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Prospects

Tournaments could be next step to NHL for prospects

Thursday, 09.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

There's a strong chance a candidate for the 2016 Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year will be among the many top prospects participating in various rookie tournaments throughout the League this week.

The rookie tournaments are becoming a staple for many teams prior to the start of training camp each season.

The oldest and largest is the eight-team Traverse City Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., which will be held Sept. 11-15. Now in its 17th year, the tournament features prospects from the host Detroit Red Wings, along with the Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes.

Maple Leafs' top prospects hope to accelerate rebuild

Tuesday, 09.01.2015 / 6:52 PM / Prospects

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Some of the Toronto Maple Leafs' top prospects are hoping the changes made this summer will increase their chances of making the team this season.

Mitchell Marner, Connor Brown and Kasperi Kapanen, who were in Toronto on Monday at the NHL Players' Association Rookie Showcase, believe the additions of general manager Lou Lamoriello and coach Mike Babcock will create opportunities for them to play in the NHL sooner rather than later.

Toronto went 30-44-8 last season and finished 27th in the League standings with 68 points.

"It has been a big offseason for the city and the team," Marner said. "A lot of guys came in who have winning records and that's what this city needs, someone to come in and put their foot down and show what it's like to be a playoff team and a contender."

Bellows, Tkachuk named to All-American Game roster

Wednesday, 08.26.2015 / 12:39 PM / Prospects

NHL.com

Forwards Kieffer Bellows, Matthew Tkachuk and Alex DeBrincat are among the top 2016 NHL Draft prospects who have been invited to play in the 2015 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.

The game, which will feature 42 of the top draft-eligible American-born players, will be played Sept. 24 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.

"This game provides the best U.S. players eligible for next year's NHL draft the opportunity to showcase their skills on a national stage," said Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations.

Matthews excited for competition in Swiss pro league

Saturday, 08.08.2015 / 5:25 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Center Auston Matthews, who many believe will be the No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, is excited for the opportunity to further his development with Zurich of the Swiss National League.

Matthews, who announced his decision to sign a one-year contract with Zurich on Friday, talked at length for the first time about playing overseas at the conclusion of United States National Junior Evaluation Camp on Saturday. The U.S. closed out the camp with a 6-1 exhibition victory against Finland.

"I'm really excited and fortunate for the opportunity to go over there and play for the Zurich Lions," Matthews said. "I started kicking around the idea of playing in Switzerland during the World Under-18 Championship in April; I saw the country and it was really nice. I was talking to a lot of people and getting feedback from players in that league."

Zurich is coached by Marc Crawford, who has 549 wins as an NHL coach.

Korean players bring style, culture to Stars camp

Monday, 07.20.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- As with all NHL teams, the Dallas Stars' annual development camp is where prospects from various nations unite each summer to hone their skills.

At this year's camp, three players from South Korea -- forward Jinhui Ahn, defenseman Wonjun Kim, and goaltender Kye Hoon Park -- participated alongside Stars prospects.

Dallas general manager Jim Nill invited them at the request of Jim Paek, the first Korean to play in the NHL. Paek, who debuted with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990 and was part of their Stanley Cup winning team in 1991, is the director of hockey with the Korean Ice Hockey Association and coaches the South Korean National Team.

Paek spent nine seasons as an assistant coach for Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League, which is where he met Nill, a longtime assistant general manager with the Detroit Red Wings. So, when Paek asked for a favor, Nill was receptive.

"Well, it's a great story. Jim Paek gave me a call back last November," Nill said. "They have the Olympics that they're hosting [in PyeongChang 2018] and it's his task to get them into the Olympics. So he gave me a call and said, 'I've got three kids I'd like to bring to camp. They need to get the experience, learn what it takes to make the next step.' So I said, 'Hey, we'd love to help you out.'

"They're great kids, great people off the ice. But on the ice, they've been as good as everybody else and played very well."

Flames glad to give hyped Jankowski time to develop

Sunday, 07.19.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Jay Feaster, the Calgary Flames general manager at the time, told reporters center Mark Jankowski "will be viewed as the best player in the 2012 [NHL] Draft."

John Weisbrod, Feaster's assistant, compared the 17-year-old to a young Joe Nieuwendyk.

Those quotes about Jankowski, the 21st pick of that draft by Calgary, still ring out occasionally. Craig Conroy remembers them.

"You try not to hear that, but once it's been said and then it's said everywhere -- Twitter and blogs -- it has a life of its own," said Conroy, now assistant GM with the Flames after serving as special assistant to Feaster when Calgary traded down from No. 14 to select Jankowski three summers ago in Pittsburgh.

"It's hard to avoid it nowadays. I think if it happened 15 years ago it would be said once at the draft and then probably nobody would even talk about it."

Bruins' unheralded draft pick turning heads in college

Sunday, 07.19.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The road to being the leading scorer among NCAA sophomores this season looks cleared for Denver University's Danton Heinen, a Boston Bruins prospect.

Center Jack Eichel, whose 71 points for Boston University led freshmen last season, was selected by the Buffalo Sabres with the No. 2 pick at the 2015 NHL Draft last month and recently signed his first professional contract.

Forward Dylan Larkin also left school for the pros after he finished second among freshmen with 47 points for the University of Michigan. Larkin joined the Detroit Red Wings, who picked him 15th at the 2014 draft, this spring.

Heinen, who the Bruins drafted in the fourth round (No. 116) in 2014, was the third-leading scorer among freshmen. The right wing led the Pioneers with 45 points and he's planning to try to better that when he returns to school.


Bruins prospect DeBrusk scores slick shootout goal

Saturday, 07.18.2015 / 8:38 PM / Prospects

NHL.com

Boston Bruins prospect Jake DeBrusk left something to remember him by on the final day of development camp.

DeBrusk, the 14th pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, scored a slick, behind-the-back shootout goal Friday.

"My thought process going into the shootout at the end was that we lost the game and I didn't score, so I wanted to go into the shootout with the mindset of doing something kind of crazy," DeBrusk told the Bruins website.

Devils see prospect base as remedy to scoring woes

Saturday, 07.18.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- A glimpse of what could be the start of something special began to materialize for the New Jersey Devils despite not qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs a third straight season in 2014-15.

It started when homegrown defensemen Adam Larsson, Eric Gelinas, Jon Merrill and Damon Severson began to earn more ice time, which led to greater confidence as they established themselves on a daily basis.

The challenge Devils general manager Ray Shero and coach John Hynes now face will be to establish some sort of cohesiveness up front in providing more offense. Make no mistake, it will be a work in progress.

McIntyre expects to climb Bruins goalie depth chart

Saturday, 07.18.2015 / 12:00 AM / Prospects

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- With a sunburned nose as red as a goal light, Zane McIntyre looked more off-duty lifeguard than future NHL goalie after the first day of Boston Bruins development camp at Ristuccia Arena.

"Looks like Rudolph," McIntyre said.

The 22-year-old explained he recently fell asleep in a boat and woke up with the sunburn. He needed to be wide awake as he tried to make an impression on the Boston brass in his sixth development camp since the Bruins selected him in the sixth round (No. 165) at the 2010 NHL Draft, his first since he turned pro this summer.

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