Monday, October 3, 2016

Three WHLers get NHL deals . . . Iconic BCHL franchise sold . . . Lots of WHL roster moves

F Carson McMillan (Calgary, 2005-09) has signed a one-year contract with Esbjerg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, he was the captain of the Idaho Steelheads (ECHL). He had 19 goals and 15 assists in 70 games. . . . 
F Jonas Johansson (Kamloops, 2002-04) has signed a one-year contract with Gherdëina (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, he had three goals and seven assists in 21 games with the Stavanger Oilers (Norway, GET-Ligaen), three assists in seven games with the SønderjyskE Vojens (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), and four goals and four assists in 12 games with Troja-Ljungby (Sweden, Division 1). . . . 
F Petr Kalus (Regina, 2005-06) has signed a tryout agreement with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had been released by Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga) on Sept. 29 after going pointless in three games.
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The Prince George Cougars, flying high at 6-0-0 for the first time in franchise history, dropped three players from their roster on Monday. . . . D Jonas Harkins, 16, will join the Prince George-based Cariboo Cougars of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. D Cole Moberg, who turns 16 on Oct. 17, is off to the Vancouver-Northwest Giants of the BCMMHL. F Brendan Kochanski, 17, is expected to play for the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. . . . Harkins was a second-round selection in the 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he had nine points, eight of them assists, in 37 games with Cariboo. He is the son of Cougars general manager Todd Harkins and the younger brother of Cougars F Jansen Harkins. . . . Moberg played last season for the North Shore Winter Club’s midget AAA side, putting up 48 points, including 21 goals, in 57 games. . . . Last season, Kochanski had 18 points, including eight goals, in 37 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers. He is from Winnipeg. . . . The moves get the Cougars down to 27 players, including two goaltenders and nine defencemen.
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The Red Deer Rebels have acquired D Jared Freadrich, 18, from the Regina Pats for a fourth-round selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. The draft pick had belonged to the Swift Current Broncos; the Rebels acquired it in a trade for F Scott Feser in 2015. . . . A fourth-round pick by the Pats in the 2013 bantam draft, Freadrich has five goals and 16 assists in 61 career regular-season games. . . . The Rebels also dropped F Ben Hiltz, 17, from their roster. Hiltz is from Weyburn, Sask., and will play this season with the SJHL’s Red Wings.
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G Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers, who selected him in the second round of the 2016 NHL draft. . . . From Sherwood Park, Alta., Hart is going into his third season with Everett. Last season, he was the CHL’s goaltender of the year after going 35-23-4, 2.14 .918. He also put up six shutouts. . . . According to generalfanager.com, Hart’s contract calls for NHL salaries of US$742,500, $792,500 and $842,500, with an AHL salary of $70,000 each season. The first year of the contract includes $182,500 in performance bonuses with the next two carrying $132,500 and $82,500. There also is a signing bonus of $277,500, payable in three annual instalments of $92,500.
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You can bet that there were a lot of smiles around the Swift Current Broncos on Monday. That’s because two of their defencemen — Max Lajoie and Colby Sissons — signed three-year entry-level NHL contracts. . . . Lajoie, who turns 19 on Nov. 5, signed with the Ottawa Senators, who selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2016 draft. The Broncos selected him in the fifth round of the 2012 bantam draft. He is into his third season in Swift Current. Last season, he had 37 points, eight of them goals, in 62 games. . . . According to generalfanager.com, Lajoie’s contract calls for an NHL salary of US$730,000 in each of the three seasons, with AHL salaries of $60,000, $65,000 and $67,500. There are $70,000 in performance bonuses each season and a $240,000 signing bonus, payable in three annual $80,000 instalments. . . . Sissons, an 18-year-old from Edmonton, signed with the New Jersey Devils after attending camp as a free-agent invitee. Last season, as a freshman, he had 22 points, including three goals, in 71 games with the Broncos. In 74 career games, he has 24 points, four of them goals. Sissons wasn’t selected in the WHL bantam draft. . . . According to generalfanager.com, Sissons’ deal includes NHL salaries of US$610,000, $690,000 and $690,000, with the AHL salaries set at $55,000, $55,000 and $60,000. There is a signing bonus of $105,000, payable in $35,000, $40,000 and $40,000 annual instalments.
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The Lethbridge Hurricanes have acquired D Brennan Riddle, 19, from the Prince Albert Raiders for a sixth-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. . . . The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Riddle was a first-round selection by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2012 bantam draft. He played from 2012-14 with the midget AAA Tisdale, Sask., Trojans. . . . In 111 games with the Raiders, he had 10 assists. Last season, in 50 games, he had four assists.
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The Portland Winterhawks have signed defencemen Nick Cicek and Darren Gisti. . . . Cicek, 16, was a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he had 36 points, including 11 goals, for the Winnipeg Monarchs of the Winnipeg City Midget Hockey League. . . . Gisti, 17, also played in the WCMHL last season, putting up 35 points, 18 of them goals, in 30 games. He will play this season with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. Portland add him to its protected list in August. . . . The Winterhawks open a six-game swing through the East Division tonight (Tuesday) against the Swift Current Broncos.
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The Kamloops Blazers got their roster down to 24 on Monday by releasing F Brodi Stuart, 16, and D Tylor Ludwar, 17. . . . Stuart, from Langley, B.C., will join the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. A fourth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft, he had two assists in four exhibition games and was pointless in one regular-season game. . . . Ludwar, who was pointless in four exhibition games, is to join the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. He is from Regina.
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Players who were returned to WHL teams by NHL teams on the weekend:
Calgary Hitmen — F Matteo Gennaro, Winnipeg Jets; F Jordy Stallard, Winnipeg Jets.
Everett Silvertips — D Noah Juulsen, Montreal Canadiens.
Kelowna Rockets — F Nick Merkley, Arizona Coyotes.
Prince George Cougars — F Jansen Harkins, Winnipeg Jets; F Jesse Gabrielle, Boston Bruins.
Red Deer Rebels — F Michael Spacek, Winnipeg Jets.
Regina Pats — F Austin Wagner, Los Angeles Kings.
Swift Current Broncos — F Colby Sissons, New Jersey Devils.
Vancouver Giants — F Tyler Benson, Edmonton Oilers.
Victoria Royals — D Chaz Redekopp, Los Angeles Kings.
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By my count, and it’s strictly unofficial, these are the WHL players still in NHL camps, not including 20-year-olds:
Brandon Wheat Kings — D Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia Flyers.
Calgary Hitmen — D Jake Bean, Carolina Hurricanes.
Lethbridge Hurricanes — F Giorgio Estephan, Buffalo Sabres.
Prince Albert Raiders — D Brendan Guhle, Buffalo Sabres.
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 last week.)
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Barret Jackman is expected to make it official today — he is retiring after playing 876 regular-season NHL games and 53 playoff games. He played four seasons (1997-2001) with the Regina Pats. I was at the Regina Leader-Post for a lot of Jackman’s time with the Pats and I have often said he was one of the toughest players I have seen in the WHL. I don’t know of anyone who could match him in a one-on-one puck battle in any corner. Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has more right here
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BCHLThe BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters, one of the great organizations in Canada’s hockey history, have been sold. The franchise’s board of directors has said it will hold a public information session today (Tuesday) at which it will provide some details of the sale. . . . “The hockey club has been for sale for over a year now,” Tom Gawryletz, the club’s president, told the Nelson Daily. “We want to keep the team in Trail and this sale makes that possible. The buyer’s interest is in the team, the players and investing in our community, and not in making a large profit.” . . . Gawryletz told Kari Lee Campbell the identity of the buyer, who lives in Minnesota, won’t be revealed. “This will not be a disclosure meeting,” he said. “The intent is to provide information, explain our decision and why we have moved in this direction. We would not have moved in this direction if we didn't feel it is a positive move for the team and for the city.”
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JUST NOTES:

The Spokane Chiefs named D Tyson Helgesen, 19, as their captain. Helgesen, from Fairview, Alta., is into his third season with the Chiefs. . . .
The Lethbridge Hurricanes dropped F Jayden Davis, who turns 17 on Nov. 14, from their roster on Monday. He is expected to join the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. Davis, from Alameda, Sask., had one assist in two games with the Hurricanes. Lethbridge is down to 24 players, including two goaltenders and eight defencemen. . . . 
The Swift Current Broncos have dropped F Josh Baker, 17, from their roster. He is likely to play this season with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. The Broncos selected him in the eighth round of the 2014 bantam draft. Last season, Baker, who is from Edmonton, had 46 points, including 32 goals, in 36 games with OHA Edmonton’s prep team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. . . .
The Moose Jaw Warriors have released sophomore F Landon Quinney, 18. From Las Vegas, Quinney had 16 points, three of them goals, in 69 games with the Warriors last season. He is the younger brother of Gage Quinney, who played out his junior eligibility with the Kamloops Blazers last season. . . . Their father, Ken, played four seasons (1981-85) with the Calgary Wranglers. . . .
The Kootenay Ice has its roster at 24 players after dropping F Jared Legien, 18. From Pilot Butte, Sask., Legien is expected to end up with a team in the SJHL. . . . The ninth overall selection in the 2013 bantam draft, Legien has nine points, including four goals, in 84 career regular-season games with the Ice. . . . The roster includes three goaltenders and seven defencemen.
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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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MONDAY’S GAMES:

No Games Scheduled.
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TUESDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Moose Jaw vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Portland at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

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