Monday, March 26, 2012

March 19-25 Minor League/NCAA Prospect Week in Review

The Springfield Falcons continue to fight for there playoff lives sitting only three points out of eight place with eight games remaining. Any more weekends like last week will probably doom the Falcons. Springfield went 0-2-1 last week losing to Adirondack on Saturday and Sunday after losing to Bridgeport in a shootout on Friday. Leading the way was Matt Calvert who had a goal and three assists adding to his current six game point streak in which he has three goals and five assists. Nicholas Drazenovic had his five game goal/point streak snapped in Sunday's loss. The only other players with multiple points were Dane Byers who's goal was the 100th of his professional career(99 AHL 1 NHL) and Maksim Mayorov who had two assists.
Another busy week for the Express with the team playing four games winning three of four. Taylor Ellington continued his strong play since being acquired picking up goals in the three wins. Ellington has 10 points in 14 games with the Express after having 22 in 55 games with the Wings...The Kalamazoo Wings that is. Steven Delisle found his way back onto the scoresheet for the first time since November when he assisted on Ellington's 10 of the season. Somehow I missed the fact that after last week the ECHL regular season is over and the Express are in a dogfight for eighth in the Eastern Conference tied with three other teams and only two points out of seventh. One of the games is against a team its tied with playing Cincinnati on Tuesday then playing the third place team the Kalamazoo Wings who sit in third right now.
As I said last week a slight change in schedule as this post is just about the NCAA kids plus Mike Reilly and Anton Forsberg who I found out has been playing with the MODO under 20 team so ill have a bit more on him since I have to catch up. Im gonna keep this ouick on Martin Ouelette since his stats havent changed since his last appearance in February when he got a whole whopping 5:49 of action in a 7-3 smashing of UMass. Ouelette sat on the bench in the Black Bears loss to Minnesota-Dulth in the Regional Semifinal, Ouelette played in nine games going 1-3-0 with a 3.42 GAA and a .871 save percentage. I dont see things getting better as Dan Sullivan appears to have the number one job locked in and he'll be a junior like Ouelette next season.
Sean Collins-Cornell(ECAC)
Stats 35GP 13-13-26 +3 12PIM
Collins and Cornell was the only team with a Jackets prospect to win on Friday. In the win over Michigan Collins had 2 assists(#12 in the highlights) in the win over the one seed Wolverines. Then in Saturday's loss to the surprising Ferris St Bulldogs Collins was held scoreless. In his senior year Sean had a career year setting highs in goals, assists and points. In his four years at Cornell Sean had 57 points(30-27-57) in 136 games.
Trent Vogelhuber, Will Weber-Miami(CCHA)
Stats TV-39Gp 4-10-14 +7 55PIM WW- 40GP 0-4-4 +3 69PIM
Both Trent and Will's collegiate careers came to a end on Friday in the Redhawks 4-3 overtime loss to UMass-Lowell. Vogelhuber had the only point for the Jacket prospects scoring the goal that began Miami's comeback with his fourth of the season. In four years Trent had 51 points(21-30-51) in 149 games which is sixth among players on this year's team. Will had 30 points(5-25-30) in 154 games also collecting 263 which is sixth all time.
Kevin Lynch-Michigan(CCHA)
Stats 39G 8-5-13 -3 30PIM
Lynch's trip to the NCAA tournament didnt last as long as last year's run to the title game after losing to Cornell in the opening round. Lynch had a goal called back in the first period but got redemption because he ending up scoring with 4:01 left in the third to send the game into overtime which the Wolverines ended up losing in overtime.(the goal is in the highlight above in Collins review about 2:30 in). Lynch ended up finishing tied for ninth on Michigan in scoring with 13 points in 39 games down from 16 his first two years at Ann Arbor.
Seth Ambroz, Jake Hansen-Minnesota(WCHA)
Stats SA-40GP 5-3-8 E 53PIM JH-42GP 15-22-37 +18 56PIM
On to the only NCAA prospects ill be writing about next week as the Gophers are the only team with Jacket's prospects that won its regional championship. In the Gophers two wins Seth was held off the scoresheet but was even. Jake Hansen on the other hand was a star in the game, Jake scored two goals(1:07 first goal 2:00 second goal) including the game winner. Jake scored his first goal in his usual fashion on the power play by a tip in on the power play while the second was probably the hardest empty net goal of his career. The next day it was a rematch of WCHA Final Five semifinals against North Dakota in the win Jake added to his point streak with a assist giving him seven in the last six games. Next weekend the Gophers will face off against the Boston College Eagles in one of the two Frozen Four finals.
Drew Olson-Minnesota-Duluth(WCHA)
Stats 41GP 1-7-8 +7 51PIM
Drew had his usual weekend going scoreless in the weekend split at the NCAA Regional. In the Bulldogs win over Maine Drew was a +1. The next day in a 4-0 loss to Boston College in the Regional Final Drew was even. Drew had a career highs in assists and points this season and will be one of the seven seniors returning only two being on defense.
Mike Reilly-Penticton(BCHL)
Playoff Stats 6GP 1-3-4 8PIM
The Vees played games four, five and six last week winning games five and six by a combined score of 8-2 including a 4-0 win in game six. In the game five victory Mike had two assists in the victory for his only points last week. Mike and the Vees move onto the Interior Conference final against the Merritt Centennials, in six games against the Centennials this season Mike had four goals and nine assists for 13 points.
Anton Forsberg-MODO(Sweden)
As I said above I missed something with MODO(sue me for missing something in a foreign language) while the big club was still in the playoffs Forsberg played with the U20 team on the 17th in there playoffs Forsberg started against Timra losing in overtime stopping 26 of 29 in the loss. On the 22nd MODO faced off with Farjestads Anton loss again stopping 23 of 28 in a 5-3 loss, Forsberg was given a night off with backup or starter(I have no idea) Linus Ullmark won 2-0 thus following hockey rules you give him the start and Ullmark lasted all of 2:19 before turning it over to Forsberg when Linus and his Blanket(I had to) stopped one of three shots. Coming on in relief Anton stopped 26 of 27 in a 4-3 overtime win helping MODO advance to the next round where they will face off against Linkopings HC.
There you have it folks this week's prospect week in review my next post will probably be my CHL 1st round review and it should be really positive as most have a 2-0 lead.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stop It Right Here: The Anatomy of a Goal

In the Blue Jackets victory over the Hurricanes last night, R.J. Umberger scored his first hat trick in three years, Derick Brassard was fantastic, and Jack Johnson contributed two assists, including the 100th of his career. However, I would like to take a look at the lone goal allowed by Steve Mason during his 39 save game. Before I get into the breakdown, let's take a look:

This goal was a typical hockey goal. That may sound reductive, but most goals are not the result of one great play by the offensive player or one terrible miscue by a defensive player. Instead, they come from one breakdown leading to another, then to another, with the cascade of mistakes leading to a goal. In my estimation, this goal includes eight miscues by seven different players. Let's review them in reverse order:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

CBJ CHL Prospect Season Review/Playoff Preview

Hello all back again yes two posts in one week I'm a wild man. This will be one part week in review one part season review and finally one part playoff preview as all our CHL prospects made the playoffs.

Boone Jenner
Regular Season Stats 43GP 22-27-49 +12 59PIM
Boone and the Generals had four games last week going 1-2-1. Boone had a goal and 3 assists last week including a goal and a assist in a win over Peterborough. Boone ended the year with nine points in eight games in March after missing all of February with a concussion. Jenner finished fifth on the Generals with 49 points in 43 games played(22-27-49). Boone missed 25 games overall either because of injury or because of playing in the World Juniors. Jenner was named the OHL Eastern Conference's Hardest Working Player and finished second for the Best on Faceoffs award in a coach's poll. Boone and the Generals made the OHL playoffs as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference they'll now faceoff against the Niagara IceDogs. The IceDogs scored the most goals in the OHL and feature three of the top 15 picks in this years draft. Boone and then Generals only played the Dogs twice in the regular season splitting the series with Boone having a goal and a assist in the win and missing the loss due to his concussion.

Dalton Smith
Regular Season Stats 53GP 15-10-25 -8 65PIM
Dalton went scoreless in the 67s three games last week(he went scoreless in his last 12 technically but details details). It was another down year for Dalton but he was signed by the Jackets before the year so he's set for next season. The 67s won the OHL's East Division for the second year in a row and hope to last longer in the playoffs then they did last year when they were swept by the Sudbury Wolves. This years opponents are the seven seed Belleville Bulls who the 67s dominated in the regular season going 7-0-1 against the Bulls. The Bulls better watch out for Dalton on multiple fronts both physically and on the scoresheet. In the team's season opener Dalton plowed/launched a flying elbow into Belleville goalie and top draft prospect Malcolm Subban(who I think the Jackets should draft with the LA pick if we have) earning Dalton a game misconduct and a 10 game suspension. In the other five games Dalton had five goals and five assists including his first OHL hat trick.

Brandon Archibald
Regular Season Stats 67GP 1-15-16 +8 65PIM
Brandon went scoreless in the Spirit's three wins last week but showed maybe he is more of a shutdown D as he was a +5 all in a 7-1 win over first round opponent the Sarnia Sting. Im not sure what I can say about Brandon for this year again as I said maybe I shouldn't worry about points amd how he is defensively because since February Brandon was a +14(and I know a lot of you don't like +/- leave me alone it's all I've got). The Spirit enter the playoffs as the five seed which has to be impressive seeing as they only won 2 of there first 10(sound familiar) and being sellers at the deadline dealing among others 6'7 defenseman Jamie Olesniak. So the Spirt get to face off with the four see the Sarnia Sting that have(when healthy) two of the top NHL draft prospects the possible Jacket(I want us to draft him but that's me)Nail Yakupov and Alec Galchenyuk. In six games against the Sting the Spirit went 2-4 winning the last two. In the six games Brandon had 3 assists and was a +7 being a +9 in the two wins.

Lukas Sedlák
Regular Season Stats 50GP 17-28-45 +24 57PIM
Lukas returned from a shoulder injury last week and went scoreless to finish the season. Sedlák like Jenner also missed time with injuries and playing in the World Junior tournament. Sedlák was the Sagueneens leading rookie scorer and was sixth on the team and 12th in the league. Sedlák went on tear from November to January scoring 31 points in 23 games also scoring his first hat trick. According to the teams announcer that I follow Sedlák played on Chicoutimi's top line all year. In the playoffs Chicoutimi will play Acadie-Bathurst in the 8-9 matchup. The teams played twice in the regular season earning a split with the Titan winning in overtime, Lukas had a goal and a assist in the series.

Petr Straka
Regular Season Stats 54GP 18-19-37 -9 41PIM
Straka and the Oceanic went 1-1 last week withe Petr earning a assist in a win over Chicoutimi. Straka bounced back from a bad second season scoring 12 more points in 13 more games but still down from his 64 point rookie season. The Oceanic will face the Val-d'Or Foreurs in the 7-10 matchup, the Foreurs won the season series going 3-1 with one win coming in overtime. Straka missed the first two games while he was at Jackets training camp both losses. In the other two games Petr had two goals and a assist.

Mathieu Corbeil
Regular Season Stats 48GP 37-10-1 .910Sv% 3.28GAA 6SO 2 assists
The Sea Dogs closed the season out with a three game win streak with Mathieu Corbeil winning two of them. Against his old team Halifax Mathieu came within 17 minutes of tying the QMJHL shutout record. Then after a night off in which his backup had a shutout setting a new Q record for shutouts by a team then in a rematch the next night against first round punching bag uhh I mean opponent Cape Breton, despite starting out slow the Dogs hung on to win 6-3. Corbeil was pulled in the third period stopping 16 of 19 but still earned the win. Mathieu made the Sea Dogs rewrite its record book setting new season records for wins(37), shutouts(6) and career wins(50). Mathieu also won the QMJHL's Jacques Plante Memorial Trophy for lowest GAA(2.38), Corbeil was among the league leaders in every star including leading the league in wins, shutouts and GAA. Mathieu helped the Sea Dogs become the first Q team to win 50 games, the regular season title and have 100 points three years in a row. The Sea Dogs and Screaming Eagles have played each other in the first round in three of the last four years. I said punching bag earlier because last year the Dogs out scored the Eagles 26-2 in of course a four game sweep. The Q does it's playoffs like a NCAA bracket with 1 playing 16 and so on with only one team not making the playoffs. They played each other 6 times with Corbeil winning 4 of them with a 2.83GAA and a .896 save percentage. The Eagles won one game in the series and that's when Saint John was decimated by NHL training camps early in the year.

Michael Chaput
Regular Season Stats 57GP 21-42-63 +39 47PIM
Chaput and the Cataractes finished the season with a weekend split with Michael having a assist in each game to give him 42 on the season adding to his career high. Chaput set new highs in assists and points in helping Shawinigan win the Telus East Dividion after coming to the team in the Lewiston dispersal draft, Chaput led the Cats in assists playing on a line with 40 goal scorer Anton Zlobin(who I think we should sign) and MAINEiacs teammate Kirill Kabanov. Michael won 62% of the faceoffs he took this season including one three game set that he only lost 12 of 63 draws or 81%. Shawinigan will play Rouyn-Noranda in the 2-15 matchup the teams split the regular season with Michael having a goal and two assists missing one of the losses at Jackets camp.

Austin Madaisky
Regular Season Stats 70GP 13-37-50 +21 85PIM
Austin and the Blazers went 1-2 last week with Austin having a assist in the win. Austin finished the season with career highs in goals(13), assists(37) and points(50) with his previous high in points being 27. Madaisky led the Blazers D in scoring and finished among the leaders in the WHL. 11 of Austin's 13 goals were on the power play. Austin came the closest of all the CHL prospects to play in every game missing only two because of a suspension in February. Austin helped the Blazers win it's first BC Division title in 10 years, the Blazers will play the Victoria Royals in the 2-7 matchup of the Western Conference. In eight games this year the Blazers won seven of them, Austin played in seven missing the last because of the suspension. In the seven games Austin had three assists and was a +6.

Oliver Gabriel
Regular Season Stats 39GP 20-22-42 +15 32
Oliver had the best week of the prospects last week scoring four goals and a assist. Starting off on Wednesday Oliver scored his 17th goal of the year in a 4-3 loss to Victoria and was held off the scoresheet in the rematch on Friday. Sunday would be the last regular season game of Oliver's WHL career as he's one of the Hawks three 20 year olds and he decided to go out in style. In the game that Seattle had to win to make the playoffs the Winterhawks of course had other ideas handing the Thunderbirds a 8-2 loss. In the win Oliver became the only Jacket's prospect with multiple hat tricks this season going with his one in January also adding a assist and was named first star. Oliver started the year out in Springfield with the Falcons but was sent back in late November to get some playing time and boy did he playing a pivotal role on the third line scoring career highs in goals, assists and points for the second year in a row. In his WHL career Oliver played in 171 games scoring 109 points including 74 over the last two years. Oliver and the WInterhawks will now play the Kelowna Rockets and there little green lizard logo(its something to do with like a local loch nessesque legend). The Winterhawks swept the Rockets in the regular season with Oliver playing in two of the four games scoring a goal.

Well there you have it folks a week in review, a season review and a playoff preview all in one big post. As I said in my earlier post the schedule will change for these posts as I'm going to start waiting until each round is over before doing a write up so to keep up to date follow @CBJprospects and as always thanks for reading my nonsense.

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 12-18 Prospect Week in Review Part 1

Hello all first things first a small change of schedule, starting next week ill have the review for the two pro development leagues(AHL, ECHL)then a update on players in the NCAA tournament and finishing with how Mike Reilly and Anton Forsberg are doing in there playoffs.

Starting off in Springfield another weekend of three in three for the Falcons and with Allen York traveling with the Blue Jackets and Paul Dainton dealing with family issues the Falcons needed a goalie they signed Brown University goalie Mike Clemente who went 2-0 including picking up his first career shutout in a win over Connecticut. The Falcons went 2-1 last week with the loss coming to Providence on Sunday. Nick Drazenovic led the Falcons in scoring last week with goal in each game also adding two assists. Matt Calvert also had four points including a goal and a assist against Providence and has six points in his last five games. The only other players with multiple points were Martin St. Pierre with two assists against Portland and Dalton Prout had a goal and a assits and Brent Regner had two assists to continue to lead Falcons Dmen in scoring. As of this writing the Falcons were only a point out of eight place somehow being in 10th place despite having more wins than 9th.

Onto Chicago heres Jacket's defenseman prospects Steven Delisle wearing the Express' St Patrick's Day jersey. In four games last week the Express went 1-2-1 with Delisle being held off the scoresheet and Taylor Ellington adding to his season high five game point streak. Ellington had his first multi point game when he had two assists in a overtime loss to Trenton.

Quickly for the non scoring prospects sorry folks I had this all written out then out of nowhere I lost pretty much the whole thing. Thomas Larkin was scoreless in the Raiders two losses ending his season with 14 points in 37 games. Thomas was named third team all league during the leagues award banquet. Martin Ouelette did his usual in the Black Bears win against Boston University then a loss to Boston College. Maine will play Minnesota-Duluth in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Both Trent Vogelhuber and Will Weber went scoreless as the Redhawks lost to eventual champion Western Michigan then beating the suprising Bowling Green in the CCHA tournament. Miami will play UMass-Lowell in the NCAA Tournament. Kevin Lynch went scoreless in a opposite weekend of the Hawks beating the Falcons then losing to the Broncos. Lynch and the Wolverines are the top seed of the Midwest regional and will play Cornell. Seth Ambroz was scoreless in the Gopher's loss to North Dakota he and Jake Hansen will play Boston University in the first round. TJ Tynan was named first team all CCHA at the leagues award banquet. Tynan will enter needing five points to break the 100 point barrier.

Sean Collins-Cornell
Cornell had a little better weekend than Colgate losing to Harvard in a semifinal then winning the consolation game against Colgate. Collins had a point in each game picking up a assist(5:00 in) in the loss. Then in the consolation game Collins scored his 13th goal of the season late in the first period. Collins will face the top seed Michigan in the first round of the tournament in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Jake Hansen-Minnesota
Hansen and the Gophers got off to a hot start leading 3-1 before losing the game 6-3. Hansen scored his 13th goal of the season just five seconds into a power play when he tipped a Erik Huala point shot. Minnesota will be the home team for the West Regional as its being held in St Paul at the Xcel Enery Center.

Drew Olson-Minnesota Duluth
Drew and the Bulldogs lasted a bit longer than the Gophers but only because he played in the longest Final Five game ever losing to Denver in double overtime. Olson had two assists one on a Bulldogs goal the other on a Pioneers goal. Olson was trying to ring the puck around when it bounced off the ref and it was off to the races for a Denver goal. But Olson did have a assist on Jack Connolly's third period goal. Drew and the Bulldogs will play Maine in the first round of the playoffs in Worcester.

Mike Reilly-Penticton
Mike and the Vees started the playoffs last week, and after winning 54 of 60 games people probably thought this would be a quick series and it could still be one but itll at least take 5 games. Friday night went as expected with the Vees winning 6-1 with Mike picking up a assist on Steven Fogarty's first period goal. Saturday night the Vees came back from being down 2-0 to tie the game but lost in overtime to make it a 1-1 series.

Anton Forsberg-MODO
Anton hasnt made it into any of the five MODO playoff games and I dont see him making it into any of the few that may remain. MODO was down 2-0 then won the next two to make it 2-2 before losing game 5.
As I always say I thank you for reading my nonsense and again apologize for being so quick. Next ill have to work on the CHL prospects season review/playoff review as all nine made the playoffs four as division champs.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The State of the Blue Jackets Prospect Pool

The Hockey News Future Watch issue came out recently and with me being the CBJ fanbase's resident prospect guru(geek if you wanna be a jerk bout it) it got the little hamster wheel in my head spinning about what we have coming down the pipeline. The farthest I could go back in past Future Watch issues is 2009 when the Jackets had a A- which put the Jackets among the top 7 teams. In 2010 the team dropped to 10th with a B grade keeping that grade also in 2011. This years issue is when it gets ugly dropping to 24th with a C+. After this season the Blue Jackets prospect pool takes a beating with nine of the 21 prospects Ive been keeping track of all season needing to be signed or they become a free agent or reenter the draft. Now of course the team cant sign all nine that would put the team way over the 50 contract limit and lets face it most haven't done enough to earn a contract with the team. The nine are made up of players picked in the 2010 draft or are from other drafts and are seniors finishing there college careers.

D-Brandon Archibald(10 Draft)
C-Michael Chaput(10 Draft Philadelphia pick)
C-Sean Collins(08 Draft NCAA SR)
G-Mathieu Corbeil(10 Draft)
RW-Jake Hansen(07 Draft NCAA SR)
D-Austin Madaisky(10 Draft)
RW-Petr Straka(10 Draft)
RW-Trent Vogelhuber(07 Draft NCAA SR)
D-Will Weber(07 Draft NCAA SR)

Now of course this is me just throwing out my opinion(but isn't that what blogging is all about?) of who should and shouldn't be signed. Of the nine I think five should be signed, those five are Michael Chaput, Mathieu Corbeil, Jake Hansen, Austin Madaisky and Will Weber. I say these five because they do what prospects should do fill a need. Remember what Antoine Vermette and Sammy Pahlsson did well? Win faceoffs and that's one of the things Michael Chaput does best finishing in the top 10 in the Q in faceoffs win(they do wins instead of by percentage..that make no sense to anyone else?). Chaput won 62 percent of the faceoffs he took this season and set a career high with 63 points in 57 games. Given some time in the AHL which he could play in next season or go back to Shawinigan to count as one of the team's three 20 year olds I see Michael as a third line center with skill As for Mathieu Corbeil my main and only reason is...HES A GOALIE AND WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN TERMS OF GOALIE DEPTH NEXT SEASON!!!! Sorry for shouting but for next season the Jackets have Steve Mason and Allen York under contract and that's it, now I've thrown out the idea of resigning Mark Dekanich on a two way deal and people didn't disagree with as much as I thought they would and now the possible resigning of Shawn Hunwick throws a small monkey wrench into this line of thinking. Corbeil is 6'6 and is among the QMJHL leaders including winning the QMJHL award for lowest GAA now I know Corbeil has played for a juggernaut in Saint John but we all know the NHL is going bigger in net and 6'6 is exactly that. Now for Jake Hansen if you wouldve asked me before the season if the CBJ were gonna sign Hansen before the season i would've laughed in your face but as the old cliche goes "that's why you play the games". Going into his senior year Hansen had 39 points in 106 career games but like most athletes when they need a contract they have a career year. In 40 games this year Jake has almost matched his career total with 34 points and he still has to play in the NCAA tournament. Hansen could help the always anemic Jackets power play since almost half of his career goals are on the power play, it seems like most of the goal highlights of Hansen are him putting his 6'2 frame in front of the crease and scoring on a tip in. Austin Madaisky was amongst the WHL leading D scorers all season finishing with career highs in goals, assists and points almost doubling his previous high of 27 with a 50 point season. Now could his success be because the Blazers were one of the best teams in the WHL well its possible but Austin had 27 points the previous two season one that included being traded midseason and suffering a spinal injury last season. Austin will also help the Jackets power play with 11 of his 13 goals being scored on the power play. Austin could also go back to the WHL and play as a 20 year old. Last but not least is Will Weber, Weber is a rarity among the Jackets defensive prospects as in he's a true defensive defensemen. Weber will not score much but if you want to score Will's gonna make you pay for it. Only scoring 30 points in 154 games he's put up 263 penalty minutes which is sixth among RedHawks all time. After some time in the AHL Will could be a physical presence on the Jackets blueline.

For the four I don't think will get signed I'm not gonna bash them it just didn't work out, two of them are seventh round picks where the odds of picking a NHL player are slim to none...unless you're the Detroit Red Wings(author curses quietly and weeps). Recently the Jackets/Falcons have shown why I should stick to playing GM on Xbox 360 as two of the four I didn't think should be signed(I've been working on this a few days) have been signed by the teams. Both Sean Collins and Trent Vogelhuber the two seventh round picks were signed to ATOs with Collins also signing a two year entry level contract. Another is a second round pick or the round I call(cue horror music) the draft pick graveyard. In two years since being drafted he hasn't scored as many points as he had his draft year. As for Brandon Archibald I kinda feel bad writing this, the couple times ive talked to him seems like a nice kid but his stats won't wow you even though he has almost as many points after being drafted as before. It's just I don't see him better than any of the prospects we have.

As for next season starting off in Springfield and going off capgeek's contract years of the players currently on Springfield only three forwards, four defensemen(one in Chicago)and a goalie are signed for next season. Those players are Matt Calvert, Andrew Joudrey and Tomas Kubalik at Forward, Anton Blomqvist, Steven Delisle Cody Goloubef and Dalton Prout on defense and Allen York as I said above. Now seven players on Springfield are RFAs so most of those could be brought back. Three of those seven have played some with the Jackets this season those being Dane Byers, Maksim Mayorov and the fanbase's early season fan favorite Cody Bass. As for rookies other than the ones we need to sign above Oliver Gabriel will be back after starting the year in Springfield before being sent back to Portland and Dalton Smith who could play in Springfield or go back to the 67s. Now with Boone Jenner signing lately he'll be in the same boat as Ryan Johansen this season having to either play in Columbus or going back to Oshawa probably serving as captain for the second straight season.

As for the unsigned prospects the Jackets will have 9 also adding at least 8 new prospects barring any trades. Those 9 are Seth Ambroz, Kevin Lynch, Lukas Sedlák and TJ Tynan at forward. Thomas Larkin, Drew Olson and Mike Reilly on defense and Martin Ouelette in goal. Most of these guys are in the CHL the exceptions are Larkin and Lynch who will be seniors while Tynan and Ouelette will be juniors and Forsberg will still be in Sweden unless goalie coach Ian Clarke has his way. Another thing about next year is ill finally be able to compare Mike Reilly with the other prospects, Ive had a hard time this season since the BCHL is a step below the WHL and most players are playing there to keep there NCAA eligibilty. So scoring a lot in the BCHL might not equal success, heard of Kyle Turris playing in the BCHL made him the third overall pick but id say he's still trying to realize that potential if he ever does. Ambroz could see a bump in ice time as Minnesota is losing five senior forwards including Jake Hansen who normally was a line above Ambroz when they post the line sheet. Ambroz and Reilly will be teammates at Minnesota next season.

As for what we need to look for in the draft I think we need a little bit of everything and if you follow me on twitter you know my take on this trading the 1st or 2nd pick nonsense. But if you want to put a priority on things I'd say we need to add at least three defensemen of varying playing styles, a goalie in rounds two through four no more seventh round picks like the last two years in fact maybe two goalies. Last but not least and I harped on this earlier this season a true goal scorer I mean outside of Cam Atkinson and possibly Matt Calvert the Jackets don't have a true goal scoring threat. Now if the Jackets draft who I want them to pick if we pick first that'll help fill this need and will more than likely play in Columbus next year. I say this because you have to go back to when Erik Johnson was selected that the 1st pick didn't play after being drafted.

So like I said this is just my take on the Jackets prospect pool. I plan on attending the NHL draft in Pittsburgh so I'll have on the spot updates and I'll probably see some of you at the Draft Lottery Tweetup at BW3 on April 10th.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 5-11 CBJ Prospect Week in Review

Sorry for the delay folks lets get on it, oh those wacky Springfield Falcons first they go 3-0 dominatating weekend then a 0-3 getting smacked around weekend and last week...a little of both. Starting off in ManchVegas(Manchester no idea why its called that) it was a 3-0 loss for the birds. Saturday's game was a little wacky almost doing a Blue Jackets impression. After roaring(squawking? nevermind)to a 4-1 first period lead the Crunch then came back to make it 5-4 ill goaltender Manny Legace pulled himself turning things over to Paul Dainton. With 1:53 left in the second the Falcons were awarded a penalty shot and it was Cody Bass that got to take the shot...wait a minute CODY BASS??? the same Cody Bass that was here earlier this year? Well the Crunch's goalie mustve fell asleep cause Bass converted the chance to give the Falcons a 6-4 lead. The Crunch scored later but that was it as Springfield won 6-5(goals from the game). Next night it was time for some bird on bird violence as the baby Penguins came to town. It was a back and forth affair ending in a shootout loss for the Falcons. But in the second period when ex NHL goon Steve MacIntyre decided to lose his damn mind attacking anything wearing white including the six inches shorter and 65 pounds lighter Falcon's goalie Paul Dainton. MacIntyre earned a match penalty and a four game suspension for the incident.

Onto Chicago seems like every team in the Blue Jackets organization can find a free agent goalie...except the Blue Jackets that is. With Allen York recalled the Express signed Vermont goalie Rob Madore who won 41 games for the Catamounts(only 13 his JR,SR years though). Madore set a Express record for most saves in a game when he made 41 saves in a 5-2 loss then stopping all 26 in his second career start in a 2-0 win. Taylor Ellington played in both games picking up a assist in the win giving him two points in six games, Steven Delisle only played in the shutout win.

In the CHL it was either score a point or nothing at all, Lukas Sedlak missed all three of the Sagueneens games dealing with his shoulder injury from last week. Brandon Archibald and the Spirit split its two games last week with Archibald having no points and was a +1. Dalton Smith and the 67s went 1-2 with Smith being held off the scoresheet and was a -3.

The Potential Trading of the Number One Pick

There has been plenty of discussion (or from what I have seen, more so dispair) regarding the reports that the Blue Jackets are shopping their potential first overall pick in the upcoming draft.  With thirteen regular season games remaining, Columbus sits eight points back of 29th Edmonton, and thirteen points back of 28th place Montreal.  While nothing is impossible, I am reasonably confident at this point that Columbus will finish 30th, and pending a disaster at the lottery, will own the 1st pick in the upcoming draft.

So why trade it? What real value does that pick hold for a team like Columbus, primed to 'rebuild' or 'reshape' this year?  I think there are a couple very good reasons;

First, the Russian factor.  Admittedly both Yakupov and Grigorenko are very different scenarios from former first round picks Zherdev and Filatov, but it doesn't open the door for comfort, at least from where I am standing.  Yakupov is a great interview and has been suggested to have a tremendous work ethic, but recently suffered his second concussion of the season.  He has also had his knee surgically repaired.  Both of these injuries cause reason to be concerned about his long term health, and while they aren't going to plummet his draft value too much, will probably bring him a bit closer to the pack.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Johansen Needs to Earn His Spot

A lot has been made of Columbus Blue Jackets rookie Ryan Johansen being benched for a handful of games down the stretch.  Much has also been made of him playing on the bottom six of the roster while he is in the lineup.  A quick comparison could easily be made for Johansen and Richards versus Derick Brassard under former coach Scott Arniel.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to really consider what factors are coming into play.

To begin, let me point out that I was strongly against the under utilization of Brassard early in the season.  While Brass was left gasping for air on the fourth line, the playmaking center made good use of his time there learning to play a more physical role and becoming a more complete player.  Despite countless games full of effort, he was left watching from the press box.  This is where I believe he and Johansen stand apart.

The Johan does not appear to be pouring out effort during his games on the ice.  When I think about the top rookies in the league, or even watch the play of a rookie like Cam Atkinson, I watch a feverish style of hockey with great speed and effort.  I recognize that Johansen and Atkinson have different traits, with Atkinson being the smaller, speedier of the two, but that should not justify the level of difference as I have seen.  In fact, there have been a number of games this year where Johansen has played with a great deal of tenacity and speed, only to seemingly fall back on a similarly sluggish style of play games later.  I can also cite his time with Team Canada in the U20 World Junior Championship or a number of his highlights from his junior days with Portland, where he shows a great deal of speed and tenacity on and off the puck.

2/27-3/4 CBJ Prospect Week in Review

Hello all back again for the week in review and back on schedule after least week so lets get to it. It was the usual three in three grind for the Falcons with all of them being on the road. It was a rough as the Falcons went 0-3 while being outscored 12-4. Friday and Saturday were spent in Norfolk for a series with the Admirals, Friday was a 5-2 loss with Matt Calvert and AHL signee Wade MacLeod scoring the goals. The game was a testy affair that had David Savard recieveing a game misconduct for boarding and two more coincidental minors for roughing. Tempers flared up again the next night...during warmups!!! In the game it was another rough one as the Falcons as the Falcons took a 5-1 loss with Brent Regner scoring the only goal helping his season long point streak. Saturday was a little closer as the Falcons lost in overtime to the Hershey Bears with Alexandre Giroux scoring his 21st of the season and his 100th goal at the Giant Center(counting regular season, playoffs and All Star games). Paul Dainton took all three losses even though he only played the first period on Saturday. Leading the way was Brent Regner with a goal and two assists in the three games giving him points in five straight.

WHAT!!! a whole paragraph about the Chicago Express you betcha. The picture to the left features two of the three Jacket's prospects that played for the Express. Taylor Ellington made his Express debut and played in all four games last week scoring a goal in the the team's loss to Cincinnati. On the 3rd the Express lost goalie Peter Mannino to the AHL when he was called up by the Portland Pirates meaning that after 22 games the Express would have a new starting goalie and that goalie was Allen York. York started the team's last two games going 0-1-1 stopping 42 of 46 shots for a .913 save percentage and a 1.94 GAA. Also rejoining the Chicago lineup was Steven Delisle who'd been out of the lineup since January 25 with the dreaded "lower body injury" according to the team's broadcaster. Steven played in two games scoring no points with a even rating and no penalty minutes.