Jonathan Huberdeau

Lockout puts prospects’ potential NHL promotions on hold


Just about every group of NHL players has something to lose because of a lockout.

Yahoo’s Cam Charron profiles nine skaters in a particularly anxious category: prospects who could have been mere days from beginning rookie campaigns in the NHL.

He begins with Jonathan Huberdeau, arguably the top prospect in the Florida Panthers’ highly regarded farm system.

He has speed and skill to boot, and all these things that make him a particularly desirable player for an NHL organization, but he’s also physically dominant, despite being listed at just 171 pounds.

Charron discusses why Buffalo Sabres’ 2013 first-rounder Mikhail Grigorenko is a polarizing figure, yet could also play with the big club in little time.

The Russian has 14 points in six games, but his true talent lies in his ability to be a dominant defensive player as well as contribute on the north side of the ice.

He’s the primary face-off man who draws the tough matchups, and whatever you think of him as an NHL-prospect, he’s glorious to watch at this level and flat-out dominate. The Québec Remparts have given up a league-low seven goals in five games, and he’s a big part of that.

The list also includes New York Islanders gem Ryan Strome, Winnipeg Jets prospect Mark Scheifele and less widely-praised prospects who might make a jump because of a team’s weakness or lack of depth.

Are there any other prospects who would be flirting with an NHL leap if the lockout wasn’t impeding their progress?

Senators select Kyle Turris as alternate captain

Chris Neil Kyle Turris Dustin Tokarski
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Kyle Turris is gearing up for his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators, but this campaign will be a little different.

Ottawa announced that Turris will be joining Chris Neil as one of the team’s alternate captains. Turris is assuming that role from Chris Phillips as the 37-year-old defenseman remains out indefinitely due to a back injury.

Since being acquired from the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Turris has established himself as one of Ottawa’s top forwards. He tied for second in the team’s scoring race last season with 64 points in 82 contests and gelled with rookie linemate Mark Stone.

With the Senators favoring a youth movement, Turris actually stands out as one of the Senators’ more experienced players at the age of 26. He’s also set to play a big role with the Senators for years to come as he’s locked to an affordable $3.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18.

Meanwhile defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting ready for his second season as the team’s captain.

Another Sabre hurt: Gionta (lower body) day-to-day

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On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.

Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.

The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.

There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.

Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.