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.
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.
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:
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:
Greeting all! Live from your phone or PC, the entertainment capital of your office, it’s time for my fourth annual edition of The Prospect Awards so put on your best tuxedo shirt and let’s get going. Continue reading…
The Blue Jackets had three prospects play in the OHL and WHL’s Western Conference Finals – two moved on while the other’s season came to an end.
Oscar Dansk-Erie Otters (Lost OHL Western Conference Final to Guelph 4-1)
Conference Finals Stats 2GP 0-1 6.93GAA .795Sv%
Final Playoff Stats 3GP 0-1 6.79GAA .797Sv%
Regular Season Stats 42GP 29-9-1 2.39GAA .909Sv% 6SO
Oscar and the Otters faced off against the Guelph Storm in the OHL Western Conference Final that ended with the Storm picking up a 4-1 series win. Oscar played all of game two because, despite nine days off and playing in only one game, Erie coach Kris Knoblauch thought Devin Williams needed “rest”. In the 7-2 loss, Oscar stopped 23 of 30 shots in the loss. Erie beat writer Victor Fernandes opined that the Otters’ D abandoned him that night. In game three, Williams returned to the crease and made it into the third period but after allowing five goals on 27 shots, Oscar entered the game and…allowed a goal on the first shot he faced, (but it was to Kerby Rychel!) In the 7-1 loss Oscar stopped 12 of 14 in the third period – Fernandes again pointed out it wasn’t all the Otters’ goalies fault. The Otters would win game four but lost game five and thus the series.
I asked Victor for his thoughts on Oscar during the season and playoffs along with if his play at the World Juniors had any bearing on his struggles.
Hello all – time to recap how our CHL prospects did last round. Overall we had five prospects playing in the conference semifinals with three moving on which will provide another prospect matchup in the OHL Western Conference Final.
Oscar Dansk didn’t play in any game of the Otters four game sweep of Sault Ste. Marie and, unless Devin Williams falters, I didn’t see Oscar making an appearance in the Western Conference Finals against Guelph (Editor’s note: Oscar did start the game last night with not so great results – we’ll have more on that in our next update)
Kerby Rychel-Guelph Storm (OHL Western Conference)-Won Series 4-1
Round Stats 5GP 1-5-6 +4 2PIM
Playoff Stats 10GP 2-11-13 +7 8PIM
Kerby and the Storm faced off against the London Knights and picked up a 4-1 series win. In game one Kerby put the icing on the cake of a 6-4 win when he scored an empty net goal with only 10 seconds remaining. The goal came when London’s mammoth Russian Nikita Zadorov played the puck and cleared it…right to Storm forward Jason Dickinson who skated in drawing the attention of two Knights. This allowed him to find a wide open Kerby who scored for his second of the playoffs. Kerby was held scoreless in game two – a 7-2 Storm loss. The Storm is 1-2 in the playoffs when Kerby is held off the scoresheet.
Hello all! With the CHL playoffs second round getting under way this weekend it’s time to recap how our eight CHL prospects did in the first round.
Oscar Dansk-Erie Otters (OHL Western Conference)-Won Series 4-1
Series Stats 1GP 0-0 .800Sv% 6.56GAA
Oscar and the Otters opened the playoffs against the Saginaw Spirit in a 3-6 matchup. Otters coach Kris Knoblauch decided to go with backup (1B?) Devin Williams who is a native of Saginaw but you hope a coach wouldn’t start the local boy for that reason only in the playoffs. Luckily, the move worked. The Otters got off to a 2-0 lead before letting Oscar start game three. Oscar got that start and, well, it wasn’t his best night. He was pulled for the third time in four games after allowing five goals on 25 shots. Williams entered the game but unlike the other times, the Otters couldn’t come back and lost game three 7-6 in overtime. Here are coach Knoblauch’s postgame comments on Oscar along with a quick comment from Oscar on his recent struggles. The Otters won games four and five and advanced to face the West Division champs – the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. These teams have met twice in the regular season with Erie winning 3-0 with Williams in net and then getting blown out later in the season.
Kerby Rychel-Guelph Storm (OHL Western Conference)-Won Series 4-1
Series Stats 5GP 1-6-7 +3 6PIM
Kerby and the Storm faced off against the Plymouth Whalers and fellow CBJ prospect Gianluca Curcuruto in the 1-8 matchup. Kerby didn’t earn any points in the game one win but collected his first career playoff multi-point game in game two – a 3-0 victory. In the first, Kerby took a pass from Zack Mitchell to start a bang bang passing play with Matt Finn finishing the play. Kerby’s second point was an odd one as a Guelph player kept the puck in, Kerby stopped it allowing Nick Ebert to pick it up and fire a shot that went off a Whalers skate to make it 2-0. After being held scoreless in a game three loss, Kerby got back on the scoresheet in game four. In the second, Kerby started a rush up ice getting the puck to Justin Auger with Auger finishing it in a 7-2 win. Game five was a big one for Kerby – he pretty much put the team on his back and collected four points in a 8-3 win. Kerby’s first point came late in the first. It’s hard to tell if he was trying to do the between the leg shot or a pass but whatever it was, he got the puck to Ebert who banged a shot past the Whalers goalie. Kerby’s three point third period started when after a board battle the puck went to Kerby who tapped it to Zac Leslie. Leslie passed it back to Kerby who unleashed a howitzer to make it 5-2. 1:31 later, Kerby worked a give and go with Ryan Horvat that Horvat finished. Later in the third Kerby curled to the point and made a pass to Scott Kosmachuk who seny a crosscrease pass to Nick Ebert whose slapshot made it 8-3. Up next for the Storm is a matchup with the London Knights. The teams met six times in the regular season splitting the series.
Late last week the Jackets announced the signing of 2012 3rd round draft pick Joonas Korpisalo. This is a bit of a surprise as Korpisalo had a up and down season that included missing time with injury. This signing also got the little hamster wheel in my head spinning because the Jackets goalie depth will be an interesting development this summer. I say this because after the top cop in Columbus, the Jackets only have two goalies under contract for next season whose only experience on North American size rinks is in international competition. Those two are Anton Forsberg who could see a game in Springfield before the playoffs and the just signed Korpisalo. Columbus backup Curtis McElhinney and Springfield 20 game winner (so far) Mike McKenna are unrestricted free agents while Jeremy Smith is a restricted free agent.
I and others originally thought Smith would push McKenna and earn an extension to serve as a mentor to either Forsberg or Oscar Dansk who, as of this writing, is still unsigned. I was surprised that Korpisalo was signed before Dansk but Korpisalo’s season ended before Oscar’s. I don’t see McElhinney being brought back and that means the CBJ will be going after a backup either by trade or signing a UFA.
Hello all! Back again with the week in review – with a bit of delay as a team had a game rescheduled due to the Terry Trafford tragedy. Let’s look at how our players finished up the regular season after visiting the baby birds in the AHL.
Starting off in Springfield as we usually do, the Falcons had another light week going 2-0 with both games requiring third period comebacks. On Friday night against Albany, the Falcons opened the scoring when Jean Francois Jacques sent a backhand shot past the Devils goalie after intercepting a pass. The Falcons allowed two goals in 2:37 to close out the period, but then 2:56 into the second period, Matt Taormina scored his first with the team when he potted one off the rebound of Ryan Craig‘s shot. Midway through the second well…the Devils would again score two goals again in a little under five minutes to make it 4-2 Devils. The Falcons rallied in the third thankfully when Patrick McNeill opened the scoring on a power play when, after some passing, he fired a shot. It appeared Sean Collins scored but McNeill got credit for his seventh of the season. Five minutes later, Trent Vogelhuber scored his first of the season when he deflected a Denny Urban point shot to tie it at four. A few minutes later the Falcons scored for the third time on the power play (team went 3 for 3 in this game) when Carter Camper got the puck down low and sent a cross crease pass to Jean Francois Jacques who had a wide open net to shoot into for his second of the night. Patrick McNeill picked up his third point of the night sending Michael Chaput and Ryan Craig off on a two on one with Craig finishing it for his 13th of the season. Mike McKenna made 19 saves for his 18th win of the season.