Prospect Need to Know: Jack LaFontaine is a hidden draft gem in net

Jack LaFontaine (photo courtesy of the NAHL)

The NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau released its latest Watch List today for the 2016 draft and there have been a bunch of movers. This is not surprising, since the early September edition was largely speculative and now the prospects actually have a good sample size of games under their belts, but it is interesting to monitor nonetheless. Also, as I first reported the other day, top 2016 prospect Auston Matthews will return to the ice for Zurich tomorrow in a Swiss Cup game against Ambri-Piotta. Here’s a look at what else is going on in the prospect world:

Read more

Flyers’ Scott Laughton leaves game after vicious hit from Senators’ Alex Chiasson

Jared Clinton
Alex Chiasson boards Scott Laughton (via SomeHockeyVideos/YouTube)

A brutal hit by Ottawa winger Alex Chiasson has put Philadelphia center Scott Laughton out of Saturday’s game.

In the first frame of the Flyers’ game against the Senators, Laughton was chasing the puck into the Ottawa zone and attempting to push the puck deeper into the zone when Chiasson made contact with Laughton from behind. Laughton, who was slowing as he approached the boards, hadn’t braced himself completely for the contact and was sent head first into the boards: Read more

Five slumping stars who are set to break out

Jakub Voracek. (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Sometimes, no matter what a star does, the pucks just don’t go in and the assists aren’t piling up. It could be the fault of pucks off of posts, a few bad bounces or simply a string of bad luck.

For five star players, the 2015-16 campaign has been especially unkind. And while players such as Patrick Kane and Tyler Seguin can seem to do no wrong, there are those who can’t seem to catch a break. Here are five star players stuck in a slump who look ready to break out: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Tyson Barrie is latest Avalanche player to be mentioned in trade talks

Lyle Richardson
Tyson Barrie. (Getty Images)

As the Matt Duchene trade speculation wanes, teammate Tyson Barrie popped up in the rumor mill. Barrie was mentioned by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman during Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada telecast, noting the blueliner is a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights.

Friedman claimed teams are keeping an eye on Barrie’s status, speculating there will be a lot of interest in the 24-year-old defenseman if the Avs can’t re-sign him. He subsequently reported having “zero evidence” Barrie’s on the trade block, believing the Avalanche “would love to sign him.”

Read more

Rumor Roundup: Duchene talk heating up, but move to Senators unlikely

Lyle Richardson
Matt Duchene (Karl Gehring/The Denver Post)

Recent trade speculation regarding Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene dominated the NHL rumor mill over the weekend. TSN’s Darren Dreger expounded on his report claiming the Avalanche contacted the Ottawa Senators to gauge interest in the 24-year-old center. It’s believed as long as Duchene remains in the discussion, the Senators (and other clubs) could continue to explore the possibility.

Dreger, however, considers it unlikely Avs GM Joe Sakic will move Duchene. He suggests Sakic could be using the forward as a means of starting trade discussions involving a different move with other players.’s Pierre LeBrun thinks Sakic is simply gauging the trade value of Duchene and other players on his roster.

Read more

Flyers star Jakub Voracek continues to lean on Halifax billet family

The Hockey News
Jakub Voracek. (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Jason Buckland

The phenom arrived in jeans and a T-shirt, all floppy blond hair, stepping out from a Ford Explorer. He was delivered personally by his GM.

Stephen and Dawnelda Murray looked out and saw him, the teenager with the hype, the can’t-miss kid from the faraway land. It was the summer of 2006 in their quiet, middle-class neighbourhood in Cole Harbour, N.S. For years this had been Sidney Crosby’s town. Suddenly, a new No. 1 pick was on the scene.

Jakub Voracek looked back and saw them, too, the big cop with the goatee, his bubbly wife with the smile that seemed to stretch clear to Halifax. Before him were two people he had never met and a house he had never set foot inside. For the next two years, it would be home. For the next two years, Stephen and Dawnelda would be Mom and Dad. “They are one of the big reasons why I am where I am right now,” Voracek said. “Every time I needed them, they’ve been there for me.”

Read more