2013 NHL Draft

NHL prospects adjust to life back in junior

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How a first-round NHL draft pick develops varies on an individual case, although it’s common for the majority of those players to find their way back to junior hockey following their first training camps.

More ice time, work on strength and conditioning, and the fact their overall game might not yet be suited to the NHL are just some of the reasons why top prospects often get sent back to the junior ranks at the conclusion of camp.

For those who work their way to the end of NHL training camps and come oh-so-close to earning a roster spot, it can be disappointing to hear they just didn’t make the cut this time around.

There are the exceptions – players like Sean Monahan, the Calgary Flames’ first-round pick, sixth overall in this year’s draft, who has gone well beyond the nine-game look, which burns the first year in his entry-level contract.

The 19-year-old forward is averaging just below a point per game, with six goals in 12 games. (He hasn’t scored in his last four games.)

But there are those who are sent back to junior, and it can provide a different set of adjustments.

Hunter Shinkaruk, the Canucks first-round pick, 24th overall, was dispatched back to the WHL Medicine Hat Tigers. Darnell Nurse, the Edmonton Oilers first-round pick, seventh overall, was sent back to the OHL Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

“At the NHL level, it’s a little bit different. The crowds are a little bit bigger. The players are a little bit bigger and stronger,” Shinkaruk told the Canadian Press.

“It’s a little bit different coming back again to junior, but I feel like I have to continue to work on my skills and make sure I’m ready to make the jump next year.”

Added Nurse, a defenseman: “I’m just going to improve my whole game and see where that takes me.”

Junior player charged with stabbing his girlfriend’s father in the back (literally)

Dalton Young
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Saginaw Spirit defenseman Dalton Young has been charged with multiple offenses after a pair of alleged incidents involving his girlfriend and her father.

Per The Times Herald (Port Huron, Michigan), Marysville police allege Young, 20, first assaulted his girlfriend (for which he was arrested on Thursday and released Friday), then…

The same day, he visited his girlfriend’s home in the 2700 block of River Road, [Marysville Police Chief Tim Buelow] said.

Upon learning that his girlfriend wasn’t home, Young allegedly forced his way into the home and entered the parents’ bedroom, and then proceeded into the kitchen.

The Marysville woman’s parents called Young’s parents. Young’s parents came over and were speaking with the homeowners when Young exited the kitchen and stabbed his girlfriend’s father in the back, Buelow said.

Officers responded to the home. After attending to the stabbing victim, they found Young attempting to remove a rifle from a locked secured rack in a Marysville patrol car.

Young was arrested and taken to St. Clair County Jail.

The 48-year-old man stabbed by Young was treated and released from the hospital.

Young had 45 points in 68 games for the Spirit in 2012-13. He has not been drafted by an NHL team.

Islanders forward Nino Niederreiter sent back to his junior team

Dallas Stars v New York Islanders

Yesterday we looked over the case of whether or not Islanders 2010 draft pick Nino Niederreiter should stay with the Isles this season or head back to his junior team in the WHL, the Portland Winterhawks. Today, Isles GM Garth Snow and head coach Scott Gordon made the decision on what to do. It turns out that the Isles are going to send Niederreiter back to junior hockey and let him develop there. For what Niederreiter was going to bring to the team if he stayed, Gordon spoke plainly.

“I think he could have success not being on the power play and being in a third line situation,” said Islanders head coach Scott Gordon. “He could work his way into that role, but we already have guys that are playing on the power play that have been successful. It’s not like we’re in a situation where you have a struggling power play and you need someone with some offensive abilities to add to the power play.”

Forcing a talented offensive player into a different role is the sort of thing that can jumble his development. Adding to the Isles mix is the eventual return of Rob Schremp and Kyle Okposo to the lineup. Their return would force Niederreiter down the depth chart and into an even more grinder-like role and less time on the ice. The keys the Islanders had when bringing Josh Bailey and John Tavares is that they had the opportunity to be top line players immediately. For Niederreiter, it’s not that simple and the Islanders do have the depth on the wings to not need Niederreiter right now.

Niederreiter will get his chance next year as you have to think that after a year of dominating the WHL and getting tons of playing time there, he’ll be ready to kick things into high gear next season for the Islanders. That’s something to be excited about on the Island should the Islanders hot start not hold up through the season.

Stars 2010 first round pick Jack Campbell sent back to his junior team

Thumbnail image for Campbell2.jpgWhile it’s not surprising at all it’s news that we should keep you updated on. Team USA 2010 World Junior Championships star and Dallas Stars 2010 first round pick Jack Campbell was sent back to his junior team in Windsor today.

Campbell is a guy with a lot of hope attached to him and we’ll likely see more from him at the 2011 World Junior Championships in Buffalo that starts in late December. For now, you’ll have to watch Windsor Spitfires games to see Campbell in action. Best of luck to you in doing so if you’re not living in southern Ontario or Detroit.

Since World Juniors disappointment, Virtanen has been ‘a different player’ for Canucks

Vancouver Canucks' Jake Virtanen, left, checks Ottawa Senators' Dion Phaneuf during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
AP
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Remember when Jake Virtanen returned from the World Juniors in Finland and there was that big controversy in Vancouver over the headline in the local tabloid that read “Goat-medal winner”?

Well, it’s only been a couple of months since then, but opinions about the big, 19-year-old winger have improved considerably.

“I don’t know what happened there, but when he came back, for me, he was a different player,” Canucks forward Daniel Sedin told Postmedia.

Not only has Virtanen scored five times in 22 games since Canada’s disappointing finish in Helsinki, he’s been defensively responsible and physically engaged, mixing it up with the likes of Dion Phaneuf, Ryan Kesler, and Drew Doughty.

Wednesday night against Arizona, he leveled the Coyotes’ Connor Murphy:

That same game, he played a season-high 16:55 and assisted on the overtime winner by Markus Granlund:

In other words, Virtanen is starting to emerge into the kind of player the Canucks envisioned when they drafted him sixth overall in 2014.

“I want to be a guy that’s just a hard, honest player,” he told PHT recently. “Coming back from World Juniors…it’s nice to have the coach’s confidence in me to trust me. I felt management trusted me, so it was nice to come back and start to produce slowly. I’ve got to keep on doing that.”