Tag: Portland Winterhawks

Quarterfinal4 - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship

Blue Jackets prospect Bjorkstrand to join Denmark at Worlds

Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand is set to join Team Denmark in at the World Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic.

According to reports, Bjorkstrand could play in Denmark’s game against the Russians on Wednesday.

Bjorkstrand had 63 goals and 118 points in 59 Western Hockey League games with the Portland Winterhawks.

The 20-year-old added 13 goals and 12 assists in 17 playoff games. The Kelowna Rockets eliminated the Winterhawks on Sunday.

He represented Denmark at the World Junior Hockey Championship earlier this year registering four goals and an assist in five games.

Bjorkstrand was the Jackets third-round selection (89th overall) in 2013.

Report: Jackets’ Milano to join Springfield Falcons this week

Plymouth Whalers v Windsor Spitfires

Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Sonny Milano is expected join the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League this week now that his junior season has ended.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Milano could join the AHL club as early as Tuesday.

In his first season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers, Milano had a team-leading 22 goals and 46 assists in 50 games. The 18-year-old also had two goals and four points in five games at the World Junior Hockey Championship.

Here’s a look at some of Milano’s work from his rookie season in the OHL:

Columbus is also watching prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand closely.

The Dispatch reports that Bjorkstrand could join the Blue Jackets this season, if injuries persist.

Bjorkstrand’s Portland Winterhawks open the first round of the Western Hockey League playoffs this weekend against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The 19-year-old had 63 goals and 118 points in 59 regular season games this season.

Where will you find a host of intriguing top end defensemen? America

Seth Jones

When you take a look back at the last few drafts, you’ll notice more and more first-round defensemen are coming out of the United States. Take a look at the names from just the last few drafts.

2012: Jacob Trouba, Jordan Schmaltz, Brady Skjei
2011: Connor Murphy
2010: Cam Fowler, Derek Forbort, Jarred Tinordi

At last week’s World Junior development camp in Lake Placid, many of those potential future stars were on display to show what they’re all about against Sweden and Finland and didn’t disappoint.

One future star is Seth Jones (pictured). Jones, the son of former NBA journeyman Ronald “Popeye” Jones, made his second appearance at the camp at just age 17. For a young guy, he’s beaming with confidence.

“I feel pretty comfortable out there with the puck,” Jones said. “Whatever the coach at the next level decides to put me out I’ll be more than happy if I’m on the power play or not.”

Jones’ big size (6’3″ 184) already made him an intimidating presence. Being big is something he enjoys.

“You can’t teach size. I got fortunate with that with my dad being 6’8″. Getting just that half-second to get a stick on the puck with my reach is always good.”

Meanwhile, Team USA coach Phil Housley liked what he saw from all of his defensemen, but Jets first-round pick Jacob Trouba impressed him.

“He can play in all situations and has a calming effect back there,” Housley says. “He’s only going to get better.”

Plenty of high praise to go around for all the top talent and it’s not just limited to first-round picks either as Flyers’ third-round pick Shayne Gostisbehere turned many heads as well.

Things are looking good on the back end in America. Defense wins championships, right?

The end of Svensanity: Flames send Baertschi back to juniors

Sven Baertschi

There is no joy in Calgary. Rookie phenom Sven Baertschi is headed back to junior hockey.

Baertschi was an emergency call-up and for five games he thrilled Flames fans, giving them a glimpse of what his future in Calgary will look like scoring three goals in his abbreviated time with the big club. Now that Lee Stempniak is healthy enough to play, however, Baertschi’s headed back to the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL.

Flames GM Jay Feaster explains why Baertschi has to go back from whence he came.

“The agreement between the CHL and the NHL is very clear regarding the conditions and circumstances under which a player from major junior may be recalled to his NHL team, as well as when he must be returned to his major junior club,” said Flames General Manager Jay Feaster.

Meanwhile the Flames are very much in the playoff race and Baertschi had a hand in helping that out. Now it’s up to Stempniak and Blake Comeau to make sure the Flames’ good fortunes continue or else Flames fans will be looking forward to next season for a few other reasons.

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.