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(Page 30 of 40)
Prospects

Erixon hopes to follow in father's footsteps with NYR

Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 10:23 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Tim Erixon can't explain why he chose to man the blue line instead of playing forward the way his father once did, but it appears he made the right decision.
 
"To be honest, I don't know why I chose to be a defender," Erixon told NHL.com. "I played the position for as long as I remember. My dad never pushed me to play -- I don't know why. I know that it's a just great opportunity to be here."
 
It's still early, but there's no question the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder is proving to be quite a pickup for the New York Rangers. In two victories at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament here at Center ICE Arena, Erixon has a goal, 3 points and a plus-1 rating. The smooth-skating Erixon has been paired mostly with rugged 6-5, 215-pound Dylan McIlrath
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Nyquist and Smith pushing for jobs with Wings

Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 10:02 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- There never seems to be a shortage of talent in the Detroit Red Wings' farm system.
 
This year is no exception, particularly with former Hobey Baker Award finalists Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith powering through the ranks. Both were front and center for the Red Wings during the Traverse City Prospect Tournament here at Center ICE Arena this week.
 
Nyquist grew up in Malmo, Sweden, but his English is impeccable and after three productive seasons at the University of Maine, during which he was a Hobey Baker finalist two straight seasons, he appears ready to take the next step.
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Is third time the charm for Ellis?

Monday, 09.12.2011 / 10:16 PM / Prospects

Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- The third time may be the charm for Ryan Ellis the third time may be the charm.

That's the hope for the Nashville Predators' first-round draft choice from 2009, who has attended training camp with the club the last two years, only to be returned to the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League.

Ellis finished last season in the American Hockey League with Nashville's affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. That step-up appeared to be a smooth transition for the 20-year old, who arrived in time for the playoffs and appeared in seven games and contributed 1 goal and 1 assist.

So, is that enough seasoning to enable him to make the jump to the National Hockey League this year?
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Canucks preaching patience with prospect Connauton

Monday, 09.12.2011 / 2:28 PM / Prospects

Ryan Pinder - NHL.com Correspondent

"He's still pretty young. He's going into his second year pro, so we feel it's important that he plays a lot, and that he's developing in that regard. We have to be patient with our young kids, and we can afford to be right now with the depth that we have. " -- Dave Gagner

He's 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, rushes the puck well and has an uncanny ability to get pucks through traffic to the net. There's certainly a lot to like about defenseman Kevin Connauton, who is coming off an impressive first professional season and now is trying to raise eyebrows at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C.

Drafted by the Vancouver Canucks after his freshman season at Western Michigan University, Connauton wasn't always considered NHL material by scouts; in fact he was passed over in his first draft-eligible season after putting up strong numbers in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Spruce Grove Saints (45 points in 56 games in 2007-08).
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Saad using World Junior cut as motivational tool

Monday, 09.12.2011 / 11:03 AM / Prospects

Erin Nicks - NHL.com Correspondent

"He's showing us he's on the right path. He's going to go back and play junior hockey this year, and that will help teach him all the little things about becoming a pro. All the little details matter and we've really been trying to stress that to Brandon and the rest of the guys the past two days." -- Blackhawks prospect coach Ted Dent

OSHAWA, Ont. -- Like all of the players coming into the Oshawa rookie tournament, Chicago's Brandon Saad just wanted to be noticed.

With 5 points in two games, he has been achieving that goal.

"I wanted to make a good impression like everyone else," Saad said. "I didn't expect to do poorly, but I guess I've been clicking more with my linemates (Jimmy Hayes and Phillip Danault) more than I expected."

Ted Dent, who is coaching the Blackhawks prospects here, agrees.

"I'm really happy with how quickly they have jelled," Dent said. "They have great chemistry."
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Saint John alums making mark in Traverse City

Monday, 09.12.2011 / 10:16 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Wild prospect Zack Phillips. (Courtesy: Saint John)
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Traverse City prospects tournament is a reunion of sorts for the top junior team in the Canadian Hockey League last season.
 
There are seven players from the Memorial Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League spread among the eight participating teams competing this week, including five drafted players and a pair of invitees.
 
"I don't know who does the scouting, but they did a phenomenal job because every time you watched Saint John play, it was exciting and fun to watch," Detroit Red Wings Director of Amateur Scouting Joe McDonnell told NHL.com. "You were watching high-end prospects every night -- it was just an exciting team and now most have been drafted. Gerard Gallant is a heck of a coach and he has a job to do to get these guys back, mentally, after the great season they had. It'll be fun to watch them again this year."
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Murphy hopes to follow in Skinner's footsteps

Monday, 09.12.2011 / 10:09 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Just because Carolina Hurricanes defense prospect Ryan Murphy and reigning Calder Trophy winning forward Jeff Skinner play different positions doesn't necessarily mean they're not comparable.
 
In fact, position may be the only difference between the former Kitchener Rangers teammates.
 
"From a skill level point of view, Murphy has about as much skill as anyone in the 2011 draft, and in a lot of ways he has as much skill as Skinner, only he plays a different position and may take a little longer to get to the team," Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford told NHL.com. "But these are the types of defensemen you need with the way the game is played today."
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Gudas hitting his way to the top

Monday, 09.12.2011 / 9:37 AM / Prospects

Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent

"No one liked playing against him. He's a very physical player who finishes his checks." -- James Wright, teammate of Radko Gudas

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- There are many different paths a prospect may journey to begin a career in the National Hockey League, but Radko Gudas, taken in the third round (No. 66) by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2010 Entry Draft, is taking the road less travelled -- he plans to punch his way there.

Gudas, a 21-year-old defenseman, currently is participating in the Florida Rookie Tournament that kicked off Sunday with a game between the Lightning rookies and the Florida Panthers prospects. At 6-foot and 201 pounds, he has been compared to an anvil -- and the native of Prague certainly is not hesitant about throwing his iron around.
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Ovi returns to rookie days, visits prospect practice

Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 6:51 PM / Prospects

NHL.com

Well, it appears you can, indeed, go back in time.

Alex Ovechkin did the rookie thing quite a few years ago. Today, he is one of the game's biggest stars as he enters into the prime of his career. Yet, there was the 25-year on Sunday, skating with a bunch of teenagers at Kettler Capitals Iceplaex.

Just like those players, Ovechkin had on a plain practice jersey -- his was black -- and a simple, slapped on nameplate across the back of his shoulders.
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Penguins' Tangradi embarking on path back to NHL

Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 1:22 PM / Prospects

Erin Nicks - NHL.com Correspondent

OSHAWA, Ontario -- Eric Tangradi's road to recovery has ended, and now the Pittsburgh Penguins prospect is ready to begin a new path.

If Tangradi has his way, that path will lead him directly back to the NHL.

The winger's efforts to become a permanent member of the team were stymied last season when the 22-year-old suffered a concussion during a game against the New York Islanders in February. But talk to Tangradi today and you can tell he's ready to get back into the game.

"I feel 100 percent, if not better," Tangradi said. "I learned a lot from the injury and it was a tough grind getting back out there, but I had a really good summer …  getting in the gym and putting on some extra weight to get ready for another hockey season."
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Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares