The Carolina Hurricanes tend to go with forwards early in the draft and even when they did take a blueliner with their first selection in 2011, it was Ryan Murphy, the offensively inclined D-man. But when the seventh pick rolled around in 2014, the Canes tabbed 6-foot-3, 203-pound Haydn Fleury and they’re pretty happy with that selection.
Once a team drafts a hot name in the prospect world, it only stands to reason that fans would want to see that player as soon as possible, even if it’s not with the NHL club right away. For Tampa Bay Lightning boosters, the wait was a little longer with netminder Andrey Vasilevskiy, but he’s finally here.
The Quebec League is the first of the CHL’s three circuits to enter regular season play and festivities officially kick off on Wednesday when Rouyn-Noranda visits the defending champions from Val-d’Or. But there is always a lot of turnover in junior and the Foreurs would be a big surprise to repeat. Who will represent the ‘Q’ at the Memorial Cup this year? One team will be the host Quebec Remparts, but another slot is up for grabs. I consulted with a crew of experts from the region to put together power rankings for the league, then added one name to know for each team:
Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of March Madness, but bringing college basketball’s format to major junior hockey doesn’t seem like a great fit.
You’ve heard of top 2015 draft prospects Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel already and while there’s little doubt those two phenomenal centers will be the first names called at the podium in Florida next summer, the prizes for poor teams don’t end there. The 2015 draft is looking incredibly stacked and the next name that needs to be stamped in your memory is defenseman Noah Hanifin.
Colton Sissons is already chuckling and the question hasn’t even been completed yet. Once again, his fellow Nashville Predators prospect is being asked about an incident from last season that found Brendan Leipsic in the penalty box for invading an opposing goaltender’s personal space:
Not a lot of wins have come out of Alberta in recent years, but at least there is hope in both markets. Edmonton has toiled for years and had the more high-profile rebuild, but Calgary is quickly putting together a nice coterie of players as well.
Sean Monahan has already made a dent in the NHL and two other names are poised to join him up front on the Flames sooner than later: Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett.
Zane Gothberg is no more. Say hello to Zane McIntyre.