INSIDE HOCKEY » Entry Draft Get Inside! Mon, 22 Sep 2014 03:49:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Photo Gallery: 2013 NHL Draft Thu, 04 Jul 2013 11:47:20 +0000

The 2013 NHL Entry Draft was the 51st NHL Entry Draft. All seven rounds of the draft took place on June 30, 2013 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The top three selections were Nathan MacKinnon, Alexander Barkov, Jr., and Jonathan Drouin.

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Flyers Address Needs, Draft D-Men Mon, 01 Jul 2013 17:42:22 +0000

Every NHL team produces a high amount of intrigue heading into the NHL Draft, but no team is surrounded by the same infamous level of entertainment than the Philadelphia Flyers year-in and year-out.

This season the Flyers front office chose to forgo the blockbuster trade and use their own picks to acquire a slew of solid blue-liners­ to fill a necessity for the future.

Philadelphia used their first round pick, the 11th overall, on 6-foot-6 defenseman Samuel Morin from Rimouski Oceanic of the GMJHL. Morin will be gauged endlessly against Philadelphia defenseman Chris Pronger in his progressive development through the Flyers system, but there is no measuring stick needed to see the kid is fully equipped for the Philadelphia brand of hockey. The Quebec native is a hardnosed, stay-at-home defenseman who knows when to drop the mitts. He’ll shut them down and knock them down; he has the 117 penalty minutes last season to prove it.

Philly added versatile defensive depth with the second round pick of Swedish puck-moving-defender Robert Hagg. The 6-foot-2 mobile blue-liner isn’t NHL ready quite yet, but the upside of a player who thrives with the puck on his stick and good shoot in his arsenal is a promising prospect for the future. Hagg was a solid get in the second round. Hagg was ranked higher in projections than first round selection Morin.

The 5th and 7th round picks were utilized on another pair of backenders: Terrance Amorosa from New Hampshire and David Drake from Des Moines of the USHL.

The lone forward selection came with the pick of winger Tyrell Goulbourne in round three. Goulbourne is gritty player valued more for his toughness and character than his offensive prowess. The winger from Kelowna of the WHL was a surprise pick at the 71st pick considering he is classified as a tough guy. The Flyers have a plethora of young talented forwards, allowing for some unconventional depth moves, but a lot of talent was on the board at the time of the pick which makes the selection questionable.

As expected, Flyers management rounded out their draft with a goal tender. Future Harvard player Merrick Madsen is headed into the Orange and Black system which is always in search of the next heir apparent between the pipes.

General Manager Paul Holmgren was a popular person on the draft floor Sunday. The GM took the time to speak at length, sometimes multiple times, with a handful of opposing general managers. Nothing came to fruition on Sunday, but it appears Holmgren may be waiting to make the usual big splash moves when free agency opens on Friday.

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2013 NHL Entry Draft: Rounds 3-7 Mon, 01 Jul 2013 14:01:48 +0000

Here are the results of Rounds Three through Seven of the 2013 NHL Draft:

Third Round

62. Yan Pavel LaPlante (C) (PHX)

63. Spencer Martin (G) (COL)

64. Jonathan-Ismael Diaby (D) (NSH)

65. Adam Tambellini (C) (NYR)

66. Brett Pesce (D) (CAR)

67. Keegan Kanzig (D) (CGY)

68. Niklas Hansson (D) (DAL)

69. Nicholas Baptiste (RW) (BUF)

70. Eamon McAdam (G) (NYI)

71. Connor Crisp (LW) (MTL)

72.Tyrell Goulbourne (LW) (PHI)

73. Ryan Kujawinski (C) (NJD)

74. John Hayden (C) (CHI)

75. Pavel Buchnevich (LW) (NYR)

76. Taylor Cammarata (C) (NYI)

77. Jake Guentzel (C) (PIT)

78. Marcus Hogberg (G) (OTT)

79. Mattias Janmark-Nylen (C) (DET)

80. Anthony DuClair (LW) (NYR)

81. Kurtis Gabriel (RW) (MIN)

82. Carter Verhaeghe (C) (TOR)

83. Bogdan Yakimov (C) (EDM)

84. James Lodge (C) (WPG)

85. Cole Cassels (C) (VAN)

86. Sven Andrighetto (RW) (MTL)

87. Keaton Thompson (D) (ANA)

88. Anton Slepyshev (LW) (EDM)

89. Oliver Bjorkstrand (RW) (CBJ)

90. Peter Cehlarik (LW) (BOS)

91. JC Lipon (RW) (WPG)

Fourth Round

92. Evan Cowley (G) (FLA)

93. Mason Geertsen (D) (COL)

94. Jackson Houck (RW) (EDM)

95. Felix Girard (C) (NAS)

96. Kyle Platzer (C) (EDM)

97. Michael Downing (D) (FLA)

98. Matt Buckles (C) (FLA)

99. Juuse Saros (G) (NAS)

100. Miles Wood (LW) (NJD)

101. Nicholas Paul (LW) (DAL)

102. Tobias Lindberg (RW) (OTT)

103. Justin Auger (RW) (LAK)

104. Andrew Copp (C) (WPG)

105. Nick Moutrey (C) (CBJ)

106. Stephon Williams (G) (NYI)

107. Dylan Labbe (D) (MIN)

108. Ben Harpur (D) (OTT)

109. David Pope (LW) (DET)

110. Ryan Graves (D) (NYR)

111. Robin Norell (D) (CHI)

112. Zachary Pochiro (LW) (STL)

113. Aidan Muir (LW) (EDM)

114. Jan Kostalek (D) (WPG)

115. Jordan Suban (D) (VAN)

116. Martin Reway (LW) (MTL)

117. Fredrik Bergvik (G) (SJS)

118. Hudson Fasching (RW) (LAK)

119. Ryan Segalla (D) (PIT)

120. Ryan Fitzgerald (C) (BOS)

121. Tyler Motte (C) (CHI)

Fifth Round

122. Christopher Clapperton (LW) (FLA)

123. Will Butcher (D) (COL)

124. Kristers Gudlevskis (G) (TBL)

125. Saku Maenalanen (RW) (NAS)

126. Brent Pedersen (LW) (CAR)

127. Tucker Poolman (D) (WPG)

128. Evan Campbell (LW) (EDM)

129. Calvin Petersen (G) (BUF)

130. Gustav Possler (RW) (BUF)

131. Cole Ully (LW) (DAL)

132. Terrance Amorosa (D) (PHI)

133. Connor Clifton (D) (PHX)

134. Luke Johnson (C) (CHI)

135. Eric Roy (D) (CGY)

136. Viktor Crus Rydberg (C) (NYI)

137. Carson Soucy (D) (MIN)

138. Vincent Dunn (C) (OTT)

139. Mitchell Wheaton (D) (DET)

140. Teemu Kivihalme (D) (NAS)

141. Michael Brodzinski (D) (SJS)

142. Fabrice Herzog (RW) (TOR)

143. Anthony Florentino (D) (BUF)

144. Blake Heinrich (D) (WSH)

145. Anton Cederholm (D) (VAN)

146. Patrik Bartosak (G) (LAK)

147. William (Grant) Besse (RW) (ANA)

148. Jonny Brodzinski (C) (LAK)

149. Matej Paulovic (LW) (DAL)

150. Wiley Sherman (D) (BOS)

151. Gage Ausmus (D) (SJS)

Sixth Round

152. Joshua Brown (D) (FLA)

153. Ben Storm (D) (COL)

154. Henri Ikonen (LW) (TBL)

155. Emil Pettersson (C) (NAS)

156. Tyler Ganly (D) (CAR)

157. Tim Harrison (RW) (CGY)

158. Ben Betker (D) (EDM)

159. Sean Malone (C) (BUF)

160. Myles Bell (LW) (NJD)

161. Chris LeBlanc (RW) (OTT)

162. Merrick Madsen (G) (PHI)

163. Brendan Burke (G) (PHX)

164. Dane Birks (D) (PIT)

165. Markus Soberg (RW) (CBJ)

166. Alan Quine (C) (NYI)

167. Avery Peterson (C) (MIN)

168. Quentin Shore (C) (OTT)

169. Marc McNulty (D) (DET)

170. Mackenzie Skapski (G) (NYR)

171. Tommy Veilleux (LW) (NAS)

172. Antoine Bibeau (G) (TOR)

173. Santeri Saari (D) (STL)

174. Brian Pinho (C) (WAS)

175. Mike Williamson (D) (VAN)

176. Jeremy Gregoire (C) (MTL)

177. Miro Aaltonen (C) (ANA)

178. Zachary Leslie (D) (LAK)

179. Blaine Byron (C) (PIT)

180. Anton Blidh (LW) (BOS)

181. Anthony Louis (C) (CHI)

Seventh Round

182. Aleksi Makela (D) (DAL)

183. Wilhelm Westlund (D) (COL)

184. Saku Salminen (C)(TBL)

185. Wade Murphy (RW) (NAS)

186. Joel Vermin (RW) (TBL)

187. Rushan Rafikov (D) (CGY)

188. Gregory Chase (C/RW) (EDM)

189. Eric Locke (C) (BUF)

190. Brenden Kichton (D) (WPG)

191. Dominik Kubalik (LW) (LAK)

192. David Drake (D) (PHI)

193. Jedd Soleway (C) (PHX)

194. Marcus Karlstrom (D) (WPG)

195. Peter Quenneville (C/RW) (CBJ)

196. Kyle Burroughs (D) (NYI)

197. Nolan De Jong (D) (MIN)

198. John Gilmour (D) (CGY)

199. Hampus Melen (RW) (DET)

200. Alexandre Belanger (G) (MIN)

201. Jacob Jackson (C) (SJS)

202. Andreas Johnson (LW) (TOR)

203. Janne Juvonen (G) (NAS)

204. Tyler Lewington (D) (WAS)

205. Miles Liberati (D) (VAN)

206. Mackenzie Weegar (D) (FLA)

207. Emil Galimov (LW) (SJS)

208. Anthony Brodeur (G) (NJD)

209. Troy Josephs (C) (PIT)

210. Mitchell Dempsey (LW) (BOS)

211. Robin Press (D) (CHI)

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2013 NHL Entry Draft: Second Round Mon, 01 Jul 2013 00:47:03 +0000

Here are the picks after the Second Round of the 2013 NHL Draft:

Second Round

31. Ian McCoshen (D) (FLA)

32. Chris Bigras (D) (COL)

33. Adam Erne (LW) (TBL)

34. Jacob De La Rose (LW) (MTL)

35. JT Compher (LW) (BUF)

36. Zach Fucale (G) (MTL)

37. Valentin Zykov (LW) (LAK)

38. Connor Hurley (C) (BUF)

39. Laurent Dauphin (C) (PHX)

40. Remi Elie (LW) (DAL)

41. Robert Hagg (D) (PHI)

42. Steve Santini (D) (NJD)

43. Nick Petan (C) (WPG)

44. Tristan Jarry (G) (PIT)

45. Nick Sorensen (RW) (ANA)

46. Gustav Olofsson (D) (MIN)

47. Thomas Vannelli (D) (STL)

48. Zach Nastasiuk (RW) (DET)

49. Gabryel Paquin-Boudreau (LW) (SJS)

50. Dillon Heatherington (D) (CBJ)

51. Carl Dahlstrom (D) (CHI)

52. Justin Bailey (RW) (BUF)

53. Madison Bowey (D) (WSH)

54. Philippe DesRosiers (G) (DAL)

55. Artturi Lehkonen (LW) (MTL)

56. Marc-Olivier Roy (C) (EDM)

57. William Carrier (LW) (STL)

58. Tyler Bertuzzi (LW) (DET)

59. Eric Comrie (G) (WPG)

60. Linus Arnesson (D) (BOS)

61. Zachary Sanford (LW) (WAS

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2013 NHL Entry Draft: First Round Mon, 01 Jul 2013 00:46:11 +0000

Here are the results after the first round at the 2013 NHL Draft.

First Round

  1. Nathan MacKinnon (C) (COL)
  2. Aleksander Barkov (C) (FLA)
  3. Jonathan Drouin (LW) (TBL)
  4. Seth Jones (D) (NSH)
  5. Elias Lindholm (C) (CAR)
  6. Sean Monahan (C) (CGY)
  7. Darnell Nurse (D) (EDM)
  8. Rasmus Ristolainen (D) (BUF)
  9. Bo Horvat (C) (VAN)
  10. Valeri Nichushkin (RW) (DAL)
  11. Samuel Morin (D) (PHI)
  12. Max Domi (C/LW) (PHX)
  13. Joshua Morrissey (D) (WPG)
  14. Alexander Wennberg (C) (CBJ)
  15. Ryan Pulock (D) (NYI)
  16. Nikita Zadorov (D) (BUF)
  17. Curits Lazar (C/RW) (OTT)
  18. Mirco Mueller (D) (SJS)
  19. Kerby Rychel (LW) (CBJ)
  20. Anthony Mantha (RW) (DET)
  21. Frederik Gauthier (C) (TOR)
  22. Emile Poirier (LW) (CGY)
  23. Andre Burakovsky (LW) (WSH)
  24. Hunter Shinkaruk (C/LW) (VAN)
  25. Michael McCarron (RW) (MTL)
  26. Shea Theodore (D) (ANA)
  27. Marko Dano (C) (CBJ)
  28. Morgan Klimchuk (LW) (CGY)
  29. Jason Dickinson (C) (DAL)
  30. Ryan Hartman (RW) (CHI)
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Martin Brodeur at the NHL Draft Sun, 30 Jun 2013 19:09:08 +0000

brodeur_nhl14The New Jersey Devils’ own Martin Brodeur was in attendance at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, not only to make a media appearance to discuss winning the popular vote to appear on the cover of EA SPORTS NHL 14, but also to see if his son, Anthony, would be drafted.

Brodeur spoke of how his kids wanted him to win the cover vote for EA SPORTS NHL 14, so they started a massive social media campaign to get him on the cover. The all-time winningest goaltender started a Twitter page, run mainly by his brother, and they launched a Twitter campaign to get the legend on the cover of NHL 14.

The campaign proved successful as he won each round and then beat Sergei Bobrovsky in the final round to win the overall vote. No goalie has appeared on the cover of an EA Sports NHL game since NHL 97.

While Brodeur spoke of the social media campaign to win the cover vote, questions then turned to that of his role as a father at the draft to watch his son possibly being drafted. This is the moment that every young hockey player lives for… to see if all the hard work they put into preparing for this day, a day when their name could possibly be read from the draft floor as being drafted by “X” team.

“That’s what the draft is,” Brodeur said of Anthony’s work ethic to this day. “If you achieve that goal. After that you move on. So it would be really nice. It’s kind of nervous, because you want your son to have everything he can. He’s got to work for it.”

Brodeur said that it would be nice if New Jersey drafted his son. “That would be good. It doesn’t matter… At the end of the day, and I told him that, there’s not that many people that are going to achieve to the extent of what I did in my career. The expectation of him, it’s not unrealistic to measure to that. He’s his own person. He’s a good kid. He wants to be there. He loves the pressure of playing hockey. I just hope the best for him. It’s hard for kids. They make it hard on themselves, and Anthony has been good with that.”

When asked what he thought if the Rangers drafted him, he replied, “If it happens, it happens. The Devils had their chance to pick him.”

Anthony announced his plans for next season a few weeks ago. He’ll be playing for Gatineau Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“It got more clearer for him this season,” Brodeur said of Anthony’s decision. “With the college opportunities, with the way it’s set up, they don’t take a kid as a freshman at 19 or 20 years old. I’ve been through the junior route. I know it’s important. For me, Anthony could go to school after. He’s a smart kid too. He’s going to go to school up in Canada while he plays junior. But I think hockeywise, at 18 years old, I want him to play hockey…play competitive enough and he’ll know. You’re going to realize as an athlete if you’re good enough, if you like it enough to continue your journey. I think juniors is the best way for him.”

Brodeur said he was “a lot more nervous” being at the draft with his son than playing a hockey game. When asked if he was more nervous as a father at the draft or when he was drafted…he didn’t even remember how he felt when he was drafted. He just knew he was really nervous to be at Prudential Center today to see if his son would be drafted.

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Expect Unexpected from Blue Jackets at Draft Sat, 29 Jun 2013 11:39:10 +0000

The Columbus Blue Jackets, one of the ‘feel good’ stories of this lockout-shortened National Hockey League (NHL) will be one of the most intriguing teams to watch at this Sunday’s NHL Entry Draft.  As a result of trading former ‘face of the franchise’ player, Rick Nash to the New York Rangers as well as trading the disgruntled Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings, along with a solid return given the circumstances, the Blue Jackets are armed with three (3) 1st Round draft picks, the 14th, 19th and 27th overall picks, respectively.  And given that it’s widely held by most personnel and scouting types as the best NHL Entry Draft since the landmark 2003 NHL Entry Draft, you would think that the Blue Jackets will reap a sizeable bounty by selecting all three draft picks.

And that’s where I think you would be wrong.

These Blue Jackets are no longer the reckless, ‘fly by the seat of their pants’ days of their inception nor are they the risk-averse management group who seemed content with the ‘slow and grow’ philosophy which ended up alienating the fans to the extent of a long-overdue change at the top, led by President of Hockey Operations, John Davidson as well as his new General Manager (GM), the highly-regarded Jarmo Kekalainen a man whose legacy for identifying, drafting and developing prospects is the stuff of legend.

However, Kekalainen has made no secret that nothing is ‘off-limits’ or ‘off the table’ – in fact, it has been reported by ESPN’s Craig Custance that, if the right deal is out there, that possibly all three draft picks are ‘in play’ for immediate and long-term talent.  Remember, this is the same executive who rocked the NHL’s trade deadline by trading three young starting players – Derrick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and John Moore – for elite sniper Marian Gaborik, so bold moves are in his DNA.

No matter the approach Kekalainen takes, one thing is for certain:  he has to improve the talent level of the organization, particularly as it relates to his forward lines ability to generate scoring.

The Blue Jackets finished 25th in overall scoring during this strike-shortened season, which nearly mirrors their previous season rankings of 26th during the 2011-2012 season and 24th during the 2010-2011 season – and those two seasons were with Rick Nash.

While the Blue Jackets have added an element of grit and an overall improved work ethic, the fact remains that its scoring proclivity doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of its opponents.  In short, we’re not exactly talking about the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers.

With indications that the Blue Jackets aren’t intending to renew a contract with Vaclav Prospal, who led the Blue Jackets in scoring but will be 39 years old in February, what remains is, besides Gaborik, a glaring lack of primary and secondary scoring.

What can be expected to occur on Sunday, June 30th at the NHL Entry Draft for the Blue Jackets?  I believe the following scenarios can occur, ranked from the greatest to least probability:

  • The Blue Jackets trade both the 14th and 19th pick for one of the top 10 projected prospects in the draft.  However, this scenario has one possible snag:  the Calgary Flames, who also have three available picks in the 1st round of the draft – 6th, 22nd and 28th, respectively.  This could also, however, serve as a possible trading partner in allowing the Flames to have as many as four draft picks in the first round should the Blue Jackets opt to trade those two picks to move up to the 6th overall pick.
  • The Blue Jackets ‘roll the dice’ and trade one of their established defensemen, along with one of their first round draft picks, to the Carolina Hurricanes in order to nab the 5th overall pick in the draft.  Hurricanes’ GM Jim Rutherford has made no secrets as to the availability of the 5th overall pick for immediate blueline help.  Some candidates could be Fedor Tyutin or Jack Johnson, although the former would be in greater demand to a team like the Hurricanes, who desperately need a defenseman who is more defensively-responsible.  A similar possibility could be to partner a trade with the Edmonton Oilers, another team in dire need of defensemen and the Oilers possess the 7th overall pick in the draft.
  • The Blue Jackets trade one or two, possibly all three of their 1st round draft picks for that immediate and long-term forward lines help.  Teams like the Philadelphia Flyers, who have a plethora of young forwards, or the Ottawa Senators, who possess a slew of young forwards in their stable, and Senators GM Bryan Murray has made it no secret that he’s interested in obtaining more prospect depth for their organization.  Or, do the Blue Jackets ‘go back to the well’ one more time with the New York Rangers, to have an opportunity to claim a forward like Chris Kreider or J.T. Miller.
  • The Blue Jackets, with a lack of reasonable offers from other organizations, opt to keep all three draft picks.  While this seems like a remote possibility and you obviously draft based on the best players available and not for the most pressing need, it would stand to reason that the Blue Jackets would lean towards making all three of those possible picks forwards which, if that scenario holds out, project to be the likes of Hunter Shinkaruk, Anthony Mantha and Valentin Zykov.  One major problem with this scenario is that these prospects won’t be immediate contributors to the Blue Jackets as both Kekalainen and Davidson sent elite defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, the 4th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, back to Juniors, twice in order to obtain more seasoning.

No matter the approach, Kekalainen, no stranger to making moves that makes a statement, will definitely be one executive to keep an eye on during the NHL Entry Draft.  As Kekalainen told The Columbus Dispatch, “Every draft is different, not just the players available but the conversations between the clubs.  We’re going to be active and aggressive.”

So, it’s safe to say that, for the Blue Jackets long-suffering fans, their draft day party won’t be boring.

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Pens to Host USA Hockey Prospects Game Tue, 29 Jan 2013 19:41:43 +0000

Move over, Detroit. There’s a new Hockeytown – or perhaps the more accurate term would be Hockey Development Town, USA. Representatives from USA hockey held a press conference Tuesday morning to announce that the Penguins will host the Second Annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at Consol Energy Center on September 26, 2013. USA Hockey, in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting, will choose 40 of the top American-born players eligible for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft to compete against each other in the game. Final Rosters are expected to be announced in August with coaches likely to be named sometime before the 2013 Draft.

“You have a beautiful building here and you’ve got a great hockey city,” USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean said. “This has become such a tremendous hockey market since the Penguins franchise was put in in 1967.”

Being a city with a wildly popular NHL team isn’t the only thing that attracted USA Hockey to Pittsburgh, however.

“Give credit to the Penguins for the model they set for engagement with this community at all levels,” Ogrean said. “From the youth programs and the little Pens all the way up, and especially now with what they’re going to do with USA Hockey this fall and in years to come.”

The prospects game this fall will be yet another marquee hockey event the Penguins have hosted in the past year, following the NHL Draft last summer and the Frozen Four this spring.

“The Frozen Four (is) here in April and I think this is all part of the cascading strategy that the Penguins and Dave Morehouse have,” Ogrean said. “And it really is setting the example and setting the bar that we hope more and more cities in the United States are going to emulate in terms of their support and encouragement with the amateur hockey community.”

While American hockey prospects have traditionally hailed from Minnesota, Michigan or Massachusetts, Ogrean said that the demographics of the talent pool are changing.

“Pennsylvania is becoming more and more important as a hockey state,” he said.

This all comes on the heels of Team USA winning gold at the 2013 World Junior Championship. Four Pittsburgh products, including tournament MVP John Gibson, played for Team USA.

“Pittsburgh is a city filled with passionate hockey fans and we’re extremely pleased to work with USA Hockey in bringing the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game to the CONSOL Energy Center this fall,” David Morehouse, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Penguins, said. “It will be a unique opportunity for our fans to see the future American stars of the NHL – some which will undoubtedly play in Pittsburgh – all on the same sheet of ice.”

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Byron’s Putting Himself (and Kemptville) on the Map Fri, 02 Nov 2012 11:49:54 +0000

By Dan Hickling,

KEMPTVILLE, Ontario — Blaine Byron isn’t hard to spot, but guys like him are really hard to find.


Well, to watch him skate the pivot for the Kemptville 73’s of the Central Canada Hockey League, you’d swear there were two of him. There he is, swiveling through the offensive zone, looking, and usually finding, a friendly stretch of tape to put the puck on.

Blaine Byron

Kemptville 73’s center Blaine Byron has a chance at being chosen in the 2013 NHL draft All photos by Dan Hickling

But wait a moment.

There is No. 9 again, this time streaking into the D-zone to thwart yet another opposing puck carrier.

In between there are the faceoffs won, the penalties killed, the minutes chewed up and the leadership rendered, all for a 73’s club, named for the year that junior hockey came to Kemptville, that lately has been losing games by five tallies per tilt.

That’s quite a quality mix wrapped up in a 17-year-old, 6-foot, 165-pound frame who plays a position where good help can be really hard to find.

Blaine Byron

Byron, who hails from Osgoode, Ontario, takes to all aspects of playing center naturally.
“I really try to play a two-way game,” said Byron. “If I keep the puck out of my net, then offense will come. I’ve always been told ‘defense first.’ Then I can catch them sleeping when I pick off their passes. You’ve got to be on your toes and read the play. See where the backdoor guy is, pick him up, and work down low.”

Watching Byron work is like watching both brain surgery and rocket science. You want an NHL comparison, try Boston’s Patrice Bergeron.

Patrice Bergeron

Like Bergy, Byron knifes across the blue line with the puck on his stick, then calculates until the play he’s envisioning can materialize.

Catch him if you can, but good luck trying to outsmart him.

“I like to have puck possession,” Byron said. “I never like to give the puck away. As a last resort, I’ll dump it in. I find that if you have the puck, you can create changes and then the other team can’t go and score. I definitely try to use the whole ice.”

Blaine Byron

All that the vision has drawn plenty of notice outside of Kemptville, which sits less than an hour outside of Ottawa.

Byron dazzled at the Team Eastern Canada selection camp, and earned a spot with them in the upcoming World Junior A Challenge. That came after Byron’s name appeared on this year’s Watch List (“C” Level) issued by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau.

This, is what Byron thinks the scouts saw in him.

“Just the way I can play a two-way game,” he said, “and turn defense into offense really quickly. To make plays for my teammates and create offense every shift.”

Clearly, those in the know are aware that Byron is one to keep an eye on.

“It’s definitely a huge honor,” said Byron, “but the job isn’t done yet. I definitely want to get drafted, but if not, keep working hard. I don’t really try to think about it. Just try to play my game and try to help my team get the win.”

Blaine Byron

Next year, Byron will head as a true freshman to the University of Maine, a program he fell in love with after making an personal visit to Orono.

“I’ve always been told to go with my gut feeling,” said Byron, “and my gut feeling was saying ‘Maine’ all the way. I love the atmosphere in the rink (Alfond Arena), and how the fans get so into it. I’ve always wanted to play in that kind of atmosphere.”

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Monahan Drawing Interest as Top-3 Pick Mon, 15 Oct 2012 13:37:09 +0000

By Dan Hickling,

OTTAWA — The third pick in the NHL draft isn’t such a bad thing to have, you know. Any general manager (most of them, anyway) would much rather have picks No. 1 or 2 than to deal away a chance at grabbing a sure tap-in of a franchise player.

Brian Burke

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke | All photos by Dan Hickling

But lots of good players have been left sitting in the third slot, and they’ve done pretty well for themselves.

Matt Duchene (2009) for one.

Matt Duchene

Nathan Horton (2003) for another, although Horty had to leave Florida before he drank from the Cup in Boston.

Nathan Horton

Jay Bouwmeester (2002) was a draft day third man in, and so was Henrik Sedin (1999), who no doubt resisted the urge to murmur “Burkie always liked you best” to his twin Daniel, who taken No. 2 by the then-Canucks GM.

Sedin Twins

So, too, was Jonathan Toews (2006), who, as it happens is an idol of sorts for young Sean Monahan, who — and you should be keeping score — may be tabbed No. 3 overall in the 2013 meet, lockout notwithstanding.

“I like to watch (him) play,” said Monahan, who mans the pivot for the Ottawa 67’s. “He) play with lots of grit, and plays the whole 200 feet. It’s a good way to watch the game. And to learn it to play the right way.”

Sean Monahan

And the way Monahan plays — make that dominates — in all three zones is enough to make GMs drool. Especially in an age where top-line centers are at a such premium.

“Being a hockey player,” Monahan said, “you’ve got to play all kinds of different roles. You’ve got to finish your checks when you’re there, and you’ve just got to play tough. That’s what they do, and I like to watch that. That’s what I’ve learned from them.”

Sean Monahan

He must have been watching like a hawk as he saw how centers such as Toews, and the Bros. Staal, can control the pace of play whenever they are on the ice.

After posting a 20-goal, 27-assist season for the 67’s two years back as a 16-year-old, Monahan grabbed everybody’s attention by racking up 33-45-78 numbers last year. He was also a highly respectable plus-25.

This year, even as the 67’s have stumbled badly out of the gate, Monahan, who is 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, seems a cinch to pick up plenty of points and polish.

He’s also picking up steam as a blue chip draft prospect. If this was a different year, Monahan would be getting No. 1 buzz.

However, all that top-of-the-ladder-chatter centers around Nathan (“Second Son of Cole Harbour”) McKinnon and Seth (“Son of Popeye”) Jones, which leaves Monahan to fly a little below the radar.
But not much. In fact, some draftniks swear he won’t fall past the third pick.

No matter, Monahan is well aware that is stock is sky high.

But he also knows that all he can do is stick to his business, and let the future take care of itself.

Sean Monahan

“It’s something that’s been talked about for quite a while,” he said, “and I hear about it quite a bit. I just try to come in and get better every day. I just focus on the team and to help my teammates get better.”

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