Friday, October 28, 2011

Team Russia for Subway Series

The CHL has slowly released the names, league by league, for the 2011 Subway Super Series. Yesterday the WHL team was announced and it appears that the roster for Team Russia has been leaked this morning.

This is what I've found from a Russian source:

-Sergei Kostenko (Metallurg Nk.)
-Peter Yeremin (Atlant)
-Pavel Suchko (Dizel)
-Andrei Makarov (Saskatoon, WHL)

-Andrei Pedan (Guelph, OHL)
-Albert Yarullin (Ak Bars)
-Viktor Antipin (Metallurg Mg)
-Roman Rukavishnikov (Atlant)
-Mikhail Naumenkov (CSKA)
-Efim Gurkin (Salavat Ufa)
-Ildar Isangulov (Salavat Ufa)
-Grigory Zheldakov (Spartak)
-Artyom Karavaev (Sibir)
-Nikita Nesterov (Traktor)
-Artyom Sergeev (Val D'or, Q)

-Nikita Gusev (CSKA)
-Nikita Kucherov (CSKA)
-Nail Yakupov (Sarnia, O)
-Vladislav Kartaev (Salavat Ufa)
-Kirill Rasskazov (Avangard)
-Jaroslav Kosov (Metallurg Mg.)
-Daniil Apalkov (Metallurg Mg.)
-Bogdan Potekhin (Metallurg Mg.)
-Pavel Kulikov (Neftekhimik)
-Emil Galimov (Neftekhimik)
-Maksim Shalunov
-Alexander Khokhlachev (Windsor, O)
-Bulat Shavaleev (Ak Bars)
-Valeriy Knyazev (Sibir)
-Mikhail Grigorenko (Quebec, Q)
-Vladislav Namestnikov (London, O)
-Anton Zlobin (Shawinigan, Q)
-Ivan Telegin (Barrie, O)

The roster includes 9 players who currently play in the CHL.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Officially On The Radar: Branden Troock

Not many 2012 draft eligible players have entered the 2011-2012 regular season with as many question marks as Seattle Thunderbirds forward Branden Troock.

The 6'3, 200+ pound winger missed the entire 2010-2011 WHL season with a variety of unnamed injuries. Heading into that season he was being pegged as the next potential power forward to come out of the WHL.

Despite the year off, it doesn't look like that expectation has changed much.

Even with his massive size, Troock moves well on the ice. He skates well enough to get involved in transition hockey, which is also a big key for a powerforward as they can create a ton of openings by driving the net when the time is right. He doesn't have the best acceleration in regards to his skating, but once he gets going he's tough to slow down.

He truly embraces the role of a powerforward as he's a physical force along the wall and isn't afraid to take his size to the high traffic areas.

Along with his physical attributes, Troock is also a smart player. He shows above average hockey sense and seems to understand what he needs to do to make a difference in a hockey game. He reads the play well and isn't afraid to get involved in scoring through transition, as I mentioned.

Neither his shooting or playmaking is well above average but it doesn't seem to hold him back either.

Early this season I see alot of similarities between Troock and another WHL powerforward named Adam Lowry. I loved Lowry's game early last season for Swift Current and he transferred his skills into a 3rd round selection by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2011 NHL draft. I think Troock could do the same this season, despite all the ups and downs he's had to overcome fairly early in his hockey career.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oct. 16th ISS Rankings

Here's the list, from

ISS Top 30 for 2012 NHL Draft
Rank Player Pos Ht. Wt. S/C DoB Team League
1. NAIL YAKUPOV LW 5'10 189 L Oct. 6/93 Sarnia OHL
2. MIKHAIL GRIGORENKO RW 6'3 200 L May 16/94 Quebec QMJHL
3. RYAN MURRAY D 6'0 201 L Sep. 27/93 Everett WHL
4. FILIP FORSBERG RW 6'1 176 R Aug. 13/94 Leksands SweAI
5. MORGAN RIELLY D 5'11 190 L Mar. 9/94 Moose Jaw WHL
6. MATT DUMBA D 5'11 183 R Jul. 25/94 Red Deer WHL
7. JACOB TROUBA D 6'2 196 R Feb. 26/94 USA U-18 USNTDP
8. BRENDAN GAUNCE C 6'2 215 L Mar. 25/94 Belleville OHL
9. NICK EBERT D 5'11 205 R May 11/94 Windsor OHL
10. SLATER KOEKKOEK D 6'2 184 L Feb. 18/94 Peterborough OHL
11. GRIFFIN REINHART D 6'3 207 L Jan. 24/94 Edmonton WHL
12. MATIA MARCANTUONI C 5'11 194 R Feb. 22/94 Kitchener OHL
13. JARROD MAIDENS C 6'0 178 L Mar. 4/94 Owen Sound OHL
14. MARTIN FRK RW 5'11 204 L Oct. 5/93 Halifax QMJHL
15. SEBASTIAN COLLBERG RW 5'11 174 R Feb. 23/94 Vastra SweJE
16. OLLI MAATTA D 6'1 202 L Aug. 22/94 London OHL
17. ALEXANDER GALCHENYUK RW 6'0 198 L Feb. 12/94 Sarnia OHL
18. ANDREAS ATHANASIOU C 6'0 179 L Aug. 6/94 London OHL
19. PONTUS ABERG LW 5'11 187 R Sep. 23/93 Djurgarden SweE
20. CODY CECI D 6'2 207 R Dec. 21/93 Ottawa OHL
21. JORDAN SCHMALTZ D 6'2 175 R Oct. 8/93 Sioux City USHL
22. DERRICK POULIOT D 5'11 186 L Jan. 16/94 Portland WHL
23. ZEMGUS GIRGENSONS C 6'1 201 L Jan. 5/94 Dubuque USHL
24. MIKE MATHESON D 6'1 180 L Feb. 27/94 Dubuque USHL
25. SCOTT LAUGHTON C 6'0 177 L May 30/94 Oshawa OHL
26. NICHOLAS KERDILES C 6'1 200 L Jan. 11/94 USA U-18 USNTDP
27. ANTON SLEPYSHEV LW 6'2 187 R May 13/94 Novokuznetsk KHL
28. GIANLUCA CURCURUTO D 6'0 195 L Feb. 25/94 Sault Ste. Marie OHL
29. BRADY SKJEI D 6'3 203 L Mar. 26/94 USA U-18 USNTDP
30. HENRIK SAMUELSSON C 6'2 204 R Feb. 7/94 Modo SweJE

Friday, October 14, 2011

Officially On The Radar: Dominik Volek

It was no secret, the Regina Pats weren't very good last season. They were a young hockey club and needed help in almost every area of their game.

A quick way to address many of those issues is through the CHL import draft. It's almost like a version of free agency for the CHL. You are free to grab European players who, in many cases, can instantly improve your team.

That's what the Pats have done with Dominik Volek. The Pats grabbed the Czech forward 9th overall this past summer.

I've had the chance to watch him a couple of times this season, and I have been very impressed.

He's got average size, standing in at 6'0 and 175 pounds.

His skating is not the prettiest as he has a low and awkward stride. But, he's got powerful legs and seems to have good top end speed once he gets going. As mentioned, he doesn't have great straight ahead acceleration but he does have solid quickness when it comes to stopping and starting or simply changing directions.

He seems to have very good hockey sense and always has his head on a swivel, watching and waiting for plays to develop, waiting to capitalize.

He's shown very strong passing skills and overall vision. I've seen him make a number of good saucer passes or even simple and effective passes on the breakout.

I like his ability to handle the puck on the half-wall on the powerplay and he doesn't hesitate to either set up a play or throw the puck on net to try and create chances.

I did see him overwhelmed a few times when the defence played tight to him, playing a tighter checking game both on the penalty kill and at even strength. I'm sure on the smaller ice in North America it will take some time to adjust to it, but he surely has the hands and smarts to improve in that area.

As with any young player, I would obviously like him to improve his skating quite a bit, especially his first few strides.

With that being said, I don't see a whole lot of issues with his game and Dominik Volek is definitely a kid that many NHL teams will be watching this season, putting him Officially On The Radar.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Officially On The Radar: Ashton Sautner

The WHL continues to pump out great defenceman ahead of the 2012 NHL draft.

Another kid that is flying under the radar is Edmonton Oil Kings defender Ashton Sautner. Sautner stands at 6`1 and 185 pounds as a 17 year old rookie for Edmonton.

He has a good frame and size to begin with, but I really get the feeling that he plays and looks bigger then he actually is. That`s a good sign.

In my two viewings of him so far this season he hasn`t been afraid to jump into the rush and create things offensively. He`s good a smooth and powerful stride, but he also isn`t afraid to start the rush with his strong passing abilities.

He has also displayed great defensive abilities early in this season. He seems to be an excellent one on one defender, with good reach and stick positioning. There were several occasions where he used his reach, knocked the puck away and then bodied the defender towards the boards.

If there is one area that might hurt him this year, it could be due to a lack of ice time. The Oil Kings are a great club and have one of the top blueline`s in the Eastern Conference and the entire WHL. Ultimately it would be nice to see him get more ice to grow and develop a bit quicker, but it`s clear that Sautner will be put in good positions to succeed and he will surely be a kid to watch as the draft approaches.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Officially On The Radar: Troy Bourke

There aren't too many players that can realistically be compared to Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils, but Troy Bourke is one of them.

The Prince George winger stands at 5'10 and weighs only 170 pounds, but he plays much bigger.

Bourke (pronounced BURKE) is an excellent skater with a good first step and solid explosiveness. His low center of gravity allows him to have solid edgework and good agility all over the ice.

He's got an excellent wrist shot that features a very quick and hard release. He's not afraid to fire the puck from all areas of the ice, often resulting in a goal. In fact, he scored 19 as a 16 year old rookie last season in for the Cougars.

Away from the puck, Bourke is also a kid that makes things happen. He competes hard in all three zones, backchecks and even lets his physical play do the talking. In a game I watched on October 4th, Bourke flattened Jesse Knowler of the Prince Albert Raiders along the boards. Tyler Vanscourt stepped in to defend Knowler and Bourke landed the first few punches in the scrap and earned the take down. It's that type of showing that makes scouts really open their eyes to the drive and desire a player like Bourke might just have.

The only true concern I have with Bourke as an NHL prospect is in regards to his size or lack there of. And even with that being said, he's not exactly overly tiny. Plenty of teams aren't afraid to draft forwards who are under 5'11 and I have a feeling that many NHL teams will be paying close attention to this Cougar who hails from Onoway, Alberta.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Officially On The Radar: Chandler Stephenson

The shifty and dynamic left winger for the Regina Pats is definitely going to be on the NHL draft radar.

The Saskatoon-native isn't the biggest of players at only 5'9 and 170 pounds, but he has the offensive tools that all NHL and pro teams are always looking for.

Stephenson is also able to stand out from the competition because of his skating. He's got extremely quick feet, highlighted by great edge work and the ability to turn on a dime. He's got a great motor and always seems to be flying around all three zones.

To go along with his skating he has very solid vision and is an above average playmaker.

His size is definitely a concern at this point as it would be nice to see him grow atleast another inch and be able to add 20 pounds to his frame within the next 2-3 seasons, without losing any speed or shiftiness.

That's the gamble that NHL teams are facing these days.

I like Stephenson as a player who will be a great junior scorer and a player that can be counted on to fill a number of different roles as he gets older and more experienced, but it will be up to him to prove that he has true pro potential.