Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Notebook: Some notable AHL games

The American Hockey League released its full 2017-18 schedule on Tuesday.

Some potentially key dates for Saint John Sea Dogs alumni are:

  • The Belleville Senators (Thomas Chabot, Chris DiDomenico and Paul Boutilier) begin their inaugural season on Oct. 6 in Laval against the Rocket (Simon Bourque). The Sens won't have their home opener until Nov. 1 due to building renovations.
  • The Syracuse Crunch (Mathieu Joseph) open their season on Oct. 6 in Rochester.
  • The Charlotte Checkers (Spencer Smallman, Julien Gauthier and Callum Booth) open the year in Hartford on Oct. 6. The Checkers will play in the Eastern Conference this season, so there will (hopefully) be lots of opportunities to see Sea Dogs alumni going head-to-head.
  • The Rockford IceHogs (Matthew Highmore and Nathan Noel) begin play on Oct. 7 in Cleveland.
  • The Ontario Reign (Bokondji Imama) visit San Antonio on Oct. 7 to begin their season.
  • The Providence Bruins (Jakub Zboril) host Springfield in their season opener on Oct. 7.

The Sea Dogs had very few alumni playing full time in the AHL this past season, with Alex Grant (Providence), Stanislav Galiev (Hershey) and Brett Gallant (Cleveland) the only real mainstays. Stephen MacAulay (Springfield) and Eric Gelinas (San Antonio) also appeared in quite a few games during the 2016-17 season.

Predicting the IceHogs

Speaking of the AHL, the Chicago Blackhawks blog Second City Hockey recently predicted the roster of the team's top farm team, the Rockford IceHogs.

The blogs projects Matthew Highmore to centre the team's second line while Nathan Noel will centre the third. The team's forward unit is highlighted by Alex DeBrincat, who probably has a chance to crack the Blackhawks' lineup this year.

More campers

Speaking of the Blackhawks, the team released details on its prospect camp, which will take place July 17-21.

As expected, the roster includes Sea Dogs forwards Matthew Highmore and Nathan Noel. Highmore signed with the club this past season while Noel was picked by the 'Hawks in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The camp roster also includes Montreal native Jake Massie, a 2014 fifth-round pick of the Sea Dogs who never reported to the team. Massie, who was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2015 NHL Draft and later traded to Chicago, spent this past season at the University of Vermont.

The 2015 draft

Speaking of Carolina's 2015 NHL Draft, they really favoured eastern players that year.
Callum Booth, Nicolas Roy and Spencer Smallman all played in the QMJHL; Noah Hanifin and Luke Stevens are both from Massachusetts; and Jake Massie and David Cotton both committed to Hockey East schools.

Bruins prospects

Speaking of the 2015 NHL Draft, The Hockey Writers recently had a piece on the top Boston Bruins prospects, naming Jakub Zboril the fourth best B's prospect of 2017.

2018 top prospects

Speaking of the NHL Draft, The Bloggers Tribune recently released its preliminary rankings for 2018.

Sea Dogs forward Joe Veleno was ranked seventh overall, just edging Halifax Mooseheads defenceman Jared McIsaac who came eighth. Russian forward and future Barrie Colt Andrei Svechnikov was ranked first.

It should be noted as well that Quispamsis native Anderson MacDonald of the Sherbrooke Phoenix was ranked 16th overall. Many early draft rankings have him going in the middle of the first round, a position we don't see too many New Brunswickers being in.

Barron talks next season

Speaking of Maritime hockey talent, Halifax native and Sea Dogs draft pick Morgan Barron spoke to John Moore about his unconventional route to being selected by the New York Rangers a few weeks ago.

Barron, who spent the past couple years with St. Andrew's College in Ontario, was a fourth-round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft. He will play at Cornell University in 2017-18.

Czech camp

Speaking of NHL drafted players, here's the Czech Republic's summer world junior camp roster.
The roster features Edmonton Oilers and 2017 Sea Dogs draft pick Ostap Safin. Frantisek Hrdinka, a 2015 pick of the Sea Dogs, was also invited.

Spits video

Speaking of (there is no segue here)... the Spitfires are releasing a mini-doc series on their Memorial Cup games. The video from their tournament opening victory over the Sea Dogs is now up.

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