game also will serve as a baseline for what the scouts will be looking for from each of the players.

"It's a tremendous advantage for scouts, No. 1, just to get the caliber of players all together in one site," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr told NHL.com. "But the fact that now we get a head start on these players and our evaluations on them during the season. They all come to us in one venue. Not only is it good economically, but from a scouting point of view it gives you your first impression on the kids for the year."

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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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I'm sure [my father] was going crazy up there. I hope all of my friends were celebrating in the crowd. Coming back here and all of my friends and family are here, getting a goal in front of them is special.

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