Jason Brough

Sens sign QMJHL scoring sensation Perron

The Ottawa Senators have signed forward Francis Perron to a three-year entry-level contract, the club announced today.

If this is the first you’ve heard of Perron, don’t worry, you’re not alone. He was a seventh-round draft pick, 190th overall, in 2014. Back then, he was an unheralded 18-year-old forward who was coming off a 55-point season for Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL.

The next season, Perron finished with 76 points.

This season, he’s up to 107 points, and that’s in just 61 games. Only one other player in the Q has more points than Perron — Moncton’s Conor Garland, a fifth-round pick of the Coyotes in 2015.

Granted, we’ve seen older junior players rack up impressive point totals in the past. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bound for a career in the NHL. But for a seventh-rounder, Perron offers more hope than most.

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    NHL general managers discuss streamlining goalie equipment

    Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller, left, stops a shot by Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)

    BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) Goaltending equipment was the hot topic Tuesday on the second day of the NHL general managers meetings, with the focus on making it smaller to increase scoring.

    The league has tried for a decade to manage equipment, adjusting it proportionally to each goalie’s size. NHL goaltending consultant Kay Whitmore and executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said they want to clear up the gray area.

    Whitmore said the plan is for manufacturers to have the more form-fitting equipment delivered to goaltenders in June so they have time to adapt before training camp. If agreed to by the NHL Players’ Association, it could be mandatory for the 2016 season.

    Prout gets one-game suspension for punching ‘unsuspecting’ Kucherov


    Columbus defenseman Dalton Prout has been suspended one game for delivering a “forceful punch” to an “unsuspecting” Nikita Kucherov during Sunday’s Blue Jackets-Lightning game.

    The NHL’s Department of Player Safety noted in its explanation that Kucherov was not aware of Prout’s presence prior to the punch, and that it was not a case where two players were “squaring off in confrontation.”

    “Kucherov has no reason to believe that a punch may be thrown by Prout,” said DoPS director Patrick Burke, adding that Prout’s actions were not an acceptable way of defending a teammate.

    Here’s the full video explanation:

    Corsi aside, the Bruins head to California on a roll

    Boston Bruins' Tuukka Rask, right, and David Pastrnak celebrate after the Bruins defeated the New York Islanders 3-1 in an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, March 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    If Corsi were everything, the Toronto Maple Leafs wouldn’t be dead last in the standings and the Carolina Hurricanes would be Stanley Cup contenders.

    Common sense tells us there’s more to the game of hockey than possessing the puck.

    That being said, there’s an undeniably strong relation between teams with high puck-possession stats and teams that win more than they lose.

    Which is also common sense, since it’s hard to score if you don’t have the puck first. 

    So, what to make of the Boston Bruins? The B’s are 18-7-3 in their last 28 games, and they’ve taken over first place in the Atlantic Division. Yet, according to Puck On Net, their score-adjusted Corsi ranks in the bottom third of the league over that stretch.

    It may explain why captain Zdeno Chara is happy with the results, but process-wise, he understands his team has room to improve.

    “You want to keep getting points,” Chara told CSN New England. “You want to keep climbing up, but I think the main thing was that the focus was not, and still is not, necessarily how many points we’re going to have at the end of the night but what the performance is going to be like. [The focus] is how we’re going to be improving our game and really focusing on our effort and plays away from the puck, you know, along the boards, you know, winning the battles, races and so on. That’s been the main focus for us.”

    Not surprisingly, goaltending has been a big key for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask, after a forgettable October and November, has seen his save percentage climb all the way to .919. In the last month and a bit, he’s won games where he’s faced shot totals of 38, 36, 42, 40, and 51.

    Now, granted, an early Bruins lead was a factor in a lot of those games. Last Monday in Florida, they were up 4-1 on the Panthers before the contest was 20 minutes old. Naturally, they hung back in the second and third periods, eventually winning, 5-4, in overtime. That was the game Rask faced 51 shots.

    Still, there’s a reason people are curious to see how the Bruins will fare in California. They’re at San Jose tonight, Anaheim Friday, and Los Angeles Saturday. In the aforementioned last 28 games, the Sharks, Ducks and Kings are all in the top five in score-adjusted Corsi. They’ve been winning a lot of games, too. 

    “Obviously, I’m sure someone’s going to bring it up, but our record against those teams is not the greatest. They’re always tough buildings to play in, and tough games to play against,” said Rask, per CSN New England“We really have to bring our ‘A game’ in order to get some points out of the trip. It’s one of the most important times of the year and probably one of the biggest trips of the year. So we look forward to the challenge.”

    Bruins since Jan. 15 (stats per war-on-ice.com)

    Record: 18-7-3
    5-on-5 shooting percentage: 8.9 (tied for fourth in NHL)
    5-on-5 save percentage: .933 (fifth)
    PDO: 102.2 (second)

    Related: Rask upping his play along with Bruins teammates

    Flyers to host All-American Prospects Game in September

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    The Philadelphia Flyers and Wells Fargo Center will host the fifth annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Thursday, Sept. 22.

    USA Hockey made the announcement today.

    “We’re excited to be bringing this game to Philadelphia in concert with the 50th anniversary of the Flyers,” said USA Hockey’s Mike Bertsch in a release. “Fans will have the unique chance to see the future stars of the NHL all on one sheet of ice, and the players are in for a real treat as well with the rich history and rabid fans that are associated with the Flyers.”

    Previous All-American Prospects Games have featured the likes of Dylan Larkin, Jack Eichel, Noah Hanifin, and Seth Jones.

    Last year’s game in Buffalo featured potential 2016 first-rounders like Matthew Tkachuk, Alex DeBrincat, and Keiffer Bellows.

    Click here for the all-time roster.