Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday . . .

D David Turon (Portland, 2002-03) signed a one-year contract with Fassa (Italy, Serie A). He had two goals and one assist in 25 games with Dukla Trencin (Slovakia, Extraliga) and five goals and three assists in 28 games for Lausitzer Fuche Weisswasser (Germany, 2.Bundesliga) last season.
The Kamloops Blazers have added to their stable of experienced WHL defencemen.
The Blazers acquired Marek Hrbas, an 18-year-old sophomore from the Czech Republic, from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Monday. In exchange for Hrbas and the 27th selection in the 2011 CHL import draft that is to be held Wednesday, the Blazers surrendered the 18th pick in the import draft and a fifth-round selection in the 2012 WHL bantam draft.
Hrbas, 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, had 17 points, including five goals, and 30 penalty minutes in 64 games with the Oil Kings last season. He was pointless in four playoff games. The Oil Kings selected him fourth overall in the CHL’s 2010 import draft.
Hrbas spent 2009-10 with the USHL’s Fargo, N.D., Force, earning 15 points, four of them goals, in 40 games. That season, he played for Czech Republic in the U-17 World Hockey Challenge at Timmins, Ont., and was the tournament’s highest-scoring defenceman with seven points in five games.
He played for the Czech Republic — he was the team captain — at the U-18 World Junior Championship in Germany in April, recording four assists in six games.
The acquisition of Hrbas leaves the Blazers with seven defencemen on their roster, each of whom has played at least one WHL season. Two of them — Josh Caron and Bronson Maschmeyer — are 20 years of age, while Austin Madaisky and Brandon Underwood are 19 and have played three WHL seasons. Tyler Hansen, at 18, is heading into his third season. Brady Gaudet, 17, is preparing for his second season.
Prior to trading for Hrbas, the Blazers were eligible to make two selections in the import draft, having chosen not to bring back Slovakian forward Dalibor Bortnak or German forward Bernhard Keil.
Now, Kamloops is scheduled to pick 27th, which should happen Wednesday at 10:20 a.m.
The OHL’s London Knights hold the first pick, having acquired it Monday from the Barrie Colts. London is to open the draft at 6 a.m.
Check out Alan Caldwell’s blog, Small Thoughts At Large, over there on the right for a team-by-team look at the WHL heading into the import draft. . . . Between analysis like that and his statistical look at all of the WHL teams’ prospects that Caldwell has posted over the last while, you have to wonder why the WHL doesn’t offer him some big money to join their staff as the Minister of Information.
JUST NOTES: Among the undrafted free agents attending the New York Rangers’ development camp that opened Monday are F T.J. Foster of the Edmonton Oil Kings, F Austin Fyten of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and F Jordan Hickmott of the Oil Kings. . . . The IIHF announced Monday that the 2014 World Junior Championship will be played in Malmö, Sweden. The 2012 event is scheduled for Calgary and Edmonton, with the 2013 tournament to be played in Ufa, Russia. . . . The Calgary Flames have said they won’t renew the contract of Duane Sutter, their director of player personnel. The Flames have signed John Weisbrod, who had been the director of pro and amateur scouting for the Boston Bruins, as assistant GM.
An email from Ryan Ohashi, the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ communications and events manager, provides us with what he calls Ryan’s Really Random factoid of the day.
He points out quite a link between his Hurricanes and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes . . .
Brody Sutter became the third Lethbridge Hurricanes player the NHL Hurricanes have drafted (they took him in the seventh round) and the fifth if you include the Hartford Whalers years.
The previous picks:
2008 – Zach Boychuk (Drafted by Carolina – 1st round, 14th overall)
1997 – Shane Willis (Drafted by Carolina – 4th round, 88th overall)
1995 – Byron Ritchie (Drafted by Hartford – 7th round, 165th overall)
1990 – Mark Greig (Drafted by Hartford – 1st round, 15th overall)
When Greig was drafted by Hartford, he became Lethbridge’s highest NHL draft pick, which lasted until 2003 when Brent Seabrook was selected 14th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks. That was matched in 2008 when Carolina selected Boychuk.
It’s worth noting, too, that Carolina now has three Sutters in its organization. Brody has two cousins, Brandon and Brett, with the Hurricanes. Brandon is on the NHL roster, while Brett finished the season with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.
Brody is the son of Duane Sutter, who was the Calgary Flames’ director of player personnel until being relieved of his duties on Sunday.
Brandon is the son of Brent Sutter, who owns the Red Deer Rebels and is the Flames’ head coach.
Brett’s father is Darryl, formerly the Flames’ general manager.
THE COACHING GAME: Jason Herter, the head coach of the USHL’s Fargo Force, is leaving to sign on as an assistant coach with the U of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, who are the reigning NCAA champions. . . . Fargo assistant coach Byron Pool is the Force’s interim head coach while management searches for what will be the fourth coach in as many seasons. . . .
A source told me late Monday night that “Dave Barr is the new guy in Moose Jaw.” . . . Barr spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and was an assistant with the Colorado Avalanche for the previous season. . . . Before that, he spent four seasons as GM and head coach of the OHL’s Guelph Storm. . . . Barr, who played 614 regular-season NHL games over 13 seasons, will take over from Dave Hunchak, who was relieved of his duties after last season. He had been head coach of the Warriors for four seasons and now is the associate coach with the Kamloops Blazers. . . .
Former NHL F Kirk Muller has been named head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals, the NHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators. . . .
The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, having lost their AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, have hooked up with the Chicago Wolves on a two-year deal. . . . Wolves head coach Don Lever and assistant Ron Wilson won’t be returning. . . . Other AHL teams needing head coaches are the Abbotsford Heat, Houston Aeros, San Antonio Rampage, Texas Stars and St. John’s, the latter formerly the Manitoba Moose. . . .
The Portland Pirates have become affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes, announcing a multi-year deal on Monday. The teams then announced that Ray Edwards would be head coach. . . . Brad Treliving, the Coyotes’ assistant GM, will serve as the Pirates’ GM. . . . The Coyotes had been affiliated with the San Antonio Rampage. . . . Edwards was 70-56-16 in two seasons as the Rampage’s head coach. . . . Portland was affiliated with the Buffalo Sabres for the last three seasons. However, the Sabres have purchased the Rochester Americans. . . . With Edwards gone, the Rampage, which seems to be headed for a hookup with the NHL’s Florida Panthers, coaching staff comprises assistants Brian Pellerin and Jeff Truitt. . . .
Geoff Smith, a former NHL D who had been an assistant coach with the Kamloops Blazers, has signed on as head coach of the junior B Kamloops Storm, a team that plays in the Kootenay International junior league. . . . Smith and fellow assistant Scott Ferguson were dropped by the Blazers after last season. . . .
Brent Heaven is the new GM/head coach of the KIJHL’s Creston Valley ThunderCats. He takes over from Joe Martin, who left to become assistant GM/assistant coach with the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials.
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