All week leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.
Slater Koekkoek (Defense)
Height: 6′ 2″ Weight: 184 Shoots: Left
Team: Peterborough Petes (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 23 skater in North America
What kind of player is he?
In a draft loaded with defensemen, Koekkoek has the most unforgettable name (pronounced “kook-kook”) and perhaps the most questions about his game. A shoulder injury cut his 2011-12 season short (just 26 games), yet he still managed to post 5G-13A-18PTS for the Petes, a testament to his offensive skill set.
Mark Seidel, chief scout for the North American Central Scouting, calls Koekkoek “physical and smart.” He’s a smooth skater that carries the puck well enough to lead rushes up the ice, but won’t leave his team hanging at the other end.
“He must be more productive in 5-on-5 situations and not rely solely on the powerplay. He possesses the potential size at 6’2” and 185 lbs and has yet to fully fill out his frame. The skating ability is there as well and everything points that he could develop into a second but most likely a third pairing defenseman at the NHL level.” – Shane Malloy, amateur scout and author of “The Art Of Scouting”
More draft profiles:
Cristoval ‘Boo’ Nieves
Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.
Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.
The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.
A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.
With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.
Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.