Quick Player Thoughts from Traverse City 2014

Posted by CBJProspects on September 17, 2014
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After spending the past week or so in Traverse watching the Blue Jackets battle to win the championship, I wanted to take a few moments and offer my summary thoughts on each of the players. So here we go:

 

41 Alexander Wennberg 4GP 1-2-3 +4 2PIM
Despite battling a head cold, Alexander sill impressed despite not putting up big numbers. The smooth skating Swede played in all situations and was very impressive handling the puck. He was given a leadership role as an alternate captain throughout the tournament.

 

45 Lukas Sedlak 3GP 0-0-0 +1 2PIM 45
Lukas was the only Jacket draft pick to get scratched but was his usual strong two way presence when he did play. Lukas’ game is one of those when you don’t notice him its a good thing.

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Jackets claim third Traverse City Prospects Tournament Title

Posted by CBJProspects on September 17, 2014
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The Columbus Blue Jackets are the 2014 Traverse City NHL Prospect Tournament champs after defeating the Dallas Stars 3-2 in overtime. The Jackets did something they hadn’t done all tournament and that is score first. Kerby Rychel took a pass from TJ Tynan in front to make it 1-0 4:48 in. Later in the first, Dallas would score when Radek Faksa took a pass in the slot to tie it at 1.

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Jackets earn perfect record at Traverse – set sights on Championship

Posted by CBJProspects on September 15, 2014
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The Jackets team of prospects took on the St. Louis Blues prospects today in the their final game of the round robin tournament with their spot in the championship game Tuesday already clinched. The CBJ continued the trend of giving up an early goal when the Blues top line got on the board with Ty Rattie and Robby Fabbri working together down low and then finding Yannick Villeux in the slot to make it 1-0.

Six minutes later Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his second of the tournament when he picked up the rebound of an Austin Madaisky point shot on the power play. Two minutes later Jake Chelios scored on the power play to give the Blues their final lead of the game. Mike DiPaolo did what he does best – getting into a marathon (lasted at least a minute) of a bout with the Blues Justin Gutierrez. After that, for some reason, Mike left the game and was in street clothes. I didn’t notice until the second intermission and I don’t remember if I saw him play in the second period.

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Blue Jackets comeback to beat Wings

Posted by CBJProspects on September 13, 2014
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The Jackets took on the host Detroit Red Wings in front of a packed house last night and pulled out a 5-3 win. The game started out ugly with the Red Wings taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission including the first goal 35 seconds into the game. The lone CBJ highlight came when tough guy Mike DiPaolo sent a Red Wing into the Jackets bench and then answered the call from Richard Nedomlel with Mike earning the decision.

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Jackets win Traverse City opener

Posted by CBJProspects on September 12, 2014
Columbus Blue Jackets, Prospects / No Comments

The Jackets opened the 2014 Traverse City Prospect Tournament with a 7-4 win over the Minnesota Wild. The game wasn’t the prettiest but the Jackets will take the victory. The Wild took the first lead 7:49 into the first when Nick Walters and Brady Brassart had a 2-1 with Walters finishing.

In the second, Oliver Bjorkstrand found Kerby Rychel in front to tie it at one. 56 seconds lasted Walters would strike again to make it 2-1. Later in the second the CBJ had a scare when 2014 first round pick Sonny Milano fell face first into the boards and needed help off the ice – he would not return to the game. Later in the period, TJ Tynan would get credit for a goal that would bounce over the Wild goaltender’s shoulder.

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2014 CBJ European Prospect Preview

Posted by CBJProspects on September 12, 2014
Columbus Blue Jackets, Prospects / No Comments

It’s hockey time so let’s get right to checking out what’s going on with some of the Blue Jackets prospects. Europe gets an earlier start than North America with all three of the Jacket’s European getting started this week. The Jackets have three prospects playing overseas: Daniel Zaar in Sweden, Joonas Korpisalo in Finland and Elvis Merzlikins in Switzerland. Since it’s hard to see these players live, like I normally do with the CHL and NCAA, I’ve asked for some help from reporters who have seen these players live.

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2014 CBJ CHL Prospect Preview

Posted by CBJProspects on September 10, 2014
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With a few of the Jackets CHL prospects being sent back in the first round of cuts, I though it was time for my preview of the Jackets 9 CHL prospects and again, I’ve got some help from my various sources around the leagues.

Blake Siebenaler-Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
2014-15 Stats 68GP 6-24-30 -16 24PIM

Blake was one of the top rookie dmen in the OHL last season finishing three points behind teammate Vince Dunn. For insight on Blake, I’ll turn things over to The Voice of the IceDogs Rob Mawhood:

“When you think of Blue Jackets prospects no one might be more intriguing then 18-year old Blake Siebenaler.

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2014 Traverse City Tournament Preview

Posted by CBJProspects on September 04, 2014
Prospects / 1 Comment

Hockey season is right around the bend. The boards are going in at Nationwide and the Jackets prospects, along with your friendly neighborhood prospect geek, are off to Traverse City, Michigan for the annual NHL Prospects Tournament at the Centre Ice Arena.

Starting off with the how the tournament is set up, the eight teams are split into two divisions named after Red Wings legends Ted Lindsay and Gordie Howe. The Jackets will be in the Howe Division with the Minnesota Wild, St Louis Blues and the host/defending champs Detroit Red Wings. The Lindsay Division features Jackets division rivals the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers along with the Dallas Stars and the Buffalo Sabres who should boast the highest pick playing in the draft in 2nd overall pick Sam Reinhart (Buffalo hasn’t released it’s roster as of this writing).

Each team will play the three teams in its division in a round robin and then face off against the team that finished in the same spot in the other division.

The Jackets are bringing probably their best roster ever and hope to improve on back to back second place finishes in their division (4th overall in the tournament both times). The team’s forward and goalies are probably the best in the tournament. I know I’m biased and our roster is loaded but I think this team will do well this year and it’s mainly because no other team in the tournament’s roster really impresses me. Let’s take a look:

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Sonny Milano to OHL

Posted by CBJProspects on August 16, 2014
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It came out last night that Blue Jackets 2014 1st round pick Sonny Milano will not attend Boston College and instead will be signing his entry level deal with the CBJ soon.

Because of being drafted from the USHL, Sonny is eligible to play in Springfield but more than likely he is heading to Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League. This somewhat shocked many of the people I follow (one I think was gonna need talked off a ledge) as Sonny was expected to fill the hole left by Hobey Baker Award winner Johnny Gaudreau.

Here’s a quote from BC coach Jerry York about Sonny deciding not to attend BC “Sonny has informed me he will sign a contract with Columbus. They will dictate his path as he embarks upon his pro career.” A lot of people are getting on Sonny for decommiting after saying he would go to BC at the US World Junior Camp but I think it would have been highly unlikely for him to decommit in the middle of a US event. Like Mike McMahon from College Hockey News said there are many roads to the NHL.

I think the best option for Sonny is to head to Plymouth where he’ll probably be the Whalers go to offensive weapon as the teams leading returning scorers are 18 year old Francesco Vilardi and import Victor Crus Rydberg who had 38 points. A trade that some think may have helped get Sonny to the Whalers was trading for Matthew Campagna who had 74 points with Sudbury last season.

It was a down year for the Whalers last year. they finished 8th in the Western Conference – going 28-33-0-7 which included being swept by Memorial Cup Runner Up Guelph. The Whalers also lost GM/coach Mike Vellucci to the Carolina Hurricanes (who use Plymouth as their OHL affiliate-they have the same owner). One asset that is returning is OHL top goalie and Parma native Alex Nedeljkovic (who Sonny shares an agent with).

So Sonny will head to Traverse City joining last year’s three first round picks which likely sets a new tournament record (I can’t think of any team ever sending more than two). Sonny also seems to be a lock for Team USA at the World Juniors after leading the evaluation camp in scoring.

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2014 Top 20 CBJ Prospects

Posted by CBJProspects on August 11, 2014
Columbus Blue Jackets, Prospects / 1 Comment

Greetings all after a bit of summer break I’m back with my take on the Jackets Top 20 prospects. First here are my last top 20 from January.

1. Alexander Wennberg
2. Kerby Rychel
3. Oscar Dansk
4. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault
5. Marko Dano
6. Anton Forsberg
7. Cody Goloubef
8. Oliver Bjorkstrand
9. Mike Reilly
10. Michael Chaput
11. Daniel Zaar
12. Dillon Heatherington
13. Sean Collins
14. Josh Anderson
15. Lukas Sedlak
16. Peter Quenneville
17. Gianluca Curcuruto
18. Seth Ambroz
19. Markus Soberg
Incomplete Joonas Korpisalo

When we look at the list for this year, two prospects from this list have moved on with J_M being traded to Tampa Bay and Gianluca Curcuruto not being signed after an injury filled/down year in Plymouth. There has also been some normal movement due to last season’s performances. So let’s take a look at my list of the top 20:

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