Thursday, June 27, 2013

Winterhawks Well Represented at 2013 Draft/ Highest Hawks Picked History

Seth Jones was widely considered to be a slam dunk pick for Colorado Avalanche at Sunday's NHL draft in Newark, New Jersey. It now seems that Patrick Roy, the former Goaltender and current Coach of the Avs is influencing the organization to pass on Jones and takes Halifax's Nathan Makinnon at #1. Roy saw a lot of Makinnon, while GM (and owner) of the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts. Florida would be grateful if Colorado chooses to pass on Jones.

If these reports are incorrect and Jones does go #1, to Colorado or to anyone they choose to trade the pick to, he would be the first Winterhawk's player in NHL draft history to go #1.

Also looking to be drafted sometime early on Sunday are Nic Petan and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Petan is hoping that his Memorial Cup exposure combined with his great outing at the top prospect game last winter makes him a first round pick. Some mock drafts have him going 30th to the defending cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Bjorkstrand could be in for a longer day then the other two as a lot of mock drafts have him going in the later stages of the second round. A couple things probably factor against Bjorkstrand and could push him even later in the draft and those are his lack of size and the fact that most scouts have not got to see him play very much (just one season in North America).

Not to be forgotten is Brandon Burke, who has a strong chance of being drafted in the later rounds. His pedigree, being the son of former NHL Goalie and possibly the top Goalie coach in the NHL: Sean Burke, may factor strongly in a team taking a chance on a Goalie and picking him up somewhere in rounds 5-7.

Also, draft eligible for the first time but not likely to be drafted (listed in order of possibility of getting picked):
-Preston Kopeck
-Kirill Vorobyev
-Layne Viveiros

Winterhawks picked in the top 3 of the NHL Draft:

Wayne Babych
3rd Overall
Gary Nylund
  • 1978 Wayne Babych RW(St. Louis): Drafted after Bobby Smith and  Ryan Walter. Played 519 NHL games for 4 different teams putting up 438 career points. Brent Peterson and Larry Playfair also were picked in the first round from the Hawks that year.
  • 1982 Gary Nylund D(Toronto): Drafted after Gord Kluzak and Brian Bellows. Played 608 NHL games for 3 different teams putting up 171 career points and 1,235 carrer PIMs. Ken Yaremchuk and Jim Playfair were also selected in the first round from the Hawks that year.
  • Glen Wesley
  • 1987 Glen Wesley D(Boston): Drafted after Pierre Turgeon and Brendan Shanahan. Played 1,457 career NHL games for 3 different franchises putting up 537 career points. He won the 2006 Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes. Dave Archibald was taken 6th overall by Minnesota that year out of Portland.
2nd Overall

Perry Turnbull
  • 1979 Perry Turnbull LW(St. Louis): Drafted after Rob Ramage and before hall of famer Mike Gartner. Played 608 career NHL games for 3 different teams putting up 351 career points and 1,245 career PIMs. Keith Brown was taken 7th overall that year from the Hawks by Chicago.
  • 1980 Dave Babych D(Winnipeg): Drafted after Doug Wickenheiser and before hall of famer Denis Savard. Played 1,195 career NHL games for 5 different teams, putting up 723 career points. He was on the 1994 Vancouver Canucks that came within a game of winning the Stanley Cup. 
So if Colorado is paying attention to Winterhawk history and really who wouldn't? They have to realize that not a single one of the 5 Hawks taken in the top 3 have ever become big busts and two of them(Wesley and Babych) played over 1,000 NHL games and were big time defensive stalwarts for years.

Hawks 2013-14 Schedule Announced

The WHL released all of the 2013-14 schedules, including the Portland Winterhawks yesterday. The Hawks will start defense of their 3rd WHL title with a game Friday September 20th against the Prince George Cougars. They will have the Ed Chynoweth cup in attendance and will raise their championship banners that night.

The dates and times are set, but venue is still to be determined for most of the home games, until the Portland Trailblazers schedule is released by the NBA.

Here is the link.

The Hawk's preseason schedule was announced the previous day and un-surprisingly it consists solely of 2 tournaments: one in Everett(Labor Day weekend) and the other in Kennewick.

Of the regular season schedule though, a few things jump out to me:

-Portland visits the Central Division this year and the trip is broken into 2 parts.
-9 out of the Hawks final 10 games are within the U.S. Division (if the division title is up for grabs this could be interesting).
-Friday December 6th in Edmonton- a rematch of the last 2 WHL Championships (this will be one everyone in the WHL) has an eye on.
-Hawks play early on MLK Day and President's Day again this year: January 20th at 3:30pm vs. Vancouver and February 12th at 2pm in Prince George.

I, for one, cannot wait until September 20th for WHL hockey to get kicked off again and for the Hawks to try for 4 straight Western Conference titles and back to back WHL titles.

Random Note:
-Congrats to former Winterhawk Marian Hossa who wore a familiar sweater in helping the Chicago win their second title in 4 seasons. Hossa has played in 4 NHL Finals over 6 seasons:
    -2008-Played for Pittsburgh- lost to Detroit.
    -2009-Played for Detroit-lost to Pittsburgh.
    -2010-Played for Chicago-beat Philadelphia
    -2013-Played for Chicago-beat Boston.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Season Recap

So it's been a little while since I've posted here. I left town for awhile after the Finals and have been really busy since then.

What a finish eh? The Hawks lost in the Memorial cup final to the Halifax Mooseheads 6-4 and were in it until the very end. Ty Rattie scored a goal after gloving it down in the crease that just barely did not count as it went off Moosehads Goalie Zachary Fucale and not Ty's stick, thus did not count.

Well now that I got through that it's tie to simultaneously look back all the while looking forward to the 2013-14 season.
This summer I will go over the careers of the outgoing 20 year old players: Troy Rutkowski, Mac Carruth and Taylor Peters, all career Winterhawks, which doesn't happen often.
Later in the summer, I will go over the incoming Hawks and the impprovements that will be needed from the younger returning Winterhawks.

Just looking at the roster right now, it seems evident that Ty Rattie and Tyler Wotherspoon will not be back for their 20 year old seasons. I would venture a guess that Rattie will be wearing the St. Louis Blues sweater next season while Wotherspoon will be playing in Abbotsford for the Heat (Calgary's AHL affiliate). That leaves, soon to be 20 year old Joey Baker. I do not think that the Hawks will retaining Baker, as he was a 4th line player this last season. That means the Hawks could have all 3 overage spots open. It is anyone's guess what they will do, but the most pressing need seems to be the Defense, especially with Seth Jones likely leaving, so look for them to trade for a 20 year old D-man.

Hopefully 2014 will be even more successful, one game that is, then 2013 was.