Thursday, September 29, 2016

Blazers d-man gets pro deal . . . Wheaties add blueliner. . . . Ex-Everett coach to run U.S. squad

D Stefan Elliott (Saskatoon, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). Last season, with the Arizona Coyotes (NHL), he had two goals and four assists in 19 games. He also was pointless in two games with the Nashville Predators (NHL), and he had eight goals and 11 assists in 35 games with the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL). . . .
F Cam Reed (Portland, 2011-12) has been released by Ravensburg Towerstars (Germany, DEL2). He had a goal and two assists in four games. . . .
F Petr Kalus (Regina, 2005-06) has been released by Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga). He was pointless in three games.
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“A group of former players suing the Canadian Hockey League (is) asking a Calgary judge to order 42 major junior teams to turn over their tax returns and financial statements dating back to 2011 to establish whether those franchises are profitable or lose money,” reports Rick Westhead of TSN. “The players are also asking an Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench judge to order Western Hockey League commissioner Ron Robison and Ontario Hockey League commissioner David Branch to produce all of their leagues’ revenue-sharing agreements.
“Robison and Branch have testified that one third of the teams in the WHL and one third of the teams in the OHL lose money each season. Neither Branch nor a WHL spokesman responded to an email requesting comment.”
Westhead’s story is right here.
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D Ondrej Vala of the Kamloops Blazers has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s
Dallas Stars. Vala, a free-agent, played for the Stars entry at the Traverse City, Mich., prospects tournament. . . . The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Vala, 18, is from Kolin, Czech Republic. Last season, as a WHL freshman, he had 21 points, four of them goals, in 72 games. This season, he is pointless in two games. . . . A lot of NHL scouts showed up in Kamloops early last season to watch Vala and were disappointed in his play as he really struggled. Perhaps it was the culture shock, because he really picked up his play after Christmas when he appeared to be much more comfortable. Still, he wasn’t drafted and ended up in the camp of the Stars, whose owner, Tom Gaglardi, is the majority owner of the Blazers.
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The Brandon Wheat Kings of recent vintage never have been shy about having players from southwestern Manitoba on their roster. They added another one on Thursday when they sent a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft to the Red Deer Rebels for D Zach Wytinck, 17. He was listed by the Rebels in 2015. . . . The 5-foot-11, 165-pound Wytinck, who has been playing with the midget AAA Southwest Cougars, is from Glenboro, which is about six slapshots south east of Brandon. Last season, he had 27 points, including six goals, in 44 games with the Cougars. . . . Wytinck is expected to skate with the Wheat Kings today (Friday). They are at home to the Rebels on Saturday night and the Swift Current Broncos on Sunday afternoon. . . . Brandon’s roster, which now sits at 24, includes eight players from Brandon and area, and five others from Winnipeg.
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The Saskatoon Blades have dropped D Payton McIsaac, 16, from their roster. The move was made after D Libor Hajek returned from the camp of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . A second-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft, McIsaac had one assist in five exhibition games. He will return to the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. . . . The Blades’ roster now is at 24, including two goaltenders and seven defencemen. . . . Saskatoon visits the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday and the Kootenay Ice on Saturday. The Blades continue to play without injured forwards Cam Hebig and F Ryan Graham.
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The Prince George Cougars trimmed two players off their roster on Thursday. . . . G Tavin Grant, 18, will be joining the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings, while F Reid Perepeluk, 16, is off to the Prince George-based Cariboo Cougars of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . The Spruce Kings, who acquired Grant’s rights from the junior B Kamloops Storm, made room for him by dealing G Liam McCloskey, 18, to the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines. . . . The Cougars’ roster now is at 30 players, including two goaltenders and 11 defencemen. . . . The Cougars, at least for now, will go with Ty Edmonds, 20, and Nick McBride, 19, as their goaltenders. However, Edmonds is one of four 20-year-olds on the roster and that’s one over the maximum, so there will be movement there before Oct. 15.
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The Red Deer Rebels have acquired F Dawson Martin, 18, from the Calgary Hitmen for a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Martin, from Winnipeg, had two goals and nine assists in 60 games as a freshman last season. This season, he has one assist in two games. . . . The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Martin was a second-round pick by the Hitmen in the 2013 draft.
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Among the players returned by NHL teams to the WHL on Thursday . . .
Calgary Hitmen — F Beck Malenstyn, Washington Capitals.
Kamloops Blazers — F Garrett Pilon, Washington Capitals.
Kelowna Rockets — D Lucas Johansen, Washington Capitals.
Moose Jaw Warriors — D Dmitri Zaitsev, Washington Capitals.
Regina Pats — D Connor Hobbs, Washington Capitals; F Sam Steel, Anaheim Ducks.
Tri-City Americans — D Parker Wotherspoon, New York Islanders.
Victoria Royals — F Tyler Soy, Anaheim Ducks.
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By my count, and it’s strictly unofficial, these are the WHL players still in NHL camps as of Thursday evening, not including 20-year-olds:
Brandon Wheat Kings — D Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia Flyers.
Calgary Hitmen — D Jake Bean, Carolina Hurricanes; F Matteo Gennaro, Winnipeg Jets; F Jordy Stallard, Winnipeg Jets.
Everett Silvertips — D Noah Juulsen, Montreal Canadiens.
Kelowna Rockets — F Nick Merkley, Arizona Coyotes.
Lethbridge Hurricanes — F Giorgio Estephan, Buffalo Sabres.
Prince Albert Raiders — D Brendan Guhle, Buffalo Sabres.
Prince George Cougars — F Jesse Gabrielle, Boston Bruins; F Jansen Harkins, Winnipeg Jets.
Red Deer Rebels — F Michael Spacek, Winnipeg Jets.
Regina Pats — F Austin Wagner, Los Angeles Kings.
Seattle Thunderbirds — F Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders; F Keegan Kolesar, Columbus Blue Jackets. (Kolesar will miss about six weeks after undergoing surgery for a supraumbilical hernia this week.)
Swift Current Broncos — F Colby Sissons, New Jersey Devils.
Vancouver Giants — F Tyler Benson, Edmonton Oilers.
Victoria Royals — D Chaz Reddekopp, Los Angeles Kings.
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D Connor Hobbs has been returned to the Regina Pats by the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Apparently, he is OK after taking a hard hit from behind from F Andrew Shaw of the Montreal Canadiens in an exhibition game on Tuesday night. The NHL slapped Shaw with a three-game suspension on Thursday. Yes, he will miss three exhibition games. Because they are exhibition games, he won’t even lose any money. . . . Stop laughing!
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JUST NOTES:

The Calgary Hitmen have their roster down to 26 after releasing F Brayden 
Brown, 19, and F Bryce Platt, 18. . . . Brown, from Calgary, was pointless in two games with the Hitmen. He had eight points, including five goals, with the Edmonton Oil Kings in 2014-15. Last season, he played three games with the Oil Kings and 12 with the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks. . . . Platt is form Regina. He had seven points, four of them goals, in 34 games with the Hitmen last season. This season, he had one assist in two games. . . . 
F Reid Gardiner, who is eligible to return the the Prince Albert Raiders for his 20-year-old season, has been in camp with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. On Thursday, he was sent to their AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. . . .
F Brett Howden, just back from the camp of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, has been named captain of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . 
F Matt Campese, who was released last week by the Kamloops Blazers, will play for the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Campese, who turns 19 on Dec. 10, had 10 goals and six assists in 95 regular-season WHL games, 79 with Kamloops and 16 with the Victoria Royals. . . .
The Everett Silvertips have released D Gianni Fairbrother from their roster and he will play for the Vancouver-Northwest Giants of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Fairbrother, who turns 16 on Sept. 30, was the CSSHL Elite 15’s top defenceman last season while with the Burnaby Winter Club. He got into three playoff games with the Silvertips last season. He was a fourth-round selection in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . 
F Jaeger White, 18, has joined the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. White, who is from Medicine Hat, had been released by the Brandon Wheat Kings. In 84 regular-season WHL games — he also played with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Everett Silvertips — he had five goals and 15 assists.
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Got a tip or some information you feel could be useful to me, feel free to email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
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Coaching
Jay Varady, a former coach with the Everett Silvertips, has been named head coach of the U.S. Junior Selects, a team that will compete in the 2016 World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alta., Dec. 11-17. . . . Varady, from Cahokia, Ill., is in his fourth season as the head coach of the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. He was the head coach of the U.S. team that won the 2014 World Junior A Challenge. He was with the Everett Silvertips for eight seasons (2003-11), serving as an assistant coach, associate coach and interim head coach during his time there. . . . Chris Hartsburg, the head coach of the USHL’s Lincoln Stars, will be one of Varady’s assistant coaches. He spent four seasons (2009-12) as an assistant coach in Everett.
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THURSDAY’S GAMES:

No Games Scheduled.
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FRIDAY GAMES (all times local):

Kootenay at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Red Deer at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Everett at Portland, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Regina, 7 p.m.
Seattle vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.
Kamloops at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

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