Thursday, June 30, 2016

Brown joining UOIT Ridgebacks

Former Sea Dogs forward Mackenzie Brown has committed to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks.

Brown, a fourth round pick of the Sea Dogs in 2011, recorded five goals and six assists in 108 career games with Saint John during the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
Brown has spent the past two seasons with the MHL’s Woodstock Slammers. Last season, the 21-year-old registered 16 goals and 13 assists in 33 regular season contests. He added two goals and two assists in seven playoff games and three goals and an assist in five Fred Page Cup matches.

"We are excited to welcome Mackenzie as the newest member of the Ridgeback family," said Ridgebacks head coach Curtis Hodgins in a release. "Mackenzie is an excellent two-way player who skates very well and has good offensive skills. He comes highly recommended in terms of his character and work ethic and will fit in nicely with the values of our program."

The Ridgebacks begin OUA play in mid-September.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Sea Dogs have a new website

Did you know the Saint John Sea Dogs got a new website? Because they did.

The new Sea Dogs website launched last Friday. They were one of the final QMJHL teams to make the conversion to the new format, which all CHL web pages have switched to.

Stadium Digital is the company behind the new sites. Their clients include CFL teams, Soccer Canada, Golf Canada and others.

The new sites are more of a blog format and embedding things like tweets and video seems to be much easier.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Noel's drafting lights up Internet

There’s no question that Nathan Noel was one of the feel good stories of the NHL Draft.

Passed over in the 2015 draft, Noel was selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft by the Chicago Blackhawks.

This tweet alone solidified Noel’s story as a feel good one.

Dogs select Russian forward in Import Draft

The Sea Dogs selected a Russian forward with their first round pick in Tuesday’s CHL Import Draft.

With the 42nd overall pick – although two teams above them passed – Saint John picked 17-year-old Alexander Vdovenko. He recorded nine goals and 24 points in 34 games last season with the Vityaz Podolsk under-17 team in Russia.
According to a Sea Dogs press release, the Moscow native is 6'4" and 200 lbs. He plays centre and left wing.

"We're excited to bring Alexander into our organization," Sea Dogs general manager Darrell Young said in a release. "He's a smart, skilled, strong forward. He moves very well for a player of his size. We want to see how his game translates to North American ice."

Vdovenko is expected to join the team for training camp in August. The Sea Dogs currently have two import players on their roster in Oliver Felixson and Jakub Zboril. CHL teams are allowed to carry two imports.

The Sea Dogs didn’t use their second round pick. It’s the first time the team has drafted a forward since Nikita Li in 2014.

The WHL’s Kootenay Ice selected Russian forward Klim Kostin with the first overall pick. The Halifax Mooseheads made a splash with the sixth overall pick, taking Swiss forward Nico Hischier, who is known as the “Swiss McDavid.”

Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News has a good breakdown on the big picks from this year’s Import Draft.

Monday, June 27, 2016

CHL Import Draft happens Tuesday

The 2016 CHL Import Draft takes place on Tuesday at noon.

The Saint John Sea Dogs have two Europeans on their roster who are eligible to return next season – defensemen Jakub Zboril and Oliver Felixson – so the team doesn’t necessarily need to pick.

The Sea Dogs’ first pick is 42nd overall. Their second round pick is 102nd overall. Teams are no longer allowed to trade picks.

The WHL’s Kootenay Ice will select first followed by the OHL’s Guelph Storm and QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar.

The Halifax Mooseheads will pick sixth, meaning a very talented import could be coming to the Maritimes Division next season.
The Sea Dogs have selected at least one player in each Import Draft since 2012. Last year, the team used both picks, taking Felixson at No. 25 and defenseman Frantisek Hrdinka at No. 85.

Hrdinka, who was ranked 104th amongst European skaters by NHL Central Scouting for the draft but not picked, spent last season playing in the Czech Republic.

The Import Draft can be followed on the CHL website.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Sunday, June 26, 2016

NHL development camp invites sent out

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With the NHL Draft now complete, teams have begun to send out development camp invitations.

Sea Dogs forward Matthew Highmore received an invite to Montreal Canadiens development camp again this year, according to RDS.
However, the Telegraph-Journal (paywall) reports that Highmore has been invited to Florida Panthers camp. Either way, he’s going somewhere.

The 20-year-old had a career season with the Sea Dogs in 2015-16, recording 22 goals and 53 assists in 65 games. He added another nine goals and 11 assists in 17 playoff matches.

Meanwhile, former Dogs defenseman Matt Murphy has been invited to Anaheim Ducks camp.
Murphy, who played the second half of his final junior season with Saint John, had eight goals and 21 assists with the Dogs. He had another four goals and five assists in 17 playoff games – many of which were played through an injury.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Green, Noel picked in NHL Draft

BUFFALO, NY – Luke Green was selected 79th overall by the Winnipeg Jets at the NHL Draft on Saturday.

The Sea Dogs defenseman was selected in the ballpark where he was expected to be picked. For example, had him going 77th overall while International Scouting Services had him at No. 88.

Green, selected first overall in the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft, had 10 goals and 35 points in 61 games this past season. He added three points in 13 playoff matches.

The 18-year-old is the first Sea Dog to be taken by the Jets/Thrashers organization.
Green wasn’t the only Sea Dog selected as forward Nathan Noel was taken 113th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dubois taken 3rd overall by Jackets

BUFFALO, NY – The first surprise of the NHLDraft came with the third overall pick.

Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine went first and second overall to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets, respectively – as expected. But with the third overall selection, the Columbus Blue Jackets opted to take Pierre-Luc Dubois.
While it wasn’t an off the board pick, Dubois was projected to go lower in the top 10, likely around five or six. But the Jackets chose to take the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles forward over Jesse Puljujarvi and Matthew Tkachuk.

Val-d’Or’s Julien Gauthier, who went 21st overall to the Carolina Hurricanes, was the only other QMJHL player to be selected in the first round.
It’s not a great draft year for the QMJHL, but a number of players should be chosen early Saturday when rounds 2-7 take place. Among them could be Sea Dogs defenseman Luke Green.

Sea Dogs forward Nathan Noel and defenseman Oliver Felixson could also be selected while prospects Marshall Rifai and Jamie Armstrong could be picked as well.

The second portion of the draft takes place on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. at Buffalo’s First Niagara Centre.

Friday, June 24, 2016

NHL Draft begins tonight

BUFFALO, NY – Tonight’s first round of the 2016 NHL Draft is not expected to be a great one for the QMJHL.

Cape Breton’s Pierre-Luc Dubois has a strong chance at being a top five pick. Val-d’Or’s Julien Gauthier, Gatineau’s Vitaly Abramov, Victoriaville’s Pascal Laberge and Shawinigan’s Samuel Girard are the QMJHL’s other top prospects – but not all will be selected in tonight’s portion of the draft.

After having seven players selected in last year’s NHL Draft – including two in the first round – this will be a light year for the Sea Dogs. The only lock to be selected is Luke Green, who is projected to go in the second or third round by most draft publications.

The Chronicle Herald and Local Xpress have articles on Green heading into the draft.

Nathan Noel and Oliver Felixson were also listed in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings. Prospects Jamie Armstrong and Marshall Rifai could also be picked.

The Providence Journal has an article on Armstrong, who could be the first player picked from Rhode Island since 2009.

The 2016 NHL Draft takes place tonight and tomorrow at Buffalo’s First Niagara Centre

Thursday, June 23, 2016

More Hub City Showcase details released

Further details on the inaugural Hub City Showcase have emerged.

A website has been launched,, which will eventually have details on the tournament.

According to the Times & Transcript (paywall), tickets for the pre-season tournament, which will take place Aug. 19-21 at Moncton’s Superior Propane Centre, will go on sale Aug. 2. An adult tournament pass will cost $30 while a day pass will cost $15.

All six Maritimes Division teams will be playing in the tournament, which will feature mostly 16- and 17-year-old players will little or no QMJHL experience.

The Q News has the full schedule.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gallant finishes second in Jack Adams voting

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Former Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant finished second in NHL coach of the year voting.
Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals won the Jack Adams Award.

Gallant, Trotz and Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff were the finalists for the honour, which was presented on Wednesday night at the league’s annual awards show.

Gallant led the Panthers (47-26-9, 103 points) to the Atlantic Division title while setting franchise marks for wins and points. Florida had a franchise-record 12 game win streak from Dec. 15 to Jan 10, a record seven-game home win streak (Dec. 10 to Jan. 3) and a record six-game road win streak (Dec. 15 to Jan. 10). In Gallant's second season behind the bench for Florida, the Panthers improved by nine wins and 12 points from a season ago. Gallant is a first-time award finalist.

Gallant coached the Sea Dogs from 2010-2012, guiding the team to three straight regular season titles, two President Cup championships and a Memorial Cup title.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Monday night news and notes

Auston Matthews was ranked first by McKenzie. The top ranked player from the QMJHL – and Canadian – was forward Pierre-Luc Dubois of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

The NHL Draft takes place this Friday and Saturday in Buffalo.

Some other news and notes…

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hockey Canada announces camp rosters

Thomas Chabot and Mathieu Joseph have both been invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Development Camp.

Chabot played with Canada at last year’s world juniors and is a lock to make the team – unless he sticks with the Ottawa Senators. Joseph, meanwhile, had an impressive 73 points in 58 games with Saint John last year. The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect will be coming off a leg injury that saw him miss the final two rounds of the playoffs.

Four goaltenders, 14 defensemen and 23 forwards were named to the under-20 camp roster. The players will participate in practices July 30 - Aug. 2 in Toronto before playing in a series against Finland, Sweden,and the United States at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich.

This year’s world juniors take place Dec. 26 – Jan. 5 in Toronto and Montreal.

Hockey Canada also named the development camp rosters for the under-18 and under-17 teams.

Sea Dogs forward Joe Veleno and prospect Shane Bowers were both invited to the under-18 camp. Veleno was one of only four players eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft to receive an invite.

Four goaltenders, 16 defencemen, and 24 forwards will participate in practices and three Red-White intrasquad games from July 29 - Aug. 2. 22 players will be selected for Canada’s 2016 under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup team. The tournament will be held Aug. 8-12 in Breclav, Czech Republic and Bratislava, Slovakia. 

Lastly, prospect Olivier Mathieu, Saint John’s first round pick in this year’s QMJHL Entry Draft, was selected to attend Canada’s under-17 development camp.

For the under-17 camp, 12 goaltenders, 36 defenceman and 63 forwards will participate in practices and games on one of six teams: Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Red and White.

66 players will be selected to represent Canada on one of three national teams – Team Canada Black, Team Canada Red and Team Canada White – at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, which is scheduled for Oct. 30 - Nov. 5 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Where will Luke Green be drafted?

Next weekend in Buffalo, Sea Dogs defenseman Luke Green will be selected in the NHL Draft.

There’s not much debate on whether or not he will be drafted. Where in the draft he’ll be taken is the big question.

With some help from Elite Prospects, here’s a look at where the major draft publications have Green ranked:

No. 47 – Future Considerations
No. 51 – The Hockey News
No. 60 – McKeen’s Hockey
No. 63 - TSN (Craig Button)
No. 71 –
No. 88 – ISS Hockey

Green was also ranked 40th amongst North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s final listings.

Sea Dogs forward Nathan Noel and defenseman Oliver Felixson are also candidates to have their names called next Saturday. Noel, passed over in last year’s draft, was ranked 171st by NHL Central Scouting while Felixson was 189th.

Defenseman Marshall Rifai (123rd), a Harvard commit, and forward Jamie Armstrong (124th), a Northeastern commit, could also be selected. Both players have their CHL rights owned by Saint John.

The 2016 NHL Draft takes place Friday and Saturday in Buffalo. Sportsnet will have live coverage.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Friday, June 17, 2016

Dempsey joining UPEI Panthers

Former Sea Dogs forward Mitchell Dempsey has committed to the University of Prince Edward Islanders Panthers for the 2016-17 season.
Last season, Dempsey played in 27 games with the MHL's Summerside Western Capitals as an overager, recording 12 goals and 16 assists. He added two goals and four assists in 13 playoff games.

Dempsey, a seventh-round pick of the Boston Bruins in the 2013 NHL Draft, spent the 2014-15 season with the Sea Dogs after not being claimed in the OHL. In 60 games with Saint John, the left winger registered eight goals and 17 assists in 60 games.

The Panthers play their first game of the 2016-17 Atlantic University Sport season on Oct. 5 in Moncton.

Povorozniouk signs professional contract

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According to Sam Povorozniouk, Sam Povorozniouk has signed a professional contract.

Where Povorozniouk has signed is not known, but the American Hockey League logo does appear on the piece of paper in this tweeted photo.
The 21-year-old had a breakout overage season with the Sea Dogs last year, recording 39 goals and 23 assists in 68 regular season games. He added 14 goals and 11 assists in 17 playoff contests.

A native of Northbrook, IL, Povorozniouk played four seasons in the OHL before being picked up by Saint John, putting up 47 goals and 74 assists 249 games.

Unsurprisingly, there was speculation that the right winger could be heading to a CIS school.

Where Povorozniouk has signed will surly be known shortly.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pre-season schedule released

The QMJHL released its 2016 pre-season schedule on Thursday.

The Saint John Sea Dogs are currently scheduled to play nine pre-season games, six of which will take place between Aug. 19-28. With the QMJHL beginning its regular season later this year, the remaining three exhibition matches will happen Sept. 9-17

The Sea Dogs will take part in the first ever “Hub City Showcase” in Moncton, according to the Times & Transcript (paywall). The newspaper reports that each team in the tournament will play three games with the third game being determined based on the tournament standings.

Here’s the schedule for the tournament, which will take place Aug. 19-21 at Moncton’s Superior Propane Centre:

Aug. 19 at 1 p.m. – Charlottetown vs Bathurst
Aug. 19 at 4 p.m. – Halifax vs Saint John
Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. – Moncton vs Cape Breton
Aug. 20 at 1 p.m. – Bathurst vs Halifax
Aug. 20 at 4 p.m. – Cape Breton vs Charlottetown
Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. – Moncton vs Saint John
Aug. 21 at 10 a.m. – Playoff
Aug. 21 at 1 p.m. – Playoff
Aug. 21 at 4 p.m. – Playoff

More details on the event will be released next week, according to the Wildcats website.

It appears similar tournaments involving Quebec based teams will be taking place in Shawinigan, Chicoutimi and Rockland, ON that same weekend.

The Sea Dogs won’t be going to any unusual locations other than North Sydney, where they’ll play their final pre-season game on Sept. 17. Via the QMJHL website, here is Saint John’s full pre-season schedule (which doesn't include the third Hub City Showcase game on Aug. 21):
The Sea Dogs begin regular season play on Sept. 23 in Charlottetown.