Author: Jason Brough

Anaheim Ducks v Winnipeg Jets - Game Three

Jets expecting ‘real benefits’ with Moose move to Winnipeg


When the AHL kicks off its 2015-16 season, a lot of prospects will be playing a lot closer to where they really want to be.

Geographically speaking, at least.

In fact, there will be two teams, the Manitoba Moose and San Jose Barracuda, that will move into the exact same rinks that their NHL parents call home. The reborn Moose will play at MTS Centre, same as the Jets, and the Barracuda will play at SAP Center, home of the Sharks.

“It’s obviously going to give you that much more motivation,” said Jets prospect Scott Kosmachuk, per the Canadian Press. “You know there’s going to be more people watching your practices.”

The Sharks moved their AHL affiliate from Worcester, Massachusetts. Next season, the league will feature a new Pacific Division, made up of five California teams, all affiliated with Western-based NHL clubs.

While some NHL teams still have their affiliates in dramatically different locales — like the Vancouver Canucks (Utica, New York), Arizona Coyotes (Springfield, Massachusetts), Colorado Avalanche (San Antonio, Texas), Florida Panthers (Portland, Maine), and Montreal Canadiens (St. John’s, Newfoundland) — the trend is clear.

“This is not really a business move as much as it is a hockey move for our organization,” said Jets chairman Mark Chipman. “That’s where the real benefits will be gained for us as an organization, is having those players here.”

Stewart (upper body) will not play tonight


Chris Stewart will not play tonight in St. Paul. The Minnesota Wild forward is out with an upper-body injury. His status is reportedly “day-to-day.”

Stewart could be replaced by Jordan Schroeder, who was skating on a line with Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter this morning, but coach Mike Yeo wouldn’t confirm that.

Schroeder appeared in one playoff game versus the St. Louis Blues, but otherwise has not played this postseason.

The Wild trail their series with the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-0.

Flyers will be ‘extremely patient’ with youngsters, but ‘want a winner as soon as possible’

Ed Snider

Depending who you ask, it’s either a smart and noble strategy, one that’s been successful for a team like the Detroit Red Wings, or it’s like wanting to have your cake and eat it too, and the reason a team like the Detroit Red Wings hasn’t made a deep playoff run in a number of years.

That strategy is, of course, doing everything you can to win now, while simultaneously and patiently developing youngsters for the future.

It’s what Flyers owner Ed Snider wants to do in Philadelphia, as opposed to tearing it down and rebuilding from scratch, a la Buffalo or Edmonton.

Snider told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the plan for the Flyers is to “be extremely patient with all of the young players we have coming.” But at the same time, GM Ron Hextall is “going to do everything in his power to produce a winner as soon as possible, which means it could be trades, it could be coaching, it could be all kinds of things.”

It’s a similar story in Vancouver, where the aging Canucks “want to draft and develop well, but we want our young kids to learn how to play in a winning environment, so they learn the right way to play.”

The obvious challenge for that type of plan is drafting, because teams that are neither great nor terrible don’t get top-5 draft picks, i.e. players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Drew Doughty.

That’s not to say it’s impossible to find elite players in the middle of the first round, or even beyond. Anze Kopitar was taken 11th overall; Patrice Bergeron and Duncan Keith were second-rounders.

But the win now/win later strategy does put added pressure on the scouting staff to unearth a few “big-time” diamonds in the rough, like the Wings once did to the extreme with Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Nicklas Lidstrom.

The Flyers have the seventh overall selection in this summer’s draft. They also have Tampa Bay’s first-round pick, wherever that may be.

Related: Hextall insists he’s ‘on the same page’ with Snider