CHL

Top Talent on Show at CHL Prospects Game

Team Cherry practices Monday night.

Team Cherry practices Monday night.

While Seth Jones is ready to lock horns with Nathan MacKinnon, the two continue to duel for the number one spot overall, Jonathan Drouin has been increasingly talked about for the top spot and Wednesday’s CHL Top Prospects game will give fans a chance to see the top three in action.

With the puck ready to drop in Halifax, we take a look at the top five players – who aren’t Halifax Mooseheads – to keep your eye on at the Metro Centre.

Sean Monahan

Sean Monahan

5. Sean Monahan, C (Ottawa 67’s, OHL) Team Orr – Slated to go in the top 5 in the upcoming draft, despite a 10-game suspension in November for a hit, he has continued to build on early season hype even with his team sitting at the cellar of the OHL.

4. Jason Dickinson, LW (Guelph Storm, OHL) Team Cherry – A Top 20 prospect, Dickinson has already matched his stats from last year and the talented forward is looking to continue to impress. He has he creativity to compete at the next level and isn’t afraid to mix it up in the corners.

Darnell Nurse

3. Darnell Nurse, D (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL) Team Cherry – In a year with Seth Jones, Nurse would be the top defenceman drafted, the 6-foot-5 Hamilton, Ont. native uses his size to his advantage, playing a physical game but has already racked up 27 points this season.

2. Valentin Zykov, RW (Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL) Team Cherry – The young Russian forward continues to build on a strong start, being named the Q Star of the week this past week after 10 points in three games. He’s already picked up 17 points in January, helping his team to second in the QMJHL.

Jones

Seth Jones

1. Seth Jones, D (Portland Winterhawks, WHL) Team Orr – Currently the consensus top pick in the upcoming NHL draft, he’s got the whole package:  Big, Talented and strong both ways. Now that he’s also a World Junior winner, the Portland Winterhawks are hoping he can help lead them to a Memorial Cup before he jets off to the NHL.

Throw in the trio of Nathan Mackinnon, Jonathan Drouin and top draft goalie prospect Zachary Fucale and fans in Halifax are getting ready for some exciting hockey.

MacKinnon and Jones are Captains of their respective teams, while Drouin, Nurse, Monahan and Hunter Shinkaruk have been named Alternates.

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Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and Host of the The Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets about sports far too much.

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Golden Ticket for Mooseheads Duo

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By: Henry Whitfield

(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

With a packed Metro Centre awaiting news anxiously, the final cuts were made to the Canadian World Junior team and both Mooseheads were left standing.

The dynamic duo of Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin have been wowing crowds at the Metro Centre for a while now, this time they will have a chance to wow the world when they make the trip to Ufa, Russia.

The NHL lockout meant that spots were even more limited than usual, especially for a pair of 17 year olds, but MacKinnon and Drouin did enough to impress Team Canada and beat out Daniel Catenacci, Mark McNeil, Hunter Shinkaruk and Tom Wilson for the final forward spots.

Next up for Team Canada will be a warm up game against Finland on December 20th, before meeting defending World Junior Champion Sweden in the final tune up before the tournament kicks off on Boxing Day.

Canada will open the tournament with games against Germany, Slovakia and continental rival Team USA before a tough final group game against Russia.

[Notes: Czech Republic Forward Marty Frk will also be in Ufa, representing his home country – – The Mooseheads prevailed in a 3 – 1 win over the PEI Rockets, despite missing their top three forwards, lead by rookie Dominic Beauchemin’s two goal performance – – The Mooseheads host Acadie Bathurst Titans Friday night before heading on the road for a pair of games]

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Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the The Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game. 

The Hannay Effect

By: Henry Whitfield

(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

A month or so ago, I would have laughed you out of the room you’d told me Sawyer Hannay would be in the Mooseheads lineup before Christmas.

I’ll apologize now, for now, as Hannay looks to be back into the Mooseheads lineup and we’re still a month away from the return of Santa Claus and mistletoe.

In a bit of a whirlwind, the Vancouver Canuck draft pick returned from Austria and looked to be on the trade block with Stefan Fournier, Konrad Abeltshauser and Steve Gillard locked into the three overage spots.

But a wrist injury to Abeltshauser opened the pathway for a return to the Mooseheads, with Hannay tweeting his return on Wednesday:

While it’s uncertain when Hannay will jump into the lineup, his return will add some toughness to a team that is heavy on talent and a little short on truculence.

With so much talent up front, the addition of Hannay fills a void that can help this team weather the World Junior Storm; when top talent Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin and Zachary Fucale could be across the world in Ufa, Russia.

In the end, what’s worst that could happen?

Added veteran leadership on a young, talented hockey team.

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Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the The Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

Moose Talk Monday

Fucale has carried a heavy workload so far in Halifax.

(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

MooseTalk Monday

Weekend Recap

A busy weekend saw the young Herd playing three games in three nights, Drummondville Friday, Quebec Saturday and Rimouski on Sunday.

After digging deep to beat Drummondville Friday, the Moose were rolled over Saturday against the Remparts, losing 6-1 in a game that saw the Quebec team dominate from start to finish.

Sunday the Mooseheads responded with a big effort, scrapping together a 2-1 win over the Rimouski, a game that saw Andrew Ryan score his first goal of the season after breaking his ankle in training camp.

The Mooseheads had five different scorers over the weekend, with Ryan making an instant impact in his return to the lineup. The second-year forward, a former 19th overall pick in the QMJHL draft, was a -1 over the weekend.

Nathan MacKinnon failed to hit the back of the net all weekend, but chipped in three assists and now trails Mikhail Grigorenko by six points in the Rookie scoring race and sits 13th overall in the Q.

Zachary Fucale started all three games, but was pulled for the final 12-minutes against the Remparts. Fucale stopped 84 shots over the weekend, picking up his 10th win over the season over Rimouski on Sunday.

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Injury Update

Martin Frk [F] – Concussion

Trey Lewis [D] – Concussion*

Steve Gillard [D]  – Concussion*

Darcy Ashley [F]  – Concussion*

Anthony Terenzio [G] – Concussion

*Concussion like symptoms

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Team Leaders

Goals – MacKinnon (12)

Assists – MacKinnon (23)

+/- – Desmond (+9)

PIM – Hannay (47)

Shots – MacKinnon (84)

Faceoffs – Andrews (59%)

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The Halifax Mooseheads sit 6th in the QMJHL and hold a 15-7-1-1 record, but have played the least amount of games of all QMJHL teams with just 24. Their next game is Thursday night, when they host provincial rival Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Monday Morning at 10am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

What is MacKinnon worth?

How much is 'the next Sidney Crosby' worth? (Photo Credit: Hockey Canada)

By: Henry Whitfield

What is Nathan MacKinnon worth?

Baie-Commeau is publicly saying that they will not be trading away their top pick, but it is apparent that no guarantee from the young star has yet to be made.

Every team in the league will have contacted Steve Ahern and let them know they’re interested, but what is the right price for the next Sidney Crosby?

While it would be great to land someone as talented as MacKinnon, many players have been dubbed the second coming only to fizzle out and be a flop.

The great Alexander Daigle, drafted first by the Senators in 1999 anyone? Wisely chosen ahead of Saku Koivu, Chris Pronger and Paul Kariya.

Or

How about Hall of Fame Sam Bowie in the NBA 1984 draft, picked ahead of little known players like Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins and Charles Barkley.

Frk and Abeltshauser are locked in as the Mooseheads two Euro players. (Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

Nonetheless, the question is whether a team like the Halifax Mooseheads mortgage their future for a shot at this would-be stud? Is the price of Carl Gelinas,Andrew Ryan, Simon Desmarais and draft picks too much to give up?

The pressure is immense, a team that has floundered and found itself the worst team in the CHL over the last few seasons.

However, the Mooseheads have a roster stocked with young talent, a brand new head coach who knows what he is doing and a general manager who pulled all the right moves last year.

With a first-round pick (11th overall) in the CHL Import draft to move around and five picks in the top 50, the Mooseheads should be able to move this team forward to build a winner.

Don’t get me wrong, picking up MacKinnon would be huge for the young Herd, imagine Frk and MacKinnon on the same line, but is it worth taking five steps back only to take a few steps forward?

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Henry is a contributor to Sportstream.ca and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU every Tuesday Morning at 11. You can follow him on twitter at HenryWhitfield, where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

Lotto Balls, Draft Picks, oh my!

With the Lottery this evening on TSN, the debate for who will be the number one picked player in this years NHL draft is in full flight.

Whether it is their high level or skill or similar first names, there is very little between Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall.

Hall – 40 Goals, 66 assists, 106 points in 57 games played, with a +46 rating

Seguin– 48 Goals, 57 Assists, 106 points in 63 games played, with a +17 rating

Seguin posted solid numbers and a great season while playing for a team that was barren of much offense that wasnt from his own stick. Where as, Hall was surrounded by a strong team which resulted in a ridiculously high plus/minus of +46.

With that sorted, here is how I think the Lottery will finish, yes I know its random, and who each team will pick up:

1.  Edmonton Oilers (48.2%), Taylor Hall – Unfortunately for them they were full of small, skilled forwards this year and still finished last. I feel they’d benefit by trading this pick and move down to pick up a defenseman.

2.  Florida Panthers (14.2%), Tyler Seguin – They will be excited to move up and they need a new franchise player to build around after losing both Lou and JayBow in recent years.

3. Boston via Toronto (18.8%) – Erik Gudbranson – Boston has a habit of liking big defencemen, and this 6-3, 201lbs blueliner will have them licking their lips.

4.  Columbus (10.7%) – Cam Fowler – Too bad Hitchcock is gone, because this defenceman is something he’d of given his left leg for earlier in the season. Fowler is a defensive stud and will help shore up a weak blue line.

5. New York Islanders (8.1%) – Brandon Gormley– With Tavares and Moulson showing they have the offensive touch, the Islanders will pick up a defencemen, and Gormley will be a great defenceman for years to come. He’s been an absolute stud for Moncton this year and one of their best players on a start studded team.

Feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree!