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Rangers' pick made tough call with Plymouth

Friday, 07.29.2011 / 10:38 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

J.T. Miller admitted choosing to play with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League was a tough decision, but one he felt was in the best interest of his hockey career.

Miller, taken by the New York Rangers with the 15th pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, decided July 14 he would forgo a scholarship to play at the University of North Dakota, and after signing his entry-level deal with the Rangers on Thursday, he signed to play with the Whalers on Friday.

Because Miller was drafted from the U.S. National Team Development Program, he is eligible to play in the American Hockey League this season, but that would waste a season on his contract.

"I'm very excited to finally get to Plymouth," Miller told Plymouth's website. "I've had to make a couple of tough decisions over the last few weeks, but I'm happy to get up there and am ready to play. … Plymouth looks like a strong team with one of the best coaches in the league (Mike Vellucci) -- if not the best, in my opinion. I've seen Plymouth play a few times, especially when Tyler Seguin was there, and it was great to watch."

Oleksiak added to Canada junior camp roster

Thursday, 07.28.2011 / 2:38 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Just three days after opting to forego his college career at Northeastern University and sign with the Ontario Hockey League's Saginaw Spirit, defenseman Jamieson Oleksiak on Thursday was added to the Canadian National Junior Team summer development camp roster.

The camp, which now includes four goalies, 17 defensemen and 26 forwards, is scheduled for Aug. 3-7 in Edmonton and Fort McMurray, Alta., and will feature 47 of the top Canadian players born in 1992 and 1993. The camp will be used to help determine the 22-man roster that will participate in the 2012 World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Calgary from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5.

Oleksiak, taken by the Dallas Stars with the 14th pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, holds dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship. He had been invited to attend USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp, which will be held Aug. 6-13 in Lake Placid, N.Y., but will attend the Hockey Canada camp instead.

Kelowna Rockets to host 2012 Top Prospects Game

Wednesday, 07.27.2011 / 3:14 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

The Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League will host the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

The event will be held Feb. 1, 2012 at Prospera Place, and feature 40 of the top prospects for the 2012 Entry Draft playing this season in the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League.

Players for the event, which has been held annually since 1996, are picked by the 30 NHL teams, with NHL Central Scouting coordinating the event.

Ducks pick Gibson to play for OHL Kitchener

Wednesday, 07.27.2011 / 3:13 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

John Gibson, a 2011 second-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks, on Wednesday became the fourth player in two weeks to forego his NCAA eligibility when he informed the University of Michigan he would continue his career with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League next season.

The 6-foot-2 1/2, 206-pound goaltender was selected by Kitchener in the 11th round of the 2009 OHL draft.

"John plays with confidence and has the unique ability to control his rebounds," Rangers head scout Murray Hiebert said. "He has a pedigree of success. His combination of size and athleticism allow him to be a great prospect for the Anaheim Ducks and we look forward to having John with us in Kitchener."

Top 2012 draft prospects at Ivan Hlinka Tourney

Wednesday, 07.27.2011 / 1:44 PM / Prospects

Bill Meltzer - Correspondent

Held each August in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the annual Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament marks the start of the international hockey season and the beginning of the exhaustive scouting process that culminates the following June with the Entry Draft. The 2011 edition of the tournament will run from Aug. 8-13 in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia.

Players born in 1994 and later are eligible for the 2011 Hlinka tourney. While the birthday cutoff eliminates some of the top prospects for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft -- such as Everett Silvertips defenseman Ryan Murray, who captained Canada to gold in last year's tournament --  there still will be a host of top 2012 (and 2013) draft candidates showcasing their talents.

Oleksiak leaves Northeastern for Saginaw

Monday, 07.25.2011 / 12:33 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

"Northeastern has been phenomenal for me and has really helped in my development, but as for what's happening next year, it's all up in the air. My goal is to play professional hockey one day, and I really want to go where it's going to continue my development and get to my goal and help me achieve the most."
-- Jamieson Oleksiak

Jamieson Oleksiak, taken by the Dallas Stars with the 14th pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, has signed with the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.

At 6-foot-7 and 241 pounds, Oleksiak was the biggest player selected last month when the Stars tabbed the defenseman, who had played one season at Northeastern University.

He had 13 points and 57 penalty minutes in 38 games at Northeastern last season, but the wheels for his departure likely started when coach Greg Cronin left last month to became an assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"Northeastern has been phenomenal for me and has really helped in my development, but as for what's happening next year, it's all up in the air," Oleksiak told the Stars' website at the draft. "My goal is to play professional hockey one day, and I really want to go where it's going to continue my development and get to my goal and help me achieve the most."

Campbell ready to use adversity on road to success

Thursday, 07.21.2011 / 8:56 PM / Prospects

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- Jack Campbell speaks about his performance last season with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League in pretty blunt terms.

"I think it couldn't have gone better mentally for me," Campbell said. "I had my first up-and-down start to a year where normally I've been consistent the entire year. Last year I had a couple bad games that I'm not used to having.

In 45 games this past season, campbell was 24-14-4 with a 3.80 goals-against-average. In 18 playoff games, he went 9-6-3 with two shutouts and a 3.74 GAA.

While his first year in the Stars organization has been a good one, the 19-year-old goaltender, taken with the 11th pick of the 2010 Entry Draft, knows he is capable of much more.

Murphy hoping to follow in Skinner's footsteps

Wednesday, 07.20.2011 / 2:37 PM / Prospects

Greg Picker - Staff Writer

For Ryan Murphy, summer is no time for rest. The 18-year-old defenseman, taken by the Carolina Hurricanes with the 12th pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, is using his offseason as a catalyst for making the NHL as soon as possible.

Part of that was attending the Hurricanes' conditioning camp earlier this month.

"It was what I expected," said Murphy. "I heard it was going to be a tough four days and it was. We had a lot of good workouts. We had a lot of fun as well. They killed us but it was a learning experience."

A learning experience Murphy hopes will lead him down the same path as a former teammate. 

Conditioning key to Kings' prospects' big seasons

Wednesday, 07.20.2011 / 11:52 AM / Prospects

Greg Picker - Staff Writer

"Tyler has so much natural ability and hockey sense, but really no road map on how to be a professional hockey player from a conditioning standpoint. The map was laid out for him from our training and conditioning coach to the development team and he really bought in." -- Mike Futa

The Los Angeles Kings made the playoffs the past two seasons thanks to good drafting that landed key players such as Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty.

That prospect pipeline continues to bubble new prospects to the top, with the latest being Linden Vey and Tyler Toffoli.

Vey, a 6-foot, 181-pound right wing, was taken in the fourth round of the 2009 Entry Draft. Last season with the Medicine Hat Tigers, he led the Western Hockey League in scoring with 116 points.

Toffoli, a 6-1, 183-pound center, was drafted in the second round in 2010. Playing with the Ottawa 67s, he led the Ontario Hockey League with 57 goals and tied for the OHL scoring lead with 106 points.

Sanguinetti ready to realize potential with 'Canes

Tuesday, 07.19.2011 / 4:07 PM / Prospects

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

"It's been a little bit of a roller coaster. You get the first-round tag put on you and things didn't quite work out in New York. I had two good years in the minors, but I just wasn't able to crack the lineup. I went to Carolina and had a really good camp and was able to learn a lot from the coaches there. I feel like my game kind of developed." -- Bobby Sanguinetti

Bobby Sanguinetti has been carrying around the label of being a first-round pick since the New York Rangers selected him No. 21 at the 2006 Entry Draft.

Sanguinetti played all of five NHL games for the Blueshirts before being shipped to the Carolina Hurricanes in the summer of 2009. With less than two months before the Hurricanes open training camp, Sanguinetti is determined to scratch his way into a full-time job on Carolina's blue line.

"I'm at the age now where I need to put it all together and not just be content with being good offensively or defensively," said Sanguinetti, who signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Hurricanes last Friday. "I'm just going to go out there and play my game and rely on my instincts. Obviously, I'm an offensive guy and that's what I'm always going to be, but I just need to make sure I'm good on both sides of the puck."
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Quote of the Day

He scores 50 goals, they go in, they go in, and they go in. And I think, 'Why can't I do that?'

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on teammate Alex Ovechkin, who scored his 50th goal of the season Tuesday in a 4-2 win vs. the Hurricanes