Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sea Dogs At Development Camps

Minnesota Wild prospects are not currently at a development camp. Instead, many of them are taking part in a summer road tour with the club. Charlie Coyle is one of the trippers.

"I haven't ever experienced anything like this before," Coyle told the New Ulm Journal on Wednesday. "This has always been a dream of mine and so far the experience has been great."

The road trip ended on Thursday. All of the details can be found on the Wild website.

Ottawa Senators development camp began on Tuesday and runs until Monday. Former Sea Dogs forward Mike Hoffman, who made his National Hockey League debut last season, is once again at the camp.

Hoffman scored in Thursday’s scrimmage as he skated on the top line with Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

“He was, as mentioned, on the top line of the scrimmage, and he scored the lone goal during actual play (I think Cole Schneider scored on a penalty shot, but I can't say for sure; didn't get a good look),” writes Peter Raaymakers of Silver Sevens. “Hoffman had a good level of intensity all game, and he's got flow that would make Milan Michalek jealous. He led the B-Sens in scoring last year, and will turn a few heads in Ottawa's training camp.”

Hoffman registered 21 goals and 28 assists with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators last year.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Villemaire Signs With Coyotes

It's looking like Maxime Villemaire’s days with the Saint John Sea Dogs are over. He tweeted this earlier today.
Mikael Lalancette of TVA Sports has more on the signing.

Being pro eligible this season, Villemaire will likely play for the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates or the East Coast Hockey League’s Gwinnett Gladiators.  

The Sea Dogs acquired Villemaire in a trade with the Drummondville Voltigeurs during the holiday trading period. He proved to be a valuable part of the Dogs much like Alexandre Beauregard was the year before.

He was only in Saint John for a few months but managed to have one of the most bizarre Sea Dogs careers ever. He played his first game with the Dogs on January 4 against Gatineau and scored a goal. He then left the club to think about his future and did not return to action until February 3. As it turned out, Villemaire did not sign his player card prior to playing in that game against the Olympiques and the Dogs were stripped of a – at the time – crucial win/two points.

Villemaire played 16 games with Saint John during the regular season, registering eight goals and three assists. He added another three helpers in 13 playoff games as he helped the Sea Dogs capture the President’s Cup.

The Lasalle, Quebec native played one-and-a-half seasons with Drummondville before being traded to Saint John.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Corbeil Nets Invite To Canucks Camp

Former Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender Mathieu Corbeil will be taking part in Vancouver Canucks development camp this week. According to the Canucks website, the five-day camp runs through Canada Day weekend.

Corbeil will be part of Group B who will take to the ice for the first time on Friday morning at Rogers Arena. Other notables taking part in the camp are Alexandre Carrier, Jeremie Blain, and Alexandre Mallet.

The 20-year old was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fourth round of the 2010 NHL Draft. He was not signed by the Blue Jackets and was not drafted again, meaning he is free to try and a land a contract elsewhere. An invite to Canucks development camp is certainly a good start.

“Corbeil had excellent numbers the past two seasons for the powerhouse Saint John team, but the club believes the numbers he posted in Halifax prior to coming to the Sea Dogs are a better reflection of his talent,” wrote Chris Roberts of Hockey’s Future on Tuesday. “Regardless, given the lack of goaltending depth in the organization, it is a bit of a surprise that Corbeil wasn’t tendered.”

Corbeil went 37-10-1 with Saint John this past season with a 2.38 goals against average and a 0.911 save percentage. In the playoffs he had a record of 16-0-1 with a 2.18 GAA and a 0.917 save percentage. He was average at the Memorial Cup, going 2-2 with a 3.51 GAA and a 0.881 save percentage.

Canucks development camp has had quite a bit of Sea Dogs flavour over the past few years with Yann Sauve, Steven Anthony, and Karel St. Laurent. None of those players will be at camp this year.

Sea Dogs add forward, defence in import draft

The 2012 CHL Import Draft has wrapped up, and the Saint John Sea Dogs have added a pair of teammates. With their first selection, 34th overall (acquired from Rimouski), the Dogs selected Slovenian d-man Jurij Repe. Then, with their own first round pick, 52nd overall, Saint John drafted Czech winger Jakub Izacky. 

According to the indispensable Elite Prospects, the 1994-born Repe is a 6-foot-2, 198-pound defender who suited up for HC Trinec in the Czech junior league this year. His birthday is just two days short of the cut off for this year’s NHL Entry Draft, so he’ll be one of, if not the oldest player eligible for the 2013 draft.

Izacky is listed as a left winger, and played with Repe in Trinec this season. His offensive production was relatively poor, ranking 9th among forwards in team scoring. Izacky was rated 39th among European forwards in the final ranking from Central Scouting, down from 23rd at mid-term, but went undrafted. He’ll be an age-19 player this season.

CHL Import Draft: A Look Back

It’s Import Draft day in the Canadian Hockey League.

It is on this day that your team drafts players you have probably never heard of from teams you don’t you know from places you can’t locate on a map. Good times.

The Sea Dogs are expected to pick twice today to replace Stanislav Galiev and Tomas Jurco. Saint John currently owns picks 34, 52, and 112. The Sea Dogs have made six picks all time at the Import Draft and, if nothing changes, this will be just the second time that the franchise has picked a player not in the top five.

So let’s take a look back at the Sea Dogs’ previous European picks.

2005: 5th overall - Martin Bartos
Saint John’s first ever import pick, Bartos played just one season with Saint John, recording 11 goals and 17 assists in 43 matches. He was traded to Bathurst prior to the 2006-07 season in exchange for goaltender Maxime Joyal and a third round draft pick. Ugh.

Bartos registered 81 points with the Titan in 06-07 and another eight in the playoffs. He headed top Europe the following year.

According to Elite Prospects, he played in Austria last season and had 14 points in 13 games.

2005: 41st overall - Felix Schutz
Schutz had 52 points in 65 games during his rookie campaign with the Sea Dogs in 2005-06. He was drafted in the fourth round, 117th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2006 NHL Draft.

Schutz registered 11 points in 18 games with the Sea Dogs during the first half of the 2006-07 season. He was traded to the Val-d’Or Foreurs during the holiday trading period for Alexandre Leduc and Bruno Desjardins.  The German had 33 points in 27 games with Val-d’Or and then added another 15 points during the Foreurs’ 20-game playoff run.

According to Elite Prospects, Schutz played in Europe in 2007-08 before heading back overseas to play with the Sabres’ American Hockey League affiliate at the time, the Portland Pirates. He played two seasons with the Pirates before returning to play in Germany.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

CHL Import Draft Tomorrow

The Saint John Sea Dogs roster revamp will continue tomorrow morning when the 2012 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft takes place. The draft, done online, begins at 10am Atlantic.

As the CHL website explains, “the two-round draft will take place online with the order of selection rotating through each of the CHL’s three leagues using an inverse order of final regular season standings from the 2011-12 season.  Each team in the CHL is permitted to carry two European import players each season who are selected annually through the CHL Import Draft.  Teams are permitted to trade draft picks up to and during the CHL Import Draft process with the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats currently holding the number one pick acquired by trade with the Sherbrooke Phoenix.  The WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders currently hold the second selection, followed by the OHL’s Erie Otters at number three.”

The Sea Dogs currently hold three picks in the draft so they do have the option of moving a pick if they so wish. They have two first round selections (34th and 52nd) and a second round pick (112th). Their top pick, 34th overall, was originally Rimouski’s pick but was acquired via trade in January.

Whoever Saint John picks tomorrow, they have some big shoes to fill. Stanislav Galiev and Tomas Jurco, both of whom have become legit NHL prospects, played major roles with the Sea Dogs over the past three years.

The Sea Dogs haven’t made a selection in the Import Draft since 2009 when they picked Galiev first overall and Jurco fourth overall. They've made six picks all-time at the Import Draft.

In franchise history, the Sea Dogs have selected four forwards, a defenseman, and a goaltender. Saint John currently has room at every position so they have a lot of possibilities tomorrow.

There are also plenty of questions heading into the draft. Will the Sea Dogs trade up? Will they draft a younger player they can get a few years out of or will they pick an older player? Will we be able to locate their hometown on a map? How many vowels will their name have?

Moncton has the first overall pick and Cape Breton picks seventh. There is going to some solid talent in the Maritimes Division next season.

Photo credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Saturday, June 23, 2012

19 Q Players Picked In NHL Draft

A total of 19 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League players were selected in the 2012 National Hockey League Draft. The Quebec Remparts’ Mikhail Grigorenko was the only QMJHL player selected in Friday’s first round (unless you include Stefan Matteau) while the rest were selected in today’s two through seven rounds.

Via Even Strength, here’s who got picked where.

12th overall - Buffalo - Mikhail Grigorenko (Quebec)
46th overall - Minnesota - Raphael Bussieres (Baie-Comeau)
48th overall - Chicago - Dillon Fournier (Rouyn-Noranda)
49th overall - Detroit - Martin Frk (Halifax)
57th overall - Vancouver - Alexandre Mallet (Rimouski)
88th overall - Phoenix - James Melindy (Moncton)
101st overall - Tampa Bay - Cedric Paquette (Blainville-Boisbriand)
103rd overall - New York Islanders - Loic Leduc (Cape Breton)
108th overall - Anaheim - Andrew O'Brien (Chicoutimi)
109th overall - San Jose - Christophe Lalancette (Bathurst)
122nd overall - Montreal - Charles Hudon (Chicoutimi)
124th overall - Calgary - Ryan Culkin (Quebec)
146th overall - St. Louis - Francois Tremblay (Val-D'or)
166th overall - Ottawa - Francois Brassard (Quebec)
171st overall - L.A. - Tomas Hyka (Gatineau)
173rd overall - Pittsburgh - Anton Zlobin (Val-D'or)
174th overall - Florida - Francis Beauvillier (Rimouski)
191st overall - Chicago - Brandon Whitney (Victoriaville)
208th overall - Phoenix - Justin Hache (Cape Breton)

99 Canadian Hockey League players were selected in this year’s NHL Draft. 48 were from the Ontario Hockey League, 32 from the Western Hockey League, and 19 from the QMJHL.

The Remparts led the Q with three players picked.

According to the CHL website, “last season, 101 CHL players were taken in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft including 46 from the OHL, 33 from the WHL, and 22 from the QMJHL.”

Not a huge surprise that no members of the Saint John Sea Dogs were picked. A few players will likely receive invites to camps this fall, though.

One Q Player Selected In First Round

A year after five Quebec Major Junior Hockey League players were selected in the first round of the National Hockey League Draft, only one was selected this year.

At the 2012 NHL Draft on Friday night in Pittsburgh, the Buffalo Sabres selected Quebec Remparts forward Mikhail Grigorenko 12th overall. He would be the only Q player among the top 30 picks. The Russian was the only QMJHL player expected to be selected on the opening day of the draft. A lot had predicted him going around 12th overall.

Grigorenko recorded 40 goals and 45 assists in 59 regular season games in his first season with the Remparts. He struggled in the playoffs – and was suffering from mono – and only registered three goals and seven assists in 11 contests.

“Right or wrong, Grigorenko represents a gamble at this point in time for an NHL team with an early draft pick,” writes Ian Altenbaugh of “While there is a chance that his effort level may never match that of his talent, it is also possible that he could become one of the top scorers on an NHL squad in the very near future. In a business where the future employment of a team's primary decision makers may hang in the balance if such a high profile draft selection busts, it's easy to understand why some teams don't want to risk it.”

Rounds two three seven of the draft take place tomorrow and there will be several QMJHL players picked. Hockey’s Future has a list of the top 10 Q prospects available for this year’s draft.

Of note, Michael Matheson, whose committed to Boston College but whose QMJHL rights are held by the Moncton Wildcats, was selected by the Florida Panthers 23rd overall. Also, the New Jersey Devils' pick at No. 29, Stefan Matteau, will play for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada next year.

As expected, the Edmonton Oilers took forward Nail Yakupov first overall. Eight of the top 10 picks were defensemen. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pre-Season Schedule Released

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has announced the 2012 pre-season schedule.

According to the schedule posted on the league’s website, the Saint John Sea Dogs will play seven exhibition games this year beginning at August 17 at Harbour Station when they host the Prince Edward Island Rocket. The Sea Dogs will play three home games – all of which are believed to be played at Harbour Station.

Saint John will play PEI, Moncton, and Halifax twice and Bathurst once.

Here is the Sea Dogs’ full pre-season schedule.

August 17 at 7:30pm – PEI vs Saint John – Harbour Station
August 18 at 2:00pm – Saint John vs PEI – Pownal Sports Centre
August 22 at at 7pm – Saint John vs Bathurst - Tracadie-Sheila, NB
September 7 at 7pm – Saint John vs Moncton – Amherst Stadium
September 8 at 7pm – Moncton vs Saint John – Harbour Station
September 14 at 7pm – Saint John vs Halifax – Halifax Forum
September 15 at 7pm – Halifax vs Saint John – Harbour Station

The pre-season is stretched out more this year with the regular season starting two weeks later. The 2012-13 campaign begins with Bathurst visiting Saint John on Thursday, September 20.

The Sea Dogs’ pre-season schedule last year consisted of five games that stretched from August 19 to August 31. The regular season started on September 8 a year ago.

This year’s pre-season and training camp should be much more interesting than last year’s with plenty of roster spots up for grabs. The spotlight will likely be on Matthew Highmore, Olivier Leblanc, and whoever the Dogs pick in next week’s CHL Import Draft.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

VIDEO: Playoff Intro

Oh, hello there. Not a whole lot going on in Sea Dogs land right now.

Anyways, here’s the Sea Dogs’ playoff video intro that was posted online yesterday.

Amazing work by Matthew Buckley and the entire SeaDogsTV crew again this year. The videos give us all something to watch during the summer months as we try not to die from the heat.

A couple of contest winners (Telegraph-Journal and puck drop contests) were announced on SeaDogsTV yesterday.

Five Hole For Food is returning to Saint John this summer. This year’s event takes place on Smythe St. (beside Harbour Passage Trail) on Saturday, July 7 from 3-7 PM. More details can be found on their website.

NHL Draft is this weekend and the CHL Import Draft is next week. Enjoy. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sea Dogs Notebook


SeaDogsTV video from April of 2009.


The Summerside Journal Pioneer has an article on Mike Kelly who was named the fourth head coach in Sea Dogs history on Friday.

“We think we have some real good young players,” said Kelly about the team he'll operate this season.

“We are real excited about having them come in, and have an opportunity to play. The one thing we have always been big on in Saint John is playing our kids. The kids play, and get an opportunity to develop.”

By the sounds of the article, there could be some other adjustments made to the coaching staff.

Four Sea Dogs were picked by Maritime Junior Hockey League teams over the weekend. Two others were selected in the Quebec Junior 'AAA' Hockey League draft yesterday. Here’s who was picked:

125th overall - Round Nine - STL - Alex Fournier - Saint John Sea Dogs
149th overall - Round Ten - SHE - Jérémy Brown - Saint John Sea Dogs

Fournier, a goaltender, was a fifth found pick of the Sea Dogs in last year’s draft while Brown, a forward, was picked in the 14th round of this year’s draft.

Even Strength has a full list of QMJHL prospects/players taken.

There were some odd reports from the CBC on Thursday stating that the Sea Dogs had laid off four employees.

On CBC Radio's Information Morning on Friday, Sea Dogs president Wayne Long talked about the report and basically said that wasn't true. Listen to the interview for the full details. The interview was done before the Gerard Gallant/Mike Kelly news became official but it’s a solid listen nonetheless.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Four Players Picked By MHL Teams

Three Saint John Sea Dogs were selected in today’s Maritime Junior Hockey League Draft while another was a territorial pick yesterday. The draft was held today in Yarmouth.

Here’s who was selected:

Territorial Pick
Woodstock Slammers - Spencer Smallman - Saint John Sea Dogs

Draft Picks
20th overall - Round Two - Amherst Ramblers - Marcus Cuomo - Saint John Sea Dogs
46th overall - Round Five - Miramichi Timberwolves - Justin Dickinson - Saint John Sea Dogs
56th overall - Round Six - Miramichi Timberwolves - Oliver Cooper - Saint John Sea Dogs

Cooper played with the Sea Dogs last season while Smallman, Cuomo, and Dickinson were all picked by Saint John at this year’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft.

Smallman was a fourth round pick of the Sea Dogs at last weekend’s draft, Cuomo a seventh round selection, and Dickinson a 10th round pick.

A full list of QMJHL prospects/players taken in today’s MHL Draft can be found over at Even Strength. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles ninth round pick Tyler Brown was picked first overall. 

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Reaction To Gallant Joining The Habs

Nathan Beaulieu spoke to the media at Montreal Canadiens summer development camp yesterday.  Not surprisingly, he was asked about the Habs hiring of Gerard Gallant.

Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien also spoke yesterday about hiring Gallant as an assistant coach.

“I’m extremely happy to have Gerard Gallant joining us – I thought he’d be the prefect guy,” Therrien said in a team release. “When I got hired, I had a few people in mind, but he was my number one choice. First of all, I have huge respect for him as a player and I respect the fact that he went to the American league, really learned to be a coach there, and ended up in the NHL as a coach. When he went back to the QMJHL, he had enormous success with the Sea Dogs.

“He’s capable of working with young kids and the kids really love to work with him,” added Therrien. “We’ve got some great young prospects and I believe that it’s really important to be able to adapt to young players. I know Gerry is going to be a great fit in that way.”

Clement Jodoin was also hired as an assistant coach. He recently coached the Hamilton Bulldogs but before that worked with Rimouski and Lewiston. also has an article on Gallant joining the Canadiens’ staff.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Huberdeau Named To Team Canada

Jonathan Huberdeau has been named to Canada’s roster for the Canada-Russia Challenge that will take place this August.

Huberdeau was one of 28 players named to Team Canada today. The four-game exhibition series replaces the annual summer development camp.

The Saint John Sea Dogs captain recorded a goal and eight assists in six games with Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships, helping his country capture bronze. Huberdeau is eligible to play at this year’s tournament but, with him expected to play with the Florida Panthers this season, he may not be available.

The 19-year old registered 30 goals and 42 assists in 37 regular season games with Saint John and added another 10 goals and 11 assists in 15 playoff games.

Huberdeau was one of five QMJHL players to be invited to the event. The others were PEI’s Maxime Lagace, Blainville-Boisbraind’s Xavier Ouellet, Chicoutimi’s Charles Hudon, and Victoriaville’s Phillip Danault.

Dougie Hamilton, Scott Harrington, Ryan Murray, Huberdeau, Boone Jenner, Mark Scheifele, and Ryan Strome all played with Team Canada at the 2012 world juniors in Alberta.

Here’s the schedule for the series which will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series.

Thursday, August 9 Time TBD Canada vs. Russia Yaroslavl, Russia
Friday, August 10 Time TBD Canada vs. Russia Yaroslavl, Russia
Monday, August 13 8 p.m. AT/7 p.m. ET Russia vs. Canada Halifax, N.S.
Tuesday, August 14 8 p.m. AT/7 p.m. ET Russia vs. Canada Halifax, N.S.

Tickets are still available for the games in Halifax. It should be quite awesome.

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Mike Kelly Named Head Coach And GM

Mike Kelly has been named head coach and general manager of the Saint John Sea Dogs.

With Gerard Gallant taking an assistant coaching position with the Montreal Canadiens today, Kelly, who has been the team’s associate coach and director of hockey operations for the past three seasons, will take over as both head coach and GM.

“I am thrilled with this opportunity and am grateful to the ownership,” said Kelly in a team release. “Looking back three years ago, we were faced with the same challenges that we are today and we look forward to our next era.”

Kelly has filled in as head coach a few times over the years when Gallant was sick and stuff. Kelly has been behind the bench for most games acting as an assistant coach.

“We couldn’t be in better hands with Mike Kelly taking on both roles,” said Sea Dogs President Wayne Long. “I am excited for our future with Mike as our new Head Coach.”

The Sea Dogs are good hands with Kelly running the bench. He has a plethora of coaching experience from the University ranks to the National Hockey League. From the team release:

Kelly has coached at several levels throughout his career. Originally from Oakville, Ont., he most recently spent three years in the Vancouver Canucks organization (2005-2008) as an assistant coach with both the Canucks and the Manitoba Moose (AHL). 
At the major junior level, Kelly has experience in both coaching and in management with the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), North Bay Centennials (OHL), and Windsor Spitfires (OHL). In 1998, Kelly led the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds to a Canadian Interuniversity Championship, winning the Father George Kehoe Memorial Award as the top collegiate coach in the country in the process. As a player, Kelly served as captain of UNB and also played professionally in Europe. 
Kelly led Canada to a gold medal at the 2003 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, serving as head coach of the elite squad. He was also an assistant on Team Canada’s coaching staff at the IIHF World Junior Championships from 2000 to 2002.

Kelly will be the fourth head coach in team history. Christian LaRue (2005-2006), Jacques Beaulieu (2006-2009), and Gerard Gallant (2009-2012) were the others.

Photo Credit: QMJHL

Official: Gallant Is Gone

It’s official – the Saint John Sea Dogs are currently without a head coach.

The Montreal Canadiens announced this morning that Gerard Gallant has been named an assistant coach of the Habs. Canadiens Executive vice president and general manager, Marc Bergevin, made the announcement via press release.

Rumours had been circulating all week that Gallant would be joining the new Canadiens coaching staff led by head coach Michel Therrien. Yesterday, those rumours became all but official.

Hired by the Sea Dogs in 2009, Gallant led the Sea Dogs to their first division and regular season title and took the team all the way to the President’s Cup final before losing in six games to the Moncton Wildcats. Then in 2010-11, Gallant led what has to be considered one of the greatest junior hockey teams of all-time to a national title. The Dogs won the division, regular season, President’s Cup, and then brought the Memorial Cup to the Maritimes for the first time ever.

This past season, Saint John won their third straight regular season title and recorded their third consecutive 50-win and 100-point season as well. The Dogs repeated as President’s Cup champions but their season ended with a semi-final loss at the Memorial Cup.

Gallant was named QMJHL and CHL coach of the year in 2010 and 2011.

Gallant leaves as the most successful coach in team history. He also becomes the first Sea Dogs head coach to not be fired.

It’s tough for the Sea Dogs to lose Gallant but this is what junior hockey is all about. From the players to the coaches to the training staff, they all want to reach the NHL level.

Now the big question is who will become Sea Dogs head coach? Will they promote from within or find someone new? One thing is for sure – this hockey team is certainly going to have a different look next season.

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More On Gallant Heading To The Habs

Gerard Gallant will be named an assistant coach of the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow, reports the Montreal Gazette.

Gallant had an interview with the Habs last week and has been rumoured to be a prime candidate for the position. He has National Hockey League coaching experience and has proven he can coach a winning team at the junior level.

Reports have been circulating all day from several media sources that the Saint John Sea Dogs head coach will join the Canadiens' new coaching staff. A taste of what the internet is saying:

According to News 88.9, “Sea Dogs president Wayne Long could not confirm the reports.”

Since being hired during the 2009 off-season, Gallant has coached Saint John to three regular season titles, two President’s Cup championships, and a Memorial Cup title. He was also named the QMJHL and CHL coach of the year in both 2010 and 2011.

Obviously, it’s a big loss for the Sea Dogs. He will be missed. But this is what junior hockey is all about.

Habs head coach Michel Therrien is also rumoured to be hiring Clement Jodoin in the coming days as an assistant as well. Jodoin coached the Hamilton Bulldogs last season and prior to that coached the Rimouski Oceanic and the Lewiston Maineiacs.

REPORTS: Gallant Back To The Show

Well, it appears Gerard Gallant will be returning to the NHL for the upcoming season.
It’s been fun.

Q News Roundup

Been a busy few days in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Here’s a look at some of the stuff that has made headlines this past week.

Anthony DeLuca, selected in the second round of last weekend’s QMJHL Entry Draft by Rimouski, will play for the Oceanic next season. He had committed to the University of Vermont. It’s been a successful couple of weeks for last year’s President’s Cup finalists as they also got Maxime Gravel and Frederic Gauthier to report next season. Turns out the Sea Dogs aren’t the only team who can get players considering NCAA to come play junior. Huh. [The Mack Report]

Eric Veilleux will not be behind the Shawinigan Cataractes bench next season. Radio-Canada reports that he’ll take over as Baie-Comeau Drakkar head coach. [Radio-Canada]

There were only two QMJHL graduates on the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. [QMJHL]

Just a few days after the QMJHL Entry Draft, the Moncton Wildcats “parted ways” with chief scout Peter Nevin. Willy Palov reports that Roger Shannon will take over. No official announcement has been made. [Twitter, Twitter]

The Mooseheads expect to have both Martin Frk and Konrad Abeltshauser back next season but they will still be picking in the CHL Import Draft later this month. [Metro Halifax]

Speaking of the Import Draft, the defending OHL champion London Knights will be selecting ninth overall following a trade yesterday. The Moncton Wildcats will select first. [Twitter]

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wings Still Unable To Sign Jurco

Tomas Jurco and the Detroit Red Wings still haven’t been able to sign a contract, reports Hockey’s Future.

“The Wings are attempting to sign Tomas Jurco but the process has become dicey,” writes Ian Altenbaugh. “According to Jurco's agent, J.P. Barry, the Red Wings and he have settled on the terms of an entry-level contract, however it cannot be filed with the league due to the lack of an agreeable transfer agreement between Slovakia and the NHL. The NHL has extended the window to sign such prospects until June 15th (typically there is a moratorium on signing entry-level contracts between June 1st through July 1st) which would allow Jurco to play in the AHL (or NHL, of course) next season. He is eligible to return to Saint John for an overage season, but that's not a direction the Red Wings or Jurco's representation seem too interested in as, developmentally, he is ready for a new challenge. When asked whether Jurco may have to spend a year in Slovakia's pro league, Barry expressed optimism to Hockey's Future that it would not come down to that but did not rule it out completely.”

News of the transfer agreement problems were revealed earlier this month.

Even if Jurco somehow gets returned to the Sea Dogs, there probably won’t be room for him with the Sea Dogs expected to draft two new Euros in the Canadian Hockey League’s Import Draft later this month.

In 48 games with Saint John this past season, the Slovakian recorded 30 goals and 38 assists. In 16 playoff games he added 13 goals and 16 assists.

Jurco is expected to play with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins next year.

On a side note, Jurco tweeted a link to this sick video the other day. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

VIDEO: More From Draft Day

Here are some more videos from Saturday’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft.

Matthew Highmore interview via SeaDogsTV.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Draft News & Notes

As you can see in this video posted by the Chronicle Herald’s Willy Palov, the Sea Dogs’ top pick in the QMJHL Entry Draft had to shake hands with his left hand.

According to Metro Halifax, “Highmore recently had shoulder surgery and couldn’t handshake with his dominant right on draft day, he said he’ll be ready for training camp.”

“I was always hoping Saint John because it’s such a great place to be,” Highmore told reporters.

Highmore, from Dartmouth, was the first Maritimer selected. Newfounlander Clark Bishop was the first player from Atlantic Canada picked, going third overall to Cape Breton.

The Sea Dogs website has a full recap of what the Sea Dogs did yesterday.

“I like his skating, he’s got a quick first step," Sea Dogs Nova Scotia scout Sid Veysey said about Highmore. “As far as the passing and playmaking, he’s kind of like Sidney Crosby in that aspect of the game, and that’s what we like about him.”

“It’s a big organization and they win,’’ Olivier Leblanc, the 11th overall pick, said of the Sea Dogs. “It’s fun to go to a team that wins. They will take care of me."

Here’s Palov and Mooseheads play-by-play man John Moore discussing the Mooseheads, Screaming Eagles, and Matthew Highmore.

The following players no longer appear on Saint John’s roster and were placed on the list of players who were eligible to be drafted this weekend: Danny Chiasson, Ben MacDonald, Spencer MacDonald, Joseph Manno, Dylan McGuigan, Jordan Moore, Richard Tingley, Grant West, and Danny Wicks.

No real surprises there.

A couple of surprises involved goaltenders. Mason McDonald, the top ranked goaltender who was projected to seventh overall by Central Scouting, slipped all the way to 20th where he was picked by Bathurst.

Goaltender Keven Bouchard, projected to go 15th overall, slid all the way to 46th where he was selected by Val-d’Or.

The Sea Dogs drafted just one goaltender and that was American Drew Michals in the ninth round. No idea if he'll report.

Fun With Photoshop

This is a photo of the players who were selected in the first round of Saturday’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft. It appears on the QMJHL website.

At first glance it looks all good. But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that a team that had three first round picks is missing. For whatever reason, none of the Val-d’Or Foreurs first rounders were in the photo.

Today, this photo appears on the Foreurs’ Facebook page.
The poses the three players are making match up with their individual draft photos.

Pretty solid photoshop work by the Foreurs. We applaud them. 

VIDEO: Mike Kelly Speaks

Here’s John Moore interviewing Sea Dogs director of hockey operations and associate coach Mike Kelly. They, obviously, talk about Saint John’s top picks from yesterday’s QMJHL Entry Draft.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sea Dogs Select 11 In Entry Draft

The Saint John Sea Dogs selected 11 players in today’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft.

The Sea Dogs had two picks in the first round and used them to select forward Matthew Highmore and defenseman Olivier Leblanc. We profiled those two in a separate post.

As for the other nine players, here’s a closer look at them.

With their first pick of the fourth round, the Sea Dogs selected forward Spencer Smallman from the Fredericton Canadiens. He’s listed as 5’07” and 140 lbs so he really is a small man. He recorded 16 goals and 25 assists in 34 games with the midget AAA Canadiens last year. He led the team in playoff scoring with four goals and 13 assists in 10 games.

“Smallman could be a steal...skinny kid but very skilled, hockey sense and vision you can’t teach,” tweets @lalalaprise.

The Dogs then selected another forward from the Canadiens in Noah Zilbert with the 73rd overall pick. Listed at 5’7” and 175 lbs, Zilbert registered 26 goals and 29 assists in 27 games to finish second in team scoring during the regular season. He added five goals and 10 assists in the playoffs.

Zilbert also spent some time with the Woodtsock Slammers this past season and was part of Team Atlantic at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

The Sea Dogs selected a Newfoundlander 121st overall, picking up Marcus Cuomo from the St. John's Privateers Major Midget Hockey Club. Listed at 5’10” and 197 lbs, the 16-year old recorded 29 goals and 17 assists in 35 regular season games. He led the team in playoff scoring, registering 15 goals and 13 assists in 10 games.


Once again this year, we've added a bunch of media people's Twitter feeds to this here live blog. It will update all day long. Follow along for all the drama that is QMJHL Draft day.

Sea Dogs Acquire David Weckworth

The Sea Dogs acquired 19-year old defenseman David Weckworth from the Gatineau Olympiques along with a 2013 8th round pick in exchange for a 2013 5th round pick.

An Ottawa native who is listed at 6’02” and 198, Weckworth played in 50 games this past season with Gatineau, recording five assists, a -7 rating and 12 penalty minutes. In the playoffs he added an assist in four games.

He recorded a goal and seven assists in 50 games during the 2010-11 season and another two assists in 24 playoff games. The Olympiques’ season ended in a six-game series loss to the Sea Dogs in the President’s Cup final.

His name already appears on Saint John’s roster on the Sea Dogs’ website.

Saint John’s defense will definitely have a different look to it this season. Charles Roussel and likely Nathan Beaulieu are gone. Then you have Pierre Durepos, Kevin Gagne, Ian Saab, and Jason Seed who are all overagers. Younger guys like Benjamin Hade and Olivier Leblanc will likely make the jump to junior. 

Photo via QMJHL

Dogs Take Two In First Round

The Saint John Sea Dogs selected both a forward and a defenseman in the first round of the 2012 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft.

With the eighth overall selection, the Sea Dogs selected forward Matthew Highmore. The 16-year old is listed at five-foot-11 and 160 lbs. He played with the Dartmouth Taylor Flooring Major Midgets last season in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League, recording 13 goals and 13 assists in 25 regular season games and added three goals and eight assists in 16 playoff games.

“At the beginning of the year we heard a lot from him but then he was injured for a portion of the season,” QMJHL Director of Scouting Pierre Leduc told the Chronicle Herald. “He missed a number of games. He’s a power forward. He’s a very talented centre. He’s an above average skater and he has an excellent feel for the game. He’s a good puck carrier with good anticipation. Matthew also has a very good work ethic. He will need to complete his game around the net a little more to get more points ... but I think he can do that. He is a very talented player.”

According to Metro Halifax, “in 2010-11, Highmore played major midget as a 14-year-old after being granted exceptional-player status by Hockey Nova Scotia.”

Highmore was ranked 11th by Central Scouting.

With the 11th overall pick, the Sea Dogs headed to Quebec to select Olivier Leblanc. The Sea Dogs called a time-out prior to making the selection.

LeBlanc, who had a wide smile on his face during the entire process, is listed at five-foot-10 and 154 lbs. He played with Séminaire St-François Blizzard last season, the same team Sea Dogs prospect Benjamin Hade played for.

Leblanc spoke to Quebec Hebdo after the selection and said he was looking forward to joining the Sea Dogs for their rebuilding process.

You can follow Highmore (@MHighmore15) and Leblanc (@3LeBlanc) on Twitter.

Photos via QMJHL

First Round Recap

The first round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft is over. There was some drama as usual. Here’s a recap.

11:00: The VOX broadcast has shifted from the pre-draft show to the draft show. The drama is getting closer.

11:02: The news of Brandon Hynes being traded to Bathurst continues to circulate. The Titan top line would be a machine with Hynes added to the mix.

11:06: Hynes deal as announced by Titan Twitter - “Titan trade two 2nd round draft picks and a 5th round draft pick to the Victoriaville Tigres for foward Brandon Hynes.”

11:08: The giant screen behind the stage at Colisee Pepsi is now showing highlights and stuff. The lights are off. The drama is so close you can taste it.

11:10: QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau takes the stage.

11:13: The Sherbrooke Phoenix are taking to the stage to make their historic first pick.

11:15: The Pheonix are still speaking. They congratulate the Sea Dogs and Cataractes for their championship seasons.

11:15: Tweeted by Willy Palov – “To answer a reader question, talks with Saint John aren't totally dead but doesn't seem likely anything gets done.”

11:16: The Phoenix shock nobody and select Daniel Audette first overall. He’s the first draft pick in Phoenix history. He was ranked first by Central Scouting.

11:17: Sherbrooke’s jersey and logo look great. They gave Audette a fitted hat to put on though, which was a mistake. The young franchise will learn.

11:22: The Rocket shock nobody and select Alexis Pepin with the second overall pick. He was ranked third by Central Scouting.

11:28: The Screaming Eagles are on stage congratulating Jonathan Brunelle on his academic accomplishments. He comes on stage and gives a speech as well.

More Reports On Gallant

RDS is reporting that Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien interviewed Gerard Gallant on Thursday in Brossard for the team’s current assistant coaching position.

It was reported the other day by TVA Sports that the Habs had made contact with the Saint John Sea Dogs head coach about the job.

In today’s Telegraph-Journal (paywall), Scott Briggs reports that Gallant declined to comment about the rumours.

Therrien was hired by the Canadiens earlier this week and has yet to name his assistants.

Briggs also reports that there are rumblings about Gallant interviewing for an assistant coaching position with the Dallas Stars. RDS also brought up the Washington Capitals – who currently don’t have a head coach – as a possible destination as well.

At the Edmonton Journal, Gallant is profiled by writer Jonathan Willis.  

“He’s done everything possible in three QMJHL seasons, coaching both the league’s most potent offensive team and their stingiest defensive squad,” writes Willis. “In a perfect world, I’d like to see him running an AHL team for a few years before I’d look at him as a really high-end NHL coaching candidate, but with the success he’s had I expect he’ll be behind an NHL bench in the not too distant future.”

It would obviously hurt the Sea Dogs if Gallant left. But getting to the NHL level is what junior hockey is all about.

It's Draft Day

The Saint John Sea Dogs’ rebuild truly begins this morning in Quebec City.

The 2012 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft takes place this morning at Pepsi Colisee. The Sea Dogs currently have 11 picks in the 14-round draft including two first rounders. Here is where the Sea Dogs will be picking today (at the moment, anyway).

Round 1 – 8th overall
Round 1 – 11th overall
Round 4 – 70th overall
Round 4 – 73rd overall
Round 7 – 121st overall
Round 9 – 165th overall
Round 10 – 183rd overall
Round 12 – 207th overall
Round 12 – 218th overall
Round 13 – 236th overall
Round 14 – 250th overall

There are rumours that the Sea Dogs are trying to land Halifax’s first round pick which is for 15th overall. The full list of every selection can be found on the QMJHL website.

Some other essential links: Steve Turcotte’s mock draft, Metro Halifax’s scouting report on the top 10 prospects, and our post on the three players who the media has been saying the Sea Dogs may take.

The expansion Sherbrooke Phoenix will select first and are expected to take Daniel Audette followed by the PEI Rocket selecting Alexis Pepin and then Cape Breton picking Clark Bishop. Things could change of course, but that seems to be the consensus on how things are going to go down. After the top three the fun will begin.

VOX will streaming the draft on their website beginning at 10am Atlantic. We believe the draft itself begins at 11am Atlantic.

Potential Picks

The Saint John Sea Dogs will pick twice (maybe three times) in the first round of Saturday’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft. At the moment, the Sea Dogs will be picking 8th and 11th overall.

Who will the Sea Dogs pick? Well, there seems to be three names that keep being thrown around – goaltender Mason McDonald, defenseman Cody Donaghey, and forward Matthew Highmore.

Here’s a closer look at all three players.

Mason McDonald – Goaltender
Ranked 7th by Central Scouting and is the top ranked goaltender in the draft. The 16-year old Halifax native is six-foot-three. It’s been said a bunch of places that he likes to move the puck and should benefit from the QMJHL dumping the trapezoid next season.

“If Mason goes early, we’ll see (15th-ranked Keven) Bouchard go maybe two, three picks after,” QMJHL director of scouting Pierre Leduc said to Metro Halifax. “The teams that need a goaltender this year, they need to act fast.”

“He constantly challenges the puck, has good technique and he moves well for his size,” Leduc told the Chronicle Herald. “Mason excels also in handling the puck behind the net. He’s easily able to facilitate the defencemen’s work. He really controls the puck well when the other team shoots it around the boards. He’s always there to stop it and if he has a free guy right away, he’s able to make a pass.”

According to the Herald, he posted a 2.01 goals against average, .920 save percentage and 14-1 record with the MSMMHL’s Halifax Titans last season.

In Steve Turcotte’s mock draft, he has McDonald slipping to 11th and being picked by Saint John.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Moore: Dogs and Moose Talking

Halifax Mooseheads play-by-play man John Moore tweeted this interesting tidbit of information this evening.
The Mooseheads currently have 15th overall pick in tomorrow's Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft.

Halifax is going for it this year and the Sea Dogs have some veterans they can unload. The two teams talking only makes since.

With Halifax’s 20-year situation nearly sorted out, you have to wonder if the Moose are going to try and go after Ryan Tesink, an experienced forward with some skill and sandpaper. He would be - and has proven to be - a key member to a contending team.

The Chronicle Herald’s Willy Palov brought up Tesink in his live blog today when asked what the Moose may try to do to replace graduated captain Cameron Critchlow.

“They are trying to find a Critchlow replacement,” Palov wrote. “My feeling is the player they are most interested in is Ryan Tesink from Saint John. The price would be quite high for him, though.”

If the Sea Dogs do pull off a deal for this pick, that would give them three first round selections tomorrow.

Where The Dogs Are Picking Tomorrow

The Saint John Sea Dogs have two first round picks in tomorrow’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft. At the moment, they'll have to wait awhile to pick again.

The Sea Dogs currently have 11 picks for tomorrow’s draft. They have two first round picks but don’t select again until the fourth round where they’ll pick twice. After that they won’t pick until the seventh round. Saint John has five picks in the final four rounds. Of course, this all could change depending on trades.

At the moment, here is where Saint John is picking tomorrow.

Round 1 – 8th overall
Round 1 – 11th overall
Round 4 – 70th overall
Round 4 – 73rd overall
Round 7 – 121st overall
Round 9 – 165th overall
Round 10 – 183rd overall
Round 12 – 207th overall
Round 12 – 218th overall
Round 13 – 236th overall
Round 14 – 250th overall

The Dogs do have some assets they could use to try and move up. Saint John has used the draft very well in the Mike Kelly/Gerard Gallant era, picking some solid players even in the later rounds.

The QMJHL Entry Draft begins at 11am tomorrow morning. All the results will be posted here. Buckle up.

Photo via @Carl_Labrie

Plenty Of Deals Finalized In The Q

Former Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Gabriel Bourret has been traded to the Gatineau Olympiques.

The Chicoutimi Sagueneens traded Bourret to Gatineau in exchange for the return of their 2013 second round selection. It’s the second straight season that Bourret was swapped during the draft trading period as the Sea Dogs sent him to the Sags at this time last season.

Bourret recorded five goals and 30 assists in 68 games during the regular season. In the playoffs he added a goal and 10 helpers in 18 games.

As expected, it was a busy day on the trade front around the league. One of the more notable transactions from a Saint John Sea Dogs perspective involved goaltender David Honzik who was traded from Victoriaville to Cape Breton for a 2013 fourth round pick.

Honzik has been a beast against Saint John for the past two years. Despite losing the series in five games, he was sensational against the Dogs in the 2011 playoffs. Honzik struggled this past season but did manage to register a shutout against Saint John. Now he’ll have the opportunity to dominate the Sea Dogs eight times per season.

The Eagles also acquired Justin Hache from the Shawinigan Cataractes. In return, the Eagles sent back Shawinigan’s 2013 first round pick, a pick they acquired in the Morgan Ellis deal.

The Moncton Wildcats acquired Alex Dubeau, Jonathan Racine, and Yannick Veilleux from the Cataracates to complete the Brandon Gormley trade. In exchange, the Wildcats sent the Cats back a bunch of picks.

The Wildcats also picked up the No. 1 pick in the CHL Import Draft in a trade with the Sherbrooke Phoenix as expected. The ‘Cats sent prospect Jack Flinn, a 2013 first round pick, a third and fourth round pick in this year’s draft, and a second round pick in the CHL Import Draft to Sherbrooke.

The Halifax Mooseheads officially acquired Stefan Fournier from the Tigres in exchange for a third and eighth round pick.

There were plenty of other deals and all of them can be found on the QMJHL’s website.

The Sea Dogs weren’t involved in any trades today but there is always tomorrow when the 2012 QMJHL Entry Draft takes place.

Photo via Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Report: Canadiens Contact Gallant

According to TVA Sports, the Montreal Canadiens have made contact with Gerard Gallant regarding an assistant coaching position with the National Hockey League club.

The Habs recently hired Michel Therrien as their new head coach but they have yet to name any assistants.

Gallant played with Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin during his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning so it makes sense the Saint John Sea Dogs head coach would be rumoured for a position with the Habs.

During the Memorial Cup, Gallant said he had not been contacted by the Canadiens about their then vacant head coaching position.

“We all want to get to the National Hockey League,” Gallant said during a press conference in Shawinigan. “That's the goal of every player, every trainer and the coaches themselves. I haven't thought about it. Marc Bergevin and I played together, we're good friends. Marc Bureau and I played together also. There's a race to get there, but I haven't talked with anyone. There's no talk about that. Once the season's over, if someone wants to talk to me, I'll listen for sure."

It’s hard to say how accurate the TVA Sports report is, but you have to believe Gallant is drawing some attention from the NHL level given the success he has had with the Saint John Sea Dogs and the fact that he has coached in The Show before.

There are other coaching positions available in the NHL so this may not be the only report/rumour we hear about this summer.

Since taking over as Sea Dogs head coach in 2009, Gallant has led the Sea Dogs to three regular season titles, two President Cup championships, a Memorial Cup title, and has had a plethora of players selected in the NHL Draft.

Image via Sportsnet