Report: Predators prospect Vesey heading back to Harvard next year

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Nashville Predators prospect Jimmy Vesey had a terrific year for the Harvard men’s hockey team, and it appears he’ll return to that team and school next year as a senior.

Bob McKenzie of TSN reported during Insider Trading on Tuesday that Vesey had been in contact with Harvard to see if he could turn pro and still get his courses from this semester.

The Predators selected Vesey in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft. In his junior year with Harvard, he led his team with 32 goals and 58 points in 37 games.

According to recent reports, it’s believed from some NHL executives that Vesey was “NHL-ready.”

“We’ve been in contact with his family through his mom and his dad and family representative,” said Predators GM David Poile, as per The Tennessean.

“We’re just going to give them the time. We’ve told them what we think of their son and how he is as a hockey player. It’s their decision as to whether this is the right time for him now or after the year or even next year. We would never tell a player to leave school.”

Flyers ink former World Junior gold medalist Bardreau

USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp - USA v Finland
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The Philadelphia Flyers have inked another intriguing young free agent, signing Cornell forward Cole Bardreau to an entry-level contract.

Bardreau, 21, is a former U.S. National Development Team member that helped the Americans capture gold at the 2013 World Juniors in Russia — a team that featured Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.

Two weeks after capturing gold — scoring three points in seven games, finishing with a plus-5 rating — Bardreau returned to Cornell and suffered a fractured C-7 vertebrae in the front and back of his neck on an illegal check. The injury cost him the remainder of his season, but Bardreau returned the following year and had a solid senior campaign this season, recording a career-high 22 points in 30 games to lead the team in scoring.

As mentioned above, Bardreau is just the latest undrafted free agent to join the Flyers. Earlier this week the club inked QMJHL sniper Danick Martel to an entry-level deal. Martel, 20, tore up the Quebec league this season with 48 goals and 102 points in just 63 games.

Duclair healthy scratched by Quebec junior team

Team Canada practice
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Bit of an eyebrow-raiser from the QMJHL — Anthony Duclair, the highly-touted prospect that went from New York to Arizona as part of the Keith Yandle trade, will be a healthy scratch tonight when his Quebec Remparts take on Shawinigan.

According to this Journal De Montreal piece, Duclair, who has 27 points in 22 games since being sent back to Quebec in early January, is mired in head coach Philippe Boucher’s doghouse for a perceived lack of effort. It’s possible the 19-year-old is dealing with a bit of fatigue — after making the Rangers out of training camp and appearing in 18 NHL games, he’s since won gold with Team Canada at the ’15 World Juniors and played big minutes with the Remparts — but whatever the case, Quebec isn’t having it, possibly because it doesn’t want complacency setting in, given it’s hosting this year’s Memorial Cup.

It’s also possible Duclair could be distracted. The Yandle deal was one of the biggest blockbusters of this year’s trade deadline, and Duclair could be guilty of looking to the future. In Arizona, he figures to play a prominent role in the organization’s rebuild and will eventually be reunited with Team Canada linemate Max Domi, who the Coyotes took in the first round of the ’13 NHL Entry Draft.

“Having the opportunity to maybe play with [Domi] in the future, that’s great and I look forward to it,” Duclair said, per the Arizona Republic. “I’m actually really excited about the opportunity.”

Flames return Bennett to junior

2014 NHL Draft - Portraits

The Calgary Flames returned forward Sam Bennett to the Ontario Hockey League’s Kinston Frontenacs the club announced Saturday.

Bennett, who hasn’t played this season, was in Calgary recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum.

“After the fourth month it gets a little annoying,” Bennett told the Flames website. “Wherever I play I’m ready to go. I don’t feel hesitant at all out there. I guess it’s just a matter of getting my confidence back up again.

The 18-year-old was finally cleared for contact last weekend and spent the week practicing with the Flames prior to Saturday’s decision.

Bennett had 36 goals and 91 points in 57 games before the Flames selected him fourth overall last June.

He has not played a meaningful game since April 1 when his Frontenacs were bounced from the first round of the OHL playoffs.

Once his OHL season is over, Bennett will be eligible to re-join the Flames or their AHL affiliate in Adirondack.

Saturday’s move allows Calgary to hold on to the first year of Bennett’s entry-level contract.

U.S. bounced from World Juniors by Russia for second straight year

Igor Shestyorkin
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For the second time in as many years, the United States found itself opposite Russia in the World Juniors’ quarterfinals. Once again, it was the Russians that came out on top.

New York Rangers prospect Igor Shestyorkin stood tall Friday afternoon, turning aside 39 of 41 American shots to hand Russia a 3-2 victory. That brought him up to a .949 save percentage in the tournament. It helped that his teammates Ivan Barbashev and Alexander Sharov each found the back of the net in the first period to give Russia an early 2-0 lead.

The United States was never able to even things after falling behind early, although Lightning prospect Anthony DeAngelo and Zach Werenski each scored for the United States to keep the game close. Sergei Tolchinski chipped in what proved to be the game-winner on a power-play at 1:27 of the third period.

Russia will take on the winner of Finland vs. Sweden. The fact that the Russians are playing in the semifinals will help salvage what was shaping up to be a rough tournament for them after they went to a shootout with Denmark and lost to the Czech Republic and Sweden.

The United States went 2-1-0-1 in the Preliminary round, including a shootout win against Finland and a 5-3 loss to Canada on New Year’s Eve.