Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thursday's Portland Winterhawks News and Notes: Larionov II Added and Nagel and Sharp Dropped Off of Roster

Igor Larionov II Added to Hawk's Roster:
-Portland added Igor Larionov II (gotta love the Roman Numerals) to the roster as #12. The big question is whether he is healthy enough to play anytime soon. It could be that the Hawks are adding him with the hope that he will eventually be healthy enough from his concussion related issues to play somewhere down the line. I would think that since he was supposedly "not healthy" enough to attend Saskatoon Blades camp, he will not be ready for at least a few weeks, but who knows, maybe it didn't work in Saskatoon for reasons outside of his health concerns.

Tanner Nagel and Bronson Sharp Re-assigned:
-Around a week after Tanner Nagel was signed by Portland, he was taken off of the preseason roster on the team's website. Thus, he likely has been re-assigned by the team. Nagel played last season for the Tisdale Trojans of the SMHL and since he is a 1998 born player, he is eligible to return there for one more season.
-Another player taken off of the preseason roster was 1999 born forward Bronson Sharp. He got into the first two games of the preseason but reportedly has been battling an injury since then, causing him to miss all three games in Tri City. This was even though the Hawks did not have enough skaters to ice a full roster. Sharp played last year for the Yale Academy of the CSSHL and I believe that he is not eligible to return to that league as it is for "elite 15s." As a player from B.C., he could play in the B.C. run Midget AAA league for a team there this season. We will find out more regarding where he is going to play this year over the next few weeks.

Back in Camp:
-Of the Nine players likely to end up playing for Portland this year, Rodrigo Abols and Alex Schoenborn were the only ones officially returned to the team as of yet. Abols should be able to play in the preseason game in Everett on Friday. Keoni Texeira, meanwhile, was invited to main camp for the Washington Capitals, despite the fact that he cannot be signed by the Capitals as he was not drafted by them. It seems fairly obvious that they are very interested in him for next year's draft as they gave him a coveted spot in their training camp.
-Somewhat more surprising was the return of Schoenborn back to Portland. I would've thought that San Jose would want to see more out of the 20 year old former 3rd round NHL draft pick, but I guess that was not the case. Schoenborn could also see action Friday, though I would think that they will wait for the regular season before dressing him again.
-Caleb Jones was also not listed on the Edmonton Oilers roster tonight, but I have not seen a release regarding him being sent back to Portland. This is usually the case at the NHL level.
-If Jones has been sent back that would mean that Texeira (Washington), Dominic Turgeon (Detroit), Paul Bittner (Columbus), Jack Dougherty (Nashville), Keegan Iverson (N.Y. Rangers) and Adin Hill (Arizona) are the Winterhawks that made it to main camp with NHL teams.
William Wrenn Signed by the ECHL's Alaska Aces:
-Former Winterhawk: William Wrenn (2010-12) was signed this week by the Alaska Aces. Wrenn was an ECHL all star there in 2012/13 and has gone back and forth between the AHL and the ECHL over the last couple of seasons. With another good showing in his home state of Alaska, he could find himself with another gig in the AHL at some point this season. Wrenn is a steady D-man who will continue to find a job in the professional ranks because what he is really good at, does not necessarily diminish with age.

Sven Baertschi Slotted for the Canuck's Top 6:
-The Hockey Writers take a look at how former Winterhawk Sven Baertschi (2010-12) could be slotted in as a Left Winger on the Vancouver Canucks  2nd line with Brandon Sutter and Radim Vrbata. While Baertschi clearly has elite playmaking abilities, I can understand why a Canucks fan may be disconcerted by this 2nd line. Sutter has been a capable 3rd line Center for Carolina and Pittsburgh in his career but has not been known as an elite set up guy when with those teams. Baertschi would probably work best at the NHL level while lined up with a great set Center. Outside of Henrik Sedin (who should be paired with Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows  as usual), Vancouver does not seem to have this available to him. This is definitely a make or break season, professionally for Baertschi so he will need to make the most of his situation.

Nino Niederreiter on the Wild's 2nd line?:
-In a Q&A with the Minnesota Wild's Head Coach: Mike Yeo, it was revealed that a lot of experimenting with the top 6 forward group will happen in the preseason and the start of the regular season this year. This mean that former Winterhawk: Nino Niederreiter (2009-11) could get some looks on 2nd line RW with Jason Zucker and Mikko Koivu on his line. Nino has received criticism from fans in Minnesota for having a poor plus/minus rating, but if you just watch him play you will see that he has developed in to a true top 6 power forward who also plays well in his own zone. I would look for his point total, which was 36 in 2013/14 and 37 in 2014/15, to take a big jump with more opportunities this year.

Can Ty Rattie Make the Blues Out of Camp?:

-With Robbie Fabbri and Ivan Barbeshev making a lot of noise in rookie camp and at the Traverse City tournament, former Winterhawk Ty Rattie (2008-13) may have his work cut out for him in making the St. Louis Blues out of camp. He has been called up here and there over the last couple of seasons, but has never been given the team's full confidence and that may be a reason, why he has not shown the scoring touch that Portland Winterhawks and Chicago Wolves fans have gotten used to with Rattie. A strong camp from Rattie will assure him of this chance and a guy who scored a game 7 OT winner in the playoffs as a 16 year old does not wither in tough situations.

Silvertips Add 19 Year Old Forward:
-Everett made a move in adding 1996 born forward: Brandon Ralph from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a 4th round Bantam Pick in 2016. He scored 11 points in 67 games last season and may have been pushed out of a spot on the Oil Kings by some younger players. Ralph has been a 3rd or 4th line player for Edmonton over the past couple of seasons and should add some needed depth and WHL experience to the Tips.

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