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Kings prospect Brayden Schenn is headed back to junior hockey

After all the speculation and wondering what exactly the Kings would do with 2009 top pick Brayden Schenn this season as he approached his games deadline between staying in Los Angeles or heading back to junior hockey with the Brandon Wheat Kings, the Kings finally made a tough choice. Team general manager Dean Lombardi announced today that Schenn will head back to junior hockey after getting an extended look after eight games with the Kings this year. Schenn also spent two weeks in the AHL on a conditioning assignment after being a healthy scratch for so long, but it wasn’t meant to be this year for the 19 year-old.

Schenn hasn’t played in a game since October 30th for the Kings and getting a young kid like him consistent playing time is the right move to make. Keeping him with the big league team as a consistent healthy scratch would only harm his development. Now, he heads back to the CHL where he’ll play a ton of minutes and likely also get a chance to play once again for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships at the end of this month. In eight games Schenn had no goals and two assists with a -2 rating.

We’ll likely see Schenn get a better look next year in Los Angeles to be the teams number two or three centerman. He’ll be back, but in the long run this is better for his development. Only curious part of all this is why it took the Kings so long to decide what they would do with him. The team has plenty of players at center, Schenn’s position, but not much at wing (a big reason why Marco Sturm is looking to be acquired). Had Schenn been a natural left or right wing, it’s possible he would’ve stayed up. Instead, the potential addition of Sturm to go along with the return of Alexei Ponikarovsky, keeping Kyle Clifford in the fold, and the stalwart play of Ryan Smyth strengthens up the Kings left wing considerably.

Drouin’s junior team owner believes Yzerman ‘is going to get this back on the rails’

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Bobby Smith knows what it’s like to enter the NHL with high expectations. He also knows Jonathan Drouin, and he thinks things should eventually work out with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Smith was the first overall pick in the 1978 NHL draft. Today, he owns the Halifax Moosehead, Drouin’s former junior team.

Having seen up-close what Drouin can do on the ice, Smith believes Lightning GM Steve Yzerman would be wise to salvage the fractured relationship between player and club.

“I know the teams that have traded away this type of player, whether his name is Joe Thornton or Tyler Seguin, normally live to regret it,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “I think Steve Yzerman, having been not an elite player, a super elite player, is going to get this back on the rails and Jonathan is going to have a long and very good career.”

To be sure, talented young players have not always seen eye to eye with their NHL coaches and/or GMs. The difference in Drouin’s case is the public way that things have played out. Not only did his relationship with Lightning coach Jon Cooper become a story on the NHL’s biggest stage, the Stanley Cup Final, now his agent has come out and publicly requested a trade.

And remember, the last thing Drouin wanted going into this season was to end up in the AHL, which is exactly where the Lightning have assigned him.

“Nobody wants to go to the AHL,” Drouin said in July. “That’s not what I’m thinking about right now. I’m thinking about making the team and making more of an impact. Last year a lot of people said it wasn’t my greatest year, but I gained a lot, I learned a lot, and I’m definitely more ready going into the season, into training camp.”

Without intimate knowledge, it’s impossible to say if the point of no return has been reached in Drouin’s case.

However, it may be worth noting that Patrick Marleau reportedly wanted to be traded in November, and we don’t hear much about that anymore.

Related: Laugh about it later? Lightning players react to Drouin’s trade request

NHL prospects adjust to life back in junior

2013 NHL Draft
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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.