NHL research and development camp roster loaded with 2011 draft potential

The NHL’s research and development camp is coming next week and while we’ve run down what they’ll be testing out rules-wise in Toronto and raised our eyebrows when appropriate, what we didn’t know was just who amongst next year’s NHL draft prospects would be out on the ice to test things out. We can wonder no more as the NHL has put out their roster of the 2011 NHL draft prospects who will be giving it a go in Toronto. It’s not an accident that these young and potential future superstars get the call to take part in this camp.

The purpose of the camp is for team officials to get a look at possible rules changes — with the extra benefit that 33 of the top 2011 Draft-eligible prospects will show off their skills while bringing those changes to life.

“This Camp has the bonus element of giving general managers and their staffs an early season look at many of the players whose names they will be calling out as their teams’ top-round selections in the June 2011 Entry Draft in St. Paul,” said E.J. McGuire, Director of the NHL Central Scouting. “These are some of the most talented players available to execute the unique skills and strategies which the camp is designed to test and evaluate.”

“This will be a great learning experience and opportunity for these players,” said NHL Vice President Hockey and Business Brendan Shanahan. “Team personnel get an up-close look at these 2011 Entry Draft prospects while we hope to provide the players with a fun and informative two days.”

Getting a look at these kids before they suit up for their prospective programs is a big deal and with so many NHL folks in attendance, this is like the warm up party for the 2011 NHL draft in St. Paul, Minnesota. As for who is taking part, here’s the rundown.

FORWARDS

Seth Ambroz, Omaha (USHL), David Broll, Erie (OHL), Daniel Catenacci, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL), Sean Couturier, Drummondville (QMJHL), Michael Curtis, Belleville (OHL), Jonathan Huberdeau, Saint John (QMJHL), Philippe Hudon, Choate (HIGH-CT), Boone Jenner, Oshawa (OHL), *John Kurtz, Sudbury (OHL), Gabriel Landeskog, Kitchener (OHL), Adam Lowry, Swift Current (WHL), Shane McColgan, Kelowna (WHL), Garrett Meurs, Plymouth (OHL), Matthew Nieto, Boston University (H-East), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Red Deer (WHL), Zack Phillips, Saint John (QMJHL), Alan Quine, Kingston (OHL), Ty Rattie, Portland (WHL), Nick Shore, Denver (WCHA), *Zack Torquato, Erie (OHL).

DEFENSEMEN

Nathan Beaulieu, Saint John (QMJHL), Gabriel Beaupre, Val d’Or (QMJHL), Myles Bell, Regina (WHL), Adam Clendening, Boston University (H-East), Dougie Hamilton, Niagara (OHL), Scott Harrington, London (OHL), Patrick Koudys, RPI (ECAC), Keegan Lowe, Edmonton (WHL), Scott Mayfield, Youngstown (USHL), Ryan Murphy, Kitchener (OHL), Xavier Ouellet, Montreal (QMJHL), Robbie Russo, U.S. U-18 (USHL).

GOALIES

John Gibson, U.S. U-18 (USHL), Mike Morrison, Kitchener (OHL), Tyson Teichmann, Belleville (OHL).

*- ineligible for 2011 Entry Draft

Seeing representation from all three of the Canadian junior leagues as well as three different NCAA squads, the USHL, and even one US high school shows the wide range of talent that will be immediately available in next years draft. If you’re looking to start studying up now for who might be the top pick in next year’s draft, good luck to you. Two names that kept popping up during the United States WJC camp as well as in Team Canada’s camp were defenseman Adam Clendening and center Sean Coutourier. They’ll be players to watch throughout the year to see how their draft stock improves.

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    Lightning, Islanders make East playoff races even more confusing

    NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Ben Bishop #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning makes the third period save as Ryan Strome #18 of the New York Islanders looks for a rebound at the Barclays Center on November 1, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Whenever you groan at what seems like a quiet trade market, take a step back and ask yourself this: “Who is really out of it?”

    For a while there, it felt reasonable to dismiss the chances of teams like the Florida Panthers, New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. Now? There’s probably only a handful of teams that can really be comfortable, at this very point, with calling themselves sellers.

    The Islanders took care of their business with a 3-1 win against the fading (probably selling?) Detroit Red Wings, even with Petr Mrazek making a save like this.

    Meanwhile, Ben Bishop might just be putting his game together (while Nikita Kucherov‘s game remains very much together) as the Tampa Bay Lightning throttled the Edmonton Oilers 4-1. Bishop might just end up being indispensable – or at least not worth trading – as he’s on a five-game winning streak.

    With those wins, the races for the last seemingly available Eastern Conference playoff spots just get that much muddier.*

    Third place in the Atlantic: Maple Leafs – 67 points in 59 games, 28 wins, 27 ROW

    Second wild card: Panthers – 66 points in 58 GP, 28 W, 25 ROW

    Bruins – 66 points in 59 GP, 30 W, 28 ROW
    Islanders – 66 points in 59 GP, 28 W, 27 ROW
    Flyers – 63 points in 59 GP, 28 W, 23 ROW
    Lightning – 62 points in 59 GP, 27 W, 25 ROW
    Sabres – 62 points in 60 GP, 26 W, 25 ROW

    Wow, that’s crazy-close. Naturally, teams like the Islanders and Flyers lack the luxury of having a third spot in reasonable reach – unless things get truly wild – but that’s quite the congested group of playoff hopefuls.

    And, sure, the Bolts are among those facing longer odds, but the way things keep swinging wildly this season, who knows? Especially with a team with a track record of success and high expectations like the Lightning.

    * – We’ll arbitrarily cut off the East race at the Devils, but just in case you’re wondering, they have 60 points, the Red Wings have 58 and the Hurricanes have 56. Also, the Ottawa Senators hold the second spot in the Atlantic with 70 points and the Montreal Canadiens lead the division with 72, so that group could see quite a bit of movement over the last quarter of the season.

    Forsberg’s hat trick, own-goal highlights Predators’ wild OT loss to Flames

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    If you want to summarize the kind of night the Nashville Predators experienced, you could do worse than to draw parallels to Filip Forsberg‘s experiences.

    The highs were quite high, you see. Forsberg & Co. carved away at the Calgary Flames’ 4-1 lead as his hat trick (see above) eventually gave the Predators a fleeting 5-4 edge.

    We all should have seen more drama coming … and it did. Forsberg ended up being at the wrong place at the wrong time in overtime; the Flames’ 6-5 overtime winner ended up going off of his foot. Ouch.

    Mark Giordano ended up being credited with that goal. The game was just a barn-burner.

    While it was an up-and-down night for both the Flames and Predators, Pekka Rinne‘s evening was pretty much uniformly dismal.

    Rinne was pulled early in the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots, making way for Juuse Saros (who actually ended up gtting tagged with the loss).

    The Flames can breathe a sigh of relief after winning the game despite coughing up a big lead, improving to 64 points and strengthening their grip on the second wild card spot. That “charity point” comes in handy for Nashville, leaving the Predators with 65 points and a game in hand on the Flames.

    Serious performance: Blackhawks gain on Wild thanks to Toews’ five points

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    If the Chicago Blackhawks are going to make up some serious ground and overtake the Minnesota Wild for the Central Division title, they’ll need wins like these.

    It’s only fitting that “Captain Serious” Jonathan Toews did the heavy lifting, generating a hat trick and two assists as the Blackhawks beat the Wild 5-3 on Tuesday.

    Yes, Toews was involved in every goal. And yes, the Blackhawks won this one in regulation after beating the Wild in overtime last time around. It’s a nice swing for Chicago:

    Central Division title chase

    1. Wild – 84 points in 59 games (39 wins, 36 ROW)
    2. Blackhawks – 79 points in 60 games (37 wins, 35 ROW)

    Yeah, that’s still a substantial edge for Minnesota … but this is a significant swing.

    Even beyond the name recognition that comes with Toews & Co., the Blackhawks’ push shouldn’t be surprising. They’re red-hot in February so far, going 7-1-0 despite playing seven of eight on the road (strangely losing that lone home contest).

    The Wild have played reasonably well in their own right, yet this loss sends them into a bye week with some frustration … and maybe some questions about whether they can hold the Blackhawks off.

    Also, tonight marked a nice milestone for Joel Quenneville:

    Matthews, Leafs get last laugh in OT vs. Laine and the Jets

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    Hockey fans tend to get their radars up about over-hyping things, particularly promising rookies.

    Is it hasty, then, to wonder if there’s something to a rivalry between Auston Matthews (and the Maple Leafs) vs. Patrik Laine (plus the Jets)? If nothing else, the two have come up big in two very exciting games.

    Back in October, Laine generated a hat trick as the Jets beat the Maple Leafs 5-4 in overtime. This time around, it was another 5-4 overtime decision … only Matthews and the Maple Leafs took this round.

    This isn’t to take anything away from Laine’s performance, mind you. He scored two goals on Tuesday, becoming the rare modern rookie to muster 30 goals. He reminded hockey fans that he only needs the smallest window to make you pay with his deadly, world-class shot.

    MORE on that goal and the violence that ensued here.

    But Matthews wouldn’t be denied, either, and fittingly did so in a quieter fashion. (Virtually everyone seems a little quieter when Laine’s around, it seems.)

    The Maple Leafs’ outstanding rookie managed three assists in this game, giving him 52 points in 59 games. He also has six points in a three-game run and eight in his past five.

    Laine? He now has 54 points in 55 games, extending is own point streak to five games (seven goals, three assists).

    In other words, it’s really close … just like the games when these two budding stars (and their young, promising teammates) meet.

    You might even be tempted to believe the hype.