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Top U.S.-born draft prospects to showcase their skills

Thursday, 09.27.2012 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Jim Johannson is looking forward to watching 40 of the finest 2013 NHL Draft-eligible, American-born prospects sharing the spotlight Saturday when the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game is held Saturday at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.

For Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, the game will provide scouts and fans the opportunity to see first-hand the tremendous growth of hockey in the country.

"It will give people a little bit of an identity with the future rising stars of the game and will also show the broad spectrum of where all these kids are coming from … the grassroots programs they grew up in that gave them the building blocks to get to the elite level," Johannson told "The NHL draft is so much about the future and that's real exciting, but I think to have a group of athletes like this on the ice is a great step in showing the depth of programs we have across the country, as well as the caliber and talent of these players."

Maclellan motivated by early taste of life with Preds

Wednesday, 09.26.2012 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

John Manasso - Correspondent

Jack Maclellan's 15 goals and 15 assists in 30 games last season for the Bears would seem to indicate the two-way approach the Preds prefer. (Photo: John Russell/NHLI)

Starting last March for about two months, Jack Maclellan spent time at the pool and attended cookouts with the likes of Nashville Predators regulars Hal Gill and Roman Josi.

It was not the kind of extended vacation it might sound like. Instead, it was about as unique of an experience as an NHL prospect can have without actually playing.

A graduate of Brown University, Maclellan was sort of like an intern -- he was a part of the team, but he didn't have much of a chance of ever stepping on the ice during a game in the regular season or in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Predators signed the forward, a Calgary native, after his collegiate career ended. Through a contractual agreement, the organization agreed to keep him with its NHL team -- in part to help burn a year of his pro contract, as he already stood less than three months shy of his 24th birthday when he signed.

Rychel family prepares for big season with Windsor

Wednesday, 09.26.2012 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

It's normal for any young hockey player to be closely scrutinized when his father happens to coach his team. But that tension can be magnified if your dad is a Stanley Cup winner who serves as owner, vice president and general manager of that team. For Windsor Spitfires forward Kerby Rychel, whose father Warren owns and runs the Ontario Hockey League club, it's an arrangement that seems to be working out.

"It's good," said Kerby, who had a team-best 41 goals last season. "He's helped me out, telling me how to be a good person and good leader, teaching me to have good habits on and off the ice. I wouldn't be here today without him. It's huge. You can always turn to him for advice. He helps me out a lot."

Ranked an A-list prospect by NHL Central Scouting on its preliminary players-to-watch list, Rychel hopes to be taken in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft. It would be a significant achievement for Rychel, whose father was passed over twice in the draft before working his way through the International Hockey League to the National Hockey League, where he forged a 406-game career spread across nine seasons with five teams, including a spot on the 1996 Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.

"It's just one of those things where he's done all the work to put himself in that position," Warren Rychel said of his son. "It would be pretty neat. I'm sure we'll be there as a family."

Housley, McClanahan to coach in Prospects Game

Monday, 09.24.2012 / 6:02 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Despite never having the opportunities that today's American-born players are given, both Phil Housley and Rob McClanahan know the importance of teamwork when the going gets tough.

That's precisely the mantra that Housley and McClanahan will use when they step behind opposing benches to coach their respective teams at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Saturday. Each will instruct two goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards in the inaugural event, which features 40 of the top American-born players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.

"It's important that we play as a team," Housley told reporters during a Monday conference call. "I know everybody wants to showcase their talent and this is an important game for a lot of these kids' future, but you gain individual recognition through hard teamwork and that's the way I think we'll approach it."

Housley, who helped the United States win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, knows what the expected 100-plus scouts in attendance might be seeking.

McClanahan excited for chance to help U.S. prospects

Monday, 09.24.2012 / 4:55 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Rob McClanahan said he's always had a special relationship with the city of Buffalo.

One of the stars of the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team that famously won the gold medal in Lake Placid, McClanahan was a third-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 1978, and he made his NHL debut with the Sabres following the 1980 Olympics.

McClanahan will return to Buffalo as the coach of Team McClanahan at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, to be played Sept. 29 at First Niagara Center, home of the Sabres. The game will feature 40 of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.

U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer and fellow Sabres alum Phil Housley will oppose him as the coach of Team Housley.

USHL pilot program aims to cut down dangerous play

Monday, 09.24.2012 / 12:10 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The United States Hockey League took significant strides in the area of player safety and injury prevention last week with the announcement of a pilot program that commissioner Skip Prince believes is a critical step in the right direction.

"It actually started a year and a half ago when we began hearing about all the anti-fighting initiatives and people were saying that fighting was the cause of so many injuries," Prince told "We weren't defensive about it, but I went back and we did exhaustive research with our trainers to try and figure out what was going on."

Cowley replaces Rutledge on Prospects Game roster

Thursday, 09.20.2012 / 4:02 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

USA Hockey on Thursday announced that goalie Evan Cowley of Wichita Falls in the North American Hockey League has been named as a replacement player for the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, to be played Sept. 29 in Buffalo.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Cowley, who was named a B player on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2013 NHL Draft, replaces University of Michigan goaltender Jared Rutledge, who had been part of Team McClanahan.

Cowley, of Evergreen, Colo., was picked in the third round (No. 50) by the Wichita Falls Wildcats in the 2012 NAHL draft. He is the only player from the NAHL participating in the All-American Prospects Game.

Islanders prospect Reinhart named Oil Kings captain

Wednesday, 09.19.2012 / 10:51 AM / Prospects

New York Islanders prospect Griffin Reinhart was named captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old defenseman, taken with the No. 4 pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, has played for the Western Hockey League team the past two seasons.

"I'm really happy to have the job," Reinhart said, according to the Islanders' website. "I've got to take a bigger leadership role and be more vocal and help the younger guys coming into the league. I've got to lead by example and also communicate with them. I think I'm ready to take a big step up."

MacKinnon, Jones among top '13 prospects to watch

Wednesday, 09.19.2012 / 10:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The road to the 2013 NHL Draft began in earnest Wednesday with the release of NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list of players to watch in North America and Europe.

The lists, comprised of A, B and C players for the upcoming season in each of the major junior hockey leagues, are sent to NHL team scouts for the purpose of tracking the top draft-eligible players entering the 2012-13 season.

All A skaters have been identified as potential first-round picks, while B players are considered second- or third-round candidates. Those players on the C list are thought to be fourth-, fifth- or sixth-round possibilities.

Lindholm could be top European 2013 Draft prospect

Wednesday, 09.19.2012 / 10:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

"He's a complete package. He could very well be the next Peter Forsberg. He's an excellent skater and great competitor who gives it 110 percent on every shift. He can skate, score and pass and is physically strong even though he is a finesse-type of player." -- Goran Stubb, European Director of NHL Central Scouting on Elias Lindholm

Is it possible the next Peter Forsberg could be plucked from a standout list of international prospects when the 2013 NHL Draft is held June 28-29 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.?

Goran Stubb, European Director of NHL Central Scouting, thinks so. Based on his early assessment of Swedish center Elias Lindholm, it's easy to see why Stubb considers the 17-year-old one of the top draft-eligible prospects from Europe.

Lindholm, a 5-foot-11 3/4, 181-pound righty-shooting center, projects to be a future top-six forward with star potential. He's also regarded as an "A" prospect on Central Scouting's preliminary list of the top European players to watch entering the 2012-13 season.

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