Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday's Portland Winterhawks News and Notes: Hawks Back in Town

Hawks Arrive for Fitness Testing:
-Training camp got going underway today as the annual fitness testing took place. The Neely Cup starts tomorrow at 4:00 pm with Team Dafoe taking on Team May and then later (at 6:00 pm) Team Langkow plays against Team LaBarbera. The 4 squads are being named after the 4 of the highest drafted Winterhawk's goalies in team history. Here are when and where the 4 Goalies were drafted:
-Darrell May- 1980-5th round-91st overall-Chicago Blackhawks.
-Byron Dafoe-1989-2nd round-35th overall-Washington Capitals.
-Scott Langkow-1993-2nd round-31st overall-Winnipeg Jets.
-Jason LaBarbera-1998-3rd round-66th overall-New York Rangers.
Portland has had 11 total Goalies drafted to the NHL since 1977.

McKittrick Arrest Details Released:
-KPTV Portland released the arrest details involving the incident Portland Assistant Coach Keith McKittrick was involved in on August 16th in Beaverton at around 7:30 am. The Police arrested McKittrick for 4th degree Assault, Strangulation and Domestic Menacing. He is currently out on $2,500 bail and is expected in court on September 14th. Portland management has been pretty tight lipped so far but they did say that he is currently on "administrative leave." Therefore, I would not expect him to be with the Hawks until after he sees his day in court.

What is Going to Happen to the Coliseum?:
-A study was recently released that Veterans Memorial Coliseum is losing around $55,000 each year. Any sort of renovations are being expected to cost between $35 Million and $142 Million. The cheapest option is the $14 Million that it would take to actually just tear the building down. Overall, not a great outlook for an arena that's been in flux for the last 3 years and continue to be so until the city of Portland can decide what it wants to do.

4 Hawk's Prospects Named to CCM/USA All American Prospects Game:
-Kieffer Bellows, Garrett Wait, Samuel Rossini and Mitchell Mattson were all named to the 4th annual AAPG. A Winterhawk roster player has played in each game so far with Seth Jones (2012), Keegan Iverson (2013), Chase De Leo (2013) and Paul Bittner (2014) all having played in the game. The game will take place on September 24th in Buffalo at the First Niagra Center.

McLaren Signed by San Jose:
-Former Winterhawk Frazer McLaren (2003-08) was signed by the San Jose Sharks to a 1 year, 2 way deal. He played all of last season for the AHL's Toronto Marlies where he registered 1 assist and 62 PIMs in just 22 games. It appears he may get another chance to stick with the Sharks after playing for the Worcester/San Jose Sharks from 2008 to 2012.

Top 5 WHL Teams of All Time Revealed:
-Andy Eide of Sportsnet revealed the final 5 in his list of the top 25 WHL teams of all time. Not too surprisingly, considering the story, the 1989 Swift Current Broncos topped the list. The Joe Sakic led squad beat the host Saskatoon Blades for the Memorial Cup that year. Gregg Drinnan's book: "Sudden Death," is a must read on this team.

Ryan Johansen Throws Out First Pitch:
-Former Winterhawk Ryan Johansen (2009-11) was on hand for the Cincinnati Reds game against the Detroit Tigers on Monday and he threw out the first pitch. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday's Winterhawks News and Notes: What's the Deal with the Price Situation?

A whole lot of stuff going on in the world of the Portland Winterhawks the last couple of days.
Price Released by Hawks; Will He Report to Royals Camp?:
-The Portland Winterhawks have released Ethan Price from their protected list, no doubt expecting that he wanted to stay and play for his hometown Lincoln Stars of the USHL. Price left the teams last season after playing 38 games, scoring 4 goals and 5 assists for 9 points. The reason cited for his leaving the team was some "family issues" and it made sense as Price was able to return and play at home and live with his family. The move back to Lincoln came at a poor time in terms of his development as after being buried on the 4th line for much of the first part of the season, he began playing some with Dominic Turgeon on the team's 3rd line to some positive results. He scored goals on consecutive nights 12/27 and 12/28 against Seattle and Spokane respectively. He was starting to play consistent hockey and driving at the net to dig pucks out of those tough areas. Price's physical play was starting to pick up as well.

Oregonian reporter Scott Sepich broke the news:

In Winterhawksnews, I've been told that Ethan Price is planning to remain in the USHL with Lincoln this season and won't return to Portland— Scott Sepich(@SSepich) August 19, 2015

It was expected that if Price decided to come back and play in the WHL, he would do so for a team in Portland that could use some players who had scored goals at the WHL level before, after losing their top 3 scorers. Instead Price was dropped off of the Hawk's 50 man protected list a little while ago.

I was then surprised to read from Vancouver, B.C. area reporter: Dickson Liong that Price had been picked up by the Victoria Royals and was expected to attend Royal's camp beginning August 31st. Reportedly, Price himself has said that this is not true and he will be returning to play for the Lincoln Stars. If Price left the Hawks due to being too far from home, why would he then go play for a team that's not even in his home country? I guess we will have to wait for Royals camp to begin before we can truly say for sure that Price will not go there, but at this point I would side with the people saying he will play for the Stars.

Bittner Signed by Blue Jackets:
-I wrote a piece for the Seattle Sin Bin, detailing Bittner being signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets. I would expect him to now get some extended looks at Columbus training camp and maybe even get into a preseason game or two, like Oliver Bjorkstrand did for CBJ last preseason.

Greer Released by Hawks:
-Another 2012 Winterhawk's draft pick, who has played game for Portland: Defenseman Justin Greer is no longer on Portland's protected list and so has been dropped by the Hawks. Greer showed potential as a 16 year old in 2013/14; getting into 6 games total over two different stints with the team (December 13-17, 2013 and March 5-8, 2014). Greer was pointless but notched a +1 overall in the 6 games. He showed signs of being a smooth skating, puck moving D-man. Then during training camp in 2014, with a spot on the Hawk's blue line seemingly his for the taking, he came down with an illness that kept him out of hockey for the entire 2014/15 season. It's unknown at this point, if Greer has retired from hockey, but one would expect that if he were to play hockey this season, it would be somewhere in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta.

Thomas Frazee Signs Deal with ECHL Team:
-Former Winterhawk Thomas Frazee (2005-07) signed a deal with the ECHL's Gwinnett Gladiators Wednesday. Frazee was traded by the Greenville Road Warriors to Gwinnett in June in exchange for forward Anthony Luciani. Last season, the big former first round Bantam pick (in 2005) of the Winterhawks, had 18 goals and 23 assists for a combination of the Fort Wayne Comets, the Evansville Icemen and Greenville. He even played several games in the AHL for the Charlotte Checkers. Frazee is the definition of a "well traveled, journeyman hockey player." He was drafted by the Hawks 11th overall and played for them during his 15 and 16 year old seasons, amassing 7 goals and 6 assists in 76 total games, before being traded to Medicine Hat before his 17 year old season. Frazee would then play for three other WHL teams before going on to a professional career.

Jones Spotlighted by Edmonton Journal:
-The Edmonton Journal profiled the Oiler's 4th round pick in this June's draft: Portland's Caleb Jones. It does a pretty good job of going over all of the scouting reports on Jones. They all seem to agree that he a tireless player who will not be out-worked on the ice. He is reportedly not dominant in one thing but is solid at all areas. In the several games I watched him play at the World Juniors Evaluation Camp, he demonstrated a gritty, tough game and also showed that his skating is probably just as good as his older brother and former Hawk: Seth Jones. As a younger brother myself, I can attest that when you have an older brother beating you at sports all of the time, it tends to put a chip on your shoulder and inspires you to play aggressively at all times. If Caleb makes it to the NHL, it will be because he is being driven in this way and is going to work harder than the next guy. Interestingly enough, he could be competing for an NHL contract with Seattle's Ethan Bear, who was drafted a round later than Caleb by Edmonton. This will add an underlying story line to each Seattle-Portland game this season.

1997-98 Teams Comes in at #7 on List: 
-Andy Eide over at Sportsnet is nearing the conclusion of his "Top 25 WHL teams of all time" in celebration of the 50th season of the WHL. Portland landed their 3rd and likely final team in the top 25 with their 1997-98 Memorial Cup winning squad, ranking 7th. The team that had the likes of Marian Hossa, Brenden Morrow, Todd Robinson, Andrew Ference, Kevin Haupt and Brent Belecki is the Hawk's best team of all time in my opinion and Andy's as well. I have so many fond memories of that year; the top one being Belecki corralling a loose puck with seconds left to play and Portland leading by one goal in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final. It will be interesting to see where Andy has Swift Current's 1989 team in the top 5 overall (I'm assuming they are in there).

Leier Rated as #13 Flyers Prospect:
-Broad Street Hockey looks at where former Winterhawk Taylor Leier (2011-14) ranks among Flyers prospects. Leier's 31 points last season were not too bad for his first professional season, but he will probably need to fare better at the AHL level, before the Flyers will call him up for an NHL debut.

Two New Names on Prospect's List:
-Clayton Phillips (1999 born D-man) and Noah Lee (2000 born D-man) were two new names on the Winterhawks "Prospects List" on their website. Phillips is a 5'11" 161 lb left-handed D-man, who is going into his Junior year at Edina High School in Minnesota. He played with fellow Hawk's prospect Garrett Wait with Edina and also was on "Team Grey" at the USA Select 16 camp this summer, where he had 4 points in 5 games. Lee is 5'8" and 154 lbs and played for Anaheim Jr. Ducks Bantam AAA team last season. At the U.S. Select 15 camp, he notched two assists in 5 games for "Team Kelly." He played with 2015 Portland Bantam Draft pick: Stanislav Demin last year. Neither of the two D-men have committed to NCAA schools as of yet.

Wellar Re-signs With Alaska
-Former Winterhawk: Patrick Wellar (1999-2003) has signed a contract with the ECHL's Alaska Aces. The 31 year old from Carrot River, Saskatchewan was a player/assistant coach with the Utah Grizzlies last year, but it appears he will not keep that same role with Alaska. Since turning pro in 2004, he has jumped back and forth between AHL and ECHL teams, winning three different Kelly Cups in that time.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday's Winterhawk's News and Notes: Carruth Signed by Rockford

Mac Carruth Receives 1 Year AHL Deal:
-The Chicago Blackhawk's AHL affiliate: the Rockford Icehogs signed former Winterhawk Mac Carruth (2009-13) to a 1 year AHL deal. Carruth was steady for the ECHL's Indy Fuel last season, posting a 17-13 record with a 2.55 GAA and 0.914 Save %. After the Fuel's season ended, he joined Rockford as a back up, making 1 appearance in the Calder Cup playoffs in relief during Game 5 of their Western Conference Semi-final vs. Detroit's AHL affiliate: the Garand Rapids Griffins. He gave up 2 goals on 15 shots and Rockford lost the game 5-3 and the series 4 games to 1. Carruth figures to be in a good spot with Rockford, as Chicago traded away Antti Raanta in the off-season, meaning that Michael Leighton and Carruth are the only Goalies under contract for the Icehogs currently. Chicagos' NHL duo of goalies is seemingly set as well with Corey Crawford and Scott Darling. This is a big season for Carruth, who is 11 years younger than the journeyman Leighton and is in a position to learn a lot from the veteran back-stopper.

McManus and U.S. U-17s Win 5 Nations Cup:
-2014 Portland Bantam Draft pick: Brannon McManus and the team USA U-17 team won the 5 Nations Tournament on Sunday, with a 8-1 win over Germany. Team USA went 4-0 overall and out-scored their opponents 29-8. McManus had 4 goals and 1 assist for 5 points in the 4 games and continues to excel at scoring in tournaments. He had 11 points in 5 games at the USA Select 16 camp recently and had 10 points in 5 games at the USA Select 15 camp last season. McManus should be playing in the USHL as a 16 year old this season with the Omaha Lancers. He's committed to play for the University of Minnesota, starting in 2017.

Rossini and Wait Help Lock Up 5th Place at Ivan Hlinka Cup:
-Winterhawk's prospects: Sam Rossini and Garrett Wait helped lead the Team USA U18 squad to a 5th place finish at the Ivan Hlinka Cup, after they beat the Czech Republic 5-4 last Friday. Spokane Chief's forward: Kailer Yamamoto had two goals in the game, including the game winner in the 3rd period.
-Canada won their 8th Ivan Hlinka Gold Medal in a row with a 7-3 victory over Sweden on Sunday. Vancouver Giant Tyler Benson and Calgary Hitman Brock Malenstyn had goals for Canada. The younger brother of former Winterhawk Anton Cederholm: Jacob Cederholm was a top pairing D-man for Sweden in the tournament.

T-birds Trade Calvin Spencer:
-19 year old forward Calvin Spencer was traded by Seattle to Swift Current for a conditional 6th round Bantam pick in the 2017 draft.  The 6'1" 216 lb power forward from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota had 6 points and 17 penalty minutes in 32 games in 2013/14 and 13 points and 76 PIMs in 67 games last year. Spencer in the vein of a lot of power forwards has struggled with consistent play but should fit in well with the Broncos where they always seem to have a ton of big forwards and play a very physical game.

Two Winterhawk's Teams Make Top 25 WHL Teams List:
-The Hawks' squad that fell just short in the Memorial Cup Final in 2013, came in at #16 on Sportnet's: top 25 WHL Teams of all time. That squad set a franchise record with 57 wins and had one of the best top 4 D-man pairings in Troy Rutkowski, Seth Jones, Tyler Wotherspooon and Derrick Pouliot, that I've ever seen at the WHL level. Jones, Wotherspoon and Pouliot had all played NHL games by 2014.
-The 1982/83 Winter Hawk's team that lost the WHL final, but won the Memorial Cup, behind "acquired" Goalie Mike Vernon came in at #13 on the list. That squad was led by Randy Heath, Ken Yaremchuk, Grant Sasser, Cam Neely, Richard Kromm and Brad Duggan, who all had 100 points or more.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thursday's Winterhawks News and Notes: Ference's Letter

Ference Faxed a Letter to Every NHL Team After Not Being Ranked:
-Former Winterhawk Defenseman: Andrew Ference (1994-99) recently tweeted out a photo of a letter that he said he faxed to every NHL team back in 1997. This was after not being invited for physical testing, or being ranked by Central Scouting Bureau. The letter can be found here and is simply delightful. Ference was drafted in the 8th round by Pittsburgh and has played 17 seasons for Pittsburgh, Calgary, Boston and Edmonton (where he is currently playing). He won a Memorial Cup with Portland in 1998 and won a Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011. My favorite Ference related memory is when the Calgary Hitmen and highly touted and leading WHL scorer: Pavel Brendl invaded Portland during the 1998-99 season. Ference shut Brendl down that night and even laid him flat with a clean open ice check. He always seemed to be driven the most when he was doubted. In comparison, Brendl, who was drafted 4th overall in 1999, ended up playing a total of 78 NHL games.

Sportsnet's Top 25 WHL Team so All Time:
-Writer Andy Eide and Sportsnet are doing a cool feature this summer by counting down their list of the top 25 teams in the history of the WHL. Yesterday the #25-21 teams were revealed. The same Calgary Hitmen 1998-99 team I mentioned before is listed at #24 overall. The Winterhawks received a mention in a note about the #25 team: the 2001/02 Kootenay Ice. Portland was the #1 seed out of the U.S. Division, but were upset by Seattle in the 1st round. This along with the other top seed Kamloops being knocked off early, helped make the route to glory easy on the Ice.

McManus Shines at U-17 Five Nations Cup:
-Portland's 2014 fourth round pick: Brannon McManus has scored a goal in both the exhibition game and opening match for Team USA to the Five Nations Cup. In Wednesday's 5-4 win over the Czech Republic, McManus scored his team's opening goal, helping to cut into an early 2-0 Czech lead. His marker came on the penalty kill. Team USA's next game is Friday morning against Slovakia. McManus scored 86 points in 55 games last season for Shattuck St. Mary's and has committed to play for the University of Minnesota in 2017/18.

Wait Records an Assist at U-18 Ivan Hlinka Cup:
-Meanwhile at the U-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Team USA finally recorded their first win Wednesday; a 7-3 rout of Slovakia. The win means that they will play for 5th place Friday against the Czech Republic. Portland's Bantam Draft Pick: Garrett Wait, recorded an assist on the American's 7th goal.

Meanwhile, Canada blew out Switzerland 9-2, sending them to a Semi-Final vs. Russia, in search of their 20th Gold Medal and 8th in a row. Twelve of the 22 Canadian players are from the WHL, including Everett's Goalie: Carter Hart. I've watched all three of Canada's games so far and I came away most impressed with Kelowna's Dillon Dube, Vancouver's Tyler Benson and Brandon's Kale Clague. Benson opened the scoring against the Swiss Wednesday, when he split the defense and shelved a backhand past the opposing Goalie in a highlight reel goal. Clague is excellent on both ends and showed great adeptness at finding an open shooting lane on the offensive side. Both should be high draft picks in the 2016 NHL draft.

Caldwell Doing Yeoman's Work:
-Once again Alan Caldwell over at "Small Thoughts at Large" released the list of Portland Winterhawk's prospects with stats and notes. As far as I could tell, there was only one name listed that is not listed in the Winterhawks protected list on their website. That is 19 year old Goalie: Eric Schierhorn out of Anchorage, Alaska. According to Caldwell, Schierhorn was listed on the Hawk's official protected list last Spring. He was named the USHL Goalie of the year last season while playing for the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Schierhorn is expected to play for the University of Minnesota in 2015/16.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday's Winterhawks News and Notes: 3 Winterhawk's Prospects Compete at Ivan Hlinka U-18 Memorial Cup

Rossini, Crone, Wait and Team USA Start Out 0-2:
-Hawk's prospects: Garrett Wait, Henry Crone and  Sam Rossini are all currently playing for Team USA at the annual Ivan Hlinka U-18 Memorial Cup. The tournament has been held every year since 1991 and is looked at as a big event for NHL scouts to look at the next draft's top prospects. Canada has dominated the tourney historically, winning 19 of 24 Cups and the last 7 in a row. The USA last won Gold in 2003 and was looking to return to glory this year.

Unfortunately they dropped their opening contest on Monday: 5-1 to Finland and followed it up today with a 5-2 loss to Russia. If the U.S. wins their final Group match tomorrow against Slovakia they will play for 5th on Friday. If they lose tomorrow they will play for 7th Friday. Considering there are only 8 total teams at the tournament, this has not been a great showing for the Americans.

Forward Garrett Wait was drafted by Portland in the 8th round of the 2013 Bantam Draft and recently had a strong showing at the United State's Select 17 camp, scoring 9 points in 5 games. At the U-18 Cup, he played mostly on the U.S.'s 4th line with a combination of William Knierem (Dubuque-USHL), Hugh McGing (Cedar Rapids-USHL) and John Leonard (Green Bay-USHL). Wait was pointless in the first 2 games. He has committed to play for the University of Minnesota, starting in 2016.

Forward Henry Crone was a "protected list" addition for the Winterhawks and is a native of Dallas, Texas. Crone had an assist in the U.S.A.'s 2-1 Exhibition loss to the Czech Republic last weekend, when his shot was deflected by teammate Timmy Gettinger (Sault Ste. Marie-OHL) past the Czech Goalie. In the loss to Finland, he skated on the team's 2nd line with Benjamin Lown (Wichita Falls-NAHL) and Riley Tufte (Fargo-USHL), but did not play in today's loss to Russia. I watched the Exhibition loss to the Czech Republic and Crone was one of the most dynamic players the Americans had. At one point, he split two defenders and went in all alone on the C.R. Goalie, before going to his backhand and getting beat by a quick left pad. Crone is committed to Boston University and will play for them in 2016. Next season, he should be playing for Omaha of the USHL.

Defenseman Samuel Rossini is another "protected list" addition by the Hawks and is a big rearguard (6'3" 194 lbs) from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. Rossini was named an Assistant Captain for the Ivan Hlinka tournament and played significant minutes over the first two games as a top 4 pairing D-man. Today, Rossini had an assist on a goal scored by Spokane Chief's forward: Kailer Yamamoto. Rossini is committed to play for the University of Minnesota in 2016 and should be playing for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL, this coming season.

Ty Kolle at Cariboo Cougars Camp:
-Winterhawk's top 2015 Bantam Draft pick: Ty Kolle, impressed at the BCMML's: Cariboo Cougar's summer evaluation camp over the weekend. Cougar's General Manager and Head Coach: Tyler Sprague said Kolle is a player who: "has great character and plays a full 200 foot game." Kolle will play the 2015/16 season for the Cariboo Cougars and could play a few games in Portland this year, as soon as he is signed. There has been a  bit of a pipeline going from the Prince George area to Portland over the last season, as both Austin Gray and Conor MacEachern were signed from the Cariboo organization.

Pouliot Playing as Top 4 D-man in 2015?:
-Former Winterhawk Derrick Pouliot could be looking at a top 4 position among the Pittsburgh PenguinsD-men, after the team lost Paul Martin in the off-season. Hockey Buzz looked at some advance stats to answer this question. It appears that he has elite NHL level puck possession skills and we all know he has high end offensive ability. The big question is whether he can be consistent in his own zone? I think that he can grow into this role over the next season or two as he's forced to learn on the fly with the Pens. He is also training this off-season with Gary Roberts which should mean that he will be in amazing shape and ready for a breakout season.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wednesday's News and Notes: Bittner and Turgeon Compete at USA WJEC

USA Wins in OT Over Finland 5-4:
-Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Zach Werenski scored the over-time winner for the United States as they completed a comeback from a 4-2 deficit in Lake Placid during World Juniors Evaluation Camp. Jack Roslovic, Erik Foley, Matthew Tkachuk and Sonny Milano were the other goal scorers for the U.S.

This was the first game for the U.S. as a combined squad after the roster was cut down from 39 to 32 players yesterday.

As Portland Winterhawks Defenseman Jack Dougherty was cut from the team yesterday and Caleb Jones was a healthy scratch, the only Hawks to suit up in this one were Paul Bittner and Dominic Turgeon. Bittner was given an excellent chance to prove himself as he was placed on the de facto top line for the U.S. with Auston Matthews and Jeremy Bracco. While they did not score, they were the team's most consistent line and created multiple scoring chances. Bittner seems like a natural fit to play with Matthews as the possible #1 overall 2016 NHL draft pick, is amazing at finding a way to get the puck towards the net and Bittner's large frame is perfect for creating enough space to receive a pass or find a rebound. Unfortunately for Bittner, he could not have ingratiated himself much with USA Head Coach Ron Wilson after committing three minor penalties. In one series he committed a slashing infraction and then when he was getting out of the box, he played the puck while his feet were still inside. He was immediately whistled for an "illegal substitution penalty" and went right back to the sin bin. Hopefully, Team USA will look at his overall play more than that particular series.

Dominic Turgeon centered the second line between Sonny Milano and Nick Scmaltz and continued to play the solid 2 way game that Hawk's fans are used to seeing. Turgeon was paired with Milano as Team USA's top penalty killing forwards and did a pretty effective job. It's obvious that he's suited to this role and it's likely his best chance at making the team as a 3rd line Center. He was part of an offensive play that led to Milano's 3rd period game tying goal.

Jones should see the ice tomorrow for Team USA's 1pm PST game against Team Sweden.

Glass Wraps Up Play at U-17s:
-Hawk's 16 year old Forward Cody Glass played his last game for "Team Red", at the U-17 Program of Excellence in Calgary and his team beat Team Gold 4-3 finishing the tourney 1-2 overall. In the 6 team tourney, Canada Red finished tied for 4th overall with Canada Black and Glass had 1 assist in the 3 games. He is vying to make one of Canada's three rosters for the U-17 World Challenge.

Ralph Named Kelowna's New Head Coach:
-Former Idaho Steelheads Coach: Brad Ralph was named the successor to Dan Lambert and will take over the reigning WHL champion Kelowna Rockets. Ralph was considered by many to be an off the radar decision by Bruce Hamilton but did coach the Steelheads to three straight 39 win or more seasons in his only three seasons with the club. Ralph is from Richmond, Ontario and played for the Oshawa Generals of the OHL from 1997-2000 before having a "cup of coffee" with the Phoenix Coyotes. The strangest thing about the Ralph hiring though was the fact that prior to being announced as the Head Coach yesterday, he'd never even been to Kelowna.

Seattle Trades Lane Pederson to Red Deer:
-The Seattle Thunderbirds traded 18 year old Center Lane Pederson and a conditional 5th round 2017 pick to Red Deer in exchange for 18 year old Goalie Taz Burman. Pederson was buried on the depth chart last season for Seattle and should get a chance to play a little more for Red Deer. Of note is the fact that his birthday was actually yesterday. So for his birthday he gets a guarantee to play in the Memorial Cup for the host Rebels. Burman went 9-5 for Red Deer last year and had a 3.08 GAA and 0.89 Save %.  He will be joining 18 year old Logan Flodell as Seattle's Goalies this season. Bringing in a  Goalie of the same age is an interesting decision by Seattle G.M. Russ Farwell but giving up on the talented Pederson may end up being a worse decision (Lonny Bohonos anyone...?).

Tri City Trades Rights to Brandon Hickey:
-The Tri City Americans traded away the rights to Boston University Defenseman Brandon Hickey to Red Deer for a 2016 5th round pick and 2 conditional Bantam Draft picks. Hickey was a Calgary Flames 3rd round draft pick in 2014. The most likely route to Red Deer for Brandon is if Calgary signs him to a pro deal, which would make his ineligible to continue to play in college. This is a win-win trade for both teams as Red Deer, as Memorial Cup hosts would be a far more likely location for Calgary to send him then Tri City and the Americans get a draft pick out of having his rights.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tuesday's News and Notes: Catching Up with Winterhawks at National Camps

Dougherty Cut From USA WJC Evaluation Camp Roster:
-Defenseman Jack Dougherty was one of the seven cuts made from the USA U-20 roster today. This makes the second year in a row he's been invited and then cut loose from the U.S. roster. While Dougherty did not play badly, despite his team giving up 15 goals over the last two games vs. Sweden and Finland, but neither did he really stand out. With several other right handed D-man, as well as, several other shutdown style D-men, the coaches may have thought that his playing style was repetitive.

Bittner, Turgeon and Jones Impress:
-Meanwhile at camp, Paul Bittner has scored 3 goals over the 2 games and 1 scrimmage and has played more physically, which is something that U.S. Coach Ron Wilson asked him to do. In Monday's lopsided loss to Finland, Bittner threw a crushing open ice check that was sure to impress Wilson. Bittner was kept over fellow 6'4" power forward Jordan Greenway, which could mean that the U.S. has designs on using him as their token power forward. The fact that Bittner also has the speed to keep up with the rest of the U.S.'s most skilled forwards and has played with offensively elite players in his past has to help his odds of making the team.
-Dominic Turgeon had his ups and downs over the 2 games, but the fact that he was the forward who played the most, by himself in a 5 on 3 capacity, as the U.S. committed penalty after penalty Monday. He is not going to beat Auston Matthews or Dylan Larkin as Centers on the depth chart, but if he plays really well over the rest of camp, he could put himself in the 3rd line Center role. Depth up the middle is one of the things that the U.S. is lacking and Turgeon should have a spot there.
-Caleb Jones displayed far more offensive ability and speed then I knew he had. He was used as a power play quarterback for Team Blue and was the most effective on the team in this capacity. His positioning defensively needs a lot of work as he let Swedish and Finnish forwards behind him on the bigger ice surface. However, he was not the only Blue D-man to struggle with this capacity. Having a unique skill set that sets him apart is probably why he was kept past the cuts, but he needs to be better overall in order to make the team.
Glass Playing at Canada U-17 Camp in Calgary:
-Winterhawks first round 2014 Bantam Draft pick has played two of three games so far at U-17 Canadian Camp and has one assist in the two "Team Red" losses. His team lost 3-2 Saturday and 6-4 last night. I watched the first game and Glass displayed excellent ice vision and passing ability. He set up Team red teammates multiple times with adept passes through traffic into the slot from the wing. He definitely seems to look to pass first, which is his obvious strength, but I'd like to see him drive to the net more. Overall, though there's been some obvious improvement since last season, when he played several games with Portland, as a 15 year old. Glass and Team Red play their last game today vs. Team Blue. If Glass has impressed enough, he will be named to the final Canadian U-17 roster for the U-17 Challenge this October.

Yahoo Profile on Caleb Jones:
-Cool piece on Winterhawk's D-man Caleb Jones. He stated the obvious when he said that: "the comparison can get annoying," when referring to people constantly bringing up his older brother Seth around him. I think that about every time I read an article on him and half the article is asking him about his brother. A successful season this year in Portland could help him make a name for himself in his own right.

Hossa Named Slovak Hockey Player of the Year:
-Formwer Winterhawk: Marian Hossa (1997-98) won in landslide in the annual Slovakian poll on who is the best Slovakian hockey player. He received 197 votes, 99 more then the 2nd place: Tomas Tatar of the Detroit Red Wings. The future Hall of Famer could end his career as arguably the best Slovakian hockey player ever and another Stanley cup or three certainly will not hurt.

Kolle Makes Team B.C.:
-Winterhawks 4th round 2015 Bantam Pick: Ty John Kolle was named to the Team B.C. shortlist today. He looks like he will play for B.C. at the Western Challenge Canada Cup this winter.