HFNHL Canucks: NHL Rookie Watch

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Hossa, Sep 20, 2011.

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  1. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    After a couple of dry years in terms of prospect graduations, the Canucks have begun in recent years to graduate prospects again. Last year Bryan Bickell established himself as a legitimate top nine forward, Brandon Yip played a full season, and Jason Demers solidified his presence as a two-way regular. This year, a large number of players could make it as rookies:

    Forwards

    Luke Adam - The reigning AHL Rookie of the Year has a good chance to crack the Sabres, probably as their third line center. What's not in doubt is that Adam can score, has a good work ethic, and wants to be an NHLer, however his skating continues to hold him back.

    Kyle Palmieri - Another top AHL rookie, Palmieri has a decent shot at cracking the Ducks, again probably in a third line capacity. Last season was revealing for Palmieri, because after scoring at a nearly 40-goal rate, his projection has changed, and he now profiles more as a scorer than a two-way sparkplug.

    Zack Smith - Basically an NHLer already, Smith has a one-way deal with the Sens. The only question is what line he plays on and how much offence he contributes. Should see regular PK time as well.

    Maxime Sauve - Another player who had a strong AHL rookie season, Sauve has a chance to make the Bruins, but would have better odds elsewhere. The skills and skating are certainly there, but durability remains an issue. Could be a real breakout candidate with a full, healthy AHL season though.

    Tommy Wingels - Broke camp with San Jose last year, but didn't light it up in the AHL. Still only 23, and well-rounded, but competition for a bottom six job with the Sharks is always steep.

    David McIntyre - An often forgotten prospect, McIntyre plays with sandpaper and speed, and has enough skill to surprise on a relatively weak Minnesota squad.

    The depth: John McCarthy, Alexandre Bolduc and Travis Morin all have chances to make the NHL full-time, having played some at the NHL level last year. Realistically though, none of them will ever be a big-time HFNHL contributor regardless, although all could be useful role players.

    Defencemen

    David Rundblad - Coming off one of the best seasons ever by a defenceman in Europe (any league, any age), Rundblad has the ability to compete for the Norris, but if his game doesn't adjust quickly, could start in the AHL. The Sens have too many one-way deals, but rebuilding teams don't tend to demote top prospects who earn spots. Rough first pre-season game but had a great rookie camp.

    Jeff Petry - A fairly good bet to crack the Oilers, after playing most of the second half in Edmonton last year, Petry is in an interesting position because he's the top defensive prospect on a club with a dynamic core of forwards. With the right development, he could end up the right place at the right time, although that group should peak in a few seasons, not 2011-12.

    Mattias Ekholm - The reigning SEL Rookie of the Year, Ekholm has at least a 50/50 shot at cracking the Predators blueline on the third pairing, with his main competition being Roman Josi and Jack Hillen. Ekholm brings size, hockey sense, good position play and smart offensive ability, and may have come further in the last two years than any prospect in hockey.

    Alex Urbom - After cracking the Devils out of camp last year, Urbom is probably on the bubble this year, with the third pairing up for grabs, but Adam Larsson likely to take one of those two spots. Most likely he'll split the season between the NHL and AHL, regardless of where he begins in October.

    Justin Braun - Heading into the off-season, Braun was considered a near lock to make the Sharks out of camp, with Doug Wilson commenting that he was a key piece of the future. However the acquisitions of Burns, White and Vandermeer leaves little room for Braun on a healthy squad.

    The dark horses: Brenden Dillon, Drew Schiestel and Justin Faulk are all in the conversation for spots. Oddly enough, Dillon may have the best chance, because the Stars are extremely high on him. Faulk is only 19, and Schiestel is coming off a knee surgery, but both will get a better chance next year.
     
  2. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    Well a few updates:

    - Three guys were cut. Palmieri was sent down, although all reports of his training camp were quite good. McIntyre was demoted without making a real push. Schiestel had a good showing returning from injury, but the real question is whether he gets the first call-up.

    Anywhere from zero to half a dozen of the players above could crack it.

    - On defence: Rundblad started slowly but has improved each game; Ekholm hasn't looked out of place but could use some time in the AHL as well; Urbom and Dillon are still around; Petry and Braun have both been strong but may be caught up in the numbers; and Justin Faulk continues to overachieve and may just end up in the NHL at 19.

    Maybe the surprise on the blueline has been David Warsofsky, the pint-sized puckmover who has stuck around camp and played pretty solid hockey. He won't make the club, but bodes well for his rookie season in the AHL.

    - Up front, things are a bit more wide open. Zack Smith is a given, but Luke Adam and Max Sauve both could either end up on pretty good third lines, or in the AHL. While Adam is basically battling against his own skating to show if he can keep up, Sauve is up against Jordan Caron, Benoit Pouliot and Jamie Arniel for a spot on Tyler Seguin's wing.

    Also, anywhere from all to none of the three Sharks forwards, Tommy Wingels, John McCarthy and Andrew Desjardins, could stick. Desjardins has the inside track on the fourth line center spot, but it's Wingels who has surprised and may have won a third line spot.

    The one surprise up front has been Mike Hoffman, who survived a big round of cuts today, leaving a roster of 28, sticking around longer than guys like Jim O'Brien and Andre Petersson.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  3. RedWingsLegacy

    RedWingsLegacy Registered User

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    Sauve is battleing for a third line spot with most players who have little or no experience? Pretty sure that like will be seguin Kelly and peverly you know the line that helped win the cup? Interesting take maybe you know something I don't cuz I don't see any openings for him but I could be wrong and you know something I dont
     
  4. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    I'm just going off the Boston board, and with Arniel and Hamill demoted today, it's basically down to Pouliot, Caron or Sauve for a top 9 spot. If Seguin, Kelly and Peverley form a third line, there's a spot in the top six then: Krejci, Bergeron, Lucic, Horton, Marchand. Recchi's spot is vacant.
     
  5. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    Max Sauve was sent down. The fact he had a strong showing is most important, and with a good start in Providence he'll be the first call-up soon. Dillon, Hoffman, and Warsofsky have all been demoted as well.

    The only other players who appear to have made for sure it are Rundblad and Adam (along with Zack Smith obviously). In both cases they are on a 24-man roster with a couple of injured players included in that total, so while

    Otherwise, while neither the Oilers or Sharks have finalized their roster, it would be a shock if Jeff Petry, Tommy Wingels and Andrew Desjardins aren't on them. Mattias Ekholm is a toss-up, with my money on him not making it, although his willingness to accept an AHL assignment is a complicating factor. While Justin Braun and Alex Urbom had good camps, they're working against the numbers game unfortunately.

    Oh, and Justin Faulk. Paul Maurice was very complimentary yesterday, saying it's hard to find any flaws on Faulk's game at this point, even comparing his camp to Jeff Skinner's last year. It's extremely rare for players go from U18 to the NHL in a year, particularly as d-men (has anybody done it since Erik Johnson?) though, so I'll believe he's in the NHL when I see it.
     
  6. RedWingsLegacy

    RedWingsLegacy Registered User

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    Luke Schenn was after Johnson i believe but then Hedman, Now Larsson will probably
     
  7. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    I meant the US U18 team, because as great as that program is, it's a different level of competition than CHL to NHL, a tough transition for teenage d-men as well. It's quite uncommon to make the NHL as a teenager on the blueline no matter what the path, but some roads are just even less frequently traveled.

    Erik Johnson, like Faulk, played one year of college before going pro. Even Jack Johnson played two years college. Cam Fowler did the same thing, kind of, with a one-year stopover in Windsor as opposed to NCAA.
     
  8. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    Well, clearly I underestimated Justin Faulk.

    So, with the Sharks yet to announce their final roster, but things fairly predictable, here's the final tally:

    Made the Cut

    Luke Adam - Will start on the third line, but what his role is when Jochen Hecht returns is up in the air.

    Tommy Wingels - Has won a third line spot with Michal Handzus and Torrey Mitchell, in what is a reasonable surprise.

    Zack Smith - His one-way deal ensured him a spot, the question is in what capacity.

    Andrew Desjardins - He had a good camp and appears to be the fourth line center, but still likely gets shuffled around.

    Justin Faulk - Apparently is a top four defenceman right now. Pretty amazing stuff.

    Jeff Petry - Could end up on the top pairing, but that's as much because of his abilities as Edmonton's poor and injured defence. Will get lots of ice-time.

    David Rundblad - Right now slotted in as maybe the #7, although that could change. It's pretty unpredictable how things will go this year.

    Mattias Ekholm - On the opening roster, despite wide speculation he would be cut. Will cycle with Jack Hillen and Teemu Laakso on the third pairing for now.

    Harri Sateri - I missed him originally, but until Antti Niemi is healthy, he's the backup to Thomas Greiss. Of course, with Antero Niitymaki and Alex Stalock also hurt, Sateri could see time at three levels if/when everybody is healthy this year.

    Missing the Cut

    Max Sauve - Probably jumped to the front of the line for call-ups, if he can stay healthy.

    Kyle Palmieri - Still quite young, so no rush.

    Justin Braun - Would have made another blueline with less one-way deals.

    Alex Urbom - A bit hard to tell where he stands in the Devils organization.

    Drew Schiestel - Similar to Urbom, hard to tell if he's the first call-up or not.

    Brenden Dillon - Appears the early optimism was premature. Still quite raw.

    Richard Bachman - Was strong when he played, and you could be in worse situations than third behind Lehtonen and Raycroft.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011

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