Futures Mailbag: Michael Dal Colle, the realness of Auston Matthews and more

Michael Dal Colle (blue sweater) of the Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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:

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Futures Mailbag: Blueline prospects in Philly, Dylan Strome and more

Samuel Morin (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Welcome to my new mailbag, a spot where I will answers questions from readers who reached out to me on Twitter using the hashtag #thnfutures. The idea behind this space is to bring you info on prospects and the draft, so anything in that world is game. There was a pretty good crop of questions right off the bat, so if you don’t see yours answered this week, check back next Friday. Here we go:

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World Junior Championship in Florida? Tampa Bay puts in official bid for tournament

Amalie Arena (Scott Audette/Getty Images)

While it’s not considered a traditional hockey market, Tampa Bay has shown they’ve got love for the game. Now, in an attempt to showcase their incredible fan support on the international stage, the city has put in an official bid for the 2018 World Junior Championship, which is to be held in the United States.

According to the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith, the group hoping to bring the tournament to Florida filed its official bid by the end of June and they’re hoping USA Hockey, which will narrow down the applications and suggest a host to the IIHF, leans in favor of Tampa Bay.

“Tampa is very formidable in the conversation,” Dave Fischer, the senior director of communications for USA Hockey, told Smith. “The (Lightning) owner (Jeff Vinik) and sports commission is aggressive. We’ll see where it winds up.” Read more

Russia to start NTDP-style program for under-18s

Vyacheslav Leshenko helped Russia to silver at the world juniors (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Though Russia has been great at the world juniors, it’s been five years since the hockey power even medalled at the world under-18s and even then, it was just a bronze. The United States has dominated the latter competition thanks to its National Team Development Program, which hot-houses the best under-18s and under-17s in Michigan, where the two squads concentrate on strength training and playing older competition.

Now, Russia is getting in on the act.

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U.S. Senator wants to see World Junior Championship in Pittsburgh, calls city “America’s hockey capital”

Penguins fans file into the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The World Junior Championship is heading to the United States in 2018, but the host city has yet to be determined. If U.S. Senator Bob Casey gets his wish, though, Pittsburgh will be home to the 2018 competition.

On Wednesday, Senator Casey released a statement publically urging the IIHF to bring the tournament to Pittsburgh and personally addressed a letter to IIHF president Rene Fasel with regards to Pittsburgh’s bid for the tournament. At present, five potential American host cities are known, including Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Glendale or Detroit. Casey offered his two cents on the potential of Pittsburgh as a host. Read more

Canada’s world junior camp roster shows a wide-open competition

Canada's Lawson Crouse (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Heading into the 2015 world juniors in Toronto, there were many Canadian players we could basically check off as guarantees long before the roster was decided. Connor McDavid, Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Sam Reinhart, Zach Fucale, Darnell Nurse, Josh Morrissey and Madison Bowey were all locks, for example.

With the tournament shifting to Helsinki for 2016, Canada’s braintrust will have some tougher decisions to make, as evidenced by the summer camp roster.

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Want to make Team Canada? Play like Alex Killorn and Jake Muzzin

Alex Killorn Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

When the braintrust for Canada’s World Cup of Hockey team met Monday to begin the task of assembling the Canadian team for the tournament, each member of the management team was asked to present a mock roster based on the playoffs and recent World Championship. And the way GM Doug Armstrong sees it, everybody’s first list probably has the same 15 or 16 players on it.

We’re not giving anything away when we say that list almost certainly includes Carey Price in goal, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Shea Weber, P.K. Subban and Alex Pietrangelo on defense and Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Claude Giroux, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin at forward.

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How USA Hockey went from failure to hockey factory

Jacob Trouba, Seth Jones and Pat Sieloff, all members of the NTDP, won the U-18 championship in 2012. (Photo by Pavel Paprskar/isifa/Getty Images)

It’s a crisp autumn morning in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the front office of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program is jammed with teenagers. Two NHL teams have sent scouts to interview the players, who are getting their schedules for the day from ace manager of communications and marketing Jake Wesolek.

It doesn’t take long before the smack talk about video games begins. The night before, I’d asked Jordan Greenway, a 6-foot-5, 223-pound battleship power forward, which member of the squad was best at NHL 15. He slyly demurred and said to ask two-way center Colin White. Now it’s time to unleash the snare. “So who did Colin say was the best?” Greenway asks in front of the whole crew. White, who admitted the night before that Greenway rules the sessions, nevertheless returns serve as everyone smiles and chuckles: “I never play, but I bet I could grind you out!”

The din grows as the teens shuffle about, until uber-skilled Jeremy Bracco spots the mom of fellow right winger Jack Roslovic entering from outside and runs over excitedly to give her a hug. Behind him is a trophy case featuring almost every championship chalice from the past six world under-18 tournaments, plus a couple from the world juniors.

These aren’t your standard goofy teenagers: they’re the best prospects in the nation. And every year a new cohort signs up for battle. In less than two decades, the NTDP has become a force, counting at least 10 NHL draft picks per year in recent times and helping Team USA go from also-ran to constant threat on the international stage.

And it all started with failure. Read more