Monday, June 30, 2014

The Import Draft Is Coming

The Saint John Sea Dogs will be selecting fifth overall in Wednesday’s 2014 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

This year’s draft begins later than in past years, starting at noon Atlantic time. The CHL released some details today. From the CHL website:

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 within each league from the 2013-14 season.  The OHL’s Sarnia Sting hold the number one pick, followed by the Quebec Remparts who acquired the second overall selection following a 2012 trade with the Sherbrooke Phoenix.  The WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes will select third overall.  Each team in the CHL is permitted to dress and play a maximum of two import players each season who are selected annually through the CHL Import Draft. 

The Sea Dogs will select fifth and 65th overall on Wednesday and it appears the team plans on using both picks. Saint John dressed just one import player last season – and that one player, Jurij Repe, is not expected to be back - due to Juraj Siska being unable to play because of injury.

Saint John drafted Siska ninth overall in last year’s draft and had knowledge of his injury. The selection likely played a role in Mike Kelly’s firing.

New Dogs general manager Darrell Young will look to drastically improve Saint John’s Import Draft fortunes. Young is well connected in the hockey world and this draft is often more about who you know than where you pick.

Looking ahead, this could be a big moment for the Sea Dogs. Saint John has a solid core group in place and can add another significant piece or two on Wednesday.

Having high picks in the Import Draft is nothing new for the Sea Dogs. They selected forward Martin Bartos fifth overall in 2005, defenseman David Stich fourth overall in 2006, goaltender Robert Mayer third overall in 2007, forward Stanislav Galiev first overall in 2009, and forward Tomas Jurco fourth overall in 2009.

The CHL Import Draft can be followed live on the CHL website on Wednesday.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Notebook: 17 QMJHL Players Drafted

A total of 17 QMJHL players were chosen in this year’s NHL Draft. Just one was selected in the first round while five were picked in the final round. Here is the full list:

9. Nikolaj Ehlers of the Halifax Mooseheads - Winnipeg Jets
33. Ivan Barbashev of the Moncton Wildcats - St-Louis Blues
34. Mason McDonald of the Charlottetown Islanders - Calgary Flames
48. Nicolas Aube-Kubel of the Val-d'Or Foreurs - Philadelphia Flyers
49. Vaclav Karabacek of the Gatineau Olympiques - Buffalo Sabres
102. Alexis Vanier of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar - San Jose Sharks
107. Julien Pelletier of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles - Columbus Blue Jackets
114. Alexis P├ępin of the Gatineau Olympiques - Colorado Avalanche
127. Clark Bishop of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles - Carolina Hurricanes
140. Daniel Walcott of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada - New York Rangers
147. Daniel Audette of the Sherbrooke Phoenix - Montreal Canadiens
176. Samuel Blais of the Victoriaville Tigres - St-Louis Blues
183. Keven Bouchard of the Val-d'Or Foreurs - Edmonton Oilers
185. Cameron Darcy of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles - Tampa Bay Lightning
190. Francis Perron of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies - Ottawa Senators
197. Olivier Leblanc of the Saint John Sea Dogs - Columbus Blue Jackets
204. Julien Nantel of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies - Colorado Avalanche

95 – or 45% - of the 210 players chosen were from the CHL.

Olivier LeBlanc was the only Sea Dog selected in the NHL Draft, going 197th overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Some links on it:

Blue Jackets website: Bio Blast

Blue Jackets website: The Numbers Game: Olivier LeBlanc

Getty Images has some pictures of LeBlanc at the draft, which, for some odd reason, are not embeddable.

As Sea Dogs equipment manager David Kelly noted on Twitter, Liam Coughlin, the brother of former Sea Dog Kevin Coughlin, was a fifth-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in this year’s draft.

Liam registered 18 goals and 27 assists in 53 games with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers last year. The South Boston native is committed to play at Boston University next season.

Kevin played in 56 games with the Sea Dogs during their expansion season of 2005-06, registering 20 goals and 17 assists. He played two seasons with the Quebec Remparts prior to that.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Highmore Gets Habs Camp Invite

Although he wasn’t picked in this weekend’s NHL Draft, Matthew Highmore has still received an invitation to attend a development camp.

RDS’ Stephane Leroux tweets that Highmore and fellow QMJHL players M-Olivier Crevier-Morin, Alexandre Goulet, Bokondji Imama, and Philippe Gadoury have been invited to attend Montreal Canadiens development camp. 

This is certainly nothing new. Over the past few years, a lot of non-drafted QMJHL players have been invited to take part in Habs camp.

In his second season with the Sea Dogs, Highmore finished second in team scoring with 19 goals and 31 assists in 68 games.

In NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings, Highmore was listed at No. 155.

Defenseman Olivier LeBlanc was the only Sea Dogs player selected in this year’s draft, going 197th overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Blue Jackets Select LeBlanc

Olivier LeBlanc ended the Saint John Sea Dogs’ draft drought today.

LeBlanc become the first Sea Dogs player to be selected since the 2011 NHL Draft, going in the seventh round, 197th overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

In 56 games with Saint John last season, the defenseman registered seven goals and 26 assists. In his rookie season in 2012-13, the 18-year old had four goals and 14 assists in 60 matches. He was an 11th overall pick of Saint John in the 2012 QMJHL Entry Draft.

The Quebec City native saw lots of ice time last season and will play a huge role on the backend again this season.

LeBlanc is the 14th player in Sea Dogs history to be selected in the NHL Draft. He’s also the first Saint John defenseman to be picked since Nathan Beaulieu in the first round of the 2011 draft.

Forwards Matthew Highmore and Spencer Smallman, who were both listed in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings, were not selected.

Gosselin Remembered At NHL Draft

The Arizona Coyotes (yeah, they’re called that now) made a real class move at the NHL Draft on Friday night.

It was announced earlier in the day that scout Norm Gosselin, who worked with the Saint John Sea Dogs from 2005 to 2009 before joining the Coyotes, had passed away.
With the whole hockey world watching, the ‘Yotes offered their sympathies from the podium just before selecting Brendan Perlini 12th overall.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ehlers Only QMJHLer Taken Friday

Some news and notes from the first round of the NHL Draft…

  • Gerard Gallant and the Florida Panthers, despite some trade talk, took the stage and used the first overall pick, selecting defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
  • Following the draft, Ekblad told TSN that Jonathan Huberdeau texted him to welcome him to the team.
  • Nikolaj Ehlers of the Halifax Mooseheads was the first and only QMJHL player taken in the first round going ninth overall to the Winnipeg Jets.
  • Nine of the top 10 picks in the draft came from the CHL. CHL communications manager Paul Krotz tweeted, “#CHL players take 9 of the Top-10 #NHLDraft picks for the first time since 2010 and 1990, back in 1987 league had first 18 straight picks.”
  • Surprising to see Moncton Wildcats forward Ivan Barbashev passed over in the first round. He’ll go early tomorrow.
  • Real nice move by the Arizona Coyotes to mention scout Norm Gosselin who has passed away. Gosselin worked with the Sea Dogs from 2005 to 2009 before joining the Coyotes.
  • Unlimited boos for Gary Bettman and pretty much everything not affiliated with Philadelphia.
  • RIP to TSN’s draft coverage. It will be missed. Sportsnet takes over the show next year.
  • Rounds two through seven go tomorrow beginning at 11 am on NHL Network.

NHL Draft Weekend Has Arrived

The 2011 NHL Draft is no doubt one of the top moments in Saint John Sea Dogs history.

Three players were chosen in the first round that year, highlighted by Jonathan Huberdeau going third overall. The following day, Tomas Jurco and Ryan Tesink were picked, giving Saint John five drafted players in one draft.

But since Tesink went 162nd overall to the St. Louis Blues in 2011, not a single Sea Dogs player has been picked. That could change this weekend.

No Sea Dogs were picked in the 2012 or 2013 NHL Drafts. It’s very unlikely one will be picked in tonight’s first round; but tomorrow is a different story.

Three Saint John players were listed in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings. Defenseman Olivier LeBlanc has the best chance of ending the Dogs’ draft drought and came in at No. 126. Forwards Matthew Highmore and Spencer Smallman were ranked 155th and 173rd, respectively.

Forward Juraj Siska, Saint John’s import pick from a year ago who didn’t play a single game this season due to injury, was given a “limited viewing” listing by Central Scouting.

The 2014 NHL Draft begins tonight at 8pm on TSN. Coverage continues tomorrow on NHL Network. 

Some Important Upcoming Dates

Earlier this week, in an email sent to season ticket holders, the Sea Dogs announced several key dates that are coming up over the next several weeks. We’ve added in a few more for your enjoyment.

Below are some Sea Dogs related events coming up between now and the regular season home opener.

June 27-28 – NHL Draft (Philadelphia)

June 30 - Deadline to pay in full in order to receive the Limited Edition Season Ticket Booklet

July 2 – CHL Import Draft (Noon)

July 25 - Exhibition tickets on-sale for Season Ticket Holders (Box Office, 10am)
                                *Provide Name at Box Office for Discount

Aug 5 - Exhibition tickets on sale to general public (Box Office, 10am)

Aug 11 - Training Camp Opens (schedule not yet announced)

Aug 15 - Exhibition Game vs. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (Harbour Station, 7pm)

Aug 16 – Exhibition Game at Halifax Mooseheads (Halifax Forum, 7pm)

Aug 22 - Exhibition Game vs. Halifax Mooseheads (Harbour Station, 7:30pm)

Aug 24 – Exhibition Game at Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (Emera Centre Northside, 4pm)

Aug 29 - Season Ticket Payments Due (Box Office)

Sept 5 - Exhibition Game vs. Charlottetown Islanders (Harbour Station, 7:30pm)

Sept 6 – Exhibition Game at Charlottetown Islanders (Eastlink Centre, 7pm)

Sept 8 - Season Ticket & Flex Pickup BBQ with Team (Harbour Station, 5:30-7pm)

Sept 12 – Season Opener at Charlottetown Islanders (Eastlink Centre, 7pm)

Sept 13 - Individual game tickets on-sale to general public (Harbour Station, 12pm)

Sept 14 – Regular season game at Moncton Wildcats (Moncton Coliseum, 4pm)

Sept 19Home Opener vs. Acadie-Bathurst Titan (Harbour Station, 7:30pm)

Tickets to Saint John’s home pre-season games will cost $5 for season ticket holders and $10 for the general public.

Details on Sea Dogs season tickets can be found here.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sea Dogs Announce Scouting Changes

Like their roster, the Saint John Sea Dogs' scouting staff will have a much different look this season.

With Darrell Young taking over general manager duties, several scouts moving to other teams, and others leaving for other opportunities, Saint John’s scouting staff has had a big overhaul.

"Obviously our scouting staff is in a period of transition," Young said in a release regarding the changes. "When we lost Christian Vermette to the Quebec Remparts, that was a big loss. Others have moved on as well.

"But that gave us the chance to expand our staff. We've added scouts who have a wide range of experience in the NHL, junior and other levels in the game. We have some really good people."

The team announced the changes this afternoon. Here is this year’s staff:

Peter Nevin (Senior Scouting Advisor)
Christian Deblois (Quebec/Quebec Head Scout)
Sid Veysey (Nova Scotia/Atlantic Canada Head Scout)
Ritch Thibeau (New Brunswick)
Scott Gordon (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Paul Currie (PEI)
Anthony Stella (Montreal)
Noah Romoff (Montreal)
J.P. Hamel (Montreal)
Matt Lewin (Quebec City)
Richard Rose (Quebec/Ottawa region)
Mathieu Bougie (Ottawa/Gatineau region)
Marc Bastarache (USA)
Judd Brackett (USA)

Some interesting names here. Nevin is a former Moncton Wildcats head scout. Stella and Brackett can be followed on Twitter here and here.

The next test for Young and crew is this Wednesday when the CHL Import Draft takes place.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Noel Invited To U-18 Camp

Sea Dogs forward Nathan Noel was among the 44 players invited to attend Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team selection camp.

The camp runs from August 2-5 at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary. The camp will help determine Canada’s roster for 2014 U-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. This year’s tournament goes from August 11-16 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

According to a Hockey Canada release, “the camp roster includes 18 players from the Western Hockey League, 15 from the Ontario Hockey League, 10 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and one who played U.S. high school hockey last season.”

QMJHL players invited to attend were goaltenders Callum Booth and Olivier Tremblay; defensemen Guillaume Brisebois, Olivier Galipeau, Nicolas Meloche, Philippe Myers, and Jeremy Roy; and forwards Anthony Beauvillier, Noel, and Nicolas Roy.

Noel, the third overall pick in the 2013 QMJHL Entry Draft, recorded 16 goals and 23 assists in 63 games with the Sea Dogs last season.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation