The Florida Panthers hiring of Gerard Gallant as head coach is cause for a reunion with young star Jonathan Huberdeau.
Gallant coached Huberdeau with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL and the two won a pair of Memorial Cup titles together. As you might expect, the 21-year-old forward is happy to be back with his old coach as George Richards of the Miami Herald shared.
“I’m excited for this,” Huberdeau said. “He’s a guy who is intense and into the game. He keeps you up throughout the game. I think the guys are going to react to him. He wants what is best for the players.”
In three seasons at Saint John under Gallant (165 games), Huberdeau had 88 goals and 212 points in the regular season and another 69 points (37 goals) in 55 playoff games. Those kinds of numbers are hard to ignore and the Panthers will hope the new coach can rekindle the young forward’s offensive game.
Huberdeau struggled this season with just nine goals and 28 points in 69 games. The Panthers will need a lot more than that out of the third overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft if they’re going to climb in the Eastern Conference.
A first-rounder from last year’s draft and the potential No. 1 pick at next year’s are among the 42 players invited to the U.S. Junior Evaluation Camp, to be held from Aug. 2-9 in Lake Placid, New York.
Mike McCarron — taken 25th overall by Montreal at the ’13 Draft — and Jack Eichel, regarded by many as a top-two pick in 2015, were two of the 42, USA Hockey announced on Wednesday. The camp will be an important one for the Americans, as they look to bounce back from a disappointing quarterfinal loss at the 2014 World Juniors, just the second time the U.S. has failed to medal at the event in five tries.
In addition to Eichel and McCarron, the U.S. roster features…
— Cole Cassels, son of ex-NHLer Andrew
— Dominic Turgeon, son of ex-NHLer Pierre
— Ryan MacInnis, son of ex-NHLer Al
— Brendan Burke, son of ex-NHLer Sean
The team will be coached by former Ohio State bench boss Mark Osiecki, and will have input from the likes of Don Waddell (international consultant), Tony Granato (camp coach) and Mike Sullivan (camp coach).
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Chicago’s Bryan Bickell is feeling mentally refreshed after the Olympic break and ready to show the team he can perform better. (ESPNChicago)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday night’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Wednesday at 7:30pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Jets captain Andrew Ladd didn’t rise and shine early to watch Team Canada beat Sweden on Sunday. Here’s to hoping fans in Winnipeg don’t run him out of town for such insolence. (Winnipeg Sun)
Detroit forward Riley Sheahan, meanwhile, is taking great pride in seeing Canada win gold. (Detroit Free Press)
FYI: The NHL roster freeze was lifted at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday night. Gird your loins for the season of rumors like this one yesterday.
Flyers prospect Scott Laughton is having a monster year in junior hockey and had another hat trick last night. (Buzzing The Net)
We know you’re already thinking ahead to what Olympic rosters could look like in 2018, right? How about this look at what Team Canada might bring to Pyeongchang. (Toronto Sun)
Curious note: The New Jersey Devils moved goalie Maxime Clermont from their ECHL team to the AHL. The Albany Devils already have two healthy goalies and don’t play again until the weekend. Unless there’s an injury that’s unknown, all eyes belong on Martin Brodeur. (Albany Times Union)
Mikael Backlund is from Sweden. But, according to a report in the Calgary Herald, the Calgary Flames center was forced to wear a Hockey Canada T-shirt after a rather costly lost bet on Sunday.
The reason: Canada put forward another defensively dominant performance in a 3-0 victory over Sweden to claim the gold medal in men’s hockey at the Sochi Olympics. Make it back-to-back gold medals for Canada at the Olympics, with that nation having worked its way to the top of the podium in thrilling overtime fashion four years ago in Vancouver.
“In the third period, there was one team on the ice,” said Backlund, as per the Calgary Herald. “Sweden didn’t have much. Not much energy out there.”
Backlund, Calgary’s first-round pick from the 2007 NHL Draft, has experience playing for Sweden at the world junior championships and world championships. He had been playing some good hockey prior to the Olympics and was in the conversation to be named as a late entry to Sweden’s roster with the injury to Henrik Sedin.
However, Sweden’s team named Marcus Johansson to the roster on the day the Opening Ceremony.
The Buffalo Sabres want Mikhail Grigorenko to play hockey and they want him to do it with his junior team, the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, as they assigned him there this morning.
Grigorenko apparently has other ideas.
According to Kathleen Lavoie of La Presse (link in French), Grigorenko is refusing to report to Quebec. That report was confirmed by Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald via Grigorenko’s agent, Jay Grossman. The agent wouldn’t comment further until he spoke with the team.
At 19 years old, Grigorenko doesn’t have many options on where to go. He’s too young to be assigned to the AHL and playing junior hockey is essentially his only outlet if he’s not staying in Buffalo. The Sabres have some injuries amongst their forwards, but they want Grigorenko to develop somewhere other than in the NHL. They probably don’t want it to be in the KHL, however.