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Posted On Saturday, 11.03.2012 / 11:14 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game slated Jan. 23

The United States Hockey League on Friday announced that the 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game would be held Jan. 23 at L.C. Walker Arena in Muskegon, Mich.

This is the second year the USHL will be staging a top prospects game, which features 40 of the top NHL Draft-eligible players from the league. The process of choosing players, who will be named sometime in early January, includes input from the 16 USHL general managers, NHL Central Scouting and NHL team scouts and decision makers.

"We're excited to have the prospects game return to Muskegon, one of the proudest and longest-standing hockey markets in the United States," USHL president and commissioner Skip Prince said. "These are America's best, gathered together for a special night with the Muskegon Lumberjacks as host and all of hockey as spectators."

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Posted On Friday, 11.02.2012 / 4:05 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Quebec's Sorensen to sit this weekend

Quebec Remparts right wing Nick Sorensen, who earned a B rating on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list for players in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, will be sidelined this weekend with a bruised foot.

Sorensen had been on fire this season, hitting for four goals and 11 assists in 14 games. He also sports a plus-7 rating. The 6-foot-0.5, 168-pound forward missed almost all of his rookie season in 2011-12 after suffering a knee injury in the eighth game of the season.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.01.2012 / 9:19 PM

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

Hall named OHL's best for October

It's been quite a week for Barrie Colts forward Zach Hall. On Wednesday he was added to Team OHL for one of the Super Series games against Team Russia.

He topped that Thursday by earning the OHL Player of the Month award.

The 5-foot-10.5, 172-pound center had six goals and 10 assists in nine October games. He had a three-point game Oct. 11 against the Saginaw Spirit, and a two-goal, four-assist game Oct. 18 against the Ottawa 67's. His last game of the month saw him score his first OHL hat trick, Oct. 27 against the Niagara IceDogs.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.01.2012 / 8:56 PM

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

Lipon named WHL's best for first month of season

As the leader in goals and points in the Western Hockey League, it's no surprise Kamloops Blazers forward JC Lipon was named Husky WHL Player of the Month on Thursday.

In 17 games in September and October, Lipon has 16 goals and 40 points. His plus-17 also is the league's best total, and his 24 assists are second. He also ended the month with a 14-game point-scoring streak, second-longest in the league this season.

"This kid has just exploded out of the gate," NHL Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com. "Here's a kid that in his [initial] draft year wasn't drafted, and guys that were drafted in the first two rounds [last year], he's better now at this point than the kids that were drafted."

Not bad for a 5-foot-11.5, 180-pound forward who was passed over in last year's draft and at one point was considering a career as a professional wakeboarder.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.01.2012 / 6:43 PM

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

Stoykewych, Keats, De Jong lead Canada West team

Winnipeg Blues teammates and 2013 NHL Draft prospects Paul Stoykewych and Kurt Keats were named Thursday to the Canada West team for the World Junior A Hockey Challenge.

CANADA WEST ROSTER

Goalies: Jonah Imoo, Powell River, BCHL (2013 draft eligible); Curtis Skip, Grande Prairie, AJHL (2013 draft eligible)

Defense: James De Haas, Penticton, BCHL (Detroit); Nolan De Jong, Victoria, BCHL (2013 draft eligible); Josh Healey, Sherwood Park, AJHL (2013 draft eligible); Luke Ripley, Powell River, BCHL (2013 draft eligible); Troy Stecher, Penticton, BCHL (2013 draft eligible); Paul Stoykewych, Winnipeg, MJHL (2013 draft eligible); Devon Toews, Surrey, BCHL (2013 draft eligible)

Forwards: Rhyse Dieno, La Ronge, SJHL (2013 draft eligible); Aaron Hadley, Vernon, BCHL (2013 draft eligible); Kurt Keats, Winnipeg, MJHL (2013 draft eligible); Alex Kerfoot Coquitlam, BCHL (New Jersey); Seb Lloyd, West Kelowna, BCHL (2013 draft eligible); Brandon Morley, Coquitlam, BCHL (2013 draft eligible); Wade Murphy, Penticton, BCHL (2013 draft eligible); Zachary Pryzbek, Coquitlam, BCHL (2013 draft eligible); Mike Rebry, Penticton, BCHL (2013 draft eligible); T.J. Reeve, Melville, SJHL (2013 draft eligible); Dylan Richard, Spruce Grove, AJHL (2013 draft eligible); Evan Richardson, Powell River, BCHL (2013 draft eligible); Evan Tironese, Alberni Valley, BCHL (2013 draft eligible)

The tournament will be played Nov. 5-11 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Stoykewych, a 6-foot-0.25, 200-pound defenseman, earned a B rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary rankings of players to watch for this year's draft. He has 10 points in 15 games this season for the team, which plays in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. He's committed to Western Michigan University starting in the fall of 2013.

Keats, a 5-7.5, 163-pound forward earned a C rating from Central Scouting. He's tied for seventh in the league with 20 points in 15 games.

Also picked for the team was defenseman Nolan De Jong, who plays for the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League. A 6-foot, 165-pound blueliner, De Jong has 12 points in 17 games and earned a B rating from Central Scouting. He's committed to the University of Michigan starting next season.

"As with any Team Canada roster, there were a number of difficult choices to get us to 22 players," coach Dean Brockman said. "We're excited about the roster we've put together, and we're confident this team will represent western Canada with pride in Yarmouth."

Of the 22 players picked, 20 are eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft. Players were selected from the five western Junior A leagues: the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL).

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

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Posted On Thursday, 11.01.2012 / 12:48 PM

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

Jones' offense catching up with defensive excellence

Seth Jones had 26 points in 48 games for the U.S. National Team Development Program last season. He hadn't scored at quite that level in his first few games this season with the Portland Winterhawks. But it's not that he wasn't playing well -- far from it, according to scouts who have raved about Jones' defensive-zone play and all-round game.

"This year he's playing smarter," NHL Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com. "He's not trying to be as explosive with his skating ability that he has. He's playing a smarter game. Every time you get the puck, don't take off. Make good plays with it -- and he is. He's playing really smart this year. Last year with the [USNTDP] he took off every time, trying to be Bobby Orr. This year he's playing it a lot smarter, playing very well defensively. I just think he's playing a smarter game this year than he did as an underage."

Highly touted prospect Seth Jones has four goals, six assists and a plus-7 rating in 13 games. (Courtesy: Christopher Mast)

"I like his ability to control the game," B.J. MacDonald of Central Scouting said. "His puckhandling skills and his great awareness, that seems to be his strength. He's really aware of everything on the ice and where everyone is and where to move the puck. And defensively, [he's] the same way. I really like his overall awareness. His on-ice awareness is excellent."

The past six games, though, show he's added that high-end offensive component to his defensive excellence, and showed why he's neck-and-neck with Halifax's Nathan MacKinnon to be the first pick of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Jones had a goal and an assist Wednesday in a 5-2 defeat of the Everett Silvertips. The goal was a dazzling display of Jones' full range of skills. Taking a pass at the defensive blue line, he raced the puck into the Everett end, cut to his left as he crossed the attacking blue line and pulled up above the circle like he was going to take a shot. Instead, he caught the defending player flat-footed and skated past him to the outside. As he approached the net, he quickly switched the puck from his backhand to his forehand and slid the puck under the goalie.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.01.2012 / 11:57 AM

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

Linemates Dea, Andrighetto at top of QMJHL race

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies teammates and 2013 NHL Draft prospects Jean-Sebastien Dea and Sven Andrighetto continued their battle for the lead in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scoring race Wednesday, combining for three goals and two assists as the Huskies beat the visiting Sherbrooke Phoenix 6-3.

The duo, linemates since last season, are a major reason the Huskies lead the Telus West Division and have remained close to the streaking Halifax Mooseheads, who have won 13 in a row.

Dea, who had a goal and two assists Wednesday, has held the scoring lead most of the season. His 34 points put him one ahead of Andrighetto, who scored two goals Wednesday.

With 18 goals, Dea is tied with Halifax's Nathan MacKinnon for the league lead, while Andrighetto tops the QMJHL with 19 assists.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.01.2012 / 10:13 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Canada East roster named for World Jr. A Challenge

CANADA EAST ROSTER

Goalies: Charlie Finn, Kingston, OJHL (2013 draft eligible); Daniel Mannella, Georgetown, OJHL

Defense: Tyler Enns, Lakeshore, OJHL (2013 draft eligible); Mike Crocock  Pembroke, CCHL (2013 draft eligible); Philippe Drouin, Pembroke, CCHL (2013 draft eligible); Patrick McCarron, St. Michael's, OJHL (2013 draft eligible); Jared Walsh  St. Michael's, OJHL (2014 draft eligible); Christian Weidauer, Carleton Place, CCHL (2013 draft eligible); Thomas Welsh  Georgetown, OJHL (2013 draft eligible)

Forwards: Blaine Byron, Kemptville, CCHL (2013 draft eligible); Matt Buckles, St. Michael's, OJHL (2013 draft eligible); Shane Conacher, Burlington, OJHL (2013 draft eligible); Ben Dalpe, Pembroke, CCHL (2013 draft eligible); Justin Danforth, Cobourg, OJHL (2013 draft eligible); Jake Evans, St. Michael's, OJHL (2014 draft eligible); Dalen Hedges, Nepean, CCHL (2013 draft eligible); Stephen Hladin, Georgetown, OJHL (2013 draft eligible); Troy Josephs, St. Michael's, OJHL (2013 draft eligible); Michael Neville, St. Michael's, OJHL (2013 draft eligible); Brent Norris  Nepean, CCHL (2013 draft eligible); Marly Quince, Cornwall, CCHL (2013 draft eligible); Mike Soucier, Wellington, OJHL (2013 draft eligible)

Hockey Canada on Thursday announced the 22 players who will represent Canada East at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge to be held Nov. 5-11 at the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The roster was named following a four-day selection camp, Oct. 28-31, at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto. Greg Walters, who coaches the Georgetown Raiders of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, will coach the team.

Heading the roster is Matt Buckles, a center with the St. Michael's Buzzers (OJHL). The 6-foot-1.25, 205-pound forward leads the team with 12 goals and 25 points in 18 games. He was most recently given a C rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary rankings of players to watch for the 2013 NHL Draft.

Three other players on the roster earned C rankings from Central Scouting, including defenseman Christian Weidauer of Carleton Place Canadiens of the Central Canada Hockey League; and forwards Blaine Byron of Kemptville 73's (CCHL) and Troy Josephs of St. Michael's (OJHL).

Two players on the roster are returning from the 2011 WJAC -- forwards Justin Danforth of the Cobourg Cougars (OJHL) and Michael Neville of St. Michael's (OJHL).

"Getting down to 22 players was no easy feat, especially considering the talent we had in Toronto this week," Walters said. "As a coaching staff, we're confident we've assembled the best roster and we look forward to getting to Nova Scotia and getting started."

Canada East, which has appeared in four of the six gold medal games at the WJAC, won silver in 2006, '07, '10 and '11. The team will compete in Group B, along with Switzerland and the United States. Canada West, the Czech Republic and Russia will comprise Group A.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.30.2012 / 8:19 PM

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

Valk, Giugovaz earn CHL weekly honors

A pair of 2013 NHL Draft prospects -- Medicine Hat Tigers center Curtis Valk and Peterborough Petes goalie Michael Giugovaz -- have been named player of the week and goalie of the week, respectively, by the Canadian Hockey League.

Valk, named WHL player of the week Monday, earned the CHL Player of the Week honor after totaling seven goals and three assists in four games last week. He scored two goals Wednesday in a 4-3 shootout win against the Kelowna Rockets, and followed that with his best game of the season -- four goals and an assist in a 10-1 win at the Calgary Hitmen on Friday. He had two assists in a 5-4 defeat of the Regina Pats on Saturday, and capped his big week with a goal in a 3-2 overtime win against the Moose Jaw Warriors on Sunday.

Now with a point in seven straight games, Valk is fourth in the WHL with 25 points, and tied for second with 14 goals.

Giugovaz earned the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week award after stopping 80 of 83 shots in winning both his starts last week. Recently promoted to a B-rated player in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of players to watch for this year's draft, Giugovaz started his week by making 35 saves -- including 18 in the third period -- in 3-1 defeat of the Saginaw Spirit on Saturday. He then made 45 saves, plus two in a shootout, in a 3-2 defeat of the Oshawa Generals on Sunday.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.30.2012 / 1:24 PM

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

Waterloo's McCoshen, McAdam earn USHL honors

A pair of Waterloo Black Hawks players considered candidates to go in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft were honored by the United States Hockey League for their play last week.

Defenseman Ian McCoshen has been named CCM Defenseman of the Week after totaling a goal, two assists and a plus-8 rating in three games last week. He scored his first goal of the season Friday in a 3-0 win against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. He was scoreless with a plus-2 rating in a 3-2 win at Team USA on Saturday, and had two assists in an 8-3 defeat of the Youngstown Phantoms on Sunday. He wasn't on the ice for any of the five goals Waterloo allowed last week, and played a key role in the team killing all 13 opposing power plays.

For the season McCoshen, who earned an A rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary rankings of players to watch for the 2013 NHL Draft, leads the USHL with a plus-13 rating. In eight games, he's been a plus player in six and an even player in the other two. He also has a goal and three assists.

Eamon McAdam, a B-rated prospect, was named Reebok Goaltender of the Week after stopping 72 of 75 shots in two games last week. He stopped all 33 shots in Friday's win against Muskegon for his second shutout of the season. On Sunday he made a season-high 39 saves on 42 shots in an 8-3 win against Youngstown.

McAdam has won all five of his starts, allowing just seven goals on 177 shots. He leads the league with two shutouts and a .960 save percentage and is fourth with a 1.40 goals-against average.

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