Thomas Wilson

Caps send first-rounder Wilson back to junior

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The Capitals won’t have either of their 2012 first-round picks in the lineup this season.

That’s the word out of Washington on Wednesday as GM George McPhee announced the Caps have sent forward Tom Wilson back to OHL Plymouth.

Wilson, 18, was the 16th overall selection at the draft and earned praise from Washington head coach Adam Oates for his training camp performance thus far.

“He looked great out there,” Oates told the Washington Times. “He skated great, he looked like one of the guys and sometimes I didn’t realize it was him.”

Wilson was the second of Washington’s two first-round picks at the draft. The first, Filip Forsberg, was taken 11th overall and had already been dispatched to his Swedish team, Leksands, in late July.

Of note, Forsberg was named to the 2013 World Junior tournament All-Star team after pacing Sweden with five points in six games en route to a silver medal.

Jets send Burmistrov to AHL, Scheifele back to juniors

Alexander Burmistrov

The Jets made the lockout AHL assignments today and two names that standout are a pair of former first-round picks.

Winnipeg sent Alexander Burmistrov to St. John’s in the AHL while sending 2011 first-round pick Mark Scheifele back to his junior team in Barrie of the OHL.

Burmistrov’s assignment is a curious one as he could stand to use more ice time in the minors but there’s a possibility he bolts to the KHL during the lockout as well. After being picked eighth overall in the 2010 draft, Burmistrov has had a rough go of it in both Atlanta and Winnipeg fighting for ice time.

Scheifele, on the other hand, could’ve been looking at a starting job in Winnipeg this year but another year in junior hockey might not be so bad for the 19 year-old. He had 23 goals and 63 points in Barrie last season.

 

Columbus sends No. 2 pick Murray back to junior

Ryan Murray
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Ryan Murray’s NHL debut has been put on hold.

That’s the news out of Ohio today as the Blue Jackets announced they sent Murray — the second overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft — back to his WHL team in Everett.

The move is clearly lockout-related as Murray had a strong shot of making the NHL club out of training camp.

In May, the talented blueliner played with Team Canada at the 2012 World Hockey Championships, averaging nearly eight minutes a game, finishing the tournament plus-1 while playing with the likes of Duncan Keith, Dion Phaneuf and Jay Bouwmeester.

At 18, Murray was the youngest player on the Canadian roster.

The Jackets also announced they sent Boone Jenner, the 37th overall pick in 2011, back to his junior team in OHL Oshawa.

Jenner got his first taste of pro hockey last season with a five-game cameo for AHL Springfield, scoring once.

The end of Svensanity: Flames send Baertschi back to juniors

Sven Baertschi

There is no joy in Calgary. Rookie phenom Sven Baertschi is headed back to junior hockey.

Baertschi was an emergency call-up and for five games he thrilled Flames fans, giving them a glimpse of what his future in Calgary will look like scoring three goals in his abbreviated time with the big club. Now that Lee Stempniak is healthy enough to play, however, Baertschi’s headed back to the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL.

Flames GM Jay Feaster explains why Baertschi has to go back from whence he came.

“The agreement between the CHL and the NHL is very clear regarding the conditions and circumstances under which a player from major junior may be recalled to his NHL team, as well as when he must be returned to his major junior club,” said Flames General Manager Jay Feaster.

Meanwhile the Flames are very much in the playoff race and Baertschi had a hand in helping that out. Now it’s up to Stempniak and Blake Comeau to make sure the Flames’ good fortunes continue or else Flames fans will be looking forward to next season for a few other reasons.

Minnesota sends prized rookie back to junior

Brett Bulmer
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In a move that signals a different approach for how the club handles young prospects, the Minnesota Wild sent 19-year-old Brett Bulmer back to Kelowna of the Western Hockey League today. Bulmer had three assists in nine games this season with the Wild, averaging just over 11 minutes a night.

“It doesn’t make sense to keep a 19-year-old around an NHL team when he’s not playing regularly,” Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher told the Minnesota Star-Tribune (the Wild had scratched Bulmer for Saturday’s game against Detroit.) “He played really well for us in the last month and we believe it was a good learning experience for him, but at this point, the best thing for him in his long term development is to get back to playing junior hockey and playing a big role on his team there.”

Minnesota had been criticized in years past for rushing its draft picks to the NHL. Colton Gillies, the Wild’s first-round pick in 2007, joined the team as a 19-year-old but quickly fell out of favor with then-head coach Jacques Lemaire. Same thing with James Sheppard, the ninth overall selection from 2006 that jumped straight from junior to the NHL (and then jumped straight into Lemaire’s doghouse.) Gillies has spent most of his career in the AHL while Sheppard is now with the San Jose organization.

Bulmer’s return to Kelowna is much more in line with Minnesota’s current approach to draftees. The Wild’s last three first-rounders — Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin and Zack Phillips — are all currently playing with their respective European/junior teams while Charlie Coyle, who Minnesota acquired in the Brent Burns trade, is still at Boston University.