Welcome back to the Futures Mailbag, where I will answer any prospect and draft-related questions you the readers may have. If you have a query, hit me up on Twitter (@THNRyanKennedy) and use the hashtag #thnfutures to make sure I scoop it up. If you don’t see your question this week, stay tuned – there’s always some overflow. Let’s get to it:
There was a great deal of drama at this year’s QMJHL draft and the fall-out is still making headlines. Officially, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles just announced on Wednesday that fourth overall pick Shane Bowers would not be attending training camp. But as I first reported minutes after the selection was made, Bowers was never going to be a Screaming Eagle.
The saga surrounding the University of North Dakota’s nickname saw a new wrinkle this past week when fans were upset not about the removal of the former Fighting Sioux nickname, but by the nickname committee’s decision to remove North Dakota (a.k.a. no nickname) from the list of monikers that would make it to a public vote.
It was announced Tuesday that, by a vote of 7-4, the no nickname option was removed from the list to be submitted for a public vote. Instead, the naming committee submitted Fighting Hawks, Nodaks, North Stars, Roughriders and Sundogs as options to be approved by UND president Robert Kelley.
However, following a public outcry in favor of keeping the athletics department without a formal nickname, that could change. According to the Grand Forks Herald, Kelley, “emailed staff and the UND community,” early Friday morning saying he would consider adding the option to the mix. Read more
You could practically hear the collective hockey world yell “WOW!” when the announcement came. Actually, you just had to log on to Twitter and see the media react to the news that not only had Lou Lamoriello resigned as president of the New Jersey Devils, but that the 72-year-old would be joining the Toronto Maple Leafs as GM.
Hockey players typically are not built the same as the average man. ‘Slim fit’ shirts are basically a no-go and the frustration of finding dress shirts that actually fit properly spurned South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Lee Moffie and fellow University of Michigan alum Steve Fischer to do something about it.
That idea became State and Liberty Clothing Co. and with another former Wolverine in Montreal Canadiens prospect Mac Bennett on board, the company has quickly become a favorite throughout the hockey world.
Amanda Kessel has the potential to be one of the greatest women’s players in the world, but concussion issues that will force her to miss a second straight season and end her NCAA career.
According to the Grand Forks Herald, Kessel, 23, will skip her senior season with the NCAA’s University of Minnesota Gophers. Gophers coach Brad Frost confirmed that Kessel will skip the season to the Herald, saying, “It’s just not worth it for her and her health.”
Kessel has not suited up since playing for Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but she hasn’t participated in any of the national team’s events since sustaining the injury. The concussion occurred before the Olympics began, but was cleared to play and posted three goals and six points in five games to finish in a tie for third in tournament scoring. Read more
Jack Eichel won’t be the only NCAA star making the leap to the NHL next season, as the Carolina Hurricanes announced they have signed defenseman Noah Hanifin, the fifth overall selection in the 2015 draft, to an entry-level contract.
“Noah has had a great week here during our prospect development camp,” said GM Ron Francis. “He is big, he can skate and he can move the puck. Noah fits the mold for the type of player and person we want in a Hurricanes uniform.”
By signing the three-year deal with Carolina, Hanifin forgoes his final three years of NCAA eligibility to head to the NHL. Read more
The magnitude and volume of trades during draft weekend and the first few days of free agency has been impressive. Big names such as Phil Kessel, T.J. Oshie and Milan Lucic were all given new addresses and in all three cases, prospects were part of the return.
In fact, many teams acquired future NHL hopefuls recently, so let’s take a look at some of the more prominent kids involved in this summer’s trade crop.