SamMorin

Flyers send d-man Morin back to junior

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The Philadelphia Flyers have sent defenseman Samuel Morin, the club’s first-round pick in this summer’s draft, back to his junior team (Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL).

From CSNPhilly.com:

The 18-year-old defenseman was nothing short of impressive in training camp and has served notice that he is likely a year or two away from joining the Flyers full-time.

Unusual though it may be, the Flyers were stacked on defense in camp with nine players on one-way contracts plus Hal Gill on a tryout. Gill will go to Lake Placid when training camp continues on Thursday.

General manager Paul Holmgren all but said Morin was going home for more seasoning on Tuesday night.

“It’s a stretch just because of the numbers we have here,” Holmgren said . “We’re just going to take it a day at a time and see how it goes.”

Morin — all 6-foot-6 of him — was selected 11th overall by the Flyers and recently signed his entry-level contract.

More on Morin here.

Stars to send ’12 first-rounder Faksa back to junior next season

RadekFaksa
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Doesn’t sound like the Dallas Stars will rush Radek Faksa into playing at the NHL level.

“[Faksa will] spend the summer here with us, go to Traverse City [for the NHL Prospects Tournament], go to training camp and then go back to Kitchener, which is good because that’s where he should be,” assistant GM Les Jackson told Stars Inside Edge.

“He’s going to get a lot of ice there, he and the coach have a good relationship and I suspect he will take a big step next year.”

Faksa, the club’s first-round pick (13th overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, could’ve been a roster spot candidate for 2013-14. He attended Dallas’ training camp in January, played a couple of games with AHL Texas last season, has been described as a solid defensive center and, at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, has the size to compete at the NHL level.

That said, his prospects of making the team shifted dramatically this summer.

New GM Jim Nill completely revamped the center position, acquiring Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley via trade from Boston and Shawn Horcoff from Edmonton. Those three, along with veteran Vern Fiddler, will likely be the club’s Nos. 1-4 next season, with Chris Mueller and Toby Petersen also in the mix.

Because Faksa is only 19, he can’t play in the AHL full-time, as per the CHL/AHL 20-year-old rule. That means his only option is another year with OHL Kitchener, where he scored 31 points in 39 games last year, missing extensive time with a knee injury.

The Czech native said the knee is all good, and he’s looking to have a solid bounce-back campaign.

“Actually, my knee’s feeling pretty good. I was out six weeks and that wasn’t easy,” Faksa said. “I’ve had a pretty good summer and I’m looking forward to having a good season.”

Jones: I’ll respect whatever Preds decide, even sending me back to junior

SethJones2
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Many figured Seth Jones’ last game in a WHL Portland jersey was the 2013 Memorial Cup final, when his Winterhawks fell to the eventual champion Halifax Mooseheads.

But on Monday, he left the door open for a possible return.

“It’s up to the [Nashville] coaching staff at the end of the day how much ice time I get and how they want to develop me in the league,” Jones told the Globe and Mail. “I’ll respect the decision that they make, whatever that may be, whether it’s 20 minutes or 12, or maybe even going back to Portland to develop for another year.”

Because Jones is only 18 — he doesn’t turn 19 ’til October — he’s ineligible to play for Nashville’s AHL affiliate in Milwaukee next season (because of the AHL-CHL agreement).

That means it’s one of two options: Play with the Preds, or head back to junior.

The former is the most likely scenario. At 6-foot-4, 206 pounds, Jones has the size and skating ability to play defense at the NHL level.

That said, playing defense at the NHL level as a teenager is no easy go.

None of the first-round defensemen from 2012 played in the NHL last season. Columbus’ Ryan Murray likely would’ve if not for a shoulder injury, while Minnesota’s Mathew Dumba made the team out of camp, but never saw game action.

Adam Larsson, the first defenseman off the board in 2011, played 65 games as an 18-year-old for the Devils.

Cam Fowler did it in 2010 and Victor Hedman in 2009. In 2008, a trio of 18-year-olds debuted — Drew Doughty (No. 2 overall), Zach Bogosian (No. 3) and Luke Schenn (No. 5).

So, it does happen. Just not all that often.

It’ll be interesting to see now the Jones situation plays out. There’s definitely a spot for him in Nashville — GM David Poile said he expects Jones to start the season in the NHL — and the Preds defense isn’t exactly an impenetrable wall. While the top three of Shea Weber, Kevin Klein and Roman Josi is set, the likes of Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm and Victory Bartley are hardly proven entities.

As for Jones, he just wants to make the team.

“I’m going to go and do my best to prepare myself physically and mentally for training camp and prove to the (coaching) staff and the organization that I can make the team,” he said. “Hopefully, I can come in and try to make an impact as much as I can.”

Devils send Matteau back to juniors

Stefan Matteau
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New Jersey Devils rookie forward Stefan Matteau will have to finish his season in Quebec.

Mikael Lalancette of TVA Sports in Quebec reports the Devils have sent last year’s first-round pick back to Blainville-Broisbrand after playing 17 games with New Jersey this season. In that time, Matteau scored one goal and had two assists while averaging just over nine minutes of ice time per game. The Quebec league is about to begin their playoffs and it would seem likely he would head to the AHL once his team’s season is over.

Matteau is the second junior player to be sent back to the QMJHL this week. He joins Buffalo’s Mikhail Grigorenko who was sent back to the Quebec Remparts on Friday to make room for Ville Leino.

Sabres send Grigorenko back to junior

Mikhail Grigorenko
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The Buffalo Sabres have sent 18-year-old forward Mikhail Grigorenko back to junior (Quebec, QMJHL), the club announced today.

Grigorenko had one goal and four assists in 22 games with Buffalo. Since he played more than five games in the NHL, the first year of his three-year, entry-level contract will not be delayed. (Or, in more dramatic terms, it will have been “burned.”)

The Sabres had originally intended to keep Grigorenko the entire season, but the pending return of forward Ville Leino (expected to make his season debut tomorrow versus Ottawa) — not to mention the fact Grigorenko played just 4:51 in Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over the Rangers and had been used sparingly under interim head coach Ron Rolston — apparently changed their minds.

The news is at least good for Remparts fans, as playoffs in the Q start soon. Grigorenko had 50 points in 32 games for Quebec during the NHL lockout.