Tag: Tampa Bay Lightning

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles v Gatineau Olympiques

Get to know a draft pick — Evgeny Svechnikov


Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.

Evgeny Svechnikov (C/LW)

Height: 6’2 Weight: 199 Shoots: Left

Team: Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)

Country: Russia

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 17 among North American Skaters

What kind of player is he?

Evgeny Svechnikov spent the season in North America for the explicit reason of proving that he can adapt enough to become an NHL player.

There’s a lot to like about the young forward’s game, as he combines above-average size with a dangerous shot, solid skating ability and serious offensive instincts.

All of that showed in a nice season in the QMJHL, as he was second on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (great name) with 32 goals and 78 points in 55 games. The 18-year-old also managed seven points in as many QMJHL playoff games and is seasoned in international play to boot.

Scouts seem to believe that his time in North America is already paying off, as his defensive work seemed to improve during the second half of the 2014-15 season, as you may notice from this NHL.com profile.

Svechnikov’s final Central Scouting grade rose to 17th among North American skaters after a midterm mark of 21, so it seems like he’s climbing in the eyes of many.

Seidel says:

“Svechnikov may give some teams pause because of his Russian citizenship, but his upside should convince them he’s worth the risk. We’ve always thought he’d be more useful playing center and, halfway through Cape Breton’s 2014-15 season, that change was made — with phenomenal results. Svechnikov creates offense with his soft hands, size and strength and when his team doesn’t have the puck, he’s shown a commitment to making sure it stays out of his net. He had an excellent year with the Screaming Eagles and always maintained he came to North America to get ready for the NHL. That should make the team that selects him quite happy as big, offensive centers with an ability to defend are hard to find.”

NHL comparable: Alex Killorn

For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.

PHT Morning Skates: Stars weigh in on offensive decline, possible solutions

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six

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.

Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews, and Alex Ovechkin offered their thoughts on why we’ve seen a decline in scoring in the NHL since the cap era’s 2005-06 debut season and what might be done to help bolster the game offensively. (Toronto Sun)

For those interested in what could have been, here’s a look at the Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup champion memorabilia that never was. (The Hockey News)

While we’re on the subject of champions, here’s an interactive timeline of how the 2014-15 Chicago Blackhawks were built. (Puck Junk)

Should Buffalo Sabres fans temper their short-term expectations for Jack Eichel? (Buffalo News)

Tyler Seguin is set to be the 11th hockey player to be included in ESPN’s ‘Body Issue’. (TSN)

Here’s Puck Daddy’s Top 20 UFA list. (Puck Daddy)

Gwozdecky leaves Lightning to pursue other opportunities


George Gwozdecky is leaving the Tampa Bay Lightning after spending two seasons as an assistant coach on Jon Cooper’s staff the club announced on Monday.

Gwozdecky joined the Lightning on Aug. 9, 2013 after serving as the head coach at the University of Denver for 19 seasons.

“Jon Cooper and I, along with the entire Lightning organization, would like to thank George and his family for giving us the past two years,” GM Steve Yzerman said in a statement. “He helped turn a young, unproven team into the Eastern Conference Champions and we appreciate his professionalism and dedication.”

The 61-year-old told the Tampa Bay Times that he’s been considering leaving the club for a while.

“I have nothing but great memories, great things to say about the team, about the organization,” Gwozdecky said. “It was a great learning experience.”

Gwozdecky will attend this week’s NHL Draft with the Lightning and be apart of the coaches association meetings before heading home to Denver.

Mike Chambers of The Denver Post reports that Gwozdecky could be an ideal candidate to replace Andre Tourigny in Colorado, but Gwozdecky says he has not heard from the Avs.

“Not leaning in any direction right now except to get some much-needed (rest and relaxation),” Gwozdecky told Chambers via text message. “I have not spoken with anybody in the Avs organization but I’m sure I would if they call.”

Tourigny announced his resignation last month.

Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning

Rutherford: Pens need a better ‘supporting cast’ for core

2014 NHL Draft - Round 2-7

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is more than comfortable with the core of his roster.

And no, he has no plans to trade Evgeni Malkin, despite the speculation.

It’s the “supporting cast” — beyond Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury — that Rutherford is taking it upon himself to improve.

For good reason, he sees Chicago as the blueprint for success in the salary-cap era.

“The Blackhawks’ core group have risen to the occasion over the span of these last three Cups,” Rutherford told the Post-Gazette. “Clearly Kane and Toews and Crawford and Keith and some others have been really key players, but all three times they’ve had a different supporting cast.

“The conclusion I draw from that is that 1, we have the core guys to win a championship and 2, it’s my job and the job of everyone in hockey [operations] to try to get the right supporting cast so that we can build enough balance, speed and youth to have a complementary group that allows us to make the same run.”

One of the areas where the Penguins have fallen short is player development. Case in point, Rutherford admitted at the end of the season that Beau Bennett hasn’t been brought along properly.

Bennett was the Penguins’ first-round draft pick (20th overall) in 2010.

That was also the year Los Angeles took Tyler Toffoli, one of the leading scorers for the Kings in their second Cup run, with the 47th overall pick.

The next year, the Blackhawks drafted Brandon Saad in the second round and Andrew Shaw in the fifth.

To stay competitive in the salary-cap era, teams need that constant “support from the bottom.”

The Penguins haven’t received that. We mentioned Bennett’s failure to develop into an impact player. Well, at least he’s still with the organization. Pittsburgh traded the first-round picks that came before and after him. Simon Despres (2009) went to the Ducks to get Ben Lovejoy; Joe Morrow (2011) went to Dallas to get Brenden Morrow.

The Pens do have some good prospects in Derrick Pouliot, Kasperi Kapanen and a few others. The key for Rutherford will be to develop those prospects properly, while also acquiring the right veterans, for the right price, to fill out the rest of the roster.

Related: Rutherford insists Pittsburgh is ‘very appealing’ for free agents, even with ownership situation

Report: Cory Conacher signs in Swiss League

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders

Sounds like Cory Conacher is headed overseas.

Conacher, the diminutive forward that broke onto the NHL scene during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, has reportedly signed with SC Bern of the Swiss League — a team that’s coached by his former Tampa Bay bench boss, Guy Boucher.

Conacher enjoyed his greatest NHL success under Boucher in ’13, scoring 24 points in 35 games before being traded to Ottawa at the deadline (in exchange for Ben Bishop.) Conacher finished sixth in Calder voting that season but failed to match the same level of success in subsequent years — after failing to establish himself with the Sens, he moved to Buffalo, then to the Islanders, before finishing off with Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica.

News of Conacher’s move, first reported by Utica’s PR staff, means his time with the Canucks organization is over — for now. A pending RFA, Conacher’s rights can be retained should Vancouver make him a qualifying offer.

The 25-year-old did enjoy some success with the Comets this year, scoring 16 points in 20 regular season games, then eight in 23 playoff appearances.