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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
(Page 35 of 37)
Prospects

Hurricanes assign Boychuk to AHL team

Wednesday, 09.29.2010 / 3:06 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"Zach had a good camp but not quite as good as we thought and, at this point, it's a numbers thing and we had to get our roster down."
-- Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford

Forward Zach Boychuk is learning just how hard it is to crack the Carolina Hurricanes roster these days.

While it's true the Hurricanes are in a transitional period -- expected to have several first-year players sprinkled throughout the lineup -- the lightning-quick Boychuk won't be a part of the youth movement to start this season after he was assigned to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

Boychuk, 20, was selected in the first round (No. 14) of the 2008 Entry Draft. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound wing, who produced 3 goals and 9 points in 31 games with the Hurricanes last season, also notched 15 goals and 36 points in 52 contests with the AHL's Albany River Rats. In 237 career games in the Western Hockey League with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (2005-06 through 2008-09), Boychuk had 110 goals and 271 points.
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Brock Beukeboom growing into defense role

Wednesday, 09.29.2010 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Making the transition from forward to defense is certainly no easy task on any level.

But one could only imagine the heartfelt intentions former defenseman and four-time Stanley Cup winner Jeff Beukeboom had in store when he suggested his son, Brock, make such a swap.

Adding to the pressure was the fact the younger Beukeboom would be switching positions just prior to his initial season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

In 2007-08, Beukeboom played for the Central Ontario AAA Wolves and was selected No. 18 by the Greyhounds during the 2008 OHL priority draft.

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Positive reviews for Stepan after top-line performance

Friday, 09.24.2010 / 11:56 AM / Prospects

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

Derek Stepan showed Thursday that not only is he ready to skate in the NHL, but he can do so with the top guns of the New York Rangers

The 20-year-old center found himself center the first line, between right wing Marian Gaborik and left wing Alexander Frolov, during the Rangers' 4-3 preseason victory against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden.

Stepan looked calm, sharp and comfortable with the talent around him while picking up an assist on Gaborik's first-period power-play goal. 

Stepan later played on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Ruslan Fedotenko, which allowed center Erik Christensen time with Gaborik and Frolov. But Stepan's performance as the Rangers' first-line center during the first two periods proved he can handle the pressure. 

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Pro deal something else Skinner can smile about

Tuesday, 09.21.2010 / 12:43 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"What I think I like most is it looks like he's having fun out there all the time. He's got a smile on his face and tongue hanging out and wants to do things to help the team. He's a young guy who wasn't on pins and needles worrying about making a mistake. He wants to create things with the puck and I thought that was great."
-- Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice

Jeff Skinner, selected by the Carolina Hurricanes with the seventh pick of the 2010 Entry Draft, is all about having fun and making plays.

It's a combination that not only is infectious -- he genuinely loves the game and doesn't hide that fact -- but made a believer of Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford.

Don't think for a second Rutherford wasn't grinning ear-to-ear when his prized prospect finished as co-scoring leader of the recently completed Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament, with 7 points on a tournament-high 21 shots on goal.

With a few roster spots still vacant prior to the season-opener Oct. 7 against the Minnesota Wild in Helsinki, Rutherford signed the 18-year-old Skinner to a three-year, entry-level contract Tuesday prior to the team's preseason opener against the Florida Panthers.
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Canuck prospect Volpatti feeling right at home

Friday, 09.17.2010 / 4:08 PM / Prospects

Ryan Pinder - NHL.com Correspondent

PENTICTON, B.C. -- Aaron Volpatti's always played some of his best hockey here. Now, he is making a case for a full-time roster spot with the Vancouver Canucks after a strong showing at the Canucks Top Prospects Tournament.

Volpatti, from Revelstoke, B.C., played his junior hockey two hours north of Penticton with the Vernon Vipers – the six-time Canadian Junior A National champions. To put it mildly, the Vees -- Penticton's Junior A team -- and the Vipers don't get along, have never gotten along, and never will get along.

Accustomed to playing big games every time he visited Penticton as a player, it seemed quite fitting to Volpatti that his quest to be a professional began here Sunday.

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Sharks await development of 'Berlin Wall' on defense

Thursday, 09.16.2010 / 12:06 PM / Prospects

Ryan Pinder - NHL.com Correspondent

PENTICTON, B.C. -- "So you want to talk to the Berlin Wall?"

That's the question tossed out from the pair of San Jose Sharks defensemen as they sit in the dressing room preparing for a game at the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Tournament.

The pair of towering defenders -- 6-foot-5 Konrad Abeltshauser and 6-foot-3 Dominick Bielke -- offers this question with curious accents and toothy smiles.

Bielke, a Berliner, is 19-years-old, was drafted at No. 207 in the 2009 Entry Draft and split time playing with the Dresden Ice Lions of the German Second Division and the Berlin Polar Bears of the Elite League last season.

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Cowen wants to earn an NHL job with Senators

Thursday, 09.16.2010 / 9:05 AM / Prospects

Jonas Siegel - NHL.com Correspondent

LONDON, Ont. -- The Ottawa Senators want to see a snarl on the face of Jared Cowen.

Following the offseason departures of Anton Volchenkov and Andy Sutton, the Senators are looking for a new, gritty presence on the back end -- and they're hoping Cowen fits the bill.

"Just hard to play against," said Randy Lee, the team's director of player development and hockey administration, when asked what the Senators are looking for from Cowen. "Not a fighter, not a dirty player, but just be that physical guy back there and give us some sort of oomph and help replace that void left by those two guys.

"He's not supposed to replace those two players, but just fill the void a bit."

Consistently being that nasty, imposing presence, however, isn't something that comes naturally to the towering defenseman from Allan, Sask.

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Tangradi embraces chance to play on Pens wing

Wednesday, 09.15.2010 / 1:14 PM / Prospects

Jonas Siegel - NHL.com Correspondent

LONDON, Ontario -- Down the middle the Pittsburgh Penguins are about as strong as they come in the National Hockey League. With Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh boasts a threesome of almost unmatched potency.

The challenge for general manager Ray Shero is finding suitable talent to play with that dynamic trio of middlemen. In 6-foot-4, 221-pound power forward Eric Tangradi, the Penguins hope they've found a fit.

"That's why we have him," said John Hynes, coach of the AHL Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, as well as the rookie Penguins at the Maple Leafs' annual rookie tournament here. "He fits the profile of what we need in Pittsburgh and I think that's why we have so much interest in working with him and helping him get to the NHL, because he's a need that we're going to need to fill."
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College was great experience for Vande Velde

Wednesday, 09.15.2010 / 11:39 AM / Prospects

Ryan Pinder - NHL.com Correspondent

PENTICTON, B.C. -- Patience has paid off for the Edmonton Oilers and 23-year-old forward Chris Vande Velde.
 
Selected in the fourth round of the 2005 Entry Draft, Vande Velde has arrived in Penticton to play with the Oilers prospects in the Vancouver Young Stars Tournament after completing his four-year college career with the North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
 
Though later to the party than most other prospects here, Vande Velde is proving he belongs as a pro.
 
"I definitely think I' m ready to take the next step after a full college career," Vande Velde said. "I think UND got me prepared really well, and obviously that's a great program and I'm excited to get in here and maybe crack the big team."

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Brodie's rapid climb could land him in Calgary

Tuesday, 09.14.2010 / 11:47 AM / Prospects

Ryan Pinder - NHL.com Correspondent

TJ BRodie

TJ Brodie (Photo Credit: Ryan Pinder)

The Calgary Flames have high hopes for T.J. Brodie -- that’s why they drafted him, after all -- but he’s ahead of where many expected him to be after he was selected in the fourth round (No. 114) at the 2008 Entry Draft.

With a cast of big defensemen already in the Flames' farm system in 2008, the club wanted to add a smooth skating offensive defenseman, and Brodie certainly fit the bill. As a slight 170-pound 17-year-old, the Chatham, Ont., product posted 30 points in 68 games with the Ontario Hockey League's Saginaw Spirit.

It's tough to find gems in the later rounds, but Brodie has the look of a future NHL player. He's currently doing his part to make an impression, along with a cast of other Calgary prospects, at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C.
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Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild