Friday 30 June 2017

Two Potential Olympians

The names of Derek Dun and Luke Lockhart probably aren't household names in Canada by any means. There are a few who may know the names on the west coast thanks to their play with the UBC Thunderbirds, but to suggest that these two players could be Canadian Olympians might be a stretch. Luckily for Dun and Lockhart - two Canadians with Chinese heritage - they may still be Olympians at some point in their careers as the two U Sports hockey players are getting the chance of a lifetime as they signed with the KHL's Kunlun Red Star for the upcoming season!

Dun, the goaltender pictured above, and Lockhart, a centerman, inked deals to play for Mike Keenan this season as the Beijing-based KHL club looks to up the stakes when it comes to being a major player in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Lockhart's competition might be a little more difficult than Dun's in net, but both are young enough to become good players in the professional hockey ranks if they can survive the next five years until 2022.

Dun played in the BCHL with the Cowichan Valley Capitals and, for a short time, the Nanaimo Clippers where he saw action in 88 games, posting a 3.59 GAA and a .902 save percentage. The key over his four seasons in the BCHL is that he improved upon his previous season's stats each year, and this got Dun an opportunity in the NCAA with the Northern Michigan University Wildcats. If that school sounds familiar, their alumni include current Grand Rapids Griffins netminder Jared Coreau, retired NHLer Dallas Drake, retired Ranger and King Tom Laidlaw, and current Swiss league player Mike Santorelli. In other words, Northern Michigan is doing a decent job in churning out professional hockey players.

Dun played just six games at Northern Michigan, so let's not put too much stock in his career WCHA stats of a 2.95 GAA and an .882 save percentage. It was his transfer to UBC where Dun gained significant playing time as the netminder suited up in 16 games on the left coast in the Canada West Conference. It was in the Thunderbirds' net that Dun established himself as a solid Canada West netminder. The following highlight was just one of the reasons that UBC made the Canada West playoffs this past season, and Dun was a big reason why.
Again, Dun's stats weren't overwhelming when you look at them - 2.87 GAA and .910 save percentage - but his heritage and his abilities in the net attracted Kunlun to sign him. It also didn't hurt that he studied international relations and finance as well as taking a Mandarin course at UBC.

"It's been exciting, trying to learn a little bit of one of my native languages," Dun, whose mom May speaks Mandarin and whose dad Bill is fluent in Cantonese, told The Province's Steve Ewen. "I kick myself a little for not doing it sooner."

It seems he'll get to practice his Mandarin first-hand with this new opportunity.

Joining Dun next season with the Red Star will be UBC teammate Luke Lockhart. Lockhart was a seventh-round pick in the WHL bantam draft with the Seattle Thunderbirds with whom he'd spend five WHL seasons. The knock on Lockhart was his size in that his 5'10" frame often looked smaller against some hulking WHL defencemen. He worked hard in Seattle to be ranked as the 68th-overall North American skater during his 2011 draft year after posting 21 goals and 27 assists in 71 games for the Seattle Thunderbirds. However, after not being drafted, Lockhart kept honing his game as he became a reliable centerman for Seattle, eventually leading them back to the playoffs in 2012-13 after they had missed in three consecutive seasons while being voted as the team's MVP by his teammates.

"I've watched Ryan Kesler for years now," the Burnaby, BC native told Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager in 2011. "Early on, he wasn't putting up a huge amount of points but he played hard, won all his faceoffs, played penalty kill. I really base my game a lot on him."

His high-energy game and hard work down low made him a target for UBC once his WHL career ended, and Lockhart went home to his second Thunderbirds team after former UBC coach Milan Dragicevic went on a heavy WHL recruiting mission in 2013. Lockhart's efforts saw the centerman become a reliable face-off man, a key performer, and someone the Thunderbirds leaned on for consistency. In four CWUAA seasons with the T-Birds, Lockhart scored nine goals each season while posting point totals of 15, 18, 23, and 18 while helping the T-Birds back to the playoffs after missing the postseason in the previous two seasons.

Lockhart will be one of the younger players of Chinese heritage that Kunlun Red Star will give an opportunity to, and it sounds like Lockhart is looking forward to his new KHL challenge.

"It's a great opportunity and a great league," Lockhart told Rob Williams of the Daily Hive. "Obviously I'm leaving a bit behind here but it's a great opportunity and I look forward to it."

Here's hoping a couple of Canadian-born, U Sports-educated players can make a significant impact on Kunlun Red Star next season and for seasons to come. And maybe, just maybe, we'll be talking about a couple of former UBC Thunderbirds competing for medals at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 29 June 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 249

The Hockey Show returns to the glorious airwaves, streams through the internet, and broadcasts via the UMFM app tonight at 5:30pm, and Beans and I have a lot to go through. The NHL Entry Draft happened, there were some trades made, there are some free agents looking for teams, and there's a pretty special day happening this weekend. It's some sort of birthday or anniversary or something? You may have heard about it through the news or social media or friends, but apparently this amazing country we call home is set to celebrate its 150th anniversary! We'll go over some of the stuff you can experience here in our great city and surrounding communities on July 1!

Teebz and Beans will give their thoughts on the Chicago trades that saw Artemi Panarin and Niklas Hjalmarsson find new homes while Brandon Saad returns to the Windy City. There will be some discussion on Arizona beefing up with Hjalmarsson, and the additions of Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta. Marc Methot will take his services to Dallas, and the gents will weigh in on that team's fortunes. Pittsburgh acquires some muscle in Ryan Reaves, prompting many to question why they would make this deal. There was a Swiss-born player taken first-overall, a Winnipegger taken second-overall, and whole bunch of other players taken after them, and we'll break down who did well at the NHL Entry Draft. Benoit Pouliot and Antti Niemi got bought out, Connor McDavid found the key to the Oilers' money vault, and there are a ton of names that will move to free agency to see what riches await them. And then we'll look at everything happening around this province for Canada's sesquicentennial anniversary, and we'll even dip our toe into the quiet town of Letterkenny!

Speaking of, there's no reason you should ever miss the show because you should have already downloaded the UMFM app. It's the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows!

If you're all over social media, we try to be as well! Email all show questions and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, Teebz and Beans chat draft picks, trades, buyouts, new contracts, free agents, and a huge birthday celebration gripping the nation only on The Hockey Show found on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: June 29, 2017: Episode 249

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Some Moose Notes

With yesterday's posting of the development camp roster for the Winnipeg Jets, there's a good chance that we'll see a pile of of those players suiting up as part of the AHL's Manitoba Moose at some point in the near future. The Moose, like its NHL affiliate, is preparing for some off-season changes as free agency opens on Saturday. In saying that, changes are being made to the local AHL affiliate's makeup both on and off the ice, so let's take a quick peek at what happened today with the Winnipeg AHL club.

The Moose saw a coach leave their ranks today as assistant coach Mark Morrison joins former Manitoba Moose head coach Randy Carlyle in Anaheim with the Ducks. The 54 year-old native of Prince George, BC worked as part of the Jets' affiliate since their time in St. John's with the IceCaps in 2011. He helped coach the team to the Eastern Conference Final in 2012 and the Calder Cup Final in 2014, and has also spent time as an ECHL head coach with the Victoria Salmon Kings.

While no details were given about Morrison's new role with the Ducks, that will leave Eric Dubois and Rick St. Croix as Pascal Vincent's current assistant coaches. Morrison will join newly-named Steve Konowalchuk behind the bench alongside Carlyle with current assistant coaches Trent Yawney and Rich Preston and goaltending coach Sudarshan Maharaj remaining with the Ducks.

Does this make the Moose better? I have to say no, but we'll see who Pascal Vincent names as Morrison's replacement. Morrison's work with the Jets' AHL affiliate saw them go 208-195-28-25 in his time, so the Jets and Moose will hopefully look for a replacement with some tenure and experience to help the young Moose head coach.

Notably absent from yesterday's development camp roster were Scott Kosmachuk, Quinton Howden, and Ryan Olsen. Those three players were not qualified through the restricted free agent process, thereby making them free agents to negotiate with teams. It doesn't mean they're done with the Moose; rather, it could mean that the Jets want them strictly on AHL contracts or don't want to handcuffed with a 15% salary increase as the qualifying offers provide.

Kosmachuk was an interesting pick in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Many scouts were impressed by his 49-goal, 101-point campaign in 2013-14, but it was his thirty-goal season in 2011-12 that attracted the Jets. He recorded 35 goals before his final season with the Guelph Storm where he scored 49, and there was some serious thought he could translate his junior success into an effective AHL power forward in the coming years.

Kosmachuk's development seemed to be on pace as he worked his way through three AHL seasons. He scored 14, 19, and 11 goals in three seasons where each of his campaigns were shorter than the previous due to injuries. His defensive game was nearly non-existent in his first season with the IceCaps, but steadily got better as well as he started to learn the 200-foot game. The only major concern, from what I could see, was foot speed in that Kosmachuk never really had that blinding speed or second gear he could kick it into when he needed to create some separation. I don't necessarily think the Jets need to walk away from Kosmachuk, but they apparently felt different about his development.

Ryan Olsen was a sixth-round pick in 2012 that simply peaked in junior hockey. When drafted, Olsen was a hard-working centerman for the Saskatoon Blades whose efforts were noticed on the ice. A trade to the Kelowna Rockets saw his junior numbers balloon from 32 points to 56 and 64 points while he scored 30+ goals twice with the Rockets, doubling his previous best of 15 with the Blades. The Jets may have been excited to get Olsen into their lineup, but things never quite panned out for Olsen.

He was used mostly in a checking role where his efforts were often mentioned, but his statistical output took a major nosedive. Defensively, his game needed some help as he often looked a step slower than the players he was trying to check. I don't know if giving Olsen a more offensive role would have been a better role for him, but it seems the Jets are prepared to let him find his game in a different uniform going forward.

To not see Quinton Howden tendered a qualifying offer was a little surprising. The former first-round pick of the Florida Panthers in 2010 had his best season statistically since 2012-13 and tied his season-best goal mark of 13. Howden had shown flashes of brilliance at times in both the AHL and at the NHL level with the Florida Panthers, but I really believe his talents were misused by the Moose this season. Howden scored 28+ goals in each of his final three seasons with Moose Jaw, and I'm certain he could have been used more effectively. Unless Winnipeg brings him back on a new contract, we won't see the Manitoba-born player on home ice in the home team colours.

With those three players potentially on their ways out of town, rumours have also surfaced that longtime Moose defenceman Brenden Kichton won't have his contract renewed as well. Drafted first by the Islanders in 2011 and, after failing to sign, again by the Jets in 2013, Kichton had a respectable career going with the Moose in which he scored 30 goals and 141 points in 272 AHL games. While he was slowed by an injury last season, it seemed Kichton's trajectory was on the right path, but the Jets loaded up on defence on Friday so they need to open spots. Kichton might be the odd-man out with Julien Melchiori and Nelson Nogier seeing time with the Jets last season.

It's that time of the season where changes are afoot, and even those who seem to b establishing themselves in the AHL aren't safe from this season. Here's hoping the Moose and Jets find some replacements if these players are indeed on the move, and let's just hope these players don't come back to haunt the Moose next season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Jets' Development Camp Roster

This is just a quick post, but here are the names and numbers of the players participating at the Winnipeg Jets' development camp. There are some interesting names on there due to playing potential and potential to rise or fall through the depth chart, but here are a few names to keep an eye on as this camp progresses:
  • Tucker Poolman. The Jets made a big play to sign him.
  • Kristian Vesalainen. The first-round pick from this year's draft should have no pressure on him, but he still needs to impress for fans to be happy.
  • Brendan Lemieux. He's been in the AHL for some time, so it's time to either break out or accept reality. Does he have the tools to play like his dad?
  • Dylan Samberg. Another pick from this year's draft who could surprise a number of people.
  • Michael Spacek. Really excited to see him in action again.
As for me, I'm off with a thousand-and-one things to do tonight. I just wanted to give Jets fans a chance to see who the organization has at camp in case anyone is going out to the BellMTS IcePlex to see the kids play.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 26 June 2017

Dallas Looks To Improve

The Central Division seems to be in some topsy-turvy movement as teams reload for the upcoming season. We saw Chicago deal Artemi Panarin and Niklas Hjalmarsson away while bringing back Brandon Saad, Nashville lost a key goal scorer through the expansion draft in James Neal, and Dallas went out and got themselves a bonafide starting netminder in Ben Bishop. Today, the Stars went ahead and solidified their defence a little more in trading for former Ottawa Senators rearguard Marc Methot who had been acquired by the Vegas Golden Knights through the expansion draft. While some were questioning this move by Dallas GM Jim Nill, the addition of a physical defenceman who can play top-line minutes is almost always a welcome addition to any team.

The Vegas Golden Knights dealt Methot to Dallas for goaltending prospect Dylan Ferguson and a 2020 second-round pick as they continue to assemble an impressive array of picks over the next number of drafts. For cap gurus, Methot has two years left on his contract at a salary-cap hit of $4.9 million US per season that Dallas will pay. He was paired on the top pairing with Erik Karlsson in Ottawa, and his physical brand of play will be something that head coach Ken Hitchcock could use alongside skilled defenceman John Klingberg. Regardless of how he's used, he will be a vital cog in the Dallas system this season when it comes to clearing the front of the net and physical play in the Dallas zone.

"He has proven to be a capable and steady defenseman that can play well with an offensive-minded partner, and he will add a tremendous amount of leadership and experience to our blue line," Stars general manager Jim Nill said. Outside of Dan Hamhuis, the Stars defensive experience in the NHL is represented by John Klingberg, Esa Lindell, Stephen Johns, and Greg Pateryn who are under contract along with restricted free agents Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak. Julius Honka may factor in, but his NHL experience counts for just 16 games. With Hamhuis leading the way, you can see why Methot's leadership and experience were two items that Nill mentioned.

If you look over those names, though, none of them stand out as a guy who will take a bullet in front of a goaltender in trying to clear the front of the net. Methot has never been one to shy away from the little things - shot blocks, physical play, possibly dropping the mitts - that make others' jobs easier. That's not to say that he's going to be employed as a third-pairing defenceman who lumbers out there to relieve the four main guys, though. Methot was a huge piece of the puzzle in allowing Erik Karlsson to do the things he did over the last few seasons, and his presence on the Ottawa blue line may be noticed depending on how Ottawa fills that void. Dallas will benefit from Methot's addition.

Methot has experience with a few people in the Dallas organization as he played with Jason Spezza in Ottawa and was coached by Ken Hitchcock in Columbus. While his work with Hitchcock ran from 2006-10 previously, Methot has grown as a player dramatically in the last seven years to the point where Guy Boucher leaned heavily on Methot throughout this season and through to the Eastern Conference Final. It's this kind of reliability that Nill is looking for in helping the Stars move from giving up the second-most goals-against to a possible playoff spot next season.

Methot won't cure all of Dallas' ills. They may still need to find some scoring, they need to lose a goaltender in terms of salary cap implications, and they'll still battle injuries. Methot will be good addition on the back end for Dallas, and he'll bring intangibles that the Stars didn't have before and may rub off on others. That's a very good thing for a team that was seen as "soft" last season when it came to playing in the physical Western Conference.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 25 June 2017

Canada Day Is Booked

I'm going to alert everyone right now that my Canada Day is already booked with a few close friends from the town of Letterkenny. If you're unaware, the CraveTV series Letterkenny returns with Season Three on the streaming service on Canada Day where the people of Letterkenny introduce us to how they pass time during the winter! While some shows will avoid winter due to some of the problems cold weather can cause with shooting locations and equipment, Jared Keeso and Nathan Dales have pushed through those problems to give the world another incredible season of hijinks and hilarity on Letterkenny!

There will be some special guests on the show this season for those who like the ever-expanding cast choices. Jared's partner on 19-2, Adrian Holmes, will play a role this season. The beautiful Sarah Gadon, who has done incredible work on both the movie and TV screens, is joining the crew for this season. There's no information on the IMDB page for Letterkenny indicating the characters these two will be playing, but getting Adrian and Sarah are huge additions for the program!

Not much in the way of content for this chilly season's shows has been released by the cast, but expect a ton of funny stuff as the people of Letterkenny settle in for a long winter in the Canadian shield. The Sudbury, Ontario-based production picked up the Best Comedy Program or Series Awaerd, Best Writing in a Comedy Program or Series Award, and Best Direction in a Comedy Award at the Canadian Screen Awards earlier this year and, as per CraveTV's press release, "had the biggest debut of any series on CraveTV since the premium TV streaming service launched in 2014, with more CraveTV users watching Letterkenny than any other series or title on CraveTV". That's some pretty rare air that Letterkenny has created for itself!

If you're a fan of the Letterkenny Problems series on YouTube or have seen Seasons One and/or Two of Letterkenny on CraveTV, Canada Day is a big day for you as Season Three debuts on the founding day of this great country. Jared Keeso and Nathan Dales have put together a pretty solid little idea that has flourished under their care, and they probably deserve a pat on the butt for that.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 24 June 2017

McKenzie's Tweet

The NHL Entry Draft is a bit of a gamble for teams looking to change their fortunes. For the most part, the players picked in the opening round will play a part in helping the franchises who picked them, but there have been general managers who have decided to "go off the board" in the opening round to try and grab a player they believe will help their clubs thanks to some advanced scouting. When the Winnipeg Jets selected the defenceman above with the 17th-overall pick in 1992, it grabbed everyone by surprise including all of the media. That's something rare, even in those days, so I had to point this pick out.

TSN's Bob McKenzie dropped this incredible tweet on the world yesterday, and it brought back all sorts of memories of watching the bumbling #3 patrol the Jets' blue line. Sergei Bautin should never have been a first-overall draft pick, and the names that Winnipeg left on the board to select the Russian rearguard is a little baffling. While the era of Mike Smith as GM in Winnipeg brought in numerous Russian players to the Manitoba capital, Sergei Bautin might be the cherry on the top of what was a rather forgettable era in Jets history.

Sergei Bautin was selected 17th-overall in 1992 in a draft that produced first-overall pick Roman Hamrlik, fifth-overall pick Darius Kasparaitis, and 14th-overall pick Sergei Gonchar. Clearly, the international flavor was nothing new for the NHL that season as 11 of the 24 first-round picks were from non-North American countries. That being said, only two players played less NHL games than Sergei Bautin did, and it's still puzzling how Bautin got that many games attached to his hockey career after seeing him play.

Bautin played two seasons with Moscow Dynamo in the Russian SuperLeague where he put up three goals, two assists, and 116 penalty minutes in 65 games of action as a 21 and 22 year-old defenceman. It wasn't like this kid was some 16 year-old phenom who got a shot to play against the men in Russia; rather, he was simply a low depth defenceman who had an affinity for spending time in the penalty box on a regular basis. Again, he scored a whopping five points when the Jets were scouting him, so I have a hard time seeing why they would draft a 22 year-old Russian who would be classified as a "project player" with their first-overall pick in 1992. He recorded no points at the 1992 Olympics and just a goal and an assist in eight games at the 1992 World Championships, so what did Winnipeg see in him?

After choosing Bautin at the draft and shocking everyone, things didn't go too poorly for the Jets and Bautin in his rookie season. Bautin scored a respectable five goals and 18 assists to go along with 96 penalty minutes in 71 games, helping the Jets make the playoffs where they would bow out to the Vancouver Canucks in six games. There were still questions about his skating and vision, though, as he often seemed out of position and a step behind most other players at his age. However, with the success the Jets had that season, these holes in his game were often forgiven because he was an NHL rookie trying to adjust to the faster North American game.

The 1993-94 season was not so forgiving to Sergei Bautin. With the NHL having undergone massive changes, the Jets found themselves in the Central Division as the NHL changed formats to introduce the Eastern and Western Conferences and playoffs featuring the top-eight teams from both conferences. The club decided to trade defenceman Phil Housley to the St. Louis Blues for Nelson Emerson and Stephane Qunital, and the revamped blue line never found its leader all season. The Jets got off to a 6-3-1 start that season, but a 2-20-2 run that lasted from January 2 until February 25 sunk the struggling club to dead last in the Western Conference from which they wouldn't recover.

After a 5-3 loss to the Penguins on February 18, 1994, the Jets pulled off a minor miracle by finding a taker for Bautin who hadn't won over any fans with his poor play during the losing streak. Somehow, GM John Paddock convinced Detroit GM Bryan Murray to take Bautin and goaltender Bob Essensa off their hands in exchange for Tim Cheveldae and Dallas Drake. While the trade wouldn't save the season for the Jets, it was a move that improved the Jets dramatically both on the ice and on paper.

Bautin, though, would find himself in a very unwelcoming situation. As per the Chicago Tribune in 1994,
But Murray was being ripped royally for the second, less publicized part of the trade, the one that sent young Dallas Drake to Winnipeg for Sergei Bautin. While Drake was playing for the Jets, Bautin had to be sent down to Adirondack because he was so out of shape.

A two-pack-a-day smoker, Bautin, a defenseman, could not bench-press his own weight - 185.

"Condition-wise, he was at the bottom of our organization," said Winnipeg GM John Paddock - after the deal was made. "He's got no quickness and no strength."
Bautin's one-game audition for Scotty Bowman went poorly, and he was dispatched to Adirondack where he wouldn't be recalled. Out of work with the Red Wings, he found a taker in the San Jose Sharks for the 1995-96 season, but he was quickly sent down to the IHL's Kansas City Blades when San Jose's coaches and management realized the defender still couldn't skate in the NHL.

With this NHL options exhausted, Sergei Bautin jumped to Sweden with Lulea IF, but continued to be plagued by penalty minutes. He averaged more than five penalty minutes per game in his first season, leading the league with 153 PIMs, playing alongside players such as Mattias Ohlund, Jarmo Myllys, and Mika Alatalo. Lulea would finish in third-place in the SEL that year and finish as the finalist where they earned a silver medal, and Bautin was invited back for a second season.

At 30 years-old, Bautin cleaned up his act by reducing his penalty minutes total by over 130 minutes, finishing with just 21 PIMs in 1997-98. Lulea would take steps back in the SEL, however, and Bautin's contract was not renewed for a third season. He would play for Ak Bars Kazan the following season, Nuremburg in the DEL in 1999-00, and Metallurg Magnitogorsk in 2000-01. In those three season, he would total four goals, 15 assists, and 221 PIMs as whatever he learned with Lulea was forgotten quickly. After his season with Magnitogorsk, Bautin's career in professional hockey was over.

Ironically, his LinkedIn profile has some inconsistencies once we hit the new millenium. According to Bautin's LinkedIn, he played with Magnitogorsk from 2002-03, some three years after his stint with Ak Bars Kazan, and his 50-or-so games with the Nuremburg Ice Tigers appear before his time with Ak Bars Kazan. He does list two years with Japan's Oji Seishi Tomakomai of the Asian Ice Hockey League as a player and assistant coach from 2000-02 which doesn't appear on some sites, but it does on others. His one year with the Russian Second Division team Krylya Sovetov Moscow is shown on some sites as well, but he used this year to transition into a coaching role with Krylya Sovetov's junior team and to enroll at the Moscow Athlete University where he obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Professional Coaching. I'm not sure about you, but that degree sounds a little questionable. Nevertheless, he has a degree.

It seems, though, that coaching has brought Sergei Bautin back to North America. His LinkedIn shows that he spent four years in Kansas City, Missouri coaching a youth team followed by a 13-months stint in Dallas, Texas coaching another youth team. For the last six years, Bautin has lived in Denver, Colorado where he's the Hockey Director at Big Bear Ice Arena's Evolution Elite Hockey Academy. Again, I'm not sure you want to be taking lessons from a guy whose off-season training was chain-smoking and vodka shots, but he is a "professional coach" as per his degree.

So who did the Jets pass over when it came to that 17th-overall pick? The list is only a few players long before Winnipeg chose again at #27, but there are three names that stand out:
  • Defenceman Jason Smith went at #18 to New Jersey.
  • Centerman Martin Straka went at #19 to Pittsburgh.
  • Winger Grant Marshall went at #23 to Toronto.
The Jets did miss out on others after taking Boris Mironov at #27. Valeri Bure went to Montreal at #33, Mike Peca went to Vancouver at #40, and Darren McCarty went to Detroit at #46. I'm not sure how Mike Smith got his GM job or how he kept his GM job for as long as he did, but his scouting staff was probably the worst staff the NHL has ever produced with the misses they absorbed in trying to draft Russians. Granted, they got a few picks right - Keith Tkachuk, Stu Barnes, Alexei Zhamnov, and Nikolai Khabibulin - but the vast majority of his picks were, at best, questionable.

And that's the story, ladies and gentlemen, of how an obscure Russian defenceman had an NHL career where his only bicep curl was to lift a cigarette or shot glass to his mouth.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 23 June 2017

Drafted And Ready

Tonight, it was all about the new kids. 31 players were selected in the televised first round of the NHL Entry Draft, and there was some anticipation on whether Switzerland's Nico Hischier or Winnipeg's Nolan Patrick would go first-overall. Would the Devils keep that pick? Was Dallas going to trade the third-overall pick as many had anticipated? Would we see any surprises in terms of where players were chosen? There were a ton of questions that needed to be answered, and the 31 general managers didn't disappoint when it came to finding guys who will be "the next one" in their franchises.

Here is how the opening round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft from Chicago played out.

# Name Country NHL Team Team
1 Nico Hischier
New Jersey Devils Halifax Mooseheads
2 Nolan Patrick
Philadelphia Flyers Brandon Wheat Kings
3 Miro Heiskanen
Dallas Stars HIFK
4 Cale Makar
Colorado Avalanche Brooks Bandits
5 Elias Pettersson
Vancouver Canucks Timra IK
6 Cody Glass
Vegas Golden Knights Portland Winterhawks
7 Lias Andersson
New York Rangers HV71
8 Casey Mittelstadt
United States
Buffalo Sabres Green Bay Gamblers
9 Michael Rasmussen
Detroit Red Wings Tri-City Americans
10 Owen Tippett
Florida Panthers Mississauga Steelheads
11 Gabriel Vilardi
Los Angeles Kings Windsor Spitfires
12 Martin Necas
Czech Republic
Carolina Hurricanes HC Kometa Brno
13 Nick Suzuki
Vegas Golden Knights Owen Sound Attack
14 Callan Foote
Tampa Bay Lightning Kelowna Rockets
15 Erik Brannstrom
Vegas Golden Knights HV71
16 Juuso Valimaki
Calgary Flames Tri-City Americans
17 Timothy Liljegren
Toronto Maple Leafs Rogle BK
18 Urho Vaakanainen
Boston Bruins JYP
19 Josh Norris
United States
San Jose Sharks US Nat'l Team Dev. Prog.
20 Robert Thomas
St. Louis Blues London Knights
21 Filip Chytil
Czech Republic
New York Rangers PSG Zlin
22 Kailer Yamamoto
United States
Edmonton Oilers Spokane Chiefs
23 Pierre-Olivier Joseph
Arizona Coyotes Charlottetown Islanders
24 Kristian Vesalainen
Winnipeg Jets Frolunda HC
25 Ryan Poehling
United States
Montreal Canadiens St. Cloud State
26 Jake Oettinger
United States
Dallas Stars Boston University
27 Morgan Frost
Philadelphia Flyers Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
28 Shane Bowers
Ottawa Senators Waterloo Black Hawks
29 Henri Jokiharju
Chicago Blackhawks Portland Winterhawks
30 Eeli Tolvanen
Nashville Predators Sioux City Musketeers
31 Klim Kostin
St. Louis Blues Dynamo Moscow
There are all the picks. As you can see, there were a few teams who didn't have an opening round pick, so they'll continue to wait their turn during Saturday's drafting as Rounds Two through Seven go tomorrow. There were some trades made that should be noted.
  • The seventh-overall pick was traded by the Arizona Coyotes to the New York Rangers as part of the deal that sent Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta from the Rangers to the Coyotes for Anthony DeAngelo.
  • The 13th-overall pick was traded by the Winnipeg Jets to the Vegas Golden Knights as part of the deal for the Golden Knights selecting Chris Thorburn in the expansion draft.
  • The 15th-overall pick was traded by the New York Islanders to the Vegas Golden Knights as part of the deal that saw the Golden Knights choose J-F Berube in the expansion draft.
  • The 23rd-overall pick was traded by the Minnesota Wild to the Arizona Coyotes as part of the deal that sent Martin Hanzal and Ryan White to the Wild in exchange for Grayson Downing at the NHL trade deadline this past season.
  • The 24th-overall pick was traded by the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Vegas Golden Knights to ensure they selected William Karlsson in the expansion draft. Vegas then flipped the pick to Winnipeg as part of the deal to select Chris Thorburn in the expansion draft.
  • The 26th-overall pick was traded by the Chicago Blackhawks to the Dallas Stars for the 29th-overall pick plus an additional third-round pick.
  • The 27th-overall pick was dealt by the Washington Capitals to the St. Louis Blus as part of the trade that sent Zach Sanford and Brad Malone to the Blues for Kevin Shattenkirk and Pheonix Copley at the trade deadline this past season. St. Louis then dealt this pick with Jori Lehtera to Philadelphia for Brayden Schenn.
  • The 29th-overall pick was acquired by the Blackhawks from Dallas for the 26th-overall pick as stated above. Dallas originally acquired the pick from Anaheim in exchange for Patrick Eaves at the trade deadline this past season.
  • The 31st-overall pick was traded by the Pittsburgh Penguins to the St. Louis Blues as part of the deal to acquire Ryan Reaves for Oskar Sundqvist.
With that, you now know how the 31 players selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft were acquired by their respective teams. For the first time in NHL history, 31 players were selected in the first round thanks to the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights, and their three picks were pretty solid for the expansion franchise in terms of getting them off on the right foot.

Welcome to the NHL, lads. Now the real work begins!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 22 June 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 248

The Hockey Show hits the airwaves at 5:30pm CT tonight with a ton of stuff to talk about from the last few days. There are new uniforms in the NHL that we'll dissect as we go over the NHL's deal with Adidas. There were some awards handed out to some pretty good players. There's a whole draft class of kids looking to join the ranks of the NHL on Friday. And there was some other draft thing happening last night that seemed to catch the attention of the hockey world. Who, what, when, where, and why will be answered as The Hockey Show dives into all sorts of topics tonight!

Teebz and Beans will go over all the happenings in Las Vegas yesterday with the NHL Awards being handed out and the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights assembling a team from the unprotected players of the other thirty teams. We'll tackle the NHL jersey situation with our thoughts on teams that may have designed something worse than before, and we'll talk about the draft class with Winnipegger Nolan Patrick trying to become the first Winnipeg-born player to go first-overall. Dallas added to their coaching staff and has a tie to Winnipeg, the Manitoba Bisons posted the hockey schedules for the men's and women's teams, and we have an announcement about the show! There's lots to talk about, so feel free to get your thoughts in by calling us at (204) 269-8636 (UMFM)!

Speaking of, there's no reason you should ever miss the show because you should have already downloaded the UMFM app. It's the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows!

If you're all over social media, we try to be as well! Email all show questions and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, Teebz and Beans discuss the expansion draft, draft picks, picking good uniforms designs, designing a coaching squad, where the Bisons squads will play, and more only on The Hockey Show found on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: June 22, 2017: Episode 248

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 21 June 2017

We're All Vegas

Las Vegas was a flurry of activity tonight as the NHL Awards were handed out and there was a new team selected from the unprotected player lists from each of the thirty remaining NHL teams. Having seen a few NHL Awards nights in the past, those who won trophies wasn't my main focus tonight. Matthews, McDavid, Burns, Bobrovsky, and Tortorella won the important ones as it is, but I was entirely occupied with the Vegas Expansion Draft as they prepare for their first NHL season.

The NHL decided to announce the list in order from worst to first based on the NHL's standings last season. With Colorado having the first player taken from them, it's hard to determine where these selections were made based on importance to Vegas' overall strategy, but this is the NHL and rarely do administrative tasks make a lot of sense. In saying that, let's break down the roster assembled by George McPhee, Bill Foley, and the Vegas Golden Knights.

COLORADO: Chet Pickard - goaltender. I actually really like this pick. Pickard had himself an outstanding World Championship with Canada, and looked like he may be the goalie of the future for the Avalanche. Instead, the 25 year-old will tend nets for the Golden Knights for the foreseeable future after posting 15 wins, two shutouts, a 2.98 GAA, and .904 save percentage in 50 games with the Avalanche in 2016-17. After getting engaged earlier this summer, it appears that Pickard won't have to go far for his bachelor party.

VANCOUVER: Luca Sbisa - defenceman. This pick puzzles me in that Sbisa's usage in Vancouver seemed to be out of necessity as opposed to choice. He scored a mere 13 points in 82 games for the Canucks, and will play for his fourth NHL team at the age of 27. If McPhee plans on having Sbisa around, it seems he'll be a third-pairing defenceman.

ARIZONA: Teemu Pulkkinen - forward. Pulkkinen was an outstanding player in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins, but has yet to find any footing in the NHL. He's recorded just 13 goals and 22 points in 83 NHL games with Detroit, Minnesota, and Arizona, so he'll have to make an impact with Vegas if he hopes to see his career extend past his 30th birthday. Skating still seems to be an issue with Pulkkinen.

NEW JERSEY: Jon Merrill - defenceman. He a big body whose offensive ability might have hit a ceiling, but I could see Merrill being a useful third-pairing or seventh defenceman for the Golden Knights. He has played 216 NHL games, so having him step into a defensive role shouldn't be a big leap for the defender.

BUFFALO: - William Carrier - forward. Huh? The rookie scored a mere eight points in 41 games this season, so this might be one of those picks that starts the building of Vegas' AHL affiliate in Chicago.

DETROIT: Tomas Nosek - forward. Nosek's one goal in 17 games doesn't scream "production", but he was the centerpiece for the Grand Rapids Griffins' run to the Calder Cup this season. I even chatted him up a week ago after they won. Nosek is 24, so he'll need to do something big in training camp or he could find himself in Chicago with Carrier.

DALLAS: Cody Eakin - forward. I love this pick. Eakin is the kind of two-way forward that will get you a handful of goals while playing responsible in his own zone. McPhee drafted Eakin in 2009 while with the Capitals, so he knows what Eakin can bring to the ice. Eakin will fill a nice second- or third-line center role for Golden Knights for the foreseeable future.

FLORIDA: Jonathan Marchessault - forward. Any time you can snag a 30-goal scorer in an expansion draft, you're doing well. Marchessault hit that mark for the first time last season, but it appeared the speedy forward may have found his stride on the panhandle. Vegas will need him to bring that scoring touch to the Nevada desert, but I like this pick for the potential it holds.

LOS ANGELES: Brayden McNabb - defenceman. More size on the back end for the Knights without much scoring. McNabb's foot speed should also worry fans of the Knights as he hasn't shown to be an effective shutdown defender yet either. McNabb might have been one of these "gotta pick sonmeone" picks without assuming the contracts of Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik.

CAROLINA: Connor Brickley - forward. He played all last season with the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL, and I expect Brickley to get his start in Chicago with the Wolves as member of the Vegas AHL affiliate. He was a decent scorer for the Checkers last season, amassing 26 points, but he's not going to light the world on fire just yet. He's also a UFA, so Brickley may not be in Vegas long.

WINNIPEG: Chris Thorburn - forward. Another unrestricted free agent that the Knights took, the selection of Thorburn was both shocking and surprising in that no one had him heading to the desert. He holds the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise record for games played, but his three goals last season make this pick rather strange for a team needing something other than a four-minute player.

PHILADELPHIA: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - forward. The French forward was a trusted member of Dave Hakstol's checking unit, and he was recently named as an assistant captain due to his leadership in the room. If intangibles were what McPhee and Foley were looking for, they found it with Bellemare who could be a captain with the Golden Knights this season.

TAMPA BAY: Jason Garrison - defenceman. I was a little surprised by this pick, but if Vegas needs scoring from the blue line they could find it with Garrison's booming shot. He won't be a top-line defender, but he'd fit nicely as a middling blueliner. He had a rather poor season last year, but a change of scenery could get Garrison back to old self with the cannon of a shot.

NY ISLANDERS: J-F Berube - goaltender. The 25 year-old has 13 wins in the 25 NHL games he has played, but his stat line isn't all that impressive with a 3.11 GAA and a .900 save percentage. He will get a shot to compete for the backup role, but I expect Berube to anchor the goaltending position for the Chicago Wolves.

NASHVILLE: James Neal - forward. Outstanding pick for the Golden Knights, but it seems most of the media believes he'll be traded once he has recovered from his impending surgery. If Vegas decides to hold onto Neal, though, they are getting a guy who loves to fill the net. The sniper has seven-straight 20-goal seasons, and he would be the bonafide scoring threat in Vegas.

CALGARY: Deryk Engelland - defenceman. Look, I get that he lives in Vegas and has played in Vegas, but if the Golden Knights needed someone for the marketing department they didn't need to waste this pick. Engelland may not even crack the Knights' roster with the defencemen they have assembled, but he is an unrestricted free agent on July 1 so this could be a pick for pick's sake.

TORONTO: Brendan Leipsic - forward. I've always been a Leipsic fan, and I loved watching him with the Toronto Marlies. He scores in bundles in the AHL, but he's only been in six NHL games. I expect him to start in Chicago next season, but possibly end the season as a member of the Golden Knights.

BOSTON: Colin Miller - defenceman. I get the youth idea that Vegas is fostering, but Colin Miller's 13 points in 61 games last season won't scare anyone at this point. He'll enter his third year of pro hockey looking for a spot on the blue line, but he may end up in Chicago simply due to numbers.

OTTAWA: Marc Methot - defenceman. Again, another pick that I love. Methot is the kind of gritty, defensive defenceman that all teams can use, and the Golden Knights picked him up for nothing. While there have been inquiries from what the media have said on his availability, I'd really like to see Vegas hold on to him, give him a letter, and let him anchor this blue line.

SAN JOSE: David Schlemko - defenceman. Vegas grabs another serviceable defenceman who will make them better. His 18 points in 62 games with the Sharks last season isn't overwhelming, but Schlemko is another solid, physical player who can stand up to the rigors of the Western Conference. There's a chance he could be moved being 30 years-old, but if he stays the Golden Knights are better for it.

ST. LOUIS: David Perron - forward. A fantastic addition for the club, Perron is going to fit nicely alongside a player like Cody Eakin. Perron can score, he hits, he checks, and he isn't afraid to go to the net. He could be a big piece of the offence for the Golden Knights at even-strength and on the power-play.

NY RANGERS: Oscar Lindberg - forward. He started the season on fire, but slowed as Alain Vignault moved him into the fourth-line centerman role. He has great hands, good speed, and he should have a shot at the third-line centerman role on this Vegas team. Lindberg won't wow you with flashy moves, but he's a solid piece down the middle.

EDMONTON: Griffin Reinhart - defenceman. The fourth-overall pick in 2012 has yet to find room on a roster, seeing action in just 37 games since being drafted. Reinhart's progress will need to really take a step forward if he expects to make the opening night roster, but I expect the defender to start the season with the Chicago Wolves.

MONTREAL: Alexei Emelin - defenceman. Emelin is known more for his physical game than anything else, so the Knights will still be searching for some offence from their blue line. The physical presence that Emelin brings will be needed, but his foot speed has shown to leave him vulnerable against speedy forwards. He may be traded before the season starts.

ANAHEIM: Clayton Stoner - defenceman. Stoner has never scored more than two goals in a season, and has never played more than 69 games in a season, so it was a little odd to see Vegas select him after appearing in just 14 games last season for the Ducks. Stoner will most likely end up on a bottom pairing or watching from the press box this season.

MINNESOTA: Erik Haula - forward. I really like this pick. Haula has gotten better every season since joining the Wild in 2013. He's most likely going to play a third- or fourth-line role, but the Golden Knights get a very responsible forward who can add goals when called upon in an offensive role. Gallant will love this kid moving forward.

COLUMBUS: William Karlsson - forward. The Golden Knights grabbed the one kid who could make the biggest leap next year in a new role. Karlsson was a tireless penalty killer for the Blue Jackets, and he's shown good speed, good hands, and smart defensive play in his short time in the NHL. Having Karlsson on the roster will make the Knights better next season.

CHICAGO: Trevor Van Riemsdyk - defenceman. The Golden Knights grab another middling defenceman, and they appear they may have a glut of these types of defencemen if they start the season with this roster intact. TVR has a shot at sticking around if he continues to improve as he did this season, but there's a good shot he's playing second or third pairing to start the season.

PITTSBURGH: Marc-Andre Fleury - goaltender. In a pre-arranged deal with the Golden Knights, it was nice to see Fleury get the standing ovation from the Vegas crowd. Fleury is, of course, fresh off a Stanley Cup victory with the Penguins where he was a key piece in their advancing through the first two rounds, and his experience in the NHL should make him the favorite to the opening starter for the Golden Knights.

WASHINGTON: Nate Schmidt - defenceman. I wouldn't be surprised if Nate Schmidt is paired with Jason Garrison on the second pairing this season for the Golden Knights. He's a smart defenceman who never quits, and he has great foot speed and footwork. Schmidt might have the highest ceiling of any of the defencemen selected on the night, and the 25 year-old should be a fixture for the Golden Knights for years to come.

Thanks to the NHL allowing pre-arranged deals to be made, the Golden Knights were also involved in a number of trades where they selected lesser players off unprotected lists to help teams keep their assets. In doing so, the Golden Knights received a few extra players who will help them immensely next season along with picks that will make them stronger in the future. In these deals, they acquired:
  • Shea Theodore, defenceman, from Anaheim.
  • Reilly Smith, forward, from Florida.
  • Alex Tuch, forward, from Minnesota.
  • Mikhail Grabovski, forward, and Jake Bischoff, defenceman, from the New York Islanders.
  • Nikita Gusev, forward, from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • David Clarkson, forward, from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Clarkson, as you're probably aware, is already retired from a chronic injury, so this was a case of Vegas eating a contract to acquire Columbus' first-round pick this year and a 2019 second-round pick.

The Chris Thorburn pick saw the Jets swap their 13th-overall pick and a third-round pick in 2019 for Columbus' first-round pick at 24th-overall plus the selection of Chris Thorburn while protecting Tobias Enstrom and Marko Dano.

There were a number of other picks exchanged in the deals, but Vegas ended up only giving up a fourth-round pick in 2018 in the Reilly Smith deal and a third-round pick in either 2017 or 2018 in the Alex Tuch deal.

The playoffs may still be a pipe dream for the Vegas nights, but I really like the initial team assembled by McPhee and Foley. Admittedly, there will be some weak spots on the team, but they have a bonafide starting goaltender in Fleury, a solid backup in Pickard, a good top pairing of Theodore and Methot, a solid second pairing of Schmidt and Garrison, and they have some decent scoring options with Marchessault, Neal, Smith, and Perron occupying the top four winger positions.

Don't bet on Vegas just yet, but it may not be far off where Vegas odds-makers are putting the Golden Knights in the top-half of the NHL odds to win a Stanley Cup.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Adidas Is Here

The NHL and Adidas unveiled their new looks for tonight as 31 teams are getting the three-stripes treatment. Having been through this once with the Reebok experience, I wasn't holding my breath for anything that blew my mind, but I was expecting some letdowns. That happens when ever new designs are submitted, and twelve NHL teams made some adjustments to their looks. How dramatic were the adjustments? Let's go through these new jerseys. Some will be great, some will be not-so-great. All will be seen on the ice next season in the NHL.


No real surprises in the Atlantic Division. Ottawa makes a few small tweaks, the Panthers have football numbers atop the shoulders, and the rest seem pretty similar. With four Original Six teams, one team that looks like one in Tampa Bay, one that originally modeled their uniform after the Maple Leafs, one that used the US Army as its template, and a Senators squad which has done well in red, the Atlantic Division should look pretty good next season.


The Metropolitan Division decided to throw a couple of curve balls at fans. Pittsburgh, the NY Rangers, and the NY Islanders all remain respectable in their clothing choices. Three of eight isn't bad, right?

Columbus decided to go back to their minimalist roots as they did when they switched to Reebok, employing the same piping as the only way of breaking up their monochromatic look. Carolina ditches the shoulder yoke, but brings back a faint hurricane warning flag on the hem stripe. Washington decides to toss a little white into their red while following the Columbus piping idea. New Jersey squared up the shoulder yoke, discarded the hem stripe, and refused to bring back the green. Philly adds white down the arm and under the wrist for a unique variation on the arm-length stripe.

I'm not a fan of what Columbus did, especially after they moved away from the monochromatic look in recent years. Carolina looks off as well, introducing black stripes where the silver stripes used to reside. Washington really should have stuck with their classic look, and New Jersey shouldn't have ditched their traditional elements either. I can live with Philly's look, but the Metropolitan Division really took a step back with the change to Adidas.


For a division that features an Original Six team, an original expansion team, three relocated teams, and two more expansion teams, I am shocked that the best team in the division looks like it's starting over. Chicago, Dallas, and Winnipeg remain unchanged, while St. Louis makes a few striping changes.

Minnesota decided to move the hem stripes to the chest which leaves the jersey feeling somewhat incomplete. Colorado brings back the peak in the hem stripe, and goes pretty vanilla with the yoke-into-arm-length stripe. And that leaves Nashville who really decided to kill their amazing contrasts between yellow and navy blue. Lemme blow this up for you.
Look, there's minimalist, and then there's a complete do-over. Nashville seems to have chosen the latter after seeing the most success their franchise has ever had in the jersey on the right. This looks like some sort of base model on which teams can add additional features. I don;t know why Nashville would agree to this design, but this is awful. Officially, Nashville now is the worst-dressed team in the NHL. And we still haven't seen the Pacific Division. Yes, that's how confident I am of this proclamation. This is not how a Stanley Cup finalist should look in the following season.


This division has a brand-new team, so we'll talk about them in a second. The old Pacific Division sees the Los Angeles Kings, the Vancouver Canucks, the Arizona Coyotes, the Anaheim Ducks, the San Jose Sharks, and the Calgary Flames remain the same. Calgary actually cleaned up their act by eliminating some black piping around their jerseys, so kudos to them on that despite the fact they should be wearing their classic throwback jerseys full-time. Edmonton, as reported long ago, is indeed going orange with the darker blue which puts them slightly ahead of Nashville in terms of my rankings. I just am not a fan of the orange jerseys.

The one jersey that everyone was interested in, however, was that of the Vegas Golden Knights. I have to admit that the Golden Knights didn't do poorly at all. The colour scheme is unique for hockey, so that's a nice touch. Gray jerseys are rarely seen in hockey as opposed to other pro sports, and these colours seem to work together nicely. I could see myself wearing a potential "Fleury" jersey if he does get picked by Vegas. I'd say Vegas made a few safe bets with this jersey, and it paid off nicely.

Aside from a few misses, Adidas didn't do a terrible job. There's always room for improvement as we know, so let's see what happens in the coming years as well. We should hear news about alternate jerseys in the near future as well, so teams that occasionally wore a different look could have those alternate uniforms return as soon as the 2018-19 season.

The NHL still looks like a professional league, and that's a good thing.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!