Saturday, June 2, 2012

Brendan Ranford felt the draft on Friday afternoon.
Ranford, a veteran of four seasons with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, wasn’t able to get a deal done with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers by yesterday’s deadline. Therefore, he is once again eligible for the NHL draft.
The Flyers selected Ranford in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2010 draft; in fact, he was the second-last player taken. NHL teams had until yesterday at 5 p.m. ET to sign players taken in that draft. Those not signed are eligible for this year’s draft that is scheduled for Pittsburgh, June 22 and 23.
Should Ranford not be selected in next month’s draft, he will become a free agent, eligible to sign with any team.
“Nothing got done,” Ranford said late yesterday afternoon. “There’s nothing I can do. I just have got to work hard during the summer and move on.”
The Blazers selected Ranford, who is from Edmonton, with the 15th overall selection in the WHL’s 2007 bantam draft. He has 270 points, including 115 goals, in 278 regular-season games with the Blazers. He holds down 13th spot on the Blazers’ all-time points list and is 14th in goals and 17th in assists.
This season, he had career single-season highs in goals (40) and points (92).
The writing may have been on the wall for Ranford and his agent, Mark MacKay, about 10 days ago when the Flyers signed two other forwards – Derek Mathers, who had 17 points and 177 penalty minutes with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes, and Andrew Johnston, an 81-point man with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Mathers, 18, was a seventh-round pick in the 2011 draft; Johnston, 20, was an undrafted free agent.
Asked if he was disappointed not to get signed, Ranford replied: “No, not really. I wouldn’t say disappointed. I’ve got to move on and just work harder.”
Should Ranford, who turned 20 on May 3, be selected in this month’s draft, he would be eligible to play anywhere in that team’s organization should he sign an NHL contract. He also is eligible to return for a fifth season with the Blazers.
Ranford was one of a handful of WHLers who will be going back into the draft.
The list includes defenceman Troy Rutkowski of the Portland Winterhawks, who was a fifth-round pick by the Colorado Avalanche in 2010, and winger Josh Nicholls of the Saskatoon Blades, a seventh-round pick, who wasn’t signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Meanwhile, three WHL forwards who were selected in the 2011 draft signed NHL deals yesterday.
Ty Rattie of the Portland Winterhawks, a second-round pick, signed with the St. Louis Blues, while Dominik Uher of the Spokane Chiefs, a fifth-round pick, got a deal done with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Brody Sutter, the captain of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, signed with the Carolina Hurricanes, who had taken him in the seventh round.
Rattie, 19, is eligible to return to Portland. Uher, who is from Czech Republic, wasn't likely to return to Spokane as a 20-year-old, while Sutter completed his major junior eligibility this season.
Rattie is coming off a season in which he scored 121 points, including 57 goals, in 69 regular-season games. He then added 33 points, 19 of them goals, in 21 playoff games.
Uher had 68 points, including 33 goals, in his final season with the Chiefs. He finished the season with the Penguins’ AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but didn’t see playoff action.
Sutter had 60 points in 65 games as a 20-year-old in Lethbridge. Brody, the son of former NHLer Duane Sutter, is the third Sutter in the Carolina organization, following cousins Brandon and Brett.
F Logan Proulx has agreed to join the Selkirk Saints of the B.C. Intercollegiate league. Proulx played this season with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals after being acquired from his hometown Trail Smoke Eaters. He played 137 games over three seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . .
The OHL’s Owen Sound Attack has signed former NHL D Drew Bannister as its new assistant coach. He takes over from former associate coach Terry Virtue, a former WHL assistant coach, who has left after two seasons with the Attack. . . . Bannister spent this season as a player-coach with the Braehead Clan of the British Elite league. . . .
The Medicine Hat Mavericks of the Western Major Baseball League opened their home schedule on Friday night and Bob Ridley, the veteran play-by-play voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers was there to throw out the first pitch. . . . Don’t know if he sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the seventh-inning stretch. . . . There was even more WHL flavour as Shaw TV carried the game, with Cam Moon, the voice of the Red Deer Rebels, and Peter Lourbardias, who should be doing hockey play-by-play, in the booth. . . . If you’re wondering, the Okotoks Dawgs beat the Mavericks, 6-5. . . .
F Tyler Johnson (Spokane, 2007-2011) had a goal and an assist last night, helping the host Norfolk Admirals to a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Marlies in Game 1 of the AHL’s best-of-seven final for the Calder Cup. Game 2 is tonight. . . . F Cory Conacher also had a goal and an assist for the winners. . . . C Carter Ashton (Lethbridge, Regina, Tri-City, 2006-11) had Toronto’s goal. . . . Interestingly, earlier in the season Ashton played on a line with Johnson and Conacher in Norfolk, the AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . If you check, you may find it on TV somewhere. I stumbled on a replay of Game 1 on Leaf TV late last night. . . .
When F Locke Muller was with the Red Deer Rebels, Dale McMullin was on their scouting staff. McMullin now is Regina’s head scout, so when Muller recently was dropped by the Saskatoon Blades, well, the Pats were quick to add him to their protected list. . . . Muller, 19, had 10 points and 87 penalty minutes in 58 games last season. He started the season with Red Deer and finished with the Blades.
Greg Harder, in the Regina Leader-Post: “The 6-foot-2, 197-pounder was a healthy scratch on a few occasions due to discipline issues, apparently working his way into the doghouse of Blades head coach/GM Lorne Molleken . . .”
Regina GM Chad Lang told Harder that the past is just that, the past.
“There’s kids that are leaders, there’s kids that are followers,” Lang said. “It’s about putting kids in an environment where they know the rules and the limitations. You hope they abide by them and if they don’t there’s consequences. From our standpoint it’s about giving kids the opportunity.”

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