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2011 NHL Entry Draft
2011 NHL Entry Draft Hats
Posted On Wednesday, 02.09.2011 / 1:25 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

2011 Minnesota Mr. Hockey candidates announced

The top 10 candidates for the 2011 Mr. Hockey Award for the state of Minnesota were announced on Wednesday afternoon.

They include Josh Archibald (Brainerd High School), Ben Bahe (Hill-Murray), Jon Brodzinski (Blaine High School), Tony Cameranesi (Wayzata High School), Patrick Daly (Benilde-St. Margaret’s), Max Everson (Edina High School), Steven Fogarty (Edina High School), Garrett Hendrickson (Virginia High School), Joe LaBate (Academy of Holy Angels) and Kyle Rau (Eden Prairie High School).

Rau (Minnesota), Daly (Wisconsin), Everson (Harvard), Fogarty (Notre Dame), Hendrickson (St. Cloud), Archibald (Nebraska-Omaha) and Cameranesi (Minnesota-Duluth) all have college committments. Eden Prairie's Andrew Ford, and Lake of the Woods' Alex Lyon were named finalists for the Brimsek Award for the state's top senior goaltender.

The 27th annual Mr. Hockey Awards Banquet will be held at 12:00 p.m. on March 13 at the Grand Ballroom at RiverCentre (175 Kellogg Boulevard). The Minnesota State boys' High School Hockey Tournament will be held at Xcel Energy Center, March 9-12.

The Mr. Hockey Award is given to the outstanding senior high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota and is selected by a panel of National Hockey League Scouts, Division I coaches and selected media members from around the state. Three other awards will be presented at the banquet: The Frank Brimsek Award, The John Mariucci Award, given to the Class A and Class AA high school coaches of the year and The Cliff Thompson Award, presented to the "Old Timer Coach" of the year.

Previous Mr. Hockey Award winners are: Tom Chorske (1985), George Pelawa (1986), Kris Miller (1987), Larry Olimb (1988), Trent Klatt (1989), Joe Dziedzic (1990), Darby Hendrickson (1991), Brian Bonin (1992), Nick Checco (1993), Mike Crowley (1994), Erik Rasmussen (1995), Dave Spehar (1996), Aaron Miskovich (1997), John Pohl (1998), Jeff Taffe (1999), Paul Martin (2000), Marty Sertich (2001), Gino Guyer (2002), Nate Dey (2003), Tom Gorowsky (2004), Brian Lee (2005), David Fischer (2006), Ryan McDonagh (2007), Aaron Ness (2008), Nick Leddy (2009) and Nick Bjugstad (2010).
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Posted On Monday, 02.07.2011 / 8:57 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Landeskog returns, Larsson does not

One thing's for sure, there was certainly plenty of excitement in Kitchener this weekend.

First there was the news of two-time Team USA World Junior Championship participant Jerry D'Amigo, who last Thursday was assigned by the Toronto Maple Leafs back to Kitchener, the team that chose him in the 12th round of the 2007 OHL Priority Selection. D'Amigo had signed a three-year entry level contract with the Leafs in August, 2010, after being selected by the team in the sixth round (No. 158 overall) in 2009.

On Friday, Kitchener coach Steve Spott confirmed that Rangers' captain Gabriel Landeskog, the No. 1-rated North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting's mid-term report on Jan. 10, would make his triumphant return to the lineup against the Plymouth Whalers following a 15-game absence due to a severe ankle sprain.

D'Amigo and Landeskog played on a line together in a 6-3 victory over Plymouth on Friday. D'Amigo notched a goal and one assist and Landeskog chipped in with one assist in his first game back. In Sunday's 4-2 victory over Sault Ste. Marie, D'Amigo was named the game's first star after collecting a goal and one assist once again.

While Landeskog is back in the lineup, another top-tier 2011 draft-eligible prospect, Adam Larsson of the Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League, will likely remain sidelined for precautionary measures until Feb. 17. Larsson, No. 1-ranked player on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term list of the top draft-eligible European players, is suffering from a groin injury that has apparently hampered Larsson all season. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound blue liner has been out of the lineup since the completion of the World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., on Jan. 5.

The top draft-eligible Russian available in the upcoming Draft might just be Vladislav Namestnikov of the London Knights (OHL). Namestnkiov, whose father, Evgeny, and uncle, Slava Kozlov, were former NHLers, has every intention of perfecting his game in North America. Read his story here.

In case you missed it, NHL.com's Adam Kimelman featured goalie Liam Liston of the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) on Friday. Liston, the only goalie to stop every shot faced (18) in the Top Prospects Game at Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Jan. 19, is ranked No. 4 among domestic goalies by Central Scouting.
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Posted On Friday, 02.04.2011 / 12:53 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Kitchener captain Gabriel Landeskog will return to ice

Kitchener Rangers captain Gabriel Landeskog, the No. 1-rated North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting's mid-term report on Jan. 10, will be in the lineup on Friday for his team's Ontario Hockey League matchup against the Plymouth Whalers.

"We're good to go, he's had almost two full weeks with contact now and for me it was more mental than physical and he feels this is the time to go and he's ready to go," Kitchener coach Steve Spott told NHL.com.

The news comes one day after Spott announced that the Toronto Maple Leafs had assigned Jerry D'Amigo to Kitchener, the team that chose him in the 12th round of the 2007 OHL Priority Selection. D'Amigo had signed a three-year entry level contract with the Leafs in August, 2010, after being selected by the team in the sixth round (No. 158 overall) in 2009.

"With Jerry, and now Gabriel, there's a good buzz in the city so it should be a fun building tonight," Spott said.

"I really look forward to playing in front of the home crowd again," Landeskog told NHL.com on Wednesday. "Just
that feeling to step out onto the ice is something that I really look forward to right now."

A high ankle sprain forced Landeskog to miss all but one game for Team Sweden in the World Junior Championship and required him to relinquish his roster spot in the Top Prospects Game -- to Shane Prince of the Ottawa 67's. Landeskog has 25 goals, 45 points and a plus-24 rating in 32 OHL games. Despite not playing since Dec. 18, he still leads his team in goals and is third in points.

Central Scouting rated Landeskog the No. 1 skater in the Ontario Hockey League in its preliminary rankings release in November. Landeskog is the second European-born and -trained player to captain an OHL team -- New York Islanders prospect Tomas Marcinko, a native of Slovakia, captained the Barrie Colts in 2007-08.

Landeskog admitted being surprised with the No. 1 ranking last month.

"I was pretty surprised, to be honest," he said. "I wasn't expecting it at all but, to me, it was just something that showed me that I was doing good things on the ice. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. At the same time, it's just a list and you want on be on the top of the rankings at the end of June and not in January, so you have to just stay on track and keep doing what your doing."

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.02.2011 / 4:38 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Landeskog hopes to return to lineup Friday

Kitchener Rangers captain Gabriel Landeskog, the No. 1-rated North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting's mid-term report on Jan. 10, is cautiously optimistic he'll return to the lineup on Friday in an Ontario Hockey League matchup against the Plymouth Whalers.

"I really look forward to playing in front of the home crowd again," Landeskog told NHL.com. "Just that feeling to step out onto the ice is something that I really look forward to right now. So I'm going to have a good practice tomorrow and continue to do my rehab and hopefully I'll feel good to go on Friday."

A high ankle sprain forced Landeskog to miss all but one game for Team Sweden in the World Junior Championship and required him to relinquish his roster spot in the Top Prospects Game -- to Shane Prince of the Ottawa 67's. Landeskog has 25 goals, 45 points and a plus-24 rating in 32 OHL games. Despite not playing since Dec. 18, he still leads his team in goals and is third in points.

"The ankle is getting better, the rehab is progressing pretty well right now," he said. "I've been doing exercises to strengthen up the muscles and also doing things to get the balance and the power into it as well."

Central Scouting rated Landeskog the No. 1 skater in the Ontario Hockey League in its preliminary rankings release in November. Landeskog is the second European-born and -trained player to captain an OHL team -- New York Islanders prospect Tomas Marcinko, a native of Slovakia, captained the Barrie Colts in 2007-08.

Landeskog admitted being surprised with the No. 1 ranking last month.

"I was pretty surprised, to be honest," he said. "I wasn't expecting it at all but, to me, it was just something that showed me that I was doing good things on the ice. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. At the same time, it's just a list and you want on be on the top of the rankings at the end of June and not in January, so you have to just stay on track and keep doing what your doing."
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.01.2011 / 6:16 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Adam Larsson might return this weekend from injury

Reports out of Sweden are that defenseman Adam Larsson, the No. 1-ranked player on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term list of the top draft-eligible European players, could return to the lineup as early as this weekend.

A groin injury, which has apparently hampered Larsson all season, has kept the 6-foot-3, 200-pound blue liner sidelined since the completion of the World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., on Jan. 5.

Larsson, who did play in the semifinals and bronze-medal game at the WJC, supposedly pushed it a little too much and is now on the mend. It probably didn't help that he was on the receiving end of a booming check by Team Canada and Columbus Blue Jackets draftee Ryan Johanson in the tournament semifinal. Larsson was hit so hard, his feet came off the ice as he went back-first into his own goalpost.

Larsson is in the midst of his second season playing for Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League. He's projected to be a top five pick in the 2011 Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn., on June 24.

Larsson represented Sweden at the 2010 and 2011 World Junior Championship, finishing as the team's highest scoring defender at the tournament this past season with 1 goal and 4 points. He's currently playing for Skellefea AIK in Elitserien, where he's produced 7 assists, 8 points and 37 penalty minutes in 28 games.

Two of Larsson's teammates on this year's Swedish National Junior Team praised their impressive young defenseman when asked for comparisons to current Tampa Bay Lightning defender Victor Hedman.

"I think Adam is better than Hedman in his draft year, but that's my opinion," said Larsson's WJC defensive partner and Sweden's alternate captain, Fredrik Styrman."He's more stick handling and can move the puck quick. That's the big thing, and he can hit too. He's a strong guy and he's big. I think he has a great future (in North America)."

Goalie Robin Lehner, who was drafted in the second round by the Ottawa Senators in 2009, feels very confident with Larsson patrolling his end.

"Hedman was big, of course, and strong and Adam is smaller but he makes up for that with smartness," Lehner told NHL.com. "He's really smart with the puck and tough. He won't back down from anything and even fought a 30-year-old in Swedish league. He just has this glow in his eyes … you know he's going to be a great player."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.01.2011 / 12:25 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Don't miss these Draft profiles

With all the attention paid the last couple weeks to the 2011 All-Star Game, just want to make sure all the Entry Draft profiles we've been writing here don't get lost, because there's been some pretty neat stuff going up.

In case you missed Tomas Jurco's unbelievable puck wizardry at the Top Prospects Game skills competition, Jurco emptied his bag of tricks for NHL.com's cameras. Also, Mike Morreale caught up with Tomas and got him to explain how he developed his amazing skills.

Ryan Murphy of the Kitchener Rangers is on pace to score at a level no OHL defenseman has reached in 15 years. But he asks that you please don't label him an offensive defenseman. He's working to do much more with his game.

And let's not forget the masked men. In this case, U.S. National Team goaltender John Gibson, who is looking to follow in the footsteps of another USNTDP goalie, Jack Campbell. Gibson has the size and skill that made Campbell a desirable prospect.

There's a lot more at NHL.com's Entry Draft website, and we're always adding more, so click back often.
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Posted On Monday, 01.24.2011 / 9:55 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Top Prospects recap and USNTDP goalies to watch

There has been plenty of discussion following last week's Top Prospects Game at Air Canada Centre in Toronto regarding which players elevated their draft status with better than average performances.

I will say this. I thought all 40 players participating in the event held their own and I really couldn't single out one player who disappointed, that's for sure. The event, sponsored by Home Hardware and presented by the CHL, was a great opportunity for scouts and general managers to get a glimpse of what the future holds for the 2011 Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Right off the bat, I must say that Brandon Wheat Kings goalie Liam Liston performed exceptionally well in his 30:30 of action for Team Orr. Liston, selected in the third round (No. 57 overall) by Brandon in the 2008 WHL bantam draft, made 18 saves on 18 shots. He faced the most rubber of any of the four goalies.

Offensively, couldn't help but be impressed with the Big Four from the QMJHL's Saint John Sea Dogs -- forwards Zack Phillips, Jonathan Huberdeau and Tomas Jurco (Team Cherry) and defenseman Nathan Beaulieu. Phillips, Huberdeau and Beaulieu combined for 3 goals and 6 points in Team Orr's 7-1 victory over Team Cherry. Jurco wasn't in on the scoring for Team Cherry but he did produce the highest point total in the Showdown Breakaway Challenge and was a video highlight machine on NHL.com throughout the weekend. Read about the skill competition right here.

Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs and Shane Prince of the Ottawa 67's were also impressive for Team Cherry. Prince, filling in for injured Gabriel Landeskog of the Kitchener Rangers, actually scored the lone goal for the losing side off assists from forward Ty Rattie of the Portland Winterhawks and defenseman Scott Harrington of the London Knights. Portland defenseman Joe Morrow and Kitchener's Ryan Murphy, who was named Team Cherry MVP, also exhibited nice composure along the blue line for the losing side.

Team Orr's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2 assists) of the Red Deer Rebels, Daniel Catenacci (1 goal) of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Sven Baertschi of the Portland Winterhawks (1 goal, 1 assist) were also standouts. Nugent-Hopkins was named MVP for Team Orr. Despite not earning a point on the scoresheet, Drummondville's Sean Couturier showcased the two-way game he has been said to demonstrate. Can't forget the spirited fight between Duncan Siemens of the Saskatoon Blades and David Musil of the Vancouver Giants, either. Read the game and fight recap right here.

A couple of players who are top prospects but weren't participants in the Top Prospects Game since they don't play in the Canadian Hockey League are U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program goalie's John Gibson and Matt McNeely. Gibson is the No. 1-rated goalie in North America, according to NHL Central Scouting's mid-term rankings; McNeely is fifth. Read about them on NHL.com.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.19.2011 / 11:44 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

The fight of the night

The only fight of the night came late in the second period, when Duncan Siemens and David Musil dropped the gloves. The all-WHL play started with Siemens and Sven Baertschi getting tangled along the wall in the Team Cherry end. Siemens threw Baertschi into the glass and then shoved him in the head when they fell to the ice. Siemens then shoved Ryan Nugent-Hopkins when he skated over, and that's when Musil jumped into the fray.

"We had talked after the game and he (Musil) said he saw me, Baertschi and Hopkins down there and he said uh-oh I better get down there," Siemens told NHL.com. "We both had been out on the ice for a while. I had been being a little bit of a pest all game, so when I saw him coming down, there's no turning back no matter how tired you are. I knew when he looked at me what he was thinking. And I had asked him earlier in the game."

This time Musil engaged, and while there weren't a ton of punches thrown, it was the talk of the post-game press conference.

"Great show of team play there," said Nugent-Hopkins. "Baertschi was getting cross-checked in the head and I stepped in to separate the two. Musil saw that happening and he just stepped in and fought Siemens."

Siemens' Saskatoon Blades and Musil's Vancouver Giants only play once a season, so there was no pre-existing bad blood between the two, and there was only mutual respect afterward.

"I have a lot of respect for David Musil," said Siemens. "He's a good competitor."

Team Cherry coach Don Cherry, who knows how to enjoy a fight, certainly enjoyed that scrap. And even managed to get a shot in of his own, at Musil's father, veteran NHL defenseman Frantisek Musil

"That was Musil's second fight, eh? Did better than his old man," Cherry said with a laugh.
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.19.2011 / 9:38 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Wild finish to Top Prospects Game

It's all over here at the Air Canada Centre, as Team Orr opens things up here in the third period for a 7-1 victory. The Saint John Sea Dogs were all over this one, as Jonathan Huberdeau and Zack Phillips had a goal and an assist each for Team Orr.

We'll have more from all the players and the coaches in a bit, so stay tuned.
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.19.2011 / 8:51 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Team Orr holds 3-1 lead in Top Prospects Game

Sven Baertschi and Jonathan Huberdeau connected for second-period goals and Team Orr holds a 3-1 victory over Team Cherry after 40 minutes in the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Air Canada Centre.

Team Orr opened a 2-0 lead 5:28 into the second when Baertschi of the Portland Winterhawks snapped home a shot from the left circle off a picturesque pass from Red Deer's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from the opposite wing. Zack Phillips of the Saint John Sea Dogs also notched an assist on the play.

The goal came on Team Orr's fifth shot of the game. Team Cherry goalie Christopher Gibson would finish with 8 saves on 11 shots before he and Team Orr goalie Liam Liston (18 saves) were relieved at the 9:30 mark. Huberdeau (Saint John) knocked home a shot off a rebound to give Team Orr a 3-0 lead just before Gibson was pulled. Kitchener's David Musil took the initial shot from the point that Huberdeau picked up before moving to his left and sweeping his shot home.
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