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(Page 22 of 40)
Prospects

Dea's fast start can be traced to meeting with coach

Saturday, 10.20.2012 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

It wasn't quite a my-way-or-the-highway offer, but when Rouyn-Noranda Huskies coach Andre Tourigny sat down with forward Jean-Sebastien Dea in late December last year, he had a simple message for his young forward: Play our way or you won't be playing.

Dea took the message to heart, finished last season on an upswing and has had an explosive start to the 2012-13 season. With a goal and an assist Friday against Drummondville, Dea leads the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 16 goals and 26 points in 12 games. After going undrafted last year, the 18-year-old center rapidly is becoming a hot commodity.

"I'm really more popular because of him," Tourigny told NHL.com.

That didn't sound like something that would happen at the start of last season. Dea, a third-round pick of the Huskies in the 2011 QMJHL draft, said when he joined the team he was overwhelmed by the level of play and struggled to keep up.

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Top prospect McCoshen leads U.S. Junior roster

Thursday, 10.18.2012 / 12:30 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

USA Hockey on Thursday announced the roster for the U.S. Junior Select Team that will participate in the 2012 World Junior A Challenge, Nov. 5-11, in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The United States won three straight World Junior A Challenge titles from 2008 to 2010 before finishing third last year.

The 22-player roster includes 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies.

Three players from last year's team are on the 2012 roster, including Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman Ian McCoshen.

McCoshen is one of three players who earned an A rating on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of players to watch for the 2013 NHL Draft.

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MacKinnon named to Team QMJHL for Super Series

Wednesday, 10.17.2012 / 10:21 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Nathan MacKinnon highlights the team the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will use for its games against Team Russia in the 2012 Subway Super Series.

The two games between the Russians and Team QMJHL will be held Nov. 5 at the Centre d'Excellence Sports Rosseau in Boisbriand, Que. -- home of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada -- and Nov. 7 at Centre air Creebec in Val-d'Or, Que. -- home of the Val-d'Or Foreurs.

MacKinnon, a center with the Halifax Mooseheads, has 11 goals and six assists in 10 games. He is considered by many scouts as a lock to be the first or second player picked in the 2013 NHL Draft.

"His skill level with the quickness with which he can execute, read and react -- there aren't many players who can do that," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said.

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Family, hockey blend nicely for Lincoln's Johnson

Thursday, 10.11.2012 / 4:05 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

It wasn't like seeing a carbon copy, but when Jim Johannson, the executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey, saw the Lincoln Stars' Luke Johnson in action, it felt like he had seen the young forward before.

"I played with and against his dad and he reminds me so much of his dad," Johannson told NHL.com.

Steve Johnson was chosen by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 1987 supplemental draft and after four solid seasons at the University of North Dakota, he spent two seasons in the International Hockey League.

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Size, skill help Ristolainen attract attention

Monday, 10.08.2012 / 10:00 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Finnish defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen stood out from the crowd at an August junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. -- and not just because the 17-year-old blueliner checks in at 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds.

Ristolainen excelled in all phases of the game during his week playing with and against some of the top talent in his age group. Many scouts have him pegged as a first-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. NHL Central Scouting ranked him as an "A" player on its preliminary "players to watch" list, meaning he has the potential to be a first-round draft pick.

Finnish defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen combines a solid frame with a skill set that features physical ability, some offensive flair and improved play in his own zone. (Photo: Getty Images)

"He's a mobile, strong, offensive-minded defenseman with very good puckhandling and passing skills," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told NHL.com. "He's young, but he knows how to use his size and strength. He's one of the best young defensemen in Europe in his age group. He's a leader on the ice and plays with confidence."

In 40 games last season with TPS in SM-liiga, the top Finnish pro league, he had three goals, five assists and a minus-21 rating on a team that finished 10th in the 14-team league.

He also saw time with Finland at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he had three assists in seven games to help his country to a fourth-place finish, its best since 2006. He also had two goals and an assist in seven games for Finland at the 2012 World Under-18 Championship.

That's a lot of hockey for one season -- he also played eight games for the TPS team in the Finnish under-20 league -- but Ristolainen said in hindsight it was a good experience.

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Compher a model of competitiveness for USNTDP

Sunday, 10.07.2012 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Recently at the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, J.T. Compher was asked by a media outlet to pose for a few different video shoots.

Compher, a center with the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team, had no problem striking the right poses.

As much as hockey comes naturally to Compher, modeling could be a close second.

"When I was younger I did toddler modeling and I was on the front of a catalog," Compher told NHL.com. "I got to keep the red scooter that I was modeling. That was pretty cool."

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Savage has skated into key role for USNTDP

Saturday, 10.06.2012 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Scott Savage had two goals and eight assists in 43 games with the USNTDP U-17 team last season. (Photo: Getty Images)

Every player who laces on a pair of skates has a different entry point into the game, but for U.S. National Team Development Program defenseman Scott Savage, his might be one of the more unique.

Born in California, Savage was 4 years old when he and his family moved from Lake Arrowhead south to San Clemente. The people the Savage family bought the house from were strangers at the time, but they made one suggestion that changed the family's life.

"The people we purchased the house from told us to check out the roller-hockey rink," Savage said. "They just said if you're looking for something to do, check out the roller rink. I checked it out and I was hooked."

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Seth Jones knows how to handle media crush

Friday, 10.05.2012 / 12:59 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The 38 players who took part in the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game were watched closely by scouts, media and fans.

But one star burned brightest during the weekend in Buffalo, and that was Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones.

The 6-foot-3 1/2, 208-pound blueliner is a favorite to be one of the first two players picked at the 2013 NHL Draft, and could go No. 1.

Along with that lofty status comes the attendant outside attention. It's ratcheted up a notch when the player has as interesting a backstory as Jones -- raised and developed in the non-traditional hockey market of Plano, Texas, as the son of a longtime NBA power forward.

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Former NBA player Jones helps groom son for NHL

Friday, 10.05.2012 / 9:39 AM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Popeye Jones' middle son Seth, an 18-year-old defenseman for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, now stands at the top of every 2013 prospects list. (Photo: Christopher Mast)

In some ways, Popeye Jones isn't your typical hockey dad. The 6-foot-8 former NBA player spent 11 seasons crashing the boards for six teams. But the lessons learned in his basketball career have helped his son Seth become one of the top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft.

Ironically, Seth Jones' hockey road began with his father's time as an NBA journeyman, playing primarily on teams that shared an arena with an NHL franchise. When Popeye Jones entered the NBA in 1993 with the Dallas Mavericks, he was bound to rub elbows with his NHL neighbors.

"We were following the [Dallas] Stars when I was with the Mavericks. I did a charity event with [Mike] Modano and thought he was a nice guy," Popeye Jones, now an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets, told NHL.com. "So we went to a Stars game and we really fell in love with the sport. I started watching hockey and we adopted the Stars as our team."

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Former junior hockey talent becomes soccer star

Wednesday, 10.03.2012 / 12:00 PM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

It's the dream of any child who has ever played hockey in Montreal. Rise through the ranks before making it to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. From there, maybe play in Europe before someday returning to the city.

Former junior hockey star Patrice Bernier is living that dream, with an interesting twist.

Bernier has become a star in Montreal, but instead of hockey, the former two-sport athlete is a standout for the Impact of Major League Soccer. (Photo: Montreal Impact / Charles-William Pelletier)

Sure, Bernier starred for the Val d'Or Foreurs and Sherbrooke Faucons of the QMJHL. And yes, he traveled through European leagues before becoming a hometown star in Montreal. The only thing is, Bernier quit hockey almost 15 years ago. It's a decision that has paid off for the midfielder with Major League Soccer's Montreal Impact.

"I played both sports until I was about 18. I went through all the rankings in soccer and hockey," Bernier, 33, told NHL.com. "I could have a tournament where I played hockey in the morning and then a soccer tournament in the afternoon. It was a bit draining -- 365 days of switching from soccer to hockey, sometimes in the same day."

As a 17-year-old, Bernier starred on defense for a Val d'Or team featuring 10 future NHL draft picks. His first year in junior hockey, the 5-foot, 9-inch blueliner led all Foreurs defensemen in scoring.

"Patrice was one of those guys you could tell was into soccer," said Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre, Bernier's defense partner in Val d'Or who logged 269 NHL games before playing for the Malmo Redhawks last season. "When you passed him the puck, sometimes, even if it was on his stick, he would try to handle it with his feet."

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