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Maple Leafs prospects recap: Timashov, Johnson have big nights.

From Pension Puppets

covering the kids from Jan 25-31st.

Let’s dive right into things, then I’ll think of something to say afterwards.

Ontario Hockey League

Mitch Marner/JJ Piccinich (F) – London Knights
January 29: Erie 6 at London 2
Marner: 0G, 2A, -2 / Piccinich: 0G, 0A, -1

January 30: London 3 at Windsor 8
Marner: 1G, 0A, -1 / Piccinich: 0G, 0A, -2
Week Totals: Marner 1G, 2A, -3 / Piccinich: 0G, 0A, -3

Travis Dermott (D) – Erie Otters
January 29: Erie 6 at London 2 0G, 0A, +1
January 31: Mississauga 1 at Erie 5 0G, 2A
Week Totals: 0G, 2A, +1

Nikita Korotselev (F) – Sarnia Sting
January 29: Flint 3 at Sarnia 4 Did Not Play
January 30: Sarnia 5 at Flint 2 Did Not Play
January 31: Sarnia 5 at Windsor 0 Did Not Play
Korostelev is still working off an injury suffered a few weeks ago.

Stephen Desrocher (D) – Kingston Frontenacs
January 29: Owen Sound 5 at Kingston 2
1G, 0A, -4
January 31: Kingston 2 at Peterborough 3 SO 0G, 1A, +1
Week Totals: 1G, 1A, -3

Jeremy Bracco (F) – Kitchener Rangers
January 29: Windsor 0 at Kitchener 2 1G, 0A, +1
January 30: Kitchener 2 at Saginaw 1 0G, 1A
January 31: Kitchener 6 at Sault Ste. Marie 6 0G, 0A, -2
Week Totals: 1G, 1A, -1

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Dmytro Timashov (F) – Shawinigan Cataractes
January 29: Chicoutimi 6 at Shawinigan 2
0G, 1A
January 31: Drummondville 4 at Shawinigan 5 OT 1G, 3A, +4
Week Totals: 1G, 4A, +4

Martins Dzierkals (F) – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
January 30: Baie-Comeau 0 at  Rouyn-Noranda 4
0G, 0A, +1
January 31: Baie-Comeau 0 at  Rouyn-Noranda 4 1G, 0A
Week Totals: 1G, 0A, +1

Cody Donaghey (D) – Moncton Wildcats
January 30: Halifax 4 at Moncton 1
0G, 0A, -1
January 31: Acadie-Bathurst 2 at Moncton 0 No Points
Week Totals: 0G, 0A, -1

Western Hockey League

Andrew Nielsen (D)  – Lethbridge Hurricanes
January 29: Lethbridge 1 at Victoria 3
0G, 1A, -2
January 30: Lethbridge at Vancouver Did Not Play
Week Totals: 0G, 1A, -2

NCAA

Dominic Toninato / Tony Cameranesi (F) – U. Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs
January 29: UMD 3 at Northern Michigan 4
Toninato: 1G, 0A, +1 / Cameranesi: 0G, 1A
January 30: UMD 3 at Northern Michigan 1
Toninato: 1G, 0A, +1 / Cameranesi: 1G, 0A, +1
Week Totals: Toninato: 2G, 0A, +2 / Cameranesi: 1G, 1A, +1

Dakota Joshua (F) – Ohio State Buckeyes
January 29: Michigan State 4 at Ohio State 2
0G, 0A, -2
January 30: Michigan State 1 at Ohio State 2 0G, 1A
Week Totals: 0G, 1A, -2

Nolan Vesey (F) – U. Maine Black Bears
January 29: Maine 5 at Massachusetts 2
0G, 0A, +2
January 30: Maine 5 at Massachusetts 4 1G, 0A, -2
Week Totals: 1G, 0A

Europe

Andreas Johnson (F) – Frolunda, SHL
January 26: Frolunda 0 – HV71 2
No Points
January 28: Växjö 1 – Frolunda 3 1G, 1A
January 30: Frolunda 3 – Djurgården 2 0G, 2A, +1
Week Totals: 1G, 3A, +1

Jesper Lindgren (D) – MODO, SHL
January 26: MODO 4 – Djurgården  1
Did Not Play
January 28: Rögle 2 – MODO 1 Did Not play
January 30: Färjestad 4 – MODO 1 Did Not Play

Pierre Engvall (D) – Mora IK, Allsvenskan
January 27: Mora 4 – IK Pantern 2
No Points
January 30: IK Oskarshamn 5 – Mora 2 No Points

Fabrice Herzog (F) – Zurich Lions, Swiss A
January 26: HC Fribourg-Gottéron 2 – Zurich 3
No Points
January 30: EHC Biel 6 – Zurich 5 OT No Points

Player League GP Points PPG NHLe Points
Mitch Marner (F) OHL 36 73 2.03 53.21
Andreas Johnson (F) SHL 39 35 0.90 44.15
Dmytro Timashov (F) QMJHL 38 69 1.82 38.71
Jeremy Bracco (F) OHL 36 48 1.33 34.99
Tony Cameranesi (F) NCAA-NCHC 23 24 1.04 35.08
JJ Piccinich (F) OHL 45 52 1.16 30.32
Martins Dzierkals (F) QMJHL 40 47 1.18 25.05
Travis Dermott (D) OHL 39 36 0.92 24.22
Andrew Nielsen (D) WHL 49 52 1.06 23.50
Fabrice Herzog (F) NLA 33 20 0.61 19.88
Nikita Korostelev (F) OHL 36 26 0.72 18.95
Dakota Joshua (F) NCAA-B10 18 10 0.56 15.94
Stephen Desrocher (D) OHL 50 29 0.58 15.22
Cody Donaghey (D) QMJHL 34 22 0.65 13.80
Dominic Toninato (F) NCAA-NCHC 25 11 0.44 14.79
Pierre Engvall (F) ALK 40 15 0.38 12.30
Jesper Lindgren (D) SHL 26 3 0.12 5.68
Nolan Vesey (F) NCAA-HE 25 4 0.16 4.85

Aside from Johnson’s night there wasn’t much coming out of Europe. Lindgren is off in the wind, Engvall and Herzog were shut out.  Everyone we have in the NCAA scored a goal, which I believe is the first time they all did in the same week.

Everyone else had some slower weeks, but still put up atleast a point. I haven’t found out why Nielsen didn’t play vs Vancouver, so that makes me think it’s a rest day.

We’re nearing the playoffs, and I’m excited to see what these kids can do. All CHL players are looking to make atleast the first round, so that will be a busy few weeks.

Source: Maple Leafs prospects recap: Timashov, Johnson have big nights.

Wheeler's mid-season Top 25 Under 25 ranking update

From Pension Puppets

Christian Bonin | TSGphoto.com

The top-10 is… unchanged.

At the end of August, when our staff’s collective Top 25 Under 25 ranking began to wrap up, I chose to release my individual ranking and explain my reasoning.

With the All-Star Game come to a close, and February starting, I thought it would be prudent to update that ranking and justify the movement that has occurred.

In order to get a better understanding of how I ranked the players, here’s an updated version of the criteria I included in my August ranking:

My Criteria

There were several ways in which I approached the ranking, but due to the age and established nature of some of the players, it was a decidedly different approach than the one I take when evaluating a draft class or pool of non-NHL prospects.

Not all voters used the organization’s status as a criterion. I did. The Leafs rebuild factors into the value each player has to the organization moving forward. The present isn’t nearly as important as the future, and that gives huge value to a Mitch Marner or a William Nylander over an established Nazem Kadri. Future star power will make or break the end result of this Leafs rebuild, and Kadri may well factor into it as a key player (he already is), but he’s not a piece that changes a franchise.

I didn’t approach the ranking as one that was strictly a meritocracy. As evidenced through my non-ranking of Byron Froese, a player’s NHL status doesn’t guarantee him value. Byron Froese is replaceable. The Marlies roster this season includes several players who could play a fourth line role in the NHL.

The lottery tickets that the players I ranked near the bottom of the T25U25 represent hold more value than a Byron Froese does. The chance that Martins Dzierkals can be more than a replacement level NHLer holds considerable value to a team like the Leafs. Nothing plagues NHL franchises more than the idea that picks are expendable. If you draft for upside, you will find real value, not Byron Froese value.

Dzierkals’ footwork and skating ability, as well as the low kick to his release and his knack for getting it off in stride is a real, identifiable stylistic trait that translates well at the next level. And there’s a very good chance he never becomes an NHL player, but the value in acquiring players like him is worth more than any value Byron Froese holds to the Leafs, at least for a rebuilding team.

The top 11 players remain unchanged. The prospects within the group have progressed as expected, Jake Gardiner has blossomed (yes, he’s 26 but for continuity’s sake I re-included him in the ranking), and after faltering out of the gate Peter Holland and Nazem Kadri have returned to form. I nearly moved Jeremy Bracco back a spot in favour of Dmytro Timashov (who has risen more than anyone except Garret Sparks) but Bracco elevated his play after being snubbed by Team USA and he’s really beginning to find his game after leaving the NCAA for the OHL.

Sparks wasn’t ranked in August in part because I regarded Chris Gibson as the Marlies starter, which would have limited Sparks’ ability to get the starter’s load he needs to really progress. Both were narrowly left off of my August list, though Gibson was ranked 25th on the overall PPP ranking.

Travis Dermott also rose substantially thanks to some impressive play as one of the OHL’s best defensemen this year, though I still worry about his skating limiting his upside when he becomes a pro.

Rinat Valiyev also moves into the top 25 — his skating has held up more than I expected it too as an AHL rookie — and is joined by two players who weren’t available to be ranked in August in AHL scorer Jeremy Morin and Frank Corrado (who should play more than he does).

Stuart Percy and Frederik Gauthier have fallen the furthest, but not because they haven’t had good seasons. Gauthier has played really well defensively — as expected — and his results are the dividends. For Percy, it’s just a matter of timing. The clock is ticking and despite up-ticks in his offensive production, Percy’s window for establishing himself in the Leafs organization will come to a close before we know it. Mostly, for both Gauthier and Percy, the dip in their ranking speaks to some strong seasons and new faces.

Despite an excellent (surprisingly so) season from Andrew Nielsen, he remained unranked. Like with Dermott, I worry about how Nielsen’s skating will translate as a pro (his shot and physicality aren’t a problem). Still, his season has been extremely impressive and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down as the WHL’s highest-scoring defensemen. There’s a good chance, if he keeps it up, that he climbs into next summer’s ranking (though the Leafs could have 5+ picks in the first three rounds this summer that will factor into that discussion).

My February Ranking

Just missed: Andrew Nielsen, Zach Hyman, Jesper Lindgren, Nikita Korostelev.

Remember: Neither of these rankings are the overall, conglomerated PPP ranking but simply my personal list. Morgan Rielly finished first on the overall list.

Source: Wheeler's mid-season Top 25 Under 25 ranking update

Timashov grabbing spotlight after trade to Shawinigan Cataractes

From Pension Puppets

If Leafs draftee Dmytro Timashov was a well-kept secret at June’s draft, he isn’t anymore.

You don’t often see a fifth round pick targeted as a team’s best player by the opposition. But on a line that boasted 64th overall selection Dennis Yan, it was 125th overall draftee Dmytro Timashov who took the nightly Gatineau Olympiques punishment as his Shawinigan Cataractes paid a visit to the Robert Guertin Centre on Thursday night.

The Olympiques are a tough team to play against, playing out of a rink whose deafening music is matched by an aggressive crowd. And without Cataractes captain and first round pick Anthony Beauvillier in the lineup, it was the team’s newest addition, a 5-9 Swede drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the later rounds of the 2015 NHL Draft despite being named QMJHL Rookie of the Year, who received all of that energy from the home team.

After all, Timashov had registered seven points in his first two games with the Cataractes ahead of their matchup against the Olympiques. He has fit in nicely.

“It’s a good team and everybody takes good care of me,” Timashov said. “A lot of good chemistry and the boys are just like a family here.”

Teammate and top 2016 NHL Draft prospect Samuel Girard echoed Timashov’s sentiment, pointing to him as a perfect fit and “great player.”

“I think he’s happy to be here with us because we want to go all the way,” Girard said.

“He’s a good kid, very good kid,” added head coach Martin Bernard, noting that Timashov’s Russian roots (he was born in Ukraine, but represents Sweden internationally) have allowed him to quickly become close friends with Yan, who is a dual Russian citizen with the United States. “They feel very comfortable and he’s very enthusiastic to be with the team.”

And while the team from Hull often got the better of Timashov physically — he could be seen hunched over after one of many big hits in the third period — it was clear that he wasn’t going to shy away from the the pressure, taking two minor penalties (one of which was out of frustration) and initiating contact of his own whenever he could.

Confident with the puck on his stick, Timashov seemed to rise to the occasion and carried the puck at defenders and forecheckers without hesitation throughout the game, finding linemate Danny Moynihan in the slot four times.

It’s that ability to find his teammates that separates Timashov from other highly skilled players.

“He’s a playmaker, he’s a huge playmaker,” Bernard said. “He sees a lot of plays that nobody sees and with a good guy like Beauvillier, Yan, or (Alexis) D’Aoust who can score goals he can feed that kind of player.”

With the game tied 1-1 in overtime, that playmaking finally paid off, as Timashov found Yan on a backhand saucer pass in the neutral zone for a breakaway goal and the 2-1 win.

The high-scoring winger, now second in the QMJHL in points per game behind Arizona Coyotes prospect Conor Garland, hopes his offensive ability can help push the Cataractes towards a deep playoff run.

“I can bring offence to the team and make plays and help the team to win,” he said. “I want to make other players around me better and make passes to them so that they can score — that’s what I’m good at.”

After a standout performance with Team Sweden at the World Junior Hockey Championship (WJC), where Sweden was the only undefeated-in-regulation team after group play only to finish without a medal, Timashov isn’t going to let regular season success on the East Division leading Cataractes sway his expectations.

“We started good and we have a lot of confidence but we lost against Finland,” he said, pausing. “I think the refs were a little bit on their side, they had eight penalties in their favour but they won because they scored on the powerplay and we didn’t.”

Despite the heartbreaking semifinal loss, Timashov enjoyed the tournament.

“It was a great experience playing against the best players in the world my age,” he recalled. “Lots of fun.”

And while Timashov didn’t have any direct conversations with Leafs management after registering seven points in seven games at the WJC, he’s aware that he impressed.

“I heard a little bit,” he said. “You read a little bit of the stuff that you get tagged on but that’s the only thing I’ve heard.”

With 61 points in 32 games on a team poised to go deep in the QMJHL playoffs, he’s going to start hearing his name a little bit more.

Source: Timashov grabbing spotlight after trade to Shawinigan Cataractes

Leafs prospects perform at 2016 World Juniors

From Official Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs had an impressive five prospects in the recently-concluded 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland. And, even more impressive, one of them – Marlies winger Kasperi Kapanen – scored the gold-medal-winning goal for his native Finland in front of delirious countrymen. In many ways – aside from the injury to Swedish center William Nylander that sidelined him for much of the action – the tournament couldn’t have gone better for Toronto’s group of youngsters.

The biggest, best impression from that group of Buds prospects arguably came from Swedish forward Dmytro Timashov, who opened eyes across the hockey world with his two-goal, seven-point performance for the fourth-place Swedes. Timashov – who after the tournament was traded from his QMJHL Quebec Remparts team to the Shawinigan Cataractes – was labeled a sleeper pick of Maple Leafs director of player personnel Mark Hunter prior to the holiday action, and he more than lived up to that label.

“People have noticed how good he is,” Hunter said Tuesday on a media conference call. “I don’t think he was getting recognition. Now I think people see he’s a good prospect for the Leafs. The sky’s the limit and he’s got more room to grow as a player, but he sure showed his ability and talent in this tournament.”

Asked what elements of Timashov’s game impressed him most at the WJC, Hunter spoke of the 19-year-old’s elite playmaking abilities.

“He’s a superb passer,” Hunter said. “He made some elite passes in that tournament where you go, ‘Wow, that’s pretty special.’ And I think he did that consistently, where sometimes (when it comes to) young players, consistency is a problem. Consistently, he was one of the better players for Sweden in this tournament.”

As for Nylander, who was knocked out of the tournament after being injured in a Dec. 26 game against Switzerland, Hunter said the 19-year-old – the leading scorer with the Marlies and the AHL’s top point-getter prior to the holiday break – would return to Toronto to be examined by team doctors before moving forward.

Two of the Leafs’ other top prospects at the WJC – forward Mitch Marner and defenseman Travis Dermott – were part of a disappointing showing from Team Canada. That said, Marner led Canada with four goals and six points, while Dermott chipped in two assists.

“We all see Mitch (and) we all know he needs strength,” Hunter said. “I said that before the tournament and I said that after the tournament. He’s got to address getting stronger. He’s a driven young man and he will.

“I thought he pushed it some times and then he got himself into problems with longer shifts, and a few things that showed some immaturity in his game, but I thought when the game was on the line, he brought another level and was very good. (From) that standpoint, we’re excited about him of course because of what he can do in big games.”

Dermott, who wasn’t a lock to make Team Canada prior to the tournament, chipped in a pair of assists and experienced high-pressure competition at lightning speed.

“Travis has got to make sure he just keeps his pace going and keep improving and making sure he’s doing things faster,” Hunter said. “It’s so fast in the National Hockey League and it’s fast in the American League so I think Travis and all young players have to work at it.”

Of course, Kapanen – acquired in the off-season trade that sent Phil Kessel to Pittsburgh – grabbed the spotlight at the end of the WJC with his thrilling, wraparound overtime goal against the Russians that won gold for the host Finns. Hunter believes the 19-year-old’s time playing against veteran, much older men in the AHL gave him a leg up on the competition in Helsinki.

“Him playing against older players, I think it advanced his play here,” Hunter said of Kapanen, who finished the WJC with five points in seven games. “It helped him out to be more ready for this tournament.”

Source: Leafs prospects perform at 2016 World Juniors

Dymtro Timashov traded to Shawinigan Cataractes

From Pension Puppets

Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images

The dynamite prospect switches teams in the Q.

This morning the Quebec Remparts traded forward Dmytro Timashov to the Shawinigan Cataractes for 1st-round and 3rd-round picks in 2017 and a 3rd-round pick in 2018.

As of writing Shawinigan (25-11-3)  is third in the QMJHL standings (as division leaders are seeded 1-2-3), while Quebec (23-13-4) is sixth. Shawinigan is looking for their second Memorial Cup, they won as hosts in 2012 and Timashov’s offensive powers will help them with that goal.

Timashov has scored 18 goals, and 35 assists in 29 games for the Remparts this season, a 1.83 PPG pace, and hopefully he can keep that pace up for the rest of the season.

Timashov was drafted in the 5th round, 125th overall, by the Maple Leafs at the 2015 NHL draft. He was ranked 21st in the Top 25 under 25 this fall.

He’ll join a high-powered offence that includes the likes of Tampa’s Dennis Yan, New York’s Anthony Beauvillier, and a pair of top draft eligible prospects (Brandon Gignac and Samuel Girard).

Source: Dymtro Timashov traded to Shawinigan Cataractes

From the Branches: California here we come

From Pension Puppets

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Ready to stay up late? Tonight The Leafs begin what has historically been a dreaded California road trip. Is it really as bad as it used to be?

I hope you’re all ready to stay up late. Tonight The Leafs kick off their annual pilgrimage to California, playing The Ducks at 10:00PM EST. Tomorrow they will play The Kings at 10:30PM EST, and on Saturday The Shorks at 7:00PM EST.

The California road trip has an almost supernatural habit of making or breaking Eastern Conference teams’ seasons. The Flyers are the most recent victims, departing Los Angeles last Saturday with three straight losses. That in and of itself is routine enough for the LOLFLYERS, so instead think back to March 2014. The Leafs were a borderline playoff team, and this road trip was viewed as their chance to make it or break it.

They made it. The Leafs defeated The Kings and The Ducks to pick up 4 of 6 points on the trip moving them back to a 0.500 record. They left California on a high note, with one big exception: Jonathan Bernier.

Bernier was injured in the final game, and James Reimer came in to relieve him for the start of the second period. Reimer stopped 31 shots and lead the Leafs to victory over the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. All good right? That’s when it started. That game on March 13 was the last win the Leafs would have until April 1st, a ridiculous 8 game streak of regulation losses. Much of the blame fell on James Reimer who had a horrible streak of games that set in motion the biggest goalie controversy this team has had in recent memory.

So here we are in 2016, once again setting off for the Pacific coast. But this time they don’t seem so scary, eh? The Kings, obviously, are a force to be reckoned with, but the Shorks and Ducks? The Ducks sit with the league’s worst goals-for at 73 in 39 games. Someone pass the orange sauce.

Bring it on, California. We’ll have a game preview for you this afternoon.

World Juniors

2016 World Junior Championships: Golden goal for Kasperi Kapanen in OT – Pension Plan Puppets
Kasperi Kapanen and Team Finland invited Russia over to Hartwall arena for the gold medal game of the WJC, and wow the Finns know how to throw a party.

Kasperi Kapanen: Golden goal scorer, dancer extraordinaire – Pension Plan Puppets
Can you do the can can? Kasperi Kapanen can.

USA 8 vs Sweden 3 World Juniors Recap: Timashov comes up short of a medal – Pension Plan Puppets
The Leafs will have only one prospect (Kasperi Kapanen) bring home a medal as Dmytro Timashov and Team Sweden finish fourth.

World Junior Hockey: USA Drops Semifinal Heartbreaker to Russia 2-1 – SB Nation College Hockey
The United States could only score once in a 2-1 semifinal loss to Russia.

Sweden’s Dmytro Timashov wows Leafs’ Mark Hunter at world juniors – The Globe and Mail
Highlight among five Toronto prospects to play in tournament scored two goals with five assists for Sweden

Last Night’s Game GIFs

Here’s me waking up for work this morning.

What a shot by Ghost Bear!

Way to save it, then put it in your own net, Stars.

Jagr leads the Panthers to their 10th win in a row!

The DoPS will be reviewing this mess. [embedded content]

SB Nation Game Recaps

New Young Guns Lift Caps Over Bruins 3-2 – Japers’ Rink
Youngsters Kuznetsov, Burakovsky and Johansson showed the Boston Bruins what the new “Young Guns” era looks like in Washington, scoring a 3-2 away victory.

ReCat: Cat On A Hot Ten Roof – Litter Box Cats
The Panthers guaranteed that coach Gerard Gallant will coach the Atlantic Division team in the midseason classic with a 5-1 dusting of the Buffalo Sabres.

Big City Lights Blot Out Stars, Rangers Win 6-2 – Blueshirt Banter
The Rangers played a brilliant game against a formidable opponent and emerged victorious in a statement game.

Artemi Panarin snipes winner in 3-2 OT triumph – Second City Hockey
The Hawks have now won 11 of their past 15.

Parise’s hat trick leads Wild over Blue Jackets 4-2 – Hockey Wilderness
Zach Parise scores. He even did it three times against the Blue Jackets Tuesday night to lead the Wild to a win in the last game of a long road trip

A victory with minimal drama – Broad Street Hockey
Returning home from their disastrous California road trip, the Flyers gave the Montreal Canadiens all that they could handle and skated away with a comfortable 4-2 victory.

To Beat A Predator(s) – Arctic Ice Hockey
“Why don’t you take a seat over there?”

Women’s Outdoor Classic: Two viewpoints

From the Editor’s Desk: the NHL’s laughable showcase of women’s hockey – Five For Howling
The NHL did a horrendous job highlighting the potential of women’s hockey in North America, and should be taken to task for it.

“The Best Christmas Gift Ever”: Les Canadiennes Look Back At Women’s Outdoor Classic – Eyes On The Prize
It was a late announcement, and wasn’t televised but the outdoor game between Les Canadiennes and the Boston Pride made the players happy

Other News

Dallas Stars Announce Pevs Protects Night at the AAC, Release “Playing for Pevs” Online – Defending Big D
The Stars have released the heart-wrenching documentary “Playing for Pevs” online as well as announced an evening to honor his new charity initiative at the AAC.

Raffi Torres’ return in doubt – Fear The Fin
Medical issues will likely keep Torres from returning on Jan. 14, when his suspension is complete.

Alain Vigneault’s Comments On Lundqvist/Handing Of Etem Is Worrisome – Blueshirt Banter
Alain Vigneault seems to be deviating from past behaviors. To this point it hasn’t been the best evolution.My hope for Hockey Analytics in 2016 | HockeyAnalysis.com

The ECHL – Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League | Gibson steps up in NHL debut
“I was nervous at the beginning for sure, but after a few shots and the goal, I said to myself that I have to step up now,” he said. “Once I got calmed down a little bit, I told myself it’s time to play and that I’d worked hard for this opportunity, so it was time to show what I can do. I was happy with my third period.”

Avalanche Claim Andrew Bodnarchuk – Mile High Hockey
AHL affiliate San Antonio currently sports three of Colorado’s top defensive prospects: Nikita Zadorov, Chris Bigras, and Duncan Siemens. None have yet demonstrated consistent enough performance to warrant an NHL call-up. The Avalanche also don’t want these guys missing playing opportunities to sit in a reserve role. So, they hopped back on the waiver wire and claimed Columbus defenceman Andrew Bodnarchuk.

Comparing Sullivan’s start to past Penguins coaching changes – PensBurgh
From Therrien to Bylsma, from Bylsma to Johnston, and from Johnston to Sullivan. How does each change compare to the others? Which players have been the most affected?

The Drouin saga has a mirror in Lightning team history – Raw Charge
Issues came up in 1997-98 with the Bolts #5 overall draft pick from 1995, though circumstances with the club were profoundly different at the time.

Richard Panik not with Blackhawks yet due to visa issues – Second City Hockey
OOPS!

The Senators Will End Up Selling Extremely Low On Jared Cowen – Silver Seven
The Senators have apparently seen enough of Jared Cowen, and will look to move him at some point. However, they will end up selling very low on him, when they could have gotten a real return not too long ago.

If Ken Hitchcock is fired, Doug Armstrong should go with him – St. Louis Game Time
Why fire the strategist and allow the recruiter of “not good enough” to continue? Fire them both.

Today in Edmonton Oilers History: January 5, 1983 – Wayne Gretzky Scores His 100th Point of the Season – The Copper & Blue
The Great One reaches the 100 point mark on this day in 1983.

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Source: From the Branches: California here we come

USA 8 vs Sweden 3 World Juniors Recap: Timashov comes up short of a medal

From Pension Puppets Feed

Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

The Leafs will have only one prospect (Kasperi Kapanen) bring home a medal as Dmytro Timashov and Team Sweden finish fourth.

It looked like it was going to be a low-scoring game. As Sweden and the United States played for bronze, the two goalies with the highest save percentages in the tournament were prepared to duel. Linus Soderstrom (.947), a New York Islanders prospect, and Carolina Hurricanes draftee Alex Nedeljokvic (.950) were hot.

Only, Soderstrom didn’t play. Instead, Philadelphia Flyers prospect Felix Sandstorm, the projected starter before falling ill at the beginning of the tournament, was between the pipes for Team Sweden.

After a slow start, where Sweden outshot the United States early on, Team USA responded and pounced on its opportunities with two late first period goals from Boston Bruins draftee Anders Bjork and 2016 draft eligible winger Matthew Tkachuk.

Against Nedeljkovic, it appeared the Swedes had dug themselves a daunting early hold. But the strong goaltending narrative didn’t want to hold. It’s the World Juniors, and anything can happen.

Late in the period, Oilers draftee William Lagesson went to the net to bang home a play in front and 55 seconds later another draft eligible prospect, Carl Grundstrom, tapped home his first goal of the tournament on a cross-crease pass.

And after a last second USA penalty, Team Sweden had the game tied and a powerplay to start the second period.

The momentum continued to shift in the second period though. After the United States killed off their early penalty kill, a Will Borgen (Sabres) shot was tipped in by Canucks prospect Brock Boeser for his first goal of the tournament.

Then, before the period was five minutes old, the USA added to the lead as Bruins prospect Ryan Donato finished off a cross-crease pass to give Team Sweden three goals on three shots dating back to the end of the first period.

In typical World Juniors fashion, it appeared that Team Sweden was going to bring the game to within a goal before an Alex Nylander tip-in was called off for a high stick.

Midway through the period, a pair of Swedish penalties, including a double minor for high-sticking, gave the United States a brief 5-on-3 and an extended powerplay. Able to kill them off, Team Sweden then surrendered another even strength goal after Ducks prospect Marcus Pettersson got beat on an inside-out move by Bjork, who danced to the top of the crease and put the puck up under the bar for a beautiful individual effort and a 5-2 lead.

And the fifth goal was indicative of the game, as the floodgates opened and the United States appeared to toy with the Swedes on an ensuing 6-2 goal from defensemen and Bruins prospect Brandon Carlo off the rush.

Soon, the game became a clinic for a trio of Bruins prospects, as Donato scored his second of the game and the fifth goal for a player drafted by the Bruins to go up 7-2.

After the United States added to the lead with a Matthew Tkachuk goal, and Axel Holmstrom got one late for Sweden, the game finished a lopsided 8-3 bronze medal win for Team USA.

Timashov Notes

– Quiet first period. He had one nice curl and pass just inside the offensive zone before he was outmuscled later in the shift, allowing USA to exit the zone.

– Lightly checked from behind on a puck retrieval early in the second period. Found Rasmus Asplund cross-ice before an eventual point shot was redirected in and called off due to an Nylander high stick. Was on the ice when Bjork danced Pettersson for the 5-2 lead off the left wing.

– Created a nice end-to-end zone entry that led to a shot as he carried the puck around the net and threw it to the point. Otherwise, a quiet third period.

Source: USA 8 vs Sweden 3 World Juniors Recap: Timashov comes up short of a medal