Posted On Monday, 06.09.2014 / 6:24 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Draisaitl thrilled to be recognized by Messier

NEW YORK -- Leon Draisaitl is a known commodity among NHL scouts and general managers after his outstanding season with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League.

But when members of the Hockey Hall of Fame recognize you, well, that's pretty special.

Draisaitl and the other top prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft were leaving a TSN set after taping a segment when they crossed paths with Mark Messier, who was to be next on the set. Messier introduced himself to the star-struck prospects; when Draisaitl said his name, Messier had an immediate reaction.

"Are you related to Peter Draisaitl?" Messier asked Leon.

Peter Draisaitl, Leon's father, played professional hockey for 18 seasons in Germany, including four seasons with the Cologne Sharks. During that time Messier would skate in Cologne in the offseason and became friendly with Peter.

Posted On Monday, 06.09.2014 / 4:49 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Canada invites McDonald, Moran to goalie camp

Two of the top three North American goaltending prospects were among the 10 players invited by Hockey Canada to the Program of Excellence goaltending camp, to be held June 11-14 at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary.

The camp is the first step in Canada picking its team for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be played in Toronto and Montreal.

Among those invited are Mason McDonald of the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Brent Moran of the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League.

Posted On Thursday, 06.05.2014 / 2:34 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

USHL top prospects share scholar-athlete award

Forwards Alex Tuch of the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team and Anthony Angello of the Omaha Lancers have been named co-recipients of the 2013-14 United States Hockey League scholar-athlete award.

Tuch becomes the first player from the USNTDP to earn the USHL scholar-athlete award, while Angello becomes the fourth player from Omaha to be recognized.

The USHL scholar-athlete award, established in 2007, recognizes players for their success in the classroom and on the ice. The candidates are nominated by their coaches, teachers and academic counselors based on their grade-point-average, coursework and overall school participation.

Posted On Thursday, 06.05.2014 / 9:20 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Demko among invitees to U.S. goalie evaluation camp

Thatcher Demko, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American goaltender for the 2014 NHL Draft, was one of seven goalies invited to the United States National Junior Goaltender Evaluation Camp.

The camp will be held June 9-11 in Ann Arbor, Mich., and is the first step in evaluating the team the United States will field for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Demko was the third goaltender on the U.S. team that finished fifth after losing to Russia in the quarterfinals at the 2013 WJC. He did not dress for any games.

Posted On Monday, 06.02.2014 / 4:03 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

New president praises USHL as development model

Bob Fallen, the newly appointed president and commissioner of the United States Hockey League, knows the importance of having players in the crosshairs of scouts and general managers at the NHL draft.

He has every intention of keeping it that way too, Fallen said Monday during a conference call to introduce him to national media.

"Those of us who watch a lot of hockey need to look no further than what we saw [in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final] when people like [Los Angeles Kings defenseman] Alec Martinez and [Chicago Blackhawks left wing] Patrick Sharp were battling for the right to play in the Stanley Cup [Final]," Fallen said. "Both played in the USHL; Alec at Cedar Rapids and Patrick at Thunder Bay.

"It's all about the American developmental model, and we consider the USHL to be an absolute lynchpin step in that path for developing players."

The 2013 NHL Draft marked the ninth straight year at least one player from the USHL was among the top 30 picks. In total a record 32 players competing in the league in 2012-13 were selected last June.

"I cannot in any way, shape or form disparage any other alternatives for developing hockey players; if people have another path to follow to the NHL, more power to them," Fallen said. "We just consider the USHL a really excellent opportunity for people and players developing not only for the NHL but college hockey before they reach the NHL."

Posted On Monday, 06.02.2014 / 3:58 PM

By Staff -  / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

First-round order for 2014 NHL Draft almost set

With the conference finals finished, the draft order for the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft has been established for the 28 teams watching with the rest of hockey fans around the world.

The first 13 slots were set by the NHL Draft Lottery, which was held April 15 and won by the Florida Panthers.

In addition, the New Jersey Devils were awarded pick No. 30 as relief from an earlier penalty for circumventing the salary cap when the team signed Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010.

Among teams that made the Stanley Cup Playoffs, non-division winners eliminated in the first two rounds were placed in inverse order of regular-season points, followed by division winners in inverse order of regular-season points.

Posted On Saturday, 05.24.2014 / 4:38 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Frontenacs' Bennett named top CHL prospect

There might not be a consensus top pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, but the Canadian Hockey League award voters made their choice Saturday, naming Samuel Bennett the top prospect in the league.

Bennett, a center with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League, was ninth in the OHL with 91 points in 57 games. He led his team in points, goals (36), assists (55), plus/minus rating (plus-34) and power-play goals (10). He had a league-best 25-game scoring streak in which he scored 17 goals and 46 points.

The 6-foot, 178-pound forward is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 Draft.

Posted On Thursday, 05.22.2014 / 12:45 PM

By Staff -  / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Virtanen out 4-6 months after shoulder surgery

Calgary Hitmen forward Jake Virtanen, No. 6 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, will need 4-6 months to recover from recent shoulder surgery, the team announced Thursday.

Virtanen will attend the NHL Scouting Combine, held in Toronto May 25-31, but will not take part in any of the physical testing.

The 6-foot, 208-pound right wing was sixth in the Western Hockey League with 45 goals in 71 regular-season games. He was third on the Hitmen with 71 points, and had one goal and three assists in six WHL playoff games.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.21.2014 / 11:06 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Pawloski helps Indiana Ice to Clark Cup championship

The Indiana Ice celebrated their second Clark Cup championship of the United States Hockey League on Tuesday following a 3-2 victory in Game 5 against the Waterloo Black Hawks before 3,500 at Young Arena in Waterloo, Iowa.

Alex Talcott, who is eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, and Washington Capitals prospect Brian Pinho scored goals in the third period when Indiana rallied from a 2-1 deficit to win the best-of-5 series. The Ice won their first league title since 2008-09. Waterloo was seeking its first championship since the 2003-04 campaign.

Indiana goalie Jason Pawloski, who was No. 34 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings of the top North American goalies eligible for the 2014 draft but failed to make the final list in April, made 33 saves to notch his eighth win of the playoffs. He finished with a 1.80 goals-against average and .928 save percentage on the way to being named most valuable player of the 2014 Clark Cup Playoffs.

Posted On Friday, 05.16.2014 / 10:40 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Top 2014 prospects highlight USHL All-Star teams

Top 2014 NHL Draft prospects Brandon Montour of the Waterloo Black Hawks, Jacob Randolph of the Omaha Lancers and Matheson Iacopelli of the Muskegon Lumberjacks were recognized Thursday as First Team All-Stars by the United States Hockey League.

The USHL All-Star Teams were determined by a vote of league coaches and general managers. Seven different teams were represented on the First and Second All-Star teams.

Montour, No. 92 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for this year's draft, was named the USHL player of the year and best defenseman for 2013-14. He finished ninth in scoring with 62 points (14 goals, 48 assists). Montour put together an 18-game point streak, a span that saw him total four goals and 27 points as Waterloo went 16-1-1. The University of Massachusetts recruit ranked sixth in the league with a plus-35 rating.

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