Ryan Kennedy

Ryan Kennedy is the associate senior writer and draft/prospect expert at The Hockey News. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all called his house. He lives in Toronto with his wife and kids where he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.

NCAA players can get paid now, but will they?

Ryan Kennedy
Noel Acciari and Jon Gillies celebrate a Providence College goal. (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

The NCAA has taken some bad p.r. beatings in recent years due to the fact the “student-athletes” under the organization’s care do not get paid, even with lucrative events such as football’s bowl season and the March Madness basketball tournament on the schedule.

Now, a “cost of attendance” stipend is (slightly) changing the game. And the hockey world is easing in to the issue.

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Futures mailbag: Dylan Larkin, Alex DeBrincat’s uphill battle and more

Dylan Larkin (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

After a week off for vacation, the mailbag returns in full force. The volume of questions is beginning to get fatter and that’s awesome, so keep them coming by hitting me up on Twitter with the hashtag #thnfutures. If your question isn’t answered this week, check back next time. Let’s get to it!

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Rudi Ying and the inevitable Chinese hockey revolution

Ryan Kennedy
Rudi Ying (photo by Ryan Kennedy)

For a kid who grew up in China, Rudi Ying was in a pretty good place for a hockey player this week. The 17-year-old center and fellow Beijing product Wei Zhong both took part in the BioSteel summer camp in Toronto, meaning they were sharing the ice and playing alongside Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall, Connor McDavid and a host of other NHLers and top prospects.

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Alexander Burmistrov ready for his return to Winnipeg

Ryan Kennedy
Alexander Burmistrov (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

The one thing I’ll always remember about Alexander Burmistrov during his Barrie Colts days is how skinny he looked. He was a perfect example of a prospect who had great tools; you just had to forecast what he would look like once a couple years in the weight room kicked in.

But the Atlanta Thrashers needed talent right away and the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft went straight to the NHL, where he survived and contributed. Then the team moved to Winnipeg, where all the good vibes of NHL-starved Manitoba fans couldn’t push an underdeveloped squad into the post-season under coach Claude Noel. And Burmistrov certainly didn’t thrive under the conditions, either.

So the lanky young Russian returned to his homeland, playing two years in the KHL for Ak Bars Kazan, his local squad.

Now he’s back.

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Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall: speed kills

Ryan Kennedy
Edmonton's Taylor Hall (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s gotta be a fun time to be an Edmonton Oilers fan. I mean, not 1980s fun, but still pretty good. Bob Nicholson, Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan have brought respectability back to the suits section, while a certain No. 1 draft pick hasn’t even made his highly-anticipated debut yet. Connor McDavid is in Toronto right now at the annual BioSteel summer training camp, run by guru Matt Nichol. Taylor Hall is also at the camp and the two got to hit the ice together on Monday for drills and scrimmage action.

So here’s a delightful game if you’re an Edmonton fan: guess which one of the No. 1 draft picks said the following:

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Daniel Briere retires as a trailblazer

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

It would be disingenuous to say Daniel Briere came out of nowhere. After all, he was a first-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes back in 1996, the same year he scored 163 points for Drummondville of the Quebec League.

But since he was waived by those same Coyotes seven years later, after failing to make a permanent impression on the club, it is remarkable to think how quickly he became one of the most dangerous players in the NHL shortly thereafter.

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Coyotes prospect Nick Merkley is ‘a pleasure to be around’

Ryan Kennedy
Nick Merkley (Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Since the teenagers taken at the NHL draft this summer aren’t old enough to drink, we’ll assume Nick Merkley celebrated being taken 30th overall by Arizona with an Oreo ice cream sandwich instead.

That was the junk food of choice for the Kelowna Rockets right winger after road trips this season, and it served him well: Merkley finished sixth in WHL scoring and helped Kelowna drub the competition in the playoffs.

The Rockets dropped just three games on their way to a dream final with the Brandon Wheat Kings before that showdown turned out to be a four-game nightmare for the Wheaties.

“Sweeping them was crazy,” Merkley said. “We were just trying to get a split (in Brandon), then we got both games. It was huge for us.” Read more