Sebastian Aho

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Poll: Will the Hurricanes be a playoff team this season?

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This post is a part of Hurricanes day at PHT…

It has been eight years since the Carolina Hurricanes qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Since then they have gone through three coaches, numerous roster constructions and a still ongoing rebuilding effort.

For the past three or four years it seems as if the Hurricanes have entered the new season as a popular sleeper pick to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, and things never quite seem to work out for one reason or another (recently goaltending has been a big reason). Those expectations are back once again this season.

They had a pretty strong finish to the 2016-17 season with an 11-5-5 mark down the stretch and have an impressive young core of players in place, mostly on their defense that is stacked with a ton of already good — and very underrated — players all under the age of 24, with several of them now locked in to long-term contracts. Up front Jeff Skinner is one of the NHL’s best goal scorers, while Sebastian Aho and Victor Rask are looking like two of the best young forwards in the league. They attempted to complement that young core this summer with some pretty significant veteran additions, including Justin Williams, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Marcus Kruger and Scott Darling.

Their young players are still at an age where they have room to improve, and they made some significant additions around them (and do not forget Jordan Staal, who is still a really good player even if he carries a huge contract). Will those improvements be enough to help the Hurricanes make up eight points in the standings and get back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 season?

Under Pressure: Bill Peters

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This post is a part of Hurricanes day at PHT…

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Bill Peters is a pretty good hockey coach. In his three years behind the Carolina Hurricanes’ bench his teams have always played hard, they have been competitive, they have seen great growth from their young core of players during their rebuild, and they have consistently been one of the top possession teams in the league. There are a lot of positives and a lot of reasons for optimism for what might be there in the coming seasons.

One thing there has not been: A trip to the postseason. There hasn’t been one in Carolina since the 2008-09 season as three different coaches have been unable to reach the playoffs during that stretch. So it hasn’t necessarily been just a coach thing.

It doesn’t seem that Peters is starting the season on the hot seat, and general manager Ron Francis recently gave his coach a vote of confidence heading into the season saying exactly that.

“I think Bill Peters is one hell of a hockey coach, so I would not put him on the hot seat and in that category. Not at all,” Francis said this week, via the News & Observer. “This is guy who has shown he’s a hell of a coach with a very young team. I don’t think you hold him accountable for missing the playoffs the last couple of years, based on the situation we were in and what we were trying to build.”

All fair points, and he specifically points out the playoff drought and what the team was going through.

But professional sports is still a bottom line business, and eventually results will begin to matter. Especially after the offseason the Hurricanes had that saw them bring in Justin Williams, Marcus Kruger, Trevor van Riemsdyk and goaltender Scott Darling who can hopefully fix the team’s biggest and most glaring weakness in most recent years (the goaltending position). Combine those additions with a promising young core, led by Jeff Skinner, Sebastian Aho, Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm and that defense and expectations are going to start to build.

Peters has also been given a leash that most NHL coaches do not get. Over the past 30 years I found only 12 other examples of coaches that coached a single team to three consecutive non-playoff seasons.

  • Three of those coaches (Terry Crisp, Curt Fraser and Rick Bowness) were coaches of literal expansion teams that were just entering the league.
  • Seven of them were fired just after the third non-playoff season.
  • One of them (Ron Wilson) was fired late in what would have been the fourth consecutive non-playoff season.
  • Wayne Gretzky was given four consecutive non-playoff seasons in Arizona before he was no longer behind the bench. His replacement, Dave Tippett, was given five consecutive non-playoff seasons after some early initial success with the team. That run ended this offseason when he mutually agreed to step away from the team.
  • Lindy Ruff made it through three non-playoff seasons in Buffalo in the early 2000s and managed to stick with the team for another eight years. But his playoff drought followed four consecutive playoff seasons, including three years where the team advanced to at least the second round and one year where they won the Eastern Conference.

The bottom line with Peters is this: A good coach that probably isn’t to blame for the team’s recent lack of success, but given the shelf life of coaches in the NHL and how few of them get to stick around for this many seasons without the playoffs, and the offseason additions made by the front office, the team is going to have to start winning. Soon.

Here’s the full 2017 NHL Draft order of selections

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Here they are, all 217 selections from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft from the United Center in Chicago. For the entire Round 1 recap, complete with analysis, click here.

Round 2

32. Colorado — Conor Timmins, D, OHL Sault Ste. Marie

33. Vancouver — Kole Lind, RW, WHL Kelowna

34. Vegas — Nicolas Hague, D, OHL Mississauga

35. Philadelphia (from Arizona) — Isaac Ratcliff, LW, OHL Guelph

36. New Jersey — Jesper Boqvist, C, SHL Brynas

37. Buffalo — Marcus Davidsson, C, SHL SJurgarden

38. Detroit — Gustav Lindstrom, D, SHL Almtuna

39. Dallas — Jason Robertson, LW, OHL Kingston

40. Florida — Aleksi Heponiemi, C, WHL Swift Current

41. L.A. — Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C, WHL Spokane

42. Carolina — Eetu Luostarinen, C, SM-liiga Kalpa

43. Winnipeg — Dylan Samberg, D, Hermantown (Minnesota HS)

44. Arizona (from Philadelphia) — Filip Westerlund, D, SHL Frolunda

45. Columbus (from Tampa-Vegas) — Alexander Texier, C, France

46. New York Islanders — Robin Salo, D, SM-liiga Sport

47. Ottawa (from Calgary) — Alex Formenton, LW, OHL London

48. Tampa Bay (from Toronto) — Alexander Volkov, RW, KHL SKA St. Petersburg

49. San Jose (Boston-New Jersey) — Mario Ferraro, D, USHL Des Moines

50. Anaheim (San Jose-Toronto) — Maxime Comtois, LW, QMJHL Victoriaville

51. Pittsburgh (St. Louis) — Zachary Lauzon, D, WMJHL Rouyn-Noranda

52. Carolina (New York Rangers) — Luke Martin, D, NCAA Michigan

53. Boston (Edmonton) — Jack Studnicka, C, OHL Oshawa

54. Buffalo (Minnesota) — Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G, SM-liiga HPK

55. Vancouver (Columbus) — Jonah Gadjovich, LW, OHL Owen Sound

56. Montreal — Josh Brook, D, WHL Moose Jaw

57. Chicago — Ian Mitchell, D, AJHL Spruce Grove

58. Montreal (Washington) — Joni Ikonen, C, SHL Frolunda

59. Toronto (Ottawa) — Eemeli Rasanen, D, OHL Kingston

60. Anaheim — Antoine Morand, C, QMJHL Acadie-Bathurst

61. Nashville — Grant Mismash, LW, US U-18 NTDP

62. Vegas (Pittsburgh-Carolina) — Jake Leschyshyn, C, WHL Regina

Round 3

63. New Jersey (Colorado) — Fabian Zetterlund, LW, SHL Farjestad

64. Vancouver — Michael DiPietro, G, OHL Windsor

65. Vegas — Jonas Rondbjerg, RW, SHL Vaxjo

66. Florida (Arizona) — Maxwell Gildon, D, USA U-18 NTDP

67. Carolina (New Jersey) — Morgan Geekie, C, WHL Tri-City

68. Montreal (Buffalo) — Scott Walford, D, WHL Victoria

69. Arizona (Detroit-San Jose) — MacKenzie Entwistle, RW, OHL Hamilton

70. Chicago (Dallas) — Andrei Altybarmakyan, RW, KHL Lvy St. Petersburg

71. Detroit (Florida) — Kasper Kotkansalo, D, USHL Sioux Falls

72. L.A. Matt Villalta, G, OHL Sault Ste. Marie

73. Carolina — Stelio Mattheos, RW, WHL Brandon

74. Winnipeg — Jonathan Kovacevic, D, NCAA Merrimack

75. Arizona (Philadelphia) — Nate Scharr, C, OHL Guelph

76. Tampa Bay — Alexei Lipanov, C, KHL Balashikha

77. New York Islanders — Benjamin Mirageas, D, USHL Chicago

78. Edmonton (Calgary-Arizona) — Stuart Skinner, G, WHL Lethbridge

79. Detroit (Toronto) — Lane Zablocki, RW, WHL Red Deer

80. Philadelphia (Boston) — Kirill Utimenko, G, KHL Dynamo St. Petersburg

81. New Jersey (San Jose) — Reilly Walsh, D, Proctor Academy (New Hampshire HS)

82. Arizona (St. Louis-Edmonton) — Cameron Crotty, D, CCHL Brockville

83. Detroit (New York Rangers) — Zach Gallant, C, OHL Peterborough

84. Edmonton — Dmitri Samorukov, D, OHL Guelph

85. Minnesota — Ivan Lodina, RW, OHL Erie

86. Columbus — Daniil Tarasov, G, KHL Ufa

87. Montreal — Cale Fleury, D, WHL Kootenay

88. Detroit (Chicago-Carolina-Chicago) — Keith Petruzzelli, G, USHL Muskegon

89. Buffalo (Washington) — Oskari Laaksonen, D, SM-liiga Ilves

90. Chicago (Ottawa-Carolina) — Evar Barratt, C, US U-18 NTDP

91. Anaheim — Jack Badini, C, USHL Chicago

92. Nashville — David Farrance, D, US U-18 NTDP

93. Pittsburgh — Clayton Phillyips, D, USHL Fargo

Round 4

94. Colorado — Nick Henry, RW, WHL Regina

95. Vancouver — Jack Rathbone, D, Dexter School (Massachusetts HS)

96. Vegas — Maksim Zhukov, G, USHL Green Bay

97. Minnesota (Arizona) Mason Shaw, C, WHL Medicine Hat

98. New Jersey — Nikita Popugaev, LW, WHL Prince George

99. Buffalo — Jacob Bryson, D, NCAA Providence

100. Detroit — Malte Setkov, D, SHL Malmo

101. Dallas — Liam Hawel, C, OHL Guelph

102. San Jose (Florida-New York Rangers) — Scott Reedy, C, US U-18 NTDP

103. L.A. — Michael Anderson, D, USHL Waterloo

104. Carolina — Eetu Makiniemi, G, KHL Jokerit

105. Winnipeg — Santeri Virtanen, C, SM-liiga TPS

106. Philadelphia — Matthew Strome, LW, OHL Hamilton

107. Philadelphia (Tampa Bay) — Maskim Sushko, RW, OHL Owen Sound

108. Arizona (New York Islanders-Philadelphia) — Noel Hoefenmayer, D, OHL Ottawa

109. Calgary — Adam Ruzicka, C, OHL Sarnia

110. Toronto — Ian Scott, G, WHL Prince Albert

111. Boston — Jeremy Swayman, G, USHL Sioux Falls

112. Chicago (San Jose-Vancouver) — Tom Siderlund, C, SHL Skelleftea

113. St. Louis — Alexey Toropchenko, RW, KHL Balashikha

114. Colorado (New York Rangers) — Petr Kvaca, G, Czech League Budejovice

115. Edmonton — Ostap Safin, RW, Czech League Sparta

116. Minnesota — Bryce Misley, C, OJHL Oakville

117. Columbus — Emil Bemstrom, C, SHL Leksand

118. L.A. (Montreal-Dallas) — Markus Phillips, D, OHL Owen Sound

119. Chicago — Roope Laavainen, D, KHL Jokerit

120. Washington — Tobias Geisser, D, Swiss League Zug

121. Ottawa — Drake Batherson, C, QMJHL Cape Breton

122. Anaheim — Kyle Olson, RW, WHL Tri-City

123. New York Rangers (Nashville-New Jersey-San Jose) — Brandon Crawley, D, OHL London

124. Toronto (Pittsburgh) — Vladislav Kara, LW, KHL Ak Bars Kazan

Round 5

125. Colorado — Igor Shvyrev, D, KHL Magnitogorsk

126. Arizona (Vancouver-Edmonton) — Michael Karow, D, USHL Youngstown

127. Vegas — Lukas Elvenes, RW, SHL Rogle

128. Arizona — Tyler Steenbergen, C, WHL Swift Current

129. New Jersey — Gilles Senn, G, Swiss League Davos

130. St. Louis (Buffalo) — David Noel, D, QMJHL Val-D’Or

131. Detroit — Cole Fraser, D, OHL Peterborough

132. Dallas — Jacob Peterson, C, SHL Frolunda

133. Florida — Tyler Inamoto, D, US U-18 NTDP

134. L.A. — Cole Hults, D, USHL Madison

135. Vancouver (Carolina-Chicago) — Kristoffer Gunnarsson, D, SHL Frolunda

136. Winnipeg — Leon Gawanke, D, QMHJL Cape Breton

137. Philadelphia — Noah Cates, LW, Stillwater (Minnesota HS)

138. L.A. (Tampa Bay) — Drake Rymsha, C, OHL Sarnia

139. New York Islanders — Sebastian Aho, D, SHL Skelleftea

140. Calgary — Zach Fischer, RW, WHL Medicine Hat

141. Toronto — Fedor Gordeev, D, OHL Flint

142. Vegas (Boston-Carolina) — Jonathan Dugan, LW, Northwood School (New York HS)

143. New Jersey (San Jose) — Marian Studenic, RW, OHL Hamilton

144. Chicago (St. Louis) — Parker Foo, LW, AJHL Brooks

145. New York Rangers — Calle Sjalin, D, SHL Ostersund

146. Edmonton — Kirill Maksimov, RW, OHL Niagara

147. Minnesota — Jacob Golden, D, OHL London

148. Columbus — Kale Howarth, LW, BCHL Trail

149. Montreal — Jarret Tyszka, D, WHL Seattle

150. Chicago — Jakub Galvas, D, Czech League Olomouc

151. Washington — Sebastian Walfridsson, D, SHL Modo

152. Pittsburgh (Ottawa) — Jan Drozg, LW, SHL Leksand

153. Anaheim — Olle Eriksson Ek, G, SHL Farjestad

154. Nashville — Tomas Vomacka, G, NAHL Corpus Christi

155. Pittsburgh — Linus Olund, C, SHL Brynas

Round 6

156. Colorado (Colorado-San Jose) — Denis Smirnov, RW, NCAA Penn State

157. New York Rangers (Vancouver) — Dominik Lakatos, C, Czech League Liberec

158. Vegas — Nick Campoli, C, OJHL North York

159. San Jose (Arizona) — Jacob McGrew, RW, WHL Spokane

160. New Jersey — Aarne Talvitie, C, SM-liiga Blues

161. Vegas (Buffalo) — Jiri Patera, G, Czech League Budejovice

162. Detroit — John Adams, RW, USHL Fargo

163. Dallas — Brett Davis, RW, WHL Kootenay

164. Detroit (Florida) — Reilly Webb, D, OHL Hamilton

165. New York Islanders (L.A.) — Arnaud Durandeau, LW, QMJHL Halifax

166. Carolina — Brendan De Jong, D, WHL Portland

167. Winnipeg — Arvid Holm, G, SHL Karlskrona

168. Philadelphia — Olle Lycksell, RW, SHL Linkoping

169. Tampa Bay — Nicklaus Perbix, D, Elk River (Minnesota HS)

170. Columbus (New York Rangers-Chicago) — Jonathan Davidsson, RW, SHL Djurgarden

171. Calgary — D’Artagnan Joly, RW, QMJHL Baie-Comeau

172. Toronto — Ryan McGregor, C, OHL Sarnia

173. Boston — Cedric Pare, C, QMJHL Saint John

174. New York Rangers (San Jose) — Morgan Barron, C, St. Andrews College (Ontario HS)

175. St. Louis — Trenton Bourque, D, OHL Owen Sound

176. Nashville (New York Rangers) — Pavel Koltygin, C, QMJHL Drummondville

177. Edmonton — Skyler Brind’Amour, C, U18 Selects Academy (USMAAE)

178. Minnesota — Andrei Svetlakov, C, KHL CSKA

179. Columbus — Carson Meyer, RW, NCAA Miami (OH)

180. Tampa Bay (Montreal) — Cole Guttman, C, USHL Dubuque

181. Vancouver (Chicago) Petrus Palmu, RW, OHL Owen Sound

182. Washington — Benton Maass, D, Elk River (Minnesota HS)

183. Ottawa — Jordan Hollett, G, WHL Regina

184. Florida (Anaheim) — Sebastian Repo, RW, SM-liiga Tappara

185. San Jose (Nashville-New Jersey Devils) Alexander Chmelevski, C, OHL Ottawa

186. Pittsburgh — Antti Palojarvi, D, SM-liiga Luuko

Round 7

187. Colorado — Nick Leivermann, D, Eden Prairie (Minnesota HS)

188. Vancouver — Matt Brassard, D, OHL Oshawa

189. Vegas — Ben Jones, C, OHL Niagara

190. Arizona — Erik Walli Walterholm, RW, SHL Djugarden

191. New Jersey — Jocktan Chainey, D, QMJHL Halifax

192. Buffalo — Linus Weissbach, LW, USHL Tri-City

193. Detroit — Brady Gilmour, C, OHL Saginaw

194. Dallas — Dylan Ferguson, G, WHL Kamloops

195. Boston (Florida) — Victor Berglund, D, SHL Modo

196. Philadelphia (LA-Tampa Bay) — Wyatt Kalynuk, D, USHL Bloomginton

197. Carolina — Eemeli Rasanen, D, SM-liiga Jokipojat

198. Winnipeg — Skyler McKenzie, LW, WHL Portland

199. Montreal (Philadelphia) — Cayden Primeau, G, USHL Lincoln

200. Tampa Bay — Samuel Walker, C, Edina (Minnesota HS)

201. New York Islanders — Logan Cockerill, LW, US U-18 NTDP

202. Calgary — Filip Sveningsson, LW, SHL HV 71

203. Toronto — Roan O’Connell, D, St. Andrew’s College (Ontario HS)

204. Boston — Daniel Bukac, D, WHL Brandon

205. New Jersey (San Jose) — Yegor Zaitsev, D, KHL Balashikha

206. St. Louis — Lias Andersson, D, SHL Lulea

207. New York Rangers — Patrik Virta, C, SM-liiga TPS

208. Edmonton — Philip Kemp, D, US U-18 NTDP

209. Minnesota — Nick Swaney, RW, USHL Waterloo

210. Columbus — Robbie Stucker, D, St. Thomas (Minnesota HS)

211. Winnipeg (Montreal) — Croix Evingson, D, NAHL Shreveport

212. San Jose (Chicago) — Ivan Chekhovich, LW, QMJHL Baie-Comeau

213. Washington — Kristian Roykas Marthinsen, LW, SHL Almtuna

214. New Jersey (Ottawa-San Jose) — Matthew Hellickson, D, USHL Sioux City

215. Chicago (Anaheim) — Joshua Ess, D, Lakeville South (Minnesota HS)

216. Nashville — Jacob Paqutte, D, OHL Kingston

271. Pittsburgh — William Reilly, D, NCAA RPI

Auston Matthews claims Calder Memorial Trophy

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Auston Matthews reached the 40-goal plateau in his rookie season, capturing the Calder Trophy on Wednesday after helping accelerate the Toronto Maple Leafs’ rebuilding process.

Selected first overall last year, Matthews made his mark on the NHL right away, scoring four goals in his very first game.

Talk about a debut.

He continued that elite offensive flare all the way through the regular season, finishing with 69 points and helping the Maple Leafs into the postseason.

Matthews beats out Patrik Laine, who had an impressive 36 goals and 64 points in Winnipeg, and Columbus rookie defenseman Zach Werenski.

The Calder Trophy goes to the league’s top rookie.

This was a truly impressive rookie class.

Matthews, who set a new American rookie goal record, has become the face of a franchise loaded with young talent, including Mitch Marner and William Nylander. With that injection of skilled youth into their lineup, the Maple Leafs gave the Washington Capitals all they could handle in the opening round, before eventually bowing out to Alex Ovechkin and the Caps.

His play certainly grabbed the attention of the league’s best players, including Sidney Crosby.

“I think the biggest thing that stands out is how he complete he is,” said Crosby earlier in the season. “That’s what I noticed from just watching him play. Just that maturity.

“His game is just so well-rounded. He’s a guy who can score goals but he’s a guy who can play away from the puck. He’s strong on the puck. He scores goals different ways, and that is probably a big reason why he is so consistent. He’s got a great shot, but he can also score from in close and goes to the net hard too.”

The winner of the award is selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Here is how the voting turned out:

Points: (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)

1. Auston Matthews, TOR 1661 (164-3-0-0-0)
2. Patrik Laine, WPG 1106 (3-134-24-6-0)
3. Zach Werenski, CBJ 711 (0-21-93-28-15)
4. Matt Murray, PIT 346 (0-6-25-52-23)
5. Mitchell Marner, TOR 273 (0-3-14-42-56)
6. William Nylander, TOR 143 (0-0-7-24-36)
7. Matthew Tkachuk, CGY 72 (0-0-4-11-19)
8. Sebastian Aho, CAR 26 (0-0-0-4-14)
9. Ivan Provorov, PHI 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
10. Brayden Point, TBL 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Brady Skjei, NYR 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

Finnished: U.S. crashes out of Worlds with disappointing loss

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Team USA’s promising World Hockey Championship run came to a stunning halt on Thursday.

The Americans, who finished atop Group A on the strength of six straight victories, were dumped in the quarterfinal round courtesy a 2-0 loss to Finland — the same Finnish team that only posted two regulation wins in the preliminary phase, had a negative goal differential and barely edged out France for a playoff berth.

It was a disappointing day for Team USA, to say the least.

Failing to score a single goal might top the list of frustrations. Coming into the quarters, the U.S. was the tournament’s third highest-scoring team, finding the back of the net 31 times. That included 16 goals over the last three, which included an emotional 5-3 victory over the previously-undefeated Russians.

Johnny Gaudreau had 11 points over seven preliminary round games. Dylan Larkin had 10. But they and the rest of the Americans couldn’t solve Finnish netminder Harri Sateri — who, to be fair, wasn’t overly tested but held strong in the third. Sateri finished with 26 saves, 12 of those coming in the final frame.

On the offensive side of things, Finland was paced by goals from Mikko Rantanen and Joonas Kemppainen. Sebastian Aho assisted on Rantanen’s tally, giving him a team-high nine points on the tourney.

With the win, Finland will now take on Russia in the semifinals. The Russians dispatched of the Czech Republic in earlier quarterfinal action.

The U.S., meanwhile, will head home from the Worlds without a medal for the second straight year.