Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sea Dogs sign overage goaltender

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The Saint John Sea Dogs made a bit of an unexpected move on Monday, signing free agent goaltender Cody Porter.

The overage netminder - he'll turn 20 on Saturday - comes to Saint John after spending his entire junior career in the Western Hockey League. According to a team press release, he's expected to be available for Thursday's season opener at Harbour Station.

Porter has appeared in 117 career WHL games with the Vancouver Giants and Calgary Hitmen, recording a 52-42-5-4 record to go along with a 3.30 goals-against average and a .887 save percentage.

Last season, Porter appeared in 34 games with the Hitmen, posting a 14-16-2-1 record with a 3.46 GAA and a .888 SV%.

Goaltender Alex D'Orio was reassigned to the Sea Dogs by the Pittsburgh Penguins this week. D'Orio's backup would, presumably, have been Matthew Williams. Now, it appears the team's duo will be D'Orio and Porter, but we'll see what happens.

Update: Williams was injured during the preseason, according to a source.

If the plan is to have Porter backup or platoon with D'Orio, it will no doubt take a bit of pressure off D'Orio, who will enter his first season as a No. 1 goaltender.

Porter joins defenceman Bailey Webster and forward Cole Reginato as overage players on this year's team.

Saint John begins regular season play on Thursday night at 7 p.m. against the Halifax Mooseheads.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Harbour Station raises cost of parking

Parking at Saint John Sea Dogs games just got a bit pricier.

In an email sent out this afternoon, Harbour Station announced it would be raising the price of event parking by $1. The price increase begins this Thursday when the Sea Dogs begin regular season play against the Halifax Mooseheads.

Here's the full email:

The cost of special event parking on Harbour Station lots is going up by one dollar. The increase becomes effective with the Saint John Sea Dogs home opener this Thursday night (September 21). 
It’s been almost 20 years since the event parking price was last increased. The change reflects increases in labour and maintenance costs.

No specific prices were included, so, presumably, the main lot will now cost $4 and long wharf $3.

Coincidently, the Saint John Parking Commission tweeted this recently:
Safe travels.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pare, D'Orio reassigned to Saint John

It appears the Saint John Sea Dogs will have their full roster available for Thursday's season opener at Harbour Station.

A day after the Edmonton Oilers reassigned Ostap Safin to Saint John, the Boston Bruins have sent Cedric Pare back to the Sea Dogs and the Pittsburgh Penguins have returned Alex D'Orio to the Port City as well.

All three will likely be available when the Sea Dogs begin regular season play on Thursday night, hosting the Halifax Mooseheads.

Pare was a sixth-round pick of the Bruins in this year's NHL Draft. The 18-year-old will be entering his second full season with the Sea Dogs and will be a much more prominent figure on the team with the departure of so many veterans.

D'Orio recently signed with the Penguins as a free agent after joining the team for development and rookie camps. Like Pare, he'll be entering his second full season in Saint John - but this time as the No. 1 netminder.

Safin, Pare and D'Orio will be the only NHL affiliated players on the Sea Dogs to start the season, which is pretty good considering the amount of roster turnover. The team also features Joe Veleno of course, a likely first round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Oilers return Safin to Saint John

Ostap Safin is Saint John bound.

The Edmonton Oilers announced on Sunday that Safin has been reassigned to his junior club, the Sea Dogs. The Czech forward skated briefly at Harbour Station before departing for Oilers camp but has not seen any game action - regular or preseason - with Saint John.

Safin is expected to make his Sea Dogs debut this Thursday when the team hosts the Halifax Mooseheads to begin the 2017-18 regular season.

The 18-year-old was selected 53rd overall by Saint John in this year's CHL Import Draft. He was also a fourth-round pick of Edmonton in this year's NHL Draft.

Safin will join fellow Czech Radim Salda to make up the Sea Dogs' import duo.

Safin will likely suit up for the Czech Republic at this year's world junior tournament in Buffalo.

The Sea Dogs are still without goaltender Alex D'Orio (Pittsburgh) and forward Cedric Pare (Boston) due to NHL training camps. There's a good chance both will be returned to junior for Thursday's season opener.

Photo: Edmonton Oilers Twitter

Veleno ranked 5th by Bob McKenzie

Saint John Sea Dogs forward Joe Veleno will start the season as the top ranked Canadian player for the 2018 NHL Draft, at least according to TSN's Bob McKenzie.

McKenzie's preseason rankings, which are usually fairly accurate come June, ranks Veleno as the fifth best player for the 2018 draft.

The Sea Dogs forward sits behind Rasmus Dahlin (Sweden), Andrei Svechnikov (Russia), Brady Tkachuk (United States) and Adam Boqvist (Sweden). 

Filip Zadina (seventh), Jared McIsaac (11th) and Benoit-Olivier Groulx (17th), who all play for the Halifax Mooseheads, were the only other QMJHL players to make McKenzie's rankings.
TSN's Craig Button released his latest draft rankings a couple weeks ago, placing Veleno ninth.

"Has great determination and desire to make a difference," Button wrote of Veleno. "His abilities are very good and he makes it hard for opponents to defend him."

Veleno was ranked eighth in The Bloggers' Tribune's September rankings.

Something to prove

By Craig Eagles | Special to SN

What did you do this summer?

Cedric Pare had something to prove.

The Boston Bruins sixth-round selection worked extremely hard over the summer months and is now anxiously awaiting the start of main camp.

“I was in the gym five days a week for two hours, I worked all summer to get ready for my season and Bruins camp,” said Pare.

The Bruins organization keyed in on Pare’s skating as one area that needed to improve.

“They told me to work on my explosiveness, and build strength and that’s what I focused on all summer,” added Pare. “I power skated three times a week, and followed a nutritional plan, that’s helped me a lot this off season,” Pare said.

Pare thoroughly enjoyed the B’s Development Camp in July and credits that experience with added incentive for the off-season.

“I really saw what I need to do to become a professional, from a nutrition plan, stretching, and what I needed to work on and improve during the summer,” explained Pare.

Don Sweeney’s main directive from the beginning of his tenure as GM has been to draft well and develop players. A subtle but key addition to the Bruins organization was Jamie Langenbrunner. The two-time Stanley Cup Champion joined the Bruins organization in September 2015 as the Player Development Coordinator.

“Jamie is a good guy, he knows what all the players need to work on, he’s fun to talk to and knows the game very well,” Pare said. “The Bruins have given me a lot of feedback and they are very close with their players. We have a lot fun with the coaches on and off the ice,” explained Pare.

Pare wants to make a great impression at main camp and to continue to build on the momentum from a great off season and solid performance at Development Camp and Prospects Challenge Tournament this past week.

“I’m expecting a competitive camp with a lot speed. I’m going to play my game and have some fun,” said Pare.