No NHL action = a look at the CHL... Gilroy turns the trick... a run down of injuries before round 3... how to avoid FHS peeing on your car
With no NHL action today we're pretty thankful we've got the Worlds and the Memorial Cup to talk about:
USA finally won a game as they beat up on lowly Kazakhstan 10-0. Rookie d-man Matt Gilroy of the Rangers picked up a hat trick. The former Hobey Baker award winner could make some noise on broadway next year... 20 points looks easy, with a shot at 30+. Also of note for Team USA was 2009 Ranger 1st rounder Chris Kreider scoring a goal with the big boys. He's got loads of potential but at only 19 he'll need some more seasoning in the NCAA/AHL before he makes his debut in NYC.
So with the Memorial Cup in full swing we thought we would point out some player to watch from each team: (North American Skater Rankings from NHL.com)
For more junior news make sure to check out Yahoo's new junior hockey blog Buzzing the Net... it's good.
- Taylor Hall (#2 ranked North American skater 2010 draft)
What can we say about this kid that you don't already know? 106 points in 57 games during the season, 35 points in 19 playoff games so far. We've got a hunch the Oilers are snagging him at number 1 where we would expect him to join the big club right away.
- Cam Fowler (#5 North American skater 2010 draft)
His first year of junior was a success as he put up 55 points in 55 games. He's been ranked as high as third earlier in the year but his stock has taken a small hit lately. Most agree he skates and passes like an NHLer already but some questions remain about his toughness and shooting. His upside is huge... think Drew Doughty / Brian Leetch / Scott Niedermayer.
- Ryan Ellis (Nashville Predators, 11th overall 2009)
Many compare the short but solid Ellis to Brian Rafalski, and like Rafalski, Ellis has no trouble handling the physical style of play despite his size. He's put up some monster numbers the last two years (150 points in 105 games) and projects as an excellent offensive defenseman in the NHL.
- Greg Nemisz (Calgary Flames, 25th overall 2008)
Power forward Nemisz has shown excellent skills in front of the net but he'll need to improve on his skating to make the Flames. He projects out as a first or second line player and a constant menance in front of the net. He's currently second on the Flames depth chart so you know he'll be given every chance to succeed.
- Zack Kassian (Buffalo Sabres, 13th overall 2009)
Came over to Windsor via a trade this season and it's paying off so far in the playoffs (7+9=16 in 19 games). His scoring potential is somewhere limited (compared to other 1st rounders) but he's a physical force on the ice. One of his biggest strengths is his ability to battle in the corners for pucks. While he'lll likely never score 50 goals he could end up as the next Milan Lucic or Scott Hartnell... 50-60 points and a ton of PIM's. We'd find a spot on our fantasy team for those numbers any day.
- Adam Henrique (New Jersey Devils, 3rd round, 2008)
He's put up huge numbers (77 points in 54 games), but playing alongside of Taylor Hall can do that. Don't overlook his talent though. He's a perfect fit for New Jersey as he plays a strong two way game and is regarded as one of the best penalty killers in the league. He's great on the faceoff and projects to be a 2nd or 3rd line center. He'll be turning pro next year so we'll see what he can do in the AHL.
- Justin Shugg (#53 North American skater 2010 draft)
This year Shuggie more than doubled his output from 2008-09 (33 to 79 points). He played with Nemisz and Scott Timmins on the second line and on 2nd PP unit. He could be a 2nd liner in the NHL as well, but it will be interesting to see how he handles being the focus of the oppositions defense.
- Brayden Schenn (Los Angeles Kings, 5th overall, 2009)
He's a tenacious, physicial, two way center who projects as a strong power forward who can dominate with his strength. He's known more for passing than scoring but his quick shot shows more scoring potential. His 99 points and a +41 in only 59 games got him a one game cup of coffee with the Kings this year. It won't be long until he's in LA for good as a 1st or 2nd line player. He draws comparisons to Pat Verbeek, Mike Richards and Brendan Shannahan. Not bad company.
- Scott Glennie (Dallas Stars, 8th overall, 2009)
Schenn's right winger is just a straight out scorer with tons of speed. He's not as complete of a player as Schenn but makes up for it with his work ethic and offensive prowess. He's the best prospect the Stars have in their system and draws comparisons to Reggie Leach and Steve Sullivan.
- Colby Robak (Florida Panthers, 2nd round, 2008)
He has a hard shot from the point which will help him get the PP time we all want in our fantasy d-men. Had a monster year with 66 points and a +56 this year but he needs to be more physical to make it to the NHL level. He's Florida's 5th best prospect and for a team in rebuild mode he could get a call up sooner than expected. He projects as a top two blueliner.
- Travis Hamonic (New York Islanders, 2nd round, 2008)
The Islanders 3rd best prospect has excellent defensive skills and his offensive game is coming along as well (44 points in 41 games this year). He's a physical player, so he'll be able to contribute at the pro level right away, but it will take him a few years for him to contribute the offense you'll need for fantasy leagues. We would also be much higher on him if his name was Harmonic... just for the pun potential, or puntential.
- Matt Calvert (Columbus Blue Jackets, 5th round, 2008)
Calvert is the third member of Wheat Kings top line. He gets lost in the shuffle with Schenn and Glennie around but he did equal Schenn's impressive 99 points (although it took him nine more games) and with 47 goals he showed he can score with the best of them. The big knock on Calvert is his size (5-foot-9), so he'll need to prove he can handle the physical stuff. If he can, he could be a solid scoring winger in the NHL one day.
- Brandon Kozun (Los Angeles Kings, 6th round, 2009)
Yeah he's only 5-foot-8 and 162 lbs but so is Micheal Cammalleri and he's doing pretty well in the NHL. He had his second straight 100 point season as he led the WHL in assists (75) & points (107) and was a member of Team Canada at the WJC. He's been injured and although he started Game #1 yesterday he didn't finish it... but he'll hopefully be returning soon. Lots of upside with Kozun but he'll need to show he can handle the tough stuff to make it to the NHL.
- Martin Jones (Los Angeles Kings, signed as a undrafted free agent 2008)
For the second year in a row he put up some big numbers (36 wins, 2.21 & .919) but many believe that has more to do with the team playing in front of him than his actual talent. He's a big boy (6-foot-4, 193 who has quick feet and covers a lot of the net. He's fourth on the LA tender depth chart right now so he'll need some great play and a few lucky breaks to make a fantasy impact in LA soon.
- Michael Stone (Phoenix Coyotes, 3rd round, 2008)
Stone has been producing almost a point per game (126 points in 138 games) the last two years in Calgary. He's big at 6-foot-3 but shows excellent composure with the puck and mobility. He's got a great shot from the point that should help him land a spot on Phoenix's PP one day.
- Joel Broda (Washington Capitals, 5th round, 2008)
He's way down on the Caps prospect list but he's produced big numbers the last two years (87 then 73 points this year). He scored 1+1=2 yesterday in the Hitmen's first game but he's still got a huge battle on his hands to get to the NHL. He's a fifth year WHLer and while he possesses a beauty shot his speed is likely going to keep him from being a factor in the NHL.
- Matt MacKenzie (#74 ranked North American skater)
MacKenzie is expected to be the highest drafted Hitman at this year's entry draft as he'll likely go somewhere in the 2nd round. He really picked things up this year as he went from 12 points a season ago to 40 points in 64 games this year.
- Brandon Gormley (#6 ranked North American skater)
Gormley is a solid two-way defender with no real flaws in his game. He does everything well but not exceptionally well. Gormley is the safe pick, compared to somebody like Cam Fowler and has been ranked as high as 3rd by some scouts. He doesn't project as a franchine defenseman but should definitely be a top 2 guy.
- Nicolas Deschamps (Anaheim Ducks, 2nd round, 2008)
He was picked up by Moncton at the trade deadline and went on to lead the Q in scoring with 39 goals and 96 points. He's currently suffering through a lower body injury but is getting closer to returning. Deschamps is a quick and skilled scorer who plays well at both ends of the ice. The big flaw in his game is a lack of physical play which may affect his output at the pro level. We'll get to see him ply his trade in the AHL next year.
- Kelsey Tessler (Colorado Avalanche, 4th round, 2008)
He was expected to be drafted as high as the 2nd round but fell to the Avs in the fourth. He had his biggest junior season two years ago when he picked up 81 points in 68 games but since then has 'only' been producing at a point-a-game pace. He's been fantastic during this year's playoffs with 14+16=30 in 21 games and he'll look to make an impact in the AHL next year. He's another small player that will need to prove he can handle bigger defensemen.
- Gabriel Bourque (Nashville Predators, 5th round, 2009)
Yet another small player (5-foot-9) who will eventually need to prove he can play the pro game. He's been on fire these playoffs with 19 goals in 21 games but he's never produced at that level during any season. He has shown a ton of grit and leadership... which might help those of you in fantasy leagues that count intangables.
- Nicola Riopel (Philadelphia Flyers, 5th round, 2009)
He's put up outstanding numbers in the QMJHL the last two seasons (2.01 & .931 last year and 2.06 & .918 this year) but was shelled pretty good in 10 games in the AHL (3.35 & .893). Riopel is a bit on the small size (6-foot) to be an NHL goalie and is well down the depth charts in Philly. Although, with the luck the Flyers have with goalies, Riopel could end up as the team's starter next year... okay probably not.
Not much happening out there in the injury department (we don't often get to say that in the NHL) so we'll recap each of the remaining teams injury situations.
- Kim Johnsson (out since March 15 with concussion, questionable for Game #1)
- Brian Boucher (out since May 10 with sprained MCL, out for rest of playoffs)
- Ian Laperriere (out since April 11 with concussion, doubtful for Eastern Conference Finals)
- Jeff Carter (out since April 11 due to foot surgery, out for rest of playoffs)
- Ray Emery (out since February 1st due to hip surgery, out for rest of playoffs)
- Andrei Markov (out since Apr 30 with knee injury, practicing with team will not play in Game #1 but expected back sometime during Eastern Conference Finals)
- Paul Mara (out since Jan 22 due to shoulder surgery, out for rest of playoffs)
What's distracting us today?
- Some bad to very bad (like the Vegas team) expansion team concept jerseys.
- Mirtle talks dentistry. Gross yet engaging.
- Faithful reader. We love you, we really do. But if we see these on your car we're going to pee on it. You've been warned: