Forward Wayne Simmonds topped the list of players of color who were dealt to new National Hockey League teams prior to the close of Monday’s trade deadline.
Forward Wayne Simmonds sent to Nashville Predators.
Simmonds, long a leading scorer and key locker room presence for the Philadelphia Flyers, went to the Nashville Predators for forward Ryan Hartman and a conditional 2020 fourth round draft pick.
“I was extremely on edge, obviously, not knowing where the day would do or how it would unfold,” Simmonds told Canada’s TSN. “I went to the rink this morning for practice and then I was told I wouldn’t be practicing. I had a chance to say bye to the boys for the last time. It happened at the last minute of the deadline and I’m kind of overwhelmed right now.”
A hard-nosed player with scoring ability around the net, Simmonds was the Flyers seventh-leading scorer this season with 27 points – 16 goals and 11 assists in 62 games.
He notched 24 or more goals in all but one season season since the Flyers acquired him from the LosAngeles Kings in June 2011 along with forward Brayden Schenn and second-round draft pick for forward Mike Richards.
Simmonds played his last game as a Flyer outdoors Saturday night, a 4-3 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field. An emotional Simmonds and Flyers teammates knew he would likely be dealt Monday.
At 30, Simmonds is in the final year of his contract and the Flyers reportedly were reluctant to sign him to a long-term deal. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer unless Nashville strikes a deal with him.
Monday’s trade reunites Simmonds with Nashville CoachPeter Laviolette, who was Philadelphia’s bench boss from 2009-10 to 2013-14.
Simmonds scored 32 goals in 2015-16 and 31 goals the following season. Most of those goals came on power plays when he would set up shop in front of the opposing goaltender and wait for deflections or rebounds.
Simmonds suffered a rash of injuries last season – a tear in his pelvic area, a fractured ankle, pulled groin, two mouth injuries, and a torn ligament in his right thumb. Still, he managed to score 24 goals and 22 assists in 75 games.
The Anaheim Ducks swapped defenseman Brandon Montour to the Buffalo Sabres for defenseman Brendan Guhle and a conditional 2019 first round draft pick. Montour, who grew up in the Six Nations community of Ohsweken in Canada, was Anaheim’s top-scoring defenseman.
Defenseman Brandon Montour dealt to Buffalo Sabres.
He tallied 25 points – 5 goals and 20 assists – in 62 games and logged the fourth-most ice time among Anaheim defenders at 22:40 minutes per game.
The Toronto Maple Leafs obtained forward Nicholas Baptistefrom Nashville future considerations. Baptiste, a Buffalo 2013 third round draft pick, had been playing for the Milwaukee Admirals, Nashville’s American Hockey League affiliate. Had 22 points – 12 goals and 10 assists – in 55 games with the Admirals.
The Florida Panthers acquired forward Cliff Pu from the Carolina Hurricanes for future considerations. Pu, a 2016 Buffalo third-round draft pick, had 1 goal and 5 assists for the Charlotte Checkers, the Hurricanes AHL farm team.
On Saturday, the Columbus Blue Jackets traded speedy forward Anthony Duclair and second round picks in 2020 and 2021 to the Ottawa Senators for forward Ryan Dzingel. Duclair, a New York Rangers 2013 third round draft pick, had 11 goals and 8 assists in 53 games for Columbus this season.
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The desert seemed like the perfect place for forward Anthony Duclair.
He was supposed to be a roadrunner on skates, a key component on a young Arizona Coyotes team looking to resurrect itself from the ashes of losing seasons.
Anthony Duclair moves from the desert to the Windy City in trade.
But the 22-year-old fourth-season player didn’t prove to be a Phoenix rising for Arizona and the Coyotes dealt him Wednesday to the Chicago Blackhawks along with defenseman Adam Clendening for forwards Richard Panik and Laurent Dauphin.
Duclair, a New York Rangers 2013 third-round draft pick, was unhappy in Arizona and requested a trade after being a healthy scratch in 10 of the team’s 33 games this season and playing only 13:27 minutes per game when he was in the lineup.
“It wasn’t a decision I made overnight,” Duclair told reporters Friday before skating in the Blackhawks’ 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets in Chicago. “I didn’t have the leash that others had…Not going to say it was unfair to me, but talking to the older guys on the team, they felt I deserved better. And I thought so, too.”
The Coyotes were only too happy to comply with Duclair’s request to move on.
“It’s gone back for a few years now where the team wasn’t happy with the player and the player wasn’t particularly happy with the team and we worked through some things, tried a lot of different approaches in a lot of different ways,” Arizona General ManagerJohn Chayka told reporters. “I hope he has success in Chicago and does good things.”
The trade comes two seasons after Duclair tallied 20 goals and 24 assists in 81 games for the Coyotes. His production dipped in the 2016-17 season to 5 goals and 10 assists in 58 games and he spent 16 games with the Tucson Roadrunners, the Coyotes’ AmericanHockey League affiliate.
Duclair had 9 goals and 6 assists in 33 games for Arizona this season. The player nicknamed “The Duke” said he was “stoked” about a fresh start in Chicago, a start that found him skating laps in Friday’s morning skate after he was the last player to join a team huddle.
Anthony Duclair is last to the team huddle after the morning skate and has to do a lap. The newcomers always learn this way. pic.twitter.com/OcsxroAGu0
Another sign of how far people of color have come in hockey: Four black players were traded by the close of the National Hockey League’s trade deadline Monday.
The Buffalo Sabres shipped forward Chris Stewart to the Minnesota Wild Monday for a 2017 second-round draft pick.
Forward Chris Stewart, one of four black players moved before NHL trade deadline.
The New York Rangers sent forward Anthony Duclair, their 2013 3rd-round draft pick, to the Arizona Coyotes as part of a package that took coveted puck-moving defenseman Keith Yandle to Broadway.
The trade potentially reunites Duclair, currently playing for the Quebec Remparts of the QuebecMajor Junior Hockey League, with Max Domi, a Coyotes 2013 first-round draft pick who plays for the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.
Duclair, Domi and Sam Reinhart, a Sabres 2014 first round draft pick, combined on a line for Team Canada that dominated the competition on Canada’s way to a Gold Medal at the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. Don’t be surprised to see The Duke and Domi as high-scoring pups who reinvigorate the Desert Dogs next season.
The Anaheim Ducks sent right wing Devante Smith-Pelly, a force in the Ducks’ Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance last season, to the Montreal Canadiens for left wing Jiri Sekac.
The Winnipeg Jets shipped unhappy left wing Evander Kane to Buffalo in a multi-player mega-deal that landed the Jets defenseman Tyler Myers, right wing Drew
What do these trades say about minorities in hockey? Growth. It wasn’t so long ago when there weren’t even four black players in the NHL. Today, there are nearly three dozen. Some of them are fixtures on their teams while others are call-ups from the minor leagues. The trades are a testament not only to the quantity of players of color in the league but to their quality and skill level as well.
Diversity on display in Flyers’ locker room. Left to right: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Wayne Simmonds, Willie O’Ree and Ray Emery (Photo/Philadelphia Flyers).
O’Ree, the NHL’s first black player, is a role model for “Hockey is for Everyone” kids and for many of grownups playing on NHL teams.
“He’s my elder,” Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds told reporters. “I treat him with respect and let him know I have a lot of admiration for him. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be playing this game today. I know that.”
Team Ontario Assistant Coach Cyril Bollers, second row, right.
This is the best time of year, full of good friends, good food, and great hockey.
The Christmas-New Years’ window is like a bonus round for hockey. Not only is there the usual slate of National Hockey League games to watch but also the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
This year’s outdoor spectacle is in my stomping grounds, Washington, D.C., at NationalsPark baseball stadium, in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol building. While the Nation’s Capital’s weather isn’t likely to provide the winter wonderland snow-globe scene that was last year’s outdoor game at massive Michigan Stadium or the frozen tundra feel of the 2008 contest at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium, the D.C. event should be picturesque nonetheless.
Forget a White Christmas. The NHL is dreaming of a white 2015 Winter Classic in this artist’s rendering.
And the game should be good. The Washington Capitals and the ChicagoBlackhawks are two weather-tested teams – the ‘Hawks played the Detroit RedWings at Wrigley Field in 2009 and the Caps skated in a slightly rainy affair against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field in 2011. And both are jockeying to improve their positions within their NHL divisions.
Chicago leads the NHL’s Central Division but is looking to create distance for itself from the surprisingly strong second-place Nashville Predators. After a shaky start to the 2014-15 season, the Capitals are tied with the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division and trying to climb the Eastern Conference ladder for better playoff position.
It’s a 10-nation tournament that kicks off Dec. 26 at the Bell Centre in Montreal and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The NHL Network will televise 28 games between Dec. 26 and the Gold Medal game on Jan. 5.
Consider the tournament the holiday Ghost of NHL Future. A healthy number of players in the tournament will likely be chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft. Team Canada’sConnor McDavid, a forward for the Erie Otters on the Ontario Hockey League, is the presumptive No.1 pick at the June 26-27 draft at the BB&TCenter in Sunrise, Fla.
The World Junior teams will also feature several players who are under 20 years old who are alums of the 2014 and 2013 drafts. Three players on Team Canada are graduates of the 2013 draft: Forward Anthony Duclair and defensemen Madison Bowey and Darnell Nurse.
Canada’s 2015 IIHF World Junior team. Defenseman Madison Bowey, front row left. Forward Anthony Duclair, back row left, and defenseman Darnell Nurse, back row center (Hockey Canada Images/Matthew Murnaghan)
Duclair, a speedy sniper who played for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec MajorJunior Hockey League, was a third-round pick of the New York Rangers. He began the 2014-15 season on Broadway, making the NHL as a 19-year-old and earning the nickname “The Duke” from the Madison Square Garden faithful.
Team USA looks to crash Canada’s party at IIHF tourney in Montreal and Toronto (Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images).
Bowey, the only right-hand shot on Team Canada’s defense, plays for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. He was drafted in the second round by the Capitals in 2013.
Team Canada defenseman Darnell Nurse (Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images).
Nurse, captain of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, was the Edmonton Oilers’ first round pick in 2013, the seventh player chosen overall in that draft. Nurse hails from a sports family: his father played in the Canadian Football League, mother played college hoops in Canada, younger sister plays basketball for the University of Connecticut, and a cousin is a standout on the University of Wisconsin’s women’s hockey team. He’s also the nephew of retired National Football League star quarterback DonovanMcNabb.
Besides seeing some of the most colorful hockey jerseys on the planet – European players are skating billboards with advertising on their jerseys and gear – you’ll see some familiar NHL faces on some of the teams.
Team Canada is coached by Guy Boucher, the former head coach of the Tampa BayLightning. Members of his squad includes former Philadelphia Flyers/Chicago Blackhawks/Phoenix Coyotes/Calgary Flames/San Jose Sharks/Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jim Vandermeer; former Flyers defenseman Ryan Parent; former New York Islanders/Vancouver Canucks forward Jeff Tambellini; and former Edmonton Oilers forward Marc-Antoine Pouliot.
The Zagreb team features former Flyers and 2013 Team USA goalie Cal Heeter; former Flyers/Buffalo Sabres forward Ville Leino; and former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie prospect Mark Oyuwa.
Several players of color will participate in the tournament including Zagreb’s Oyuwa and forward Edwin Hedberg.
And if the Spengler Cup doesn’t quench the hockey thirst, head to the rink, lace up the skates, put the gear on, and play yourself.
Thirty players – two goaltenders, 10 defensemen, and 18 forwards – were invited to the camp for 22 spots on the Canadian team that will compete in the 10-nation tournament with games in Montreal and Toronto.
The tournament is a showcase for talented players from around the world who may find their way to a National Hockey League arena near you in the near future. The four players in Team Canada’s camp share a bond: All were chosen by teams in the 2013NHLDraft at Newark’s Prudential Center.
The Rangers are loaning Duclair, their 2013 third-round draft pick, to Team Canada. The speedy rookie left wing has 1 goal and 6 assists for the Blue Shirts in 18 games. He scored he scored 50 goals and 49 assists in 59 games in 2013-14 for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“We expect that the team will benefit greatly from the addition of Anthony for both his skill and leadership, and we believe this will be a great experience for Anthony, as he embarks on what we expect will be a long and successful professional and international playing career,” said Scott Salmond, vice president of hockey operations/national teams for Hockey Canada.
Duclair, who averages about 12 minutes a game but has been a healthy scratch in the last three Rangers games, said he was thrilled to be loaned to the Canadian team.
“Very happy, honored to be here,” Duclair told The Toronto Sun. “(Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault) asked me a couple days after the roster came out what my thoughts were and I told him I wanted to be part of this tournament. Being in Canada, being in my hometown of Montreal, I wanted to be part of this.”
Nurse, the Edmonton Oilers’ 2013 first-round draft pick, is on a mission to make Team Canada after being snubbed last season. Captain of the Greyhounds, Nurse has 6 goals and 13 assists in 19 games for his OHL team. He played two games for the Oilers this season without collecting a point.
Nurse told reporters in Toronto that he’s improving his game by keeping it simple.
Capitals draftee Madison Bowey (Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images).
“I’m not putting myself in those situations where I get myself in trouble on the ice and not really helping out my teammates,” he told The Edmonton Sun. “It’s just maintaining that simple-game mindset and going out there and being someone who is hard to play against…I have always had the tools. It’s just finding the way to use them.”
Bowey, a Washington Capitals 2013 second-round draft pick, arrived at the Team Canada camp with a distinct advantage – he’s the only right-handed shot among the 10 blueliners invited to Toronto. He’s also second in scoring among defensemen in the Western Hockey League with 8 goals and 25 assists in 28 games for the Rockets.
He showed off his offensive skills earlier this season when he scored two goals and six assists in three games.
Nick Baptiste, a Buffalo Sabres 2013 draft pick (Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images).
If right wing Nick Baptiste makes Team Canada, it will be his third team this season. Baptiste, a Buffalo Sabres third-round pick in 2013, began the 2014-15 season with the OHL Sudbury Wolves and was traded to the Otters in November. He notched 8 goals and 8 assists in 19 games with the two teams.
Move over, “King Henrik,” there’s more hockey royalty at Madison Square Garden.
“The Duke” scores on Broadway.
New York Rangers rookie forward Anthony Duclair shared the limelight with goaltender “King” Henrik Lundvist Monday night, scoring his first National HockeyLeague goal. The tally tied the game on the way to a wild Rangers 5-4 comeback win against the Minnesota Wild at MSG.
Duclair, nicknamed “The Duke” by his teammates, used his speed off the right wing to create open space and fired a snap shot past Darcy Kuemper that knotted the game at 4. Duclair was awarded the third star of the game and the post-game Broadway Hat, a stylish fedora, by his teammates for his outstanding play.
[“That was probably the best moment of my hockey career,” he told MSG Networks after the game. “A lot of stuff is going through my mind there. Obviously a big goal, tied up at four. You know what? When I got back to the bench I was yelling to the boys ‘Let’s go, keep going. It was a big goal for myself and for the team as well.”
With Monday’s score, Duclair has one goal and four assists in seven NHL games. “The Duke” looks like a keeper.
Duclair, a third-round pick (80th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft is proving to be a find for the Rangers. He scored 50 goals in a concussion-shortened 59-game season last season for the Quebec Remaparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. With the Rangers, Head Coach Alain Vigneault has played the 19-year-old from Pointe Claire, Quebec, on the team’s top line and on the power play.
“The Duke” said the puck he scored with is probably heading to his parent’s home in Canada. “I couldn’t do without them,” he said. “My dad’s going to be pretty pumped and my mom’s probably crying right now.”
Forward Anthony Duclair entered the New York Rangers training camp and defenseman Darnell Nurse arrived at the Edmonton Oilers camp on missions to make the big club and not be sent back to their junior teams.
Anthony Duclair looks to make NHL regular season debut this week.
Both 19-year-olds learned that they’ve made it to the National Hockey League, at least for a nine-game look-see, with the teams that drafted them in 2013.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Duclair told Blueshirts United. “I had a meeting with (Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault) and was told I’d be starting the season with the Rangers. Words can not describe how I feel right now, but I’ve worked hard to get to this point and I’m pretty proud of myself.”
And the Rangers are pretty proud of Duclair. The team announced last Friday that he was the recipient of the 2014 Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award, given to the best rookie in training camp as judged by the media covering the team.
Duclair, the 80th overall pick in the third round of the 2013 draft, notched three goals and two assists in five preseason games for the Rangers. The speedy left wing registered 50 goals and 49 assists in 59 games last season for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior HockeyLeague.
“He’s got an NHL skill set,” Vineault told Blueshirts United of Duclair. “He’s got the hands, the speed, the thinking with the puck. Can that continue when the season starts against a full NHL lineup with full NHL pace and intensity? He’s going to get a chance to prove that. He’s earned the right to start with us Thursday.”
So has Nurse. The seventh player chosen in the 2013 draft, he was one of the last
Nurse wants to stick with Oilers beyond 9-game NHL look-see.
players cut by the Oilers before the start of the 2013-14 season. An emotional Nurse told reporters back then that “it sucks” being cut.
But he returned to the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, donned the captain’s “C,” dedicated himself to making the Oilers in 2014-15, and making Team Canada’s roster for the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation WorldJunior Championship in December. He was inexplicably left off last year’s Canadian squad.
Nurse, who hails from a competitive sports family that includes retired Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, was a combination of all smiles and all business upon hearing that he had made the Oilers.
“It’s definitely exciting,” Nurse said on the Oilers’ website Sunday. “With that said, it’s just another step. I think to get to this point I’m really happy with the way I went through camp and the way I played, but there’s always room for improvement. I think that’s definitely something I’m going to focus on, continuing to get better everyday, have fun and work hard.”
Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish said Nurse would have had to play himself out of a roster spot during training camp. The defenseman didn’t score any goals in six preseason games, but he tallied two assists and had a plus/minus rating of plus-3.
He scored 13 goals and 37 assists in 64 games at Sault Ste. Marie last season. He was a plus-1 and collected 91 penalty minutes with the Greyhounds.
“Right now, I think he’s deserving of the look,” MacTavish said on the Oilers website. “He’s played exceptionally well for a young defenseman, I think. We’ll see where it goes with Darnell.”
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins echoed MacTavish’s view that Nurse may have made the NHL, but he still doesn’t have it made.
“For our guys that aren’t the established NHL players, the evaluation continues…,” he said on the team’s website. “They’ve earned the right to stay another day, but their evaluations will continue. Darnell knows that. He’s a bright kid, he’s a passionate kid, he wants to stay here dearly. I know that, but we’ll continue to evaluate.”
Anthony Duclair wants to make it hard for the New York Rangers.
Quebec’s Anthony Duclair is trying to stick with the Rangers.
The speedy 19-year-old sniper from the Quebec Remparts and the 80th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft is hoping to make the Rangers brain trust think long and hard about keeping him on the team’s roster instead of sending him back to his QuebecMajor Junior Hockey League team.
“I’m trying to make this team for sure,” Duclair told MSG Networks between periods of the Rangers 4-1 preseason win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago Friday’s night.”I’m not a kid looking to go back to junior.”
And if he scores more goals like the one he notched midway through the first period of Friday night’s game, Duclair could find himself skating on Broadway. It was his first NHL goal.
“I thought I was going to be nerveous, but I handled it pretty well with the help of the guys here, talking to me, telling me to relax,” Duclair told Blueshirts United after the game.
Duclair registered 50 goals and 49 assists in 59 games last season for Quebec. Though his 2013-14 stats were impressive, Rangers management entered training camp thinking that Duclair could benefit from another year of seasoning in the QMJHL.
Between the 2014 National Hockey League Draft and the start of the NHL’s free agent signing period, some old faces changed places and the league infused itself with new young blood via the draft.
A lot has transpired from the time NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was robustly booed when he first strode onto the stage at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center on June 27 to begin the draft to the last breathless breath of NHL Network, TSN, and NBC Sports Network analysts summing up the hurly-burly of the week’s free agent signing frenzy. Let’s recap:
Hoping for a Rocky Mountain high from a Stanley Cup win, Jarome Iginla signs with Avalanche.
Perhaps the biggest free agent catch was landed by the Colorado Avalanche when it inked Jarome Iginla to a three-year, $16 million deal. The former Calgary Flames icon hopes his third NHL team in three seasons – he played for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2012-13 and Boston Bruins last season – will be a charm and deliver the Stanley Cup championship he longs for before he takes residence among the greats in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Iginla’s relocation from Beantown to the Rockies wasn’t an issue of the Bruins not wanting to keep him or the player tiring of the team. It was a matter of dollars and cents, or the Bruins’ lack of it. Boston simply didn’t have the salary cap space to fit Iginla into its budget.
Boston’s misfortune becomes Colorado’s fortune, even though it’s costing the team one. In Iginla, the Avalanche get an aging-but-still-productive player who can provide hard-nose leadership to a rising young team that seeks to leapfrog the loaded Los Angeles Kings, ChicagoBlackhawks and St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference to get a shot at the Cup. Now 37, Iginla scored 30 goals and 31 assists for the Bruins in 78 games.
“In the NHL it’s hard to pick which team is going to win, but you want to be on a contender and I think at this
Manny Malhotra takes his face-off skills to Montreal.
stage of my career that is very important,” Iginla told Sportnet. “I know Boston, they have a great shot, they’re a great team and they work very hard and they’re committed. Unfortunately, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to this year in Boston, but they’ll be right back there and have a great shot again and I realize that. But it wasn’t really a full option and Colorado, to me, is a young, dynamic team and they’re just getting better.”
The Montreal Canadiens made a lesser but no less important free agent signing that the team is banking will help them get beyond the Conference Final next season. The Habs inked 34-year-old center Manny Malhotra to a one-year, $850,000 contract.
The Indo-Canadian Malhothra is a role player, but a very good one. He’s one of the NHL’s best face-off men and provides locker room leadership to a team that saw its captain, Brian Gionta, move on to the Buffalo Sabres. Malhotra is also one of the league’s best feel-good stories. He suffered a horrific left eye injury when he played for the Vancouver Canucks in 2011 that many thought would be career-ending.
With reduced vision, he made the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers on a tryout and was later promoted to the parent club, the NHL’s Carolinia Hurricanes. He had seven goals and six assists for the ‘Canes in the 2013-14 season.
Brandon Montour, left, jumped from 18th-round USHL pick to 2nd-round NHL pick (Photo/Britta Lewis)
Feel-good stories were also abundant at the draft. Brandon Montour was all smiles when the Anaheim Ducks selected the defenseman from the United States Hockey League’s Waterloo Black Hawks in the second round with the 55th overall pick.
Montour, who’s Canadian First Nation, was beaming because little more than a year ago he selected by Waterloo in the 18th round of the USHL draft, the league’s 276th overall pick. What happened between the USHL and NHL drafts? Montour was awarded both the USHL Player of the Year and Defenseman of the Year in 2014.
He tallied 14 goals and 48 assists in 60 games for the Black Hawks, tops among USHL defensemen and ninth overall in the league in scoring. He was sixth among USHL players with a plus-35 rating.
Montour attended the Ducks’ prospects camp last week, but it will be a while before fans see
Mark Friedman hopes to join Montour in NHL after college (Photo/Britta Lewis)
him performing in Anaheim. He’s committed to play college hockey at the University of Massachusetts. The USHL is the nation’s top junior league and a prime hockey feeder to American colleges and universities.
“Brandon is truly a special player,” Waterloo Head Coach P.K. O’Handley said on the team’s website. “Even more than his tremendous natural abilities and instincts, our coaching staff, Brandon’s teammates, and certainly Black Hawks fans appreciate the tremendous effort that was evident anytime he was on the ice.”
Montour had company from Waterloo at the draft. Teammate Mark Friedman, a defenseman, was chosen by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 3rd round with the 86th overall pick. He scored 10 goals and 30 assists in 51 games last season for the Black Hawks. Friedman has signed a letter of intent to play hockey for Bowling Green State University, the school that produced former Pittsburgh Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma.
Should Friedman reach the NHL after college he’ll be part of a small but growing contingent of Jewish players in the league. CalgaryFlames forward Mike Cammalleri, Phoenix Coyotes forward Jeff Halpern, Nashville Predators forward Eric Nystrom, and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Trevor Smith were among the NHL’s Jewish players last season.
Armada’s Daniel Walcott hopes to make leap from college club hockey to NHL.
The New York Rangers feel they got a diamond in the rough in defenseman Daniel Walcott, a defenseman selected in the fifth round with the 140th overall pick. Like Montour, Walcott, who played last season for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, was an under-the-radar player who took an unusual route to the draft.
Prior to joining Armada, Walcott, a 19-year-old Ile Perrot, Quebec, native, was playing U.S. college hockey – but not NCAA Division I, II or III. He was playing for Lindenwood University near St. Louis, Mo., a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association – club hockey.
Founded in 1991, the ACHA has 431 men’s and women’s teams spanning five competition divisions in 49 states. Teams like Navy, ArizonaState University, New York University, Florida Gulf Coast University, and San Jose State University are ACHA members.
Walcott, played organized travel team hockey in Canada when he was younger but stopped to play football and hockey at school. When his parents divorced, Walcott moved to Chicago where he attended high school for a year before accepting a scholarship at Lindenwood.
“They offered me a spot. I decided to take it because it’s university (hockey) and I always wanted to play there. Unfortunately, it’s not high quality. It’s not NCAA hockey, it was just club hockey,” Walcott told Yahoo Sports’ “Buzzing the Net.” “My assistant coach and (Armada coaches) were in contact, and my name came up. They invited to camp. I decided to come here because I live at home, basically. It was one of the major keys to the decision. Also, I wanted to get seen by scouts and here is a much bigger opportunity for that.”
Indeed. The Rangers looked at Walcott’s single season body of work in the QMJHL and decided he was worth drafting. In 67 games, Walcott scored 10 goals and 29 assists.
“I’m a two-way defenseman,” Walcott told “Buzzing the Net.” “I bring a lot of offense and I can play defense, too, and shutdown top lines. I can be in-your-face and physical. I give my heart out every game – a lot of character.”
Rick Zombo, Lindenwood’s hockey head coach and a former St. Louis Blues defenseman, said all Walcott needed was an opportunity to showcase his ability.
“He put all the work in and he got his opportunity, he was prepared and made the most of it,” Zombo said on the university’s website. “I’m very proud of Daniel and I fully expect him to make the most of his new opportunities.”
Walcott attended the Rangers prospects camp this week with fellow 2014 draftee Keegan Iverson, a forward for the Western Hockey League’s PortlandWinterhawks who was chosen in the 3rd round with the 85th pick by the Blueshirts. Also at camp was Anthony Duclair, a high-scoring forward with the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts. The Rangers chose Duclair in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft with the overall 80th pick. The speedy forward registered 50 goals and 49 assists in 59 games for Quebec in 2013-14.
Rounding out the 2014 draftees are Joshua Ho-Sang, a forward for the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires, who was taken in the first round with the 28th pick by the New York Islanders, and Jaden Lindo, forward for the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack who was taken in the fourth round with the 173rd overall pick by the Penguins.