Tuesday, April 24, 2012

F Alex Leavitt (Swift Current, Everett, 2003-05) signed a one-year contract with Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia, Austria Erste Bank Liga). He had eight goals and 24 assists in 57 games for HPK Hämeenlinna (Finland, SM-Liiga) this season. . . .
D Joel Kwiatkowski (Tacoma/Kelowna, Prince George, 1994-98) signed a two-year contract with Fribourg-Gottéron (Switzerland, NL A). He had eight goals and 12 assists in 42 games for Bern (Switzerland, NL A) this season.
The big news Monday involved the Portland Winterhawks, Everett Silvertips and D Seth Jones.
Jones, now 17, was selected by the Silvertips with the 11th overall pick in the 2009 bantam draft. Jones is projected as an early first-round pick in the NHL’s 2013 draft. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Jones has been playing in the U.S. National Team Development Program and captained the team that won the IIHF U-18 world championship last week in Czech Republic. He had eight points, including three goals, in six games in the tournament.
However, Jones, who is believed to be choosing between the WHL and the U of North Dakota, has told the Silvertips that he has no interest in playing for them.
“Seth has indicated to us through his family advisor that he has no interest in playing for the Everett Silvertips,” Garry Davidson, Everett’s general manager, said in a news release. “We’re now pursuing other avenues toward receiving some kind of value for this former first-round bantam pick.
“At this point, we feel that this arrangement with Portland is the best way for us to benefit the Silvertips going forward.”
On Monday, the Silvertips dealt Jones’ negotiating rights to the Winterhawks for an undisclosed conditional 2013 bantam draft pick.
Obviously, the Winterhawks have given up something, perhaps a mid-round draft pick, just to speak with Jones during an undisclosed window of time. Should Portland be able to cut a deal with Jones, you can bet there will be more, lots more, compensation involved.
You can also bet that some people will point to the Everett-Portland connection involved in this deal. Davidson, who took over as the Silvertips’ GM on Feb. 15, was brought into the WHL by Johnston as Portland’s director of player personnel, a role he filled for almost four seasons until leaving for Everett to replace the fired Doug Soetaert.
It also is interesting that Bob Tory, the Tri-City Americans’ general manager, was unsuccessful about a month ago in an attempt to acquire a 72-hour negotiating window in order to speak with Jones and his family.
And say what you want about Johnston, but when he identifies a need, he aggressively pursues it. After all, who else would have given up 2012 and 2013 first-round bantam draft picks and a player (F Seth Swenson) to get F Marcel Noebels from the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Jan. 10 trade deadline?
But Johnston had identified a need for a big centreman and Noebels now skates between Sven Baertschi and Ty Rattie on what may be the WHL’s most-explosive forward unit.
Of course, it could be that there won’t be that much difference between a first-round pick originally held by Portland and a second-round selection that had belonged to the Silvertips. As compensation for hiring Davidson, Everett is believed to have surrendered two second-round bantam picks, one in 2012 and the other in 2013.
So, in essence, Johnston gave Seattle two first-round selections, which will be late in that round, and got two second-round picks from Everett that will be in the upper half of that round.
Mark Visentin, a goaltender with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs, stopped 22 shots and scored a goal last night in a 5-2 playoff victory over the host Ottawa 67’s. There’s more right here.
How many WHL goaltenders have scored goals and who are they? Answer below.
F Dominik Uher of the Spokane Chiefs has joined the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on an ATO. Uher, 19, had 68 points, including 33 goals, in 63 games with the Chiefs. From Frydek-Mistek, Czech Republic, Uher was a fifth-round selection by the parent Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL’s 2011 draft.
JUST NOTES: Portland F Ty Rattie has 27 career playoff goals, one shy of Randy Heath’s franchise record. . . . With 16 goals in these playoffs, Rattie is three away from the franchise single-season record held by Dan Woodley (1987). . . . Portland D Derrick Pouliot had four assists in Portland’s 5-4 OT victory over host Tri-City on Saturday night. The last Portland defenceman with four assists in a playoff game? David Babych did it against the Seattle Breakers on March 28, 1980. . . . The NAHL’s Alaska Avalanche, which played out of Palmer, has been sold and will play out of Johnstown, Pa., next season.
Bruce McDonald, a member of the Seattle Thunderbirds’ radio crew, was diagnosed with leukemia over the weekend.
A note from the Thunderbirds: “Bruce is the second member of the T-Birds family who has been diagnosed with leukemia in the past month. Chris Rumble, assistant coach Darren Rumble’s oldest son, was diagnosed with leukemia about two weeks ago and has since started an aggressive chemotherapy treatment.”
Thom Beuning, the radio voice of the Thunderbirds, passes along this info: “Bruce assists me with the home broadcasts of Thunderbirds games (and has been associated with the team in some way or another. . . fan, statistician, color commentator . . . since he was a youngster, or almost as long as the franchise has been in Seattle).”
If you aren’t aware, Bruce has cerebral palsy, thus gets around in a motorized scooter.
As Beuning writes: “Just keep good thoughts and say a prayer or two for him.”
Feel free to visit the Thunderbirds’ Facebook page right here and send along thoughts, prayers and wishes to Bruce and Chris, who have to know the hockey world is with them.
Brendan Burke, who turned 17 on March 11, is the Portland Winterhawks’ backup goaltender. He also is the son of Phoenix Coyotes goaltending coach Sean Burke. After the Coyotes ousted the Chicago Blackhawks last night, Brendan (@bburke1) tweeted:
“I will be collecting my money for the yotes win tomorrow. cash only, no checks.”
WHL goaltenders who have scored goals:
Jordan McLaughlin, Prince George Cougars, March 5, 2003.
Jason Clague, Red Deer Rebels, March 28, 1994, vs. Lethbridge Hurricanes (playoffs).
Jeff Calvert, Tacoma Rockets, Dec. 29, 1992, vs. Moose Jaw Warriors, December 29, 1992.
Chris Osgood, Medicine Hat Tigers, Jan. 3, 1991, vs. Swift Current Broncos.
Olaf Kolzig, Tri-City Americans, Nov. 29, 1989, vs. Seattle Thunderbirds.

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