The DobberHockey Draft List is now updated, with plus/minus and PPP info added. This was more work than I expected, I apologize for the delay. Buy the Guide & List here.
Rossy's prospect ramblings are always a good read - here are his from today.
Rossy projects the 2013 American WJC roster, led by Montreal prospect Alex Galchenyuk.
Ryan Kesler has scored some nice goals in his career - in my latest piece for the CanucksArmy, I analyze one from this past June.
Wayne Simmonds has signed a six-year extension to remain a Flyer. The contract kicks in to begin the 2013-14 season. The cap hit is $4 million.
Simmonds brings a lot to the table, and he did score 28 goals last year. His role with the Flyers was much different than his role with the Kings - he shifted from two-way winger to primary goal scorer. It will be interesting to see if he can repeat 25+ goals.
He is a great fighter and a physical presence, but that is a lot of money for one good offensive campaign.
DobberHockey’s prospect guru Brendan Ross offers up his thoughts on the Canada-Russia challenge.
“Mark Scheifele, C (Winnipeg Jets)
CRC Grade: A+
Personally, I had some reservations about Mark Scheifele after last season. He was impressive during Jets camp and in the brief stint he had with the Winnipeg Jets to open the season. In a few live viewings last season, Scheifele was somewhat mediocre playing for the Barrie Colts. It’s possible that he had “off games” but he left me wanting more. My opinion changed drastically as soon as he stepped on the ice for this series.
Scheifele looked bigger, stronger and played with great confidence. His finesse game was noticeable as his puck handling skills were immediately on display, feeding teammates with saucy passes and executing plays at top speed. In addition, Scheifele’s power game was evident as he used his frame to box out opponents, creating space and then driving hard to the net. His intensity was a bonus as well.”
Ross offers some more thoughts on The Hockey Writers. Worth the read, just as the link above is.
On Ryan Murphy – a personal favorite of mine:
“Murphy is virtually unstoppable when in possession of the puck with his swift elusive skating style that appears to “part the seas”. His knack for finding open lanes in the offensive zone and get his shots on net are scarce for a defenseman of his age. Offensively, Ryan Murphy is a treat to watch and his production will never dry up as long as he continues to play to his strengths. As per usual internationally, Ryan Murphy was Canada’s leading scorer (tied with Ty Rattie/Jonathan Huberdeau) in the Canada-Russia Challenge scoring five points and a team leading four assists (shared with Mark Scheifele).”
The Oilers have offered Linus Omark a one-year, two-way deal. He has yet to sign it. The Oilers didn’t really utilize Omark in any sort of positive fashion last season.
There have been a lot of highly skilled, one-dimensional forwards who have struggled to adjust to the NHL, but Omark deserves a shot to play a full-time scoring role before being cast aside. I don’t think Edmonton is a great fit for him, as they already have a lot of young scorers who they need to protect a bit.
Perhaps Omark would be trade bait, although I’m not sure what kind of trade value he would even carry at this point.
“The other issue, and maybe this is just showing my complete lack of faith in ownership to behave with anything resembling decorum after they swatted the players around so badly — and some would say deservedly — in the last CBA negotiation, is that I can’t imagine the big owners, however many of them there are that are actually making money, are going to be in that much of a hurry to fork over huge chunks of cash to the smaller markets. Again, we don’t know the exact language. Maybe those smaller spenders will be the direct beneficiaries of whatever luxury tax begins to exist, but still, the big guys are the ones behind that silly proposal last month and they’re going to be the ones driving the bus going forward. The hope for Fehr and the NHLPA (and all rational hockey fans) is that these guys come to their senses and see how good they’ve got it.”
“Looking ahead: With Lidstrom and Brad Stuart gone, White stands to play a more prominent role. As good as he is moving the puck, he needs to be dependable in his zone. He could be called upon to help as a penalty killer, something he didn't do much of last season. He's one of the few players on the team who shoots right-handed -- and the only defenseman -- which makes him especially valuable on the power play. He's not a very big guy, registering only 49 hits last season.”
Sticking with Detroit – apparently the Wings have inquired about Keith Yandle from Phoenix. Yandle is more of an offensive defenseman than Bouwmeester, the other defenseman Detroit is rumored to be interested in. What would the Wings have to give up for Yandle?
Phoenix has a glut of young defensemen and would love a forward back – would Detroit move Valtteri Filppula? And, more importantly, would Phoenix be interested in making that swap? I don’t see the Coyotes having much interest in any other Detroit forward (assuming Datsyuk and Zetterberg are off the market, of course).
The Sedin twins are likely to sit out for the year in the event of a lockout.
“The twins have racked up a lot of mileage, and in Daniel's case some concerning injuries (a back ailment, in addition to a concussion) over the past few seasons. In addition to the abuse they take from the opposition on a game-to-game basis, both twins are singularly committed to fitness, so it's realistic that some extended down time away from professional hockey could even prove useful to them in the medium term.
On the other hand, part of the reason that Henrik Sedin hasn't missed a regular season game in nearly a decade, is that the twins are well-known for being addicted to playing hockey. By all accounts the twins love to compete, love the grind and are loathe to miss any games. In the event of a lockout, I wouldn't be concerned about them getting rusty because of time-off, but I'm kind of skeptical about their ability to actually step away from the game for that long!”
NHL.com takes a look at Detroit’s top prospects. I really like their top three in particular.
“3. Calle Jarnkrok, C: Jarnkrok has been playing for Brynas in the Swedish Elite League for two seasons. He helped Brynas win the SEL championship last season by putting up 16 points in 16 playoff games after scoring 39 points in 50 regular-season games. He's only 20 years old, but he is already playing for the Swedish national team as well. He played all eight games in the 2012 World Championship and had an assist along with 10 shots on goal.
"The World Championships last season were split between Sweden and Finland, and the Swedish team was stocked, yet he was still one of their 12 forwards," Nill said. "He's got a little bit of Zetterberg in him -- tenacious, strong-willed. We have high expectations for him. We'll bring him to camp and if he's one of our top 12 forwards we'll sit down and make a decision. If not, he's going back to Sweden."”
“In his first three professional seasons, Paajarvi was a 7.7% shooter. He suffered through a terrible slump to start the 2011-12 season, and shot just 2.5% in Edmonton. He broke out of his slump in Oklahoma City and shot...7%. Assume then, that ~7% is his general shooting talent. If he generates 215 shots per season, he's a 15 goal guy. Can he do that? He posted 180 shots as a 19 year old (and scored 15 goals), so 215 is certainly within range.
Like Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi should see some regression in his shooting percentage in 2012-13. As it climbs back closer to his career levels, he will score in the range of 15 goals and 35-40 points. Those point totals place Paajarvi among the top 180 forwards in the league, i.e. a top six scorer. His zonestart-adjusted Corsi was 133rd in the league last season, i.e. a top six possession driver. The Oilers have a spot in the lineup that allows for Paajarvi to face 3rd-level minutes - it's an ideal slot for him.”
Like Omark, I’m not sure Edmonton has a roster spot for Paajarvi. However, it would be very foolish to sell low on such a promising young player.
Gilbert Brule has signed to play in Switzerland next season. Is this the end for him in the NHL? The Blue Jackets rushed him as a prospect, but he was such a dominant scorer and physical force in the WHL – him not succeeding in the NHL has been a huge surprise.
Willie Mitchell takes the Cup for a scenic trip:
“Derek Roy is expected to be out until late November following shoulder surgery. If the season starts on time, Eakin could be one of the players who gets a shot to play on the second line _ potentially with wingers Ray Whitney and Michael Ryder. That clearly would be a huge opportunity for the youngster to show what he’s got. If the season starts later and Roy is healthy, Eakin will probably battle with Tom Wandell and Vern Fiddler for the third line center spot.
Then again, Eakin is in just the second year of his entry level deal. He’s on a two-way contract and is currently a non-waiver player, so if the Stars want to send him to the minors, they certainly can.
Maybe that’s why he’s such an intriguing player. Yes, he’s a new-comer with no dings on his reputation just yet. Yes, he has things that the Stars could use. But, he’s also in a group with some pretty solid prospects. As exciting as it would be to see him with Morrow, it might also be interesting watching he and Fraser lead the Texas Stars, and see how that chemistry looks.”
I profiled Canucks prospect and Harvard defenseman Patrick McNally a few days ago. McNally has elite offensive upside, and he is making strides at shoring up his defensive weaknesses. McNally will likely spend the full four at Harvard, so keep him on your radars but don’t use a pick on him for a few years.
“Patrick is certainly on his way to becoming one of the better two-way defenseman in college hockey. As a freshman, he played behind some pretty experienced, high-end collegiate defenseman and you could see him really blossom throughout the year. His offensive skills are unquestioned, and they were noticeable right away. His vision, puck skills and passing are already among the top 15 or 20 defenseman in the country, and he skates extremely well.”
I’ll have some Eastern Conference sleepers to look for in a few days – I published my list of Western Conference sleepers last week – Cam Atkinson, Brendan Smith, Roman Josi, Mikkel Boedker, and Eakin were mentioned. Dobber and I don’t always agree on players, but both of us are very high on Atkinson.