Tag: Alexei Yemelin

Mike Cammalleri

Injury-mired Canadiens lose two more players after stomping Jets in Winnipeg

You can add Mike Cammalleri and Jaroslav Spacek to the list of Montreal players dealing with injury problems.

The Canadiens’ 5-1 win over Winnipeg came at a price as Cammalleri was cut just above his knee thanks to an arrant Yannick Weber skate blade. Losing Cammalleri for periods of time is something Montreal’s dealt with since he’s joined the team, but seeing it happen so soon is a kick in the teeth.

The Habs also lost defenseman Jaroslav Spacek to a rib injury after taking a big hit from Evander Kane along the boards. Spacek left the game after the hit and did not return. Canadiens staff reported after the game that they don’t feel either injury is serious. Mike Johnson of NHL Network reported that Cammalleri could miss just two weeks of action. We’ll see if that’s the case.

Montreal’s defense has taken a beating already this season as Andrei Markov is slow in recovering from offseason knee surgery and his replacement Chris Campoli is out for an extended time with a leg injury. New guys Raphael Diaz and Alexei Yemelin have been forced into action in their stead.

The Habs won’t get to pick on the Jets every night so they’ll have to hope Diaz, Yemelin, and Weber can help take care of business until the others are back healthy. There’s nothing less encouraging than having injury problems right off the bat in a new season.

Which rookies are going to make the jump to the NHL next year?

2011 IIHF World U20 Championship - Day Ten

Being a month away from training camp, means we’re one month away from any surprises from players trying to break into the league. Every year there are guys who shock fans and even management within their own organizations as they take the jump from prospect to professional. On the other hand, there will be those who have certain expectations—and fail to live up to said expectations.

For now, we are left to figure out the rookies who are most likely to burst onto the scene next year. Stu Hackel put together a list of “10 rookies worth watching” on Sports Illustrated’s Red Light blog. Within the list are players who were drafted in June, guys who fans thought would already be in the NHL, and a name or two that might be off the radar for casual fans. Here’s Hackel’s list (in no particular order):

1. Brayden Schenn (Philadelphia Flyers)
2. Cody Hodgson (Vancouver Canucks)
3. Nino Niederreiter (New York Islanders)
4. Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado Avalanche)
5. David Rundblad (Ottawa Senators)
6. Jared Cowen (Ottawa Senators)
7. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton Oilers)
8. Adam Larsson (New Jersey Devils)
9. Ryan Johansen (Columbus Blue Jackets)
10. Alexei Yemelin (Montreal Canadiens)

Every Swede and WHL fan who just read that list has a smile on their face right now. A few other prospects who should get an opportunity are Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson, Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis, and speedy Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund.

By most eyewitness accounts, Gudbranson was good enough to make the Panthers last season as an 18-year-old rookie. Unfortunately for fans in South Beach, the Panthers and Gudbranson were unable to reach an agreement for an entry-level contract so the defensemen headed back to the Kingston Frontenacs for another season in the OHL. In the long run, it may have been the best move for both the team and the prospect as he had another year to develop his skills and grow into his frame. He’ll have newcomers Brian Campbell and Ed Jovanovski to show him the way on the blueline; if he can impress in training camp, there’s a roster spot with his name on it.

Another defenseman who will have every opportunity to make the NHL roster this year is Ryan Ellis in Nashville. Predators GM David Poile has already publically stated that there will be two newcomers on the blueline next season and Ellis is the most decorated of the potential prospects. He’ll have to fight with fellow rookies Teemu Laakso, Mattias Ekholm, and Roman Josi for one of the third pairing spots (as well as newly acquired Jack Hillen), but Ellis has a special skill set that no other prospect can match. He can run a power play, has a huge shot from the point, and he’s a fantastic skater. If he can minimize mistakes in his own zone, he might be able to help the Predators anemic power play.

In Minnesota, Mikael Granlund is going to open eyes for the Wild next season. The Wild have all but given him a spot on next year’s roster and for a team that is desperate for offense, Granlund is an electric player with the puck. He’ll need to improve his two-way game as soon as possible like any rookie making the jump to the NHL, but he already has enough skill to be in the Minnesota line-up and to make a difference.

There’s no doubt there will be rookies who come out of nowhere to make a name for themselves next season. Who are some first year players that you expect to make some noise next season? Let us know in the comments.