Friday, June 30, 2017

Import Draft Notes: Who are Safin and Salda?

Since most hockey followers in this country don't follow European junior leagues, CHL Import Draft picks are usually a mystery. In a press release, Saint John Sea Dogs general manager Trevor Georgie gave some hints at what we can expect from the team's two 2017 picks.

“(Ostap) Safin is an impressive 6-foot-5 offensive winger that handles the puck well and skates well for his size,” Georgie said about the team's first round pick. “He has good offensive instincts and with his frame, he will create room for his teammates. He has a high ceiling that we really like. He gives Danny (Coach Flynn) and the coaching staff another weapon up front.”

Georgie called the team's second pick, Radim Salda, "a well-rounded left defenceman."

“He has good mobility and poise with the puck and will have an opportunity to be a top-four blueliner for us next season.”

"They both look forward to playing together again this upcoming season in Saint John," Georgie added. "We are pleased to have them as part of the Sea Dogs family and Saint John community.”

NHL picks

Safin, a fourth-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in this year's NHL Draft, was one of 11 drafted players taken in this year's Import Draft.

Special rule

The Telegraph-Journal confirmed on Wednesday that the Sea Dogs were allowed to make two picks in this year's Import Draft because of Oliver Felixson's health.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sea Dogs select two Czechs in Import Draft

The Saint John Sea Dogs went big with their first round pick in the CHL Import Draft on Wednesday, selecting 6'5", 191 lbs forward Ostap Safin.

The 18-year-old from the Czech Republic was drafted in the fourth round by the Edmonton Oilers in last weekend's NHL Draft.

Safin has spent his entire career in the Czech Republic, which includes stints with the under-18 and under-17 national teams. He's produced some good offensive numbers over the past couple years, but nothing mind blowing.

Here's a look at his numbers from 2016-17, from Elite Prospects (click to enlarge).
Although Safin was a fourth-round pick of the Oilers, most publications had him going higher. He was ranked 98th by, 53rd by ISS Hockey, 40th by Future Considerations, 66th by McKeen's Hockey and 51st by TSN's Bob McKenzie.
The Sea Dogs also used their second round pick on Wednesday, picking Czech defenceman Radim Salda.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CHL Import Draft takes place Wednesday

SAINT JOHN - The CHL Import Draft, arguably the strangest draft in sports, takes place on Wednesday.

While the Saint John Sea Dogs are not in prime picking location - they own the 53rd and 113th overall picks - it often doesn't matter a whole lot with many picks prearranged. Saint John's picks will come sooner than where they are currently placed because several teams will pass on their picks.

The Sea Dogs plan on using both of their selections in Wednesday's draft, which begins at noon Atlantic time. Defenceman Jakub Zboril is likely to graduate to the professional ranks for this coming season while the status of defenceman Oliver Felixson for 2017-18 is certainly unclear at this point. There's definitely a chance both of Saint John's import spots will be open.

The Sea Dogs haven't had great luck with the Import Draft in recent years with Zboril, who Saint John drafted fifth overall in 2014, turning into the best player. All-time, Saint John has struggled to find impact players when they aren't among the top teams selecting.

Here's who the Sea Dogs have selected in the Import Draft in past years:

Monday, June 26, 2017

NHL Draft Notes: Off year for the QMJHL

As most of you have probably heard, it was not a great 2017 NHL Draft for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Just 14 players were chosen overall with only five of those picks coming in the first two rounds. Only 14 QMJHL players were picked in the 2016 NHL Draft as well, which was a sharp decline from the 30 taken in 2015.

As you can see from the numbers tweeted out by RDS' Stephane Leroux, the QMJHL has become hot and cold in recent years, either having having a very good year or very poor. The 2017 Draft could be another bounce back year for the league, so that's good.

Here's the full list of QMJHL players chosen:

1. Nico Hischier (Halifax Mooseheads) – New Jersey Devils
23. Pierre-Olivier Joseph (Charlottetown Islanders) – Arizona Coyotes
50. Maxime Comtois (Victoriaville Tigres) – Anaheim Ducks
51. Zachary Lauzon (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) – Pittsburgh Penguins
60. Antoine Morand (Acadie-Bathurst Titan) – Anaheim Ducks
121. Drake Batherson (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles) – Ottawa Senators
130. David Noel (Val-d’Or Foreurs) – St. Louis Blues
136. Leon Gawanke (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles) – Winnipeg Jets
165. Arnaud Durandeau (Halifax Mooseheads) – New York Islanders
171. D’Artagnan Joly (Baie-Comeau Drakkar) – Calgary Flames
173. Cedric Pare (Saint John Sea Dogs) – Boston Bruins
176. Pavel Koltygin (Drummondville Voltigeurs) – Nashville Predators
191. Jocktan Chainey (Halifax Mooseheads) – New Jersey Devils
212. Ivan Chekhovich (Baie-Comeau Drakkar) – San Jose Sharks

Something else was noticeable this year:
This also marked the second straight year the Montreal Canadiens did not choose any Quebec-born players, which is - rightly or wrongly - something a lot of people care about.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bruins fans: Pare looks familiar

The second Cedric Pare was drafted by the Boston Bruins on Saturday, the tweets started pouring in.
The resemblance is really something.
Both are forwards, both play/played for Maritime QMJHL teams, both are from the Quebec City area and both were drafted by the Bruins.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

D'Orio invited to Penguins camp

After being passed over in this year's NHL Draft, Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender Alex D'Orio has received an invitation to attend the Stanley Cup champion's camp.

From TVA Sports' Mikael Lalancette:
As Lalancette notes, D'Orio was likely the victim of limited playing time and exposure, appearing in just 28 regular season games in 2016-17 - his first QMJHL campaign. D'Orio posted strong numbers in the games in appeared in though, going 19-4 with a 2.40 goals against average and a .903 save percentage.

D'Orio didn't see action in any playoff games but did appear in Saint John's blowout loss to the Erie Otters at the Memorial Cup.

A Sherbrooke native, D'Orio was selected ninth overall by the Sea Dogs in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft. The team opted to keep him in the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League for the 2015-16 season.

Pare drafted by Bruins

Cedric Pare was the lone Saint John Sea Dog to be selected in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Pare had to wait until the sixth round to hear his name called by the Boston Bruins, who selected him with the 173rd overall selection.

"It was awesome," Pare told media. "My family was there. My Mom, my brother, my grandparents. I was surprised a little bit, yeah. It's nice. I don't have words, I'm just excited."
Pare was on the bubble to picked in the draft. He was ranked 146th amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 176th by ISS Hockey and 202nd by

The 18-year-old played in his first QMJHL season this past year, recording five goals and 11 assists in 64 regular season contests. He added a goal and two assists in 18 playoff games. He also had some strong showings at the Memorial Cup, registering a couple goals in four games.

Pare was a first-round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft, but the team opted to keep him in midget AAA for most of the 2015-16 season.

With Pare getting drafted, the Sea Dogs have had at least one player picked in each of the past four NHL drafts.

Goaltender Alex D'Orio was the only other Sea Dogs player on the draft radar but was not selected. He will no doubt be invited to a development camp, though.

Sea Dogs could be drafted today

Today should be a better day for the QMJHL.

Just two players from the Q were selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft, which was held last night in Chicago. There should be a lot more selected today when rounds two through seven take place. The show begins at 11 a.m. on Sportsnet.

Two Saint John Sea Dogs players could be selected today: forward Cedric Pare and goaltender Alex D'Orio.

Pare was ranked 146th amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 176th by ISS Hockey and 202nd by

D'Orio, meanwhile, has been ranked all over the map.

NHL Central Scouting13th (NA goalies)
Sports Illustrated48th overall
Sportsnet - Jeff Marek69th overall
TheScout.ca122nd overall
Future Considerations134th overall
HockeyProspect.com196th overall

The Sea Dogs have had players selected in three straight NHL Drafts. D'Orio is looking to become the first Saint John goaltender to ever be drafted into the NHL.

Sea Dogs prospect Shane Bowers was selected by the Ottawa Senators last night. There could be a few more Dogs prospect taken today with Ben Mirageas (63rd) and Morgan Barron (98th) both ranked by Central Scouting.

Hischier highlights quiet night for QMJHL

The first few minutes of the 2017 NHL Draft's first round were big for the QMJHL. Beyond that, it was fairly quiet.

The New Jersey Devils opted to keep the first overall pick and select Halifax Mooseheads forward Nico Hischier. The Devils chose the Swiss star over Brandon Wheat Kings forward Nolan Patrick, who had been ranked first by most draft publications up until a few weeks ago.

Hischier joins a pretty exclusive club of QMJHL players who have been selected first overall.
Saturday Night Live's Kyle Mooney sent out a completely random tweet congratulating Hischier.
The only other QMJHL player to be selected in the first round was Charlottetown Islanders defenceman Pierre-Olivier Joseph who was taken 23rd overall by the Arizona Coyotes.

Friday, June 23, 2017

2017 NHL Draft begins tonight

The first round of the 2017 NHL Draft takes place tonight in Chicago. It won't be an overly exciting night for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League - but it could start off with a bang.

There is a chance the New Jersey Devils select Halifax Mooseheads forward Nico Hischier with the first overall pick. Hischier had been ranked second in most draft rankings - behind Brandon Wheat Kings forward Nolan Patrick, who was injured much of the season - but has been ranked first more and more over the past couple weeks. But is this media hype or the real deal? We'll find out tonight.

There's a chance Hischier is the only QMJHL player taken in the first round. Victoriaville's Maxime Comtois and/or Charlottetown's Pierre-Olivier Joseph could be selected tonight, but they are on the bubble.

Shane Bowers, a Halifax native and Saint John Sea Dogs draft pick, could also be selected tonight, but that is not a sure thing. Most draft rankings have him going late in tonight's opening round or early tomorrow.

Unless something extremely unexpected happens, there won't be any current Sea Dogs players taken tonight. In NHL Central Scouting's final rankings, Sea Dogs forward Cedric Pare was ranked 146th amongst North American skaters - an improvement from his midterm rank (203rd). Alex D'Orio was ranked 13th amongst North American goaltenders, a slide from his No. 8 position at the midterm.

Where D'Orio goes this weekend - if at all - will be interesting because he has been ranked all over the map (which isn't overly surprising given his limited amount of major junior playing experience). He has been ranked 48th by Sports Illustrated, 69th by Sportsnet's Jeff Marek, 122nd by, 134th by Future Considerations and 196th by

Pare was ranked 176th by ISS Hockey and 202nd by

Along with Bowers, Sea Dogs draft picks Ben Mirageas (ranked 63rd by Central Scouting) and Morgan Barron (98th) could also be selected this weekend.

The NHL Draft begins tonight at 8 p.m. on Sportsnet and will continue Saturday morning.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Will Shane Bowers be a first round pick?

As the 2016-17 hockey season moved along, Shane Bowers' draft ranking, for the most, either stayed relatively the same or lowered slightly.

That's not to say Bowers underperformed this season as other players may have simply moved passed him. In his second year with the USHL's Waterloo Black Hawks, the 17-year-old registered 22 goals and 51 points in 60 games. He added two goals and three points in six playoff games.

Bowers was also named to the USHL's third all-star team, which is apparently a thing.

A Halifax native, Bowers was a second-round pick of the Saint John Sea Dogs in the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft. He is committed to Boston University for the 2017-18 season (of note, BU will host UPEI in an exhibition game on Oct. 1).

If an NHL team the Sea Dogs have had a relationship with in the past selects Bowers, it could certainly increase the odds of him reporting to Saint John at some point. But it also might have no impact at all... but it might... but it might not... but it...

Long story short: seeing where Bowers lands this weekend gives us Sea Dogs followers something intriguing to watch in what is not a terrific draft for the QMJHL.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Boutilier joins Ottawa's AHL team

Saint John Sea Dogs assistant coach Paul Boutilier is bound for the American Hockey League.

The Belleville Senators, the new AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators, officially named Boutilier one of the team's assistant coaches this afternoon.

"The players’ development and performance is what I am accountable for, so I’m looking forward to working closely with each player in accomplishing their development, performance and team objectives,” Boutilier said a Senators press release. “I am also proud and excited to get the chance to coach and live in Belleville, Ontario.”

Boutilier had been an assistant coach with the Sea Dogs since the 2014-15 season, working primarily with the team's defencemen.

“Saint John was a great experience for the last three years, we had a lot of wins which is great, but leaving the people in the community that’s really difficult,” Boutilier told Rogers TV's Craig Eagles (check out his entire post, which includes some player reaction, on today's announcement here).

“The Port City was like home for me, kind of like where I’m from in Cape Breton. It was like being at home with some good honest people that know the game and got to witness some great hockey through the years.”

The move isn't overly surprisingly as Boutilier is certainly qualified to make the jump to the AHL, working in a variety of capacities with teams at all levels over the years. He also has NHL playing experience, playing in 329 games.

Former Sea Dogs forward Chris DiDomenico will likely play in Belleville this coming season. Other Sea Dogs connections in the Sens organization include Mike Hoffman and Thomas Chabot.

It's unclear when the Sea Dogs will announce a replacement for Boutilier, but it should happen relatively quickly with training camp just two months away.

Photo: Vincent Ethier/QMJHL

Veleno invited to Canada's U-18 camp

Joe Veleno was the only Saint John Sea Dogs player to receive an invitation to Hockey Canada's Summer Showcase.

Veleno was invited to attend Canada's Under-18 Selection Camp, which will feature 44 players. The five-day selection camp will be used to determine Canada's roster for the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup tournament.

The 17-year-old Veleno was on Canada's U-18 squad last year, recording four assists in four games at the Hlinka.

10 QMJHL players will attend the camp, including four from the Halifax Mooseheads.

Veleno recorded 13 goals and 40 points in 45 games with Saint John last season. He added eight goals and 11 points in 18 playoff contests and another three goals and four points at the Memorial Cup.

While making the world junior team as an underage player is never easy, you have to think Veleno has a shot this year. Most consider Veleno to be a top prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft and, if he can have a strong first half with the Sea Dogs, he's got a chance, at least.

Of the 42 players invited to the world junior development camp, only two are from the QMJHL: defenceman Samuel Girard (Shawinigan) and forward Pierre-Luc Dubois (Blainville-Boisbriand). No 2018 NHL Draft prospects were invited.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Midgley named Mooseheads head coach

At long last, Jim Midgley is a head coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Midgley, who has been an assistant coach in the league for what feels like forever, was officially named head coach of the Halifax Mooseheads on Tuesday.

“I am honoured and excited to take over behind the bench of the Mooseheads franchise. I can’t wait to get started in August,” Midgley said in a press release.

Midgley was an assistant coach with the Saint John Sea Dogs from 2007 to 2009, working with Jacques Beaulieu. It was his first coaching gig in the QMJHL after working as an assistant with the Acadia Axemen.

Midgley has been an assistant coach with the Mooseheads since 2011.

The Halifax coaching vacancy became available when Andre Tourigny surprisingly left to join the OHL's Ottawa 67's last week.

Midgley takes over a Mooseheads team that is built to be one of the best in junior hockey over the next few seasons. The team is stockpiled with highly talented players at every position. With the Moose aiming to host the 2019 Memorial Cup, their roster will likely only get better as this coming season moves along.

The Sea Dogs open up pre-season play against the Mooseheads on Aug. 18 at the Hub City Showcase tournament in Moncton.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Former Dogs left protected and unprotected for Las Vegas Expansion Draft

The NHL released the list of players that will and won't be available for Wednesday's Las Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft.

A handful of former Sea Dogs have been made available for the Golden Knights. Here's who was left unprotected, via TSN:

Alex Grant - Boston Bruins
Eric Gelinas - Colorado Avalanche
Brett Gallant - Columbus Blue Jackets
Chris DiDomenico - Ottawa Senators
Stanislav Galiev - Washington Capitals

With Gerard Gallant and Mike Kelly on the Golden Knights coaching staff, you have to think the team will think favourably of Sea Dogs alumni. However, the above players aren't exactly NHL all-stars with most spending much of last season in the AHL. Given the way the expansion draft rules work, it's certainly likely Vegas won't select any of these players - but you never know, I guess.

Nathan Beaulieu (Buffalo Sabres), Tomas Jurco (Chicago Blackhawks), Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers), Charlie Coyle (Minnesota Wild) and Mike Hoffman (Ottawa Senators) were all protected by their respective teams. The only real surprise on that list was Jurco.

The NHL Awards and Expansion Draft take place on Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Las Vegas. The NHL Draft takes place on Friday and Saturday in Chicago.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Beaulieu traded to Sabres; Despres bought out

Former Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is on the move.

The Montreal Canadians traded the 24-year-old to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday in exchange for a third-round pick in next weekend's NHL Draft.

Beaulieu has spent his entire NHL career with the Habs. From the Sabres website:

Beaulieu (6'2", 205 lbs., 12/5/1992) appeared in his fifth NHL season with the Canadiens in 2016-17, logging career highs in games played (74), goals (4), assists (24) and points (28). In 225 career NHL regular-season games, Beaulieu has totaled 60 points (7+53) and a plus-19 rating, adding four points in 17 career playoff games. 
A first-round pick (17th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, Beaulieu was drafted by the Canadiens after four seasons in the QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs that included a Memorial Cup championship in 2011 and QMJHL titles in 2011 and 2012. A native of Strathroy, Ontario he also won a bronze medal while representing Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Beaulieu spent four seasons with the Sea Dogs from 2008 to 2012, recording 37 goals and 152 points in 233 regular season games. He added 12 goals and 48 points in 61 playoff matches and another goal and seven points in eight Memorial Cup contests.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sea Dogs returning to Quispamsis [Updated]

UPDATE: The Sea Dogs say there was an error in the league's schedule. There is expected to be just one game at the qplex - Sunday, Aug. 27. The other home game on Wednesday, Aug. 23 will be at Harbour Station.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced its pre-season schedule on Monday.

The Saint John Sea Dogs will play four "real" pre-season games this season, all of which will be held following the team's participation in the Moncton rookie tournament.

From the QMJHL website:

For a second season, the League set up pre-camps before the main camps which begin on Tuesday, August 22. From August 17 to 20, Moncton, Sherbrooke, Chicoutimi and Shawinigan will host a pre-camp in their respective cities with the exception of Sherbrooke which will hold their event in Lennoxville, Quebec. The goal is to enable our teams to evaluate players from their organizations against other organizations and subsequently be able to make a selection of players that can be invited to the regular camp. In Moncton, the Wildcats will host the following teams, BAT-CAP-CHA-HAL-SNB, the Phoenix will host BLB-VDO-GAT, in Lennoxville, the Saguenéens will welcome BAC-QUE-RIM and finally in Shawinigan, the Cataractes will host ROU-VIC-DRU.

The Sea Dogs will open the Hub City Showcase (that's what it was called last season, at least) on Friday, Aug. 18 against the Halifax Mooseheads. The team will take on the Moncton Wildcats the following day. There will presumably be a game on Sunday, Aug. 20 as well against a to-be-determined opponent (last year's event followed a tournament style format).

The "real" pre-season games begin on Wednesday, Aug. 23 with the Dogs hosting the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at the qplex in Quispamsis Harbour Station. It's one of two pre-season games Saint John will play at the qplex, with The other home pre-season contest will be on Sunday, Aug. 27 against Halifax at the qplex in Quispamsis.

The Sea Dogs have played pre-season games at the qplex before but have not been there since 2013 (I think). According to the schedule, the Dogs won't play any pre-season games at Harbour Station this year, which will be a first.

Saint John's other pre-season games include a Aug. 25 game in Bathurst and a Sept. 15 contest in Halifax (which will be played at Scotiabank Centre, a rarity in exhibition play).

The Sea Dogs begin the 2017-18 regular season at home on Sept. 21 against the Halifax Mooseheads.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sea Dogs prospects selected in MHL Draft

Saint John Sea Dogs prospect Jeremie Jacob was the fourth overall selection in Saturday's Maritime Hockey League Draft in Miramichi.

Jacob, who was a sixth-round selection of the Sea Dogs in this year's QMJHL Entry Draft, was picked by the Woodstock Slammers. The 16-year-old forward is coming off a solid year with the Moncton Flyers where he recorded eight goals and 27 points in 31 games. He added five goals and 10 assists in 10 playoff games.

Jacob was one of two Sea Dogs prospects to be taken in the first round. Tim Noble, a fifth-round pick of Saint John in this year's draft, went ninth overall to the Amherst Ramblers.

The St. Stephen Aces picked just one Sea Dogs prospect this year, selecting Moncton Flyers forward Aiden MacIntosh with the 17th overall pick.

Here's the full list of Sea Dogs prospects taken in Saturday's MHL Draft:

Round 1, 4th overall - Woodstock - Jeremie Jacob
Round 1, 9th overall - Amherst - Tim Noble
Round 2, 11th overall - Summerside - Josh MacDonald
Round 2, 17th overall - St. Stephen - Aiden MacIntosh
Round 3, 27th overall - Amherst - Thomas Ashe
Round 3, 33rd overall - Yarmouth - Daniel Surette

The full results can be found here.

Meanwhile, Sea Dogs defenceman Chase Stewart was drafted by the Aces in the QMJHL Supplementary Draft.
The full results of the Supplementary Draft aren't easily accessible for whatever reason (but maybe they are... drop a link in the comments if that is the case).

Notebook: Bellamy, MacIntosh trading places

As of last Saturday, Jaxon Bellamy has a new favourite QMJHL team.

The Saint John Vito's defenceman was the first New Brunswicker taken in the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft, going 16th overall to the Moncton Wildcats. But had Bellamy grown up a Sea Dogs fan?

"I was, for a long time. I always followed them," Bellamy told reporters after the conclusion of the first round at Harbour Station. "They came in in 2005, I'm pretty sure, and I just fell in love with them. They were sweet. And now I'm in love with the Moncton Wildcats."

Did he convert to Wildcats fandom that quickly on Saturday?

"Oh yeah, I was pretty quick to do that."

Bellamy had 11 goals and 11 assists in 32 games with the Vito's last season. He added four goals and three assists in 10 playoff games.

The 2017 draft seemed to continue a trend: the Sea Dogs take Moncton players while the Wildcats take Saint John players. Saint John drafted two Moncton Flyers this year while Moncton selected a Vito's d-man and a Rothesay Netherwood forward.

The Sea Dogs selected Flyers forward and Moncton native Aiden MacIntosh in the fourth round.

"I think it will be fun playing in front of friends and family at home," said MacIntosh about playing with Saint John in Moncton. "I'm just really happy to be a part of the Sea Dogs."

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Kelly (officially) joins Gallant in Vegas

The Vegas Golden Knights haven't played a game and barely have a roster - and yet there are already a few Saint John Sea Dogs connections in the organization.

Gerard Gallant, who coached the Sea Dogs from 2009-2012, was named the club's first head coach in April. Unsurprisingly, the Knights coaching staff will feature a familiar face working alongside Gallant: Mike Kelly.

The Knights made the Kelly hiring official this afternoon, naming him an assistant coach.

"I am very excited to be working with Mike again," said Gallant in a press release. "We enjoyed success in both Florida and Saint John and I am eager to bring that success to the Golden Knights. Mike is a great guy with a wealth of hockey knowledge and I couldn't be happier with the decision to bring him to Las Vegas."

Gallant and Kelly worked together in Saint John from 2009-2012, bringing the team three regular season titles, two President Cups and a Memorial Cup. The two later worked together with the Florida Panthers, where they were both fired (and put in taxis! The horror!) this past season.

Meanwhile, Rocky Thompson, who recently guided the Windsor Spitfires to the 2017 Memorial Cup championship, has been named head coach of the Chicago Wolves, the Knights' AHL affiliate.
Thompson and the Spitfires defeated the Sea Dogs in their only meeting at this year's Memorial Cup. Thompson deserves a lot of credit for Windsor's championship, clearly having his team ready for the tournament despite the long layoff.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Jared Coreau was drafted by the Sea Dogs

In a desperate attempt to find Saint John Sea Dogs connections in this year's Calder Cup Final, here's something many may not remember/realize: Jared Coreau was an 11th-round pick of the Dogs in the 2009 QMJHL Entry Draft.

I've mentioned this to a few people over the past week and have gotten the same response each time: who in the world is Jared Coreau?

Well, Coreau is a professional goaltender in the sport of ice hockey. He's put up phenomenal numbers this AHL post-season, registering a 13-2 record to go along with a 2.48 goals against average and a .920 save percentage. He's one of the reasons why his Grand Rapids Griffins lead the Syracuse Crunch 2-0 in the league final heading into tonight's Game 3.

The Griffins are looking for the first Calder Cup title since 2013, a team that Tomas Jurco was apart of.

If you're interested, the AHL is streaming the Calder Cup Final free of charge. From

To watch, go to via a desktop computer, log in or create a new account and select the "Finals All-Access Pass" and enter the promo code "FINALS17."

Coreau is noteworthy for another reason, having made his NHL debut this year with the Detroit Red Wings. In 14 games with the Wings, Coreau recorded a 5-4 record to go along with a 3.46 GAA and .887 SV%.

The 25-year-old spent most of the 2016-17 season with Grand Rapids, going 19-11 with a 2.33 GAA and .917 SV% in the regular season.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sea Dogs face some NCAA battles

SAINT JOHN - Trevor Georgie was quick with his answer when asked about Lynden Breen's commitment to the University of Maine.

"Lynden Breen will play for the Saint John Sea Dogs," said Georgie.

The Sea Dogs' president and general manager swung a deal in the fourth round of Saturday's QMJHL Entry Draft at Harbour Station, sending three 2018 draft picks (a fourth, a fifth and a seventh) to the Rimouski Oceanic in exchange for two fifth-round picks. With the 83rd overall selection, the Sea Dogs selected the Grand Bay-Westfield native.

It was nearly a year ago that reports surfaced of Breen's commitment to the NCAA's Maine Black Bears.
Breen spent last season playing high school hockey in the US, putting up 22 goals and 27 assists in 34 games at New Hampton. He was a fifth-round pick of the Bloomington Thunder a few weeks ago in the USHL Draft. While these are certainly signs of a player committed to NCAA hockey, Breen was also in attendance at Saturday's draft and put on his Sea Dogs jersey after being selected, something a lot of college commits do not do.

Sibley excited to join young Sea Dogs team

SAINT JOHN - It took a while, but Brendan Sibley eventually became the Saint John Sea Dogs' top pick of the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft.

With no picks in the first or second round, the Sea Dogs had to wait until the third to make their first selection at Harbour Station. The Dogs made a minor swap with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada to move up a few slots from 55th to 52nd overall, taking Sibley.

"It's their first pick so I'm really excited and I'm really happy," said Sibley after meeting Sea Dogs management at the team's draft table. "I can't wait to get things going at camp."
Sibley was ranked 53rd by Hockey Prospect and 77th by QMJHL Central Scouting.

Sea Dogs president and general manager Trevor Georgie said his team of scouts followed their own list and rankings.

"We had them substantially higher than where they had slid to so we're thrilled with those picks," Georgie said of the team's first four selections - Sibley, Aiden MacIntosh, Max-Antoine Melancon and Lynden Breen. "We think all of those guys will be good young pieces moving forward with the Sea Dogs."

Sibley was one of fours players the Sea Dogs drafted from the Dartmouth Steele Subaru Major Midgets on Saturday. The 16-year-old d-man had three goals and 15 assists in 37 games with the club last season. He added a goal and seven assists in 11 playoff games.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Notebook: Saint John puts on a show

SAINT JOHN - There was a great crowd to watch the QMJHL Entry Daft at Harbour Station on Saturday.

Both the lower and upper bowls were mostly filled with players, family and fans. The crowd thinned as the day went on, but there was a solid atmosphere for the first round. As the crowd thinned and the draft went on, the cheers from player's families got a lot louder, which was cool.

Other than Sea Dogs fans, there were plenty of Moncton fans in attendance. Every time Moncton took the stage in the opening round there was a mix of cheers and boos.

Reviews of Saturday's draft from fans and media have been overwhelmingly positive.

Here's hoping Saint John's first time hosting the draft is not the last.

This wasn't the greatest of first rounds for Atlantic Canadian talent.

Newfoundland's Dawson Mercer was the first non-Quebec born player selected, going eighth overall to the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Other Atlantic players taken in the first 19 selections were Bailey Peach (11th - Sherbrooke), Justin Barron (13th - Halifax), Noah Laaouan (14th - Cape Breton) and Jaxom Bellamy (16th - Moncton).

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sea Dogs take Sibley with first pick

SAINT JOHN - They had to wait a while, but the Saint John Sea Dogs finally made their first pick of the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft in the third round.

After making a small trade to move up a few spots, the Sea Dogs selected Brendan Sibley 52nd overall.

A 16-year-old defenceman, Sibley spent last season with the Dartmouth Steele Subaru Major Midgets in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League, recording three goals and 15 assists in 37 games. He added a goal and seven assists in 11 playoff matches.

Sibley was ranked 77th by QMJHL Central Scouting and 53rd by

"One of Sibleys’ strongest traits is his poise, he can protect the puck and make good decisions under pressure," writes HP. "He plays a physical style, and especially showed this during the playoffs, he’s tough to knock off his skates, has strong edges and can stop on a dime."

Here's a a look at all of Saint John's selections on Saturday:

Here's 2017's first round picks

SAINT JOHN - The first round of the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft is in the books. Here's how it went, along with where each player was ranked by QMJHL Central Scouting and

1RIMAlexis Lafreniere11
2SHESamuel Poulin22
3MONJakob Pelletier34
4HALXavier Parent46
5VALMaxence Guenette89
6BACNathan Legare1011
7BACChristopher Merisier-Ortiz712
8DRUDawson Mercer1210
9DRUXavier Simoneau2023
10RIMChristopher Inniss2341
11SHEBailey Peach97
12RIMMathieu Bizier1418
13HALJustin Barron65
14CAPNoah Laaouan2615
15CAPBrooklyn Kalmikov2521
16MONJaxon Bellamy1613
17VALJeremy Michel1519
18QUEPierrick Dube2431
19DRUThomas Pelletier2168

Game Day: 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft

SAINT JOHN - The day has arrived. For the first time, Harbour Station will host the annual QMJHL Entry Draft. Doors open this morning at 8:30 a.m. with the show expected to start at 9:45 a.m. Admission is free.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Rogers TV NB & TVA Sports/None/Rogers TV NB Facebook

Who's picking where: The full list of picks can be found on the QMJHL website. It will be updated throughout the day. The Rimouski Oceanic will pick first followed by the Sherbrooke Phoenix and Moncton Wildcats.

Sea Dogs picks (currently):
Round 3, 55th overall
Round 4, 63rd overall
Round 4, 73rd overall
Round 6, 104th overall
Round 6, 109th overall
Round 8, 145th overall
Round 9, 163rd overall
Round 10, 164th overall
Round 11, 183rd overall
Round 11, 199th overall
Round 12, 201st overall
Round 12, 210th overall
Round 12, 217th overall
Round 13, 235th overall
Round 14, 253rd overall

Who's getting traded: Trades can be tracked on the QMJHL website as well. The page will also be updated throughout the day.

Some reading: Samuel Dove-McFalls has been traded to Rimouski, on yesterday's league press conference, SN's mock draft of the first round, and a notebook.

Notes: If the Sea Dogs don't move up, this will be the latest they've ever made their first pick... Alexis Lafreniere is expected to be taken first overall by the Oceanic... the Oceanic last picked first overall in 2003 when they chose Sidney Crosby... Halifax selected first overall last year, taking Benoit-Olivier Groulx.

Up next: The CHL Import Draft will take place whenever.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Notebook: Third-round has been good to Sea Dogs over the years

SAINT JOHN - At the moment, the Saint John Sea Dogs won't be picking in the QMJHL Entry Draft until the third round.

That's not ideal, obviously. But here's some positive news: the Sea Dogs have picked some very good players in the third round of past drafts.

Tim Roszell's By The Numbers highlighted a few of those players. Here's the full list:

2005: Alexandre Labonte
2006: Karel St-Laurent
2008: Stephen MacAulay
2009: Scott Oke
2010: Guillaume Cloutier
2010: Devon Oliver-Dares
2011: Maxime Gravel
2013: Joey Richard
2013: Samuel Dove-McFalls
2013: Mathieu Joseph
2015: Vincent Martineau
2016: Isiah Campbell

That's a pretty good list, even though there have been some misses.

If you're unable to make it to Harbour Station on Saturday, there will be viewing options.

Rogers TV New Brunswick will have live coverage of the first round across the province. If you are out of the region or not a Rogers customer, you can watch live on the network's Facebook page.
TVA Sports will also have live coverage.

You can also follow the picks on the QMJHL website.

SN's 2017 QMJHL mock draft

Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

SAINT JOHN - Here's SN's mock draft for the first round of the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft.

1RIMAlexis Lafreniere
2SHESamuel Poulin
3MONJakob Pelletier
4HALAlex Newhook
5VALXavier Parent
6BACXavier Simoneau
7DRUMaxence Guenette
8DRUNathan Legare
9BACChristopher Merisier-Ortiz
10RIMBailey Peach
11SHEJustin Barron
12RIMJeremy Jacques
13MONMathieu Bizier
14CAPJaxon Bellamy
15CAPDawson Mercer
16MONBrett Budgell
17VALArlo Merritt
18QUEJeremy Michel
19DRUAlex Beaucage

The QMJHL Entry Draft takes place on Saturday morning at Harbour Station. The show begins at 9:45 a.m. and admission is free.

QMJHL's return to St. John's seems likely

SAINT JOHN - The QMJHL's return to Newfoundland is becoming more of a question of "when" rather then "if."

RDS' Stephane Leroux reported yesterday that there is a group in St. John's working to bring a team back to Newfoundland, which would be a first since the Fog Devils (RIP) left for Verdun in 2008.

At the league's annual press conference, held this afternoon in Saint John, commissioner Gilles Courteau confirmed that St. John's is interested in getting back into the league and that a group has been formed to evaluate the application.

Leroux reported that Courteau has met with Newfoundland labour officials regarding the class against lawsuit against the CHL and the classifying of players as amateurs. That's certainly not the only issue surrounding St. John's, as costs - particularly travel - are obviously a concern.

But the biggest issue at the moment seems to be what team will relocate to St. John's?

Courteau said on Friday that the league will not expand to 19 teams, which makes sense. The only option for St. John's is relocation, and, at this time anyways, there is no obvious team knocking on death's door. But, as we saw with Lewiston (RIP), that can change and become public in a hurry. Even for a team that's struggling but doing ok, the St. John's group could make a purchasing offer that would be hard to refuse.

If there's any team reaching the point of impending doom, it seems to be the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, which is ironically the former Fog Devils franchise. The team's attendance isn't great - but also not terrible. Laval getting an AHL team this season could cause problems though and there are issues surrounding Quebecor owning a majority of both the Armada and Quebec Remparts franchises.

It sucks to see a team move, but it will happen at some point. And the destination seems very likely to be Newfoundland.

Dove-McFalls traded to Rimouski

SAINT JOHN - As expected, the Saint John Sea Dogs have traded Samuel Dove-McFalls to the Rimouski Oceanic.

The Sea Dogs receive their 2020 first-round pick back in the deal, a pick that was traded to Rimouski in the Simon Bourque transaction during the holiday trade period.

Friday's deal completes the Bourque trade, which saw the Sea Dogs acquire the Oceanic captain and a 2018 second-round pick in exchange for Vincent Martineau, a 2018 first-round pick (Sherbrooke), a 2019 second-round pick and the 2020 first-round pick.

The Dove-McFalls deal essentially makes the Bourque trade look like this:

To Saint John:
Simon Bourque
2018 2nd-round pick (RIM) 
To Rimouski:
Samuel Dove-McFalls
Vincent Martineau
2018 1st-round pick (SHE)
2019 2nd-round pick (SJ)

It was a high price for the Sea Dogs to pay, but it's hard to argue with the deal given the success Saint John had with Bourque. The Montreal Canadiens prospect had seven goals and 21 assists in 30 regular season games with the Sea Dogs and added another four goals and nine assists in 13 playoff games. He struggled defensively at times at the Memorial Cup while recording two assists in four games.

Bourque has a year of junior eligibility remaining, but seems likely to be heading to either the Laval Rocket (AHL) or Brampton Beast (ECHL) for 2017-18.

Dove-McFalls, a third-round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2013 QMJHL Entry Draft, finishes his Saint John career with 42 goals and 67 assists in 212 games. He also had 12 goals and eight assists in 40 playoff games.

Like Bourque, Dove-McFalls could return as an overage player next season. The chances of that happening seem higher after the Philadelphia Flyers chose not to sign him before Thursday's deadline, making him a free agent.

The Sea Dogs and Oceanic meet twice in 2017-18 - Jan. 3 at Harbour Station and Jan. 14 in Rimouski.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Flyers opt not to sign Dove-McFalls

Samuel Dove-McFalls is officially a free agent.

The Philadelphia Flyers, who selected the Saint John Sea Dogs forward in the fourth-round of the 2015 NHL Draft, opted not to sign Dove-McFalls to an entry level contract before Thursday's deadline.

According to CSN Philadelphia, Dove-McFalls "was the only top-100 player from his draft class still unsigned."

Dove-McFalls can re-enter the NHL Draft or sign elsewhere as a free agent. He could also return to the QMJHL next season as an overage player - although it's unlikely it will be with Saint John.

The Sea Dogs are expected to trade Dove-McFalls to the Rimouski Oceanic this weekend, completing the Simon Bourque deal.

The Montreal native had 17 goals and 53 points in 65 regular season games with the Dogs this year, both of which were career highs. It'd be interesting to see Dove-McFalls used consistently in an offensive role after being placed in a third line, defensive spot (a role he was quite effective in) for much of his time in Saint John.

Graduating Sea Dogs forward Bokondji Imama, who entered Thursday unsigned as well, inked an entry-level deal with the Los Angeles Kings before the deadline.

Imama signs ELC with Kings

The wait is over for Boko Imama.

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the graduating Saint John Sea Dog has signed an entry-level deal with the Los Angeles Kings.
It's been a long wait for Imama. A sixth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2015 NHL Draft, Imama was not signed to an ELC by the club. With the June 1 deadline approaching, the Lightning traded the forward's rights to the Kings yesterday in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2018 Draft.

The Kings obviously thought Imama was worth the draft pick, signing him before today's deadline.

The signing means Imama will very likely play in the AHL or ECHL next season. The Kings are affiliated with the Ontario Reign in the AHL and Manchester Monarchs in the ECHL.

Imama had a breakout offensive season with the Sea Dogs this year, recording 41 goals and 14 assists in 66 regular season games. He added eight goals and seven assists in 18 playoff matches. At the Memorial Cup, Imama had a goal and two assists.

Samuel Dove-McFalls, meanwhile, has yet to be signed by the Philadelphia Flyers. If he is not signed, he becomes a free agent. The Flyers could still ink him to a minor league deal, though.