Buzzing The Net
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman at Buzzing The Net8 days ago
Evan Fitzpatrick was reflecting on his hockey journey, the one that took him from St. John’s to possibly the top of the goaltending heap for the upcoming NHL draft.
It’s one year specifically that really stands out.
“A lot of credit goes to my mother for making the jump and moving provinces,” said Fitzpatrick of the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix, the No.1-rated North American goaltender per NHL Central Scouting. “That really helped improve my play. From there, there was no looking back.”
Fitzpatrick, 18, makes it sound so simple, at least at first. But the reality was it was anything but for him and his mom, Donielle Briffett – not to mention the rest of their family, too.
Realizing Fitzpatrick had maxed out his potential on their home island of Newfoundland four years ago, Briffett left behind her home, her job and, temporarily, her husband and youngest son. It was all so her oldest boy, 14 at the time, could have a chance advance his career.
Fitzpatrick and Briffett moved to Lower Sackville, N.S., which is about 20 kilometres north of Halifax, where he enrolled in the Newbridge Academy sports schoolin time for his bantam season, 2012-13.
- Dhiren Mahiban at Buzzing The Net14 days ago
BUFFALO – Mississauga Steelheads general manager James Boyd knew selecting Alex Nylander at the 2015 CHL import draft was a gamble.
In 2014, Boyd selected William Nylander with the 13th pick at the import draft and the elder Nylander decided to remain in Sweden playing for Modo before joining the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies following the 2015 world juniors.
However, with William already playing in North America, Boyd figured convincing Alex to join his Ontario Hockey League club would be an easier proposition.
“I know for drafting William, he didn't come, but he ended up in the American Hockey League and I know that he really enjoyed playing in Toronto,” Boyd said. “We took Alex thinking, if William is here, then maybe… and it ended up that the stars aligned and [he] came so I think it was part luck and part sales job on our part.”
In his first season with the Steelheads, Alex scored 28 goals and 75 points in 57 regular season games. He added six goals and six assists in six playoff games as Mississauga fell in the first round to the Barrie Colts.
For his fine rookie season the 18-year-old was named both the OHL and CHL rookie of the year.
- Kelly Friesen at Buzzing The Net15 days ago
Led by Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, the 2016 NHL draft class is full of elite talents from across the globe. The combination of the draft’s high-end skill and depth make it one of the top draft classes in the past decade.
One major theme in this year’s draft is the high number of prolific big-bodied forwards. Look no further than how the top five picks in the draft may all end up being forwards who stand 6-foot-1 or taller. It’s clearly a good year for NHL teams to bulk up their offenses.
Without further ado, here’s a look at the top 10 prospects of the draft. Yahoo! Sports teamed up with Future Considerations to put together BTN’s official draft list.
1. Auston Matthews, centre, ZS Lions (NLA) – The Scottsdale, AZ., native is set to become the NHL’s next big superstar. He’s a prolific goal scorer who possesses an imposing 6-foot-2, 216-pound stature, soft hands and quick feet. Moreover, he’s already proven himself in a prestigious professional league, as he scored 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games in Switzerland’s top league.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman at Buzzing The Net15 days ago
The proof wasn’t quite in the pudding during the recent NHL draft combine, but Sean Day is confident he’s turning a corner when it comes to his physical fitness.
“I’m always going to be a heavy guy,” said Day after his workouts in Buffalo. “I’m really bottom heavy just with my legs. If I can drop down to 220 (or) 225 (pounds), the workouts and conditioning I’ve been doing with the intense training, hopefully that can benefit me a bit.”
Shedding weight, or most specifically keeping if off, has been an issue for Day throughout his high-profile junior career so far.
Known as a slick, effortless skater, the bulky Day entered the OHL as an exceptional status player in 2013. He followed John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid in that line of distinction, an almost sure sign that superstardom was to follow.
However, Day wasn’t named to Canada’s Ivan Hlinka team last August. The 6-foot-3 defenceman that being 15 pounds overweight probably didn’t help his chances. After a season in which he posted six goals and 22 points – a drop-off from his 2014-15 output of 10 goals and 36 points – Day wasn’t asked to play on the under-18 team in April, either.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman at Buzzing The Net23 days ago
BUFFALO – Will Bitten said he interviewed with 27 teams at the NHL draft combine.
Let’s just say the situation he endured with the OHL’s Flint Firebirds this season was a frequent question.
“Every single team,” Bitten said, chuckling, when asked if that was a popular theme in his sit-downs. “A lot of teams wanted to know what went on because it’s an experience not everyone will experience in their lives. I don’t think it’s ever happened before. They were all curious. I’m an honest person. I answered every question they wanted to know.”
The Firebirds finished out of the playoffs in their first year in Flint after moving from Plymouth, Mich.
That they made national headlines at various time of the season had nothing to do with their play.
It all started in November when owner Rolf Nilsen fired coach John Gruden and assistant Dave Karpa after a win over the Oshawa Generals, because his son, Hakon, a defenceman, wasn’t getting enough ice time.
The Firebirds players, including Hakon, turned in their jerseys in support of their coaches, who were then rehired and given three-year contracts the next day.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman at Buzzing The Net26 days ago
BUFFALO – The days of the pudgy goaltender have long been a thing of the past and it was proven true once again.
Netminders were among the strongest testers at the NHL draft combine, which culminated Saturday at Harbor Center in Buffalo. At least one person at the position finished among the top 10 in five different fitness categories –an impressive feat considering there were just eight goalies included in the more than 100 total players.
But will their impressive performance matter when it comes to the NHL draft itself later this month?
“Something like this matters not a lick to us,” said one scout. “It has nothing to do with his flexibility, mental focus or rebound control. We’re not worried about the athleticism. It’s a bonus if you get a real athlete. But these tests for goalies don’t affect us at all.”
That comment doesn’t bode well for someone like Carter Hart of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips.
- Mike Sanderson at Buzzing The Net26 days ago
The Halifax Mooseheads stole the show Saturday at the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft, ending the debate of who to take first overall by swinging a deal for both players.
The Mooseheads selected forward Benoît-Olivier Groulx first overall, making the son of former Gatineau Olympiques coach Benoit, and then traded the seventh, 16th and 24th picks and a first rounder next season to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar for the second overall pick to take blueliner Jared McIsaac.
The Mooseheads now have a pair of excellent cornerstones to build around, and with young forwards Arnaud Durandeau and Joel Bishop and defenders Jocktan Chainey and Walter Flowers all 17 or younger, they have a very bright future.
The Drakkar were somewhat handcuffed if they wanted one of the top two players. Groulx was the top ranked player by the QMJHL’s central scouting list, and McIsaac flat out said he wouldn’t report to Baie-Comeau if he was picked.
Don’t feel too bad for them, though, as they ended up with four picks in the first round, including the fourth and fifth overall picks.
- Mike Sanderson at Buzzing The Net28 days ago
The Halifax Mooseheads have an important decision to make.
Do they go with the consensus number-one pick; the son of a prolific now-former Gatineau Olympiques head coach, a star power forward who could develop into a top line center?
Or do they go with the potential number one blueliner; a hometown kid who could keep the tickets coming in and let the marketing staff take the day off while the money rolls in? Oh, and he’s also good at hockey, possibly as good as the other guy?
That is the debate for the Mooseheads between Benoît-Olivier Groulx and Jared McIsaac, Do they go forward or defenceman with the top pick in the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft Saturday at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman at Buzzing The Net1 mth ago
It’s been two months since the London Knights have lost a hockey game, an incredible feat considering it’s now late May and no longer December.
The Knights have not only been dispatching so-called elite opponents without fail, they’ve usually done so with ease. After sweeping three consecutive OHL playoff series, the Knights brought a 13-game winning streak to the Memorial Cup in Red Deer, where they’ve tossed aside the supposed best the Canadian Hockey League has to offer. They’ve claimed three victories by a combined score of 20-5 with Mitch Marner continuing to do whatever he wants with the puck.
After losing on the final day of the regular season – a loss that secured the OHL’s second-best record – London has cruised to the Memorial Cup final. And a win there would certainly lock up a place among the most prolific seasons in major junior history.
1971 Quebec Remparts
- Mike Sanderson at Buzzing The Net1 mth ago
Is it possible for the number one ranked team in the CHL to come in under the radar?
The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies dominated their way through their QMJHL competition, running the table in the regular season with a 54-9-3-2 record, blasting their way through the playoff bracket with a 16-5 record, and a 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup berth in the process.
The goal is in sight, but the Huskies aren’t done. They won their first President’s Cup in their history – the first in their franchise’s history since 1970 as the Montreal Junior Canadiens – and they will march on, led by head coach Gilles Bouchard.
While the top line of the London Knights, Christian Dvorak flanked by Matthew Tkachuk and Mitch Marner, may get the most attention, the Brandon Wheat Kings as western champs after reaching the finals a year ago and with 2017 NHL draft hopeful Nolan Patrick in tow, and the Red Deer Rebels hosting the first Memorial Cup tournament in Alberta since 1974, it can be easy to forget the Huskies as the team from the Quebec league that won their first President’s Cup.