Monday, July 15, 2013

Winterhawks News

So there were a few interesting Winterhawks related items in the news this past week:

First, the big news finally came down after several days of rumors that Travis Green, the guy who took over the Hawks last November 28th and took them all the way to the Memorial Cup Championship game, got the Head Coaching gig in Utica, New York. This is a new team that was added this year and will now be the Vancouver Canuck's AHL farm team. This is an excellent place for Green to end up, after only half a season of head coaching in the WHL. It had to help that Mike Johnston still has connections within the Canucks organization.

One had to know that after all of the WHL teams filled their coaching vacancies, Green was going to make the jump to the AHL as a head coach or the NHL as an assistant. He will be missed, as it seems that he really clicked with the players and got the most out of them night in and night out.

Another news item that came down was Seth Jones already signing an entry level deal with the Nashville Predators. Jones signing this early means that it's moving more towards a 100% guarantee that this is the last Portland will see of Jones, barring any injuries.

Also, Brendan Leipsic, who was inexplicably left of the Canadian World Juniors camp invite list, was added last week. This is for the camp that will take place August 4th-10th in Quebec and Lake Placid, N.Y. I believe that once Canadian Coach Brent Sutter gets an eyeful of all of the things that Leipsic can bring, he will have a hard time leaving him out of the lineup.

Lastly, 16 year old d-man Nick Heid tweeted out that he will be spending this next season with his U-16 AAA team. So he will not be one of the newcomers coming to Portland's camp.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hawks Pick Up First 20 Year Old-Trade 2 Picks for McColgan-Other News

Shane McColgan
The Portland Winterhawks added a little depth up front for the 2013-14 season the other day, when they traded for 1993 born Right Winger Shane McColgan from the Saskatoon Blades for a 7th round batam pick in 2014 and a 3rd round bantam pick in 2015.

McColgan has 74 career goals and 188 career assists in 5 seasons with the Kelowna Rockets and Saskatoon Blades (he played 4 games as a 15 year old in 2008-09). He is an excellent playmaker who creates a lot of scoring chances for his linemates. He also adds a little bit of a pesky streak despite being 5'11 and 170 lbs.

He was a 5th round draft pick (134th overall) in 2011 by the New York Rangers, but is expected to play in the WHL this coming season as an overage.

This makes only one overage for the Hawks as Joey Baker decided to pursue educational options (all the best Joey) and Tyler Wotherspoon and Ty Rattie are expected to turn pro next season. One has to think that Mike Johnston has several other irons in the fire, as it were, in regards to getting a couple more overages.
Anton Cederholm

Also, the Hawks took 18 year old Swedish Defenseman Anton Cederholm, who had just been taken in the 5th round by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL draft, in the CHL Import Draft. Cederholm played 36 games in the Swedish Elite League last year, so should be prepared for the high level of play in the WHL.

Because of this, the Hawks have decided to waive Kirill Vorobev, who fell out of favor with Hawk's coaches late in the season and lost his spot to Shaun MacPherson.

Another little bit of news involves the snubbing of Brendan Leipsic from the Canadian Junior team. It is not often that a guy who tied for the CHL lead in scoring is left on the team the following year. Especially given that Leipsic brings so much more to the table then scoring. Red Deer Rebels Coach and G.M. Brent Sutter chose to leave off Leipsic but did include Nic Petan and Derick Pouliot were selected to attend the training camp.

Also, Paul Bittner, Keegan Iverson and Dominic Turgeon were selected to the United States' U-18 squad for the Ivan Hlinka tournament.

Monday, July 1, 2013

4 Winterhawks Taken in Sunday's Draft

The Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning both chose to pass on projected top 2 talent Seth Jones, after Colorado came through on their promise to draft Nathan MacKinnon on Sunday on New Jersey.

This meant that Jones was available when the Nashville Predators and General Manager David Poille, the architect of Team USA, were up to pick at #4. Poille, said he was "shocked," that Jones available for them and most of the fans watching were as well.

Despite dropping out of the top 3, I really feel that this is the best case scenario for Jones. Nashville is a classy organization which has done an excellent job at developing top end defenisive prospects (see Shea Weber, Ryan Suter et. al.) that they have drafted. Jone sis definitely in good hands and will have an opportunity to compete year in and year out. The same cannot be said for Tampa or Florida, that's for sure.

Also, this is the one team picking in the top 4, which has made prospects wait a bit before making the leap to the NHL. So, it makes it somewhat possible that Seth could come back to Portland for one more year. Not likely, but possible.

Outside of Jones, the other 3 Winterhawks were picked around where they were expected to go:

-Winnipeg picked Nic Petan in the 2nd round with the 43rd overall pick.
-Columbus picked Oliver Bjorkstrand in the 3rd round with the 89th overall pick.
-Phoenix Coyotes picked Brandon Burke in the 6th round with the 163rd overall pick.

It should be a surpise to no one that Phoenix picked Burke as his Dad (Sean Burke) is the Goaltending Coach and the Assistant to the G.M. ( Don Maloney). Maybe with his Dad's team having the rights to him, Burke Sr. will be able to give his expert tutelage to his son and make him more confident in his net (something he sorely needs).