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12-20World Juniors 2014-Exhibition Games by...
12-10Mini-podcast: Real-life analytics (Col...
12-09Mini-podcast: Head shots 2 (Coller/Lev...

December 20, 2013, 05:26 PM ET

World Juniors 2014-Exhibition Games

by Corey Pronman

Here are my thoughts from the 12/20 World Junior exhibition games:

Aaron Ekblad (2014) will be making a strong bid at this tournament to be the #1 pick in this summer’s draft. Today he took on top pairing duties, including top PP and PK responsibility and excelled doing so. He’s a very physically advanced 17 year old who can make stops with his body and reads on top of being a good puck-mover. His skating didn’t look to be an issue at all as well on the big ice, as was the case at the Ivan Hlinka.

Connor McDavid (2015) is a player you run out of good things to say about. He’s an elite skater and puck handler with arguably generational hockey sense. His ability to anticipate the game is second to none, and he’s the best pick pocket I’ve ever seen at the prospect level. He could be one of the best 16 year olds to play at the World Juniors in the modern era.

Anthony Mantha (DET) beat out Hunter Shinkaruk (VAN) in a battle for a spot on Canada, as the latter was cut. Mantha didn’t do a ton early on, but later in the game showed the speed and offensive creativity that makes him pretty desirable as a prospect for a big man. Shinkaruk has not looked himself since a hip injury in October for the last few weeks and this cut almost seemed inevitable.

Teuvo Teravainen (CHI) was by far Finland’s best player and it’s pretty expected at this point. His ability to think the game in the offensive zone is really high-end, with his creativity, vision and ability to make unusual plays being the main driver of scoring chances for the Finns.

Esa Lindell (DAL) had a solid game. Until Rasmus Ristolainen arrives, Lindell seems to be one of the go-to options for offense from the blue line and he embraced the role. Lindell joined the rush, activated well from the point and was dangerous on the man advantage. He made a few nice plays in his end as well.

There wasn’t a ton to talk about from the USA today, but their top line showed the best flashes as they did at the summer camp. Nic Kerdiles (ANA)- Dan O’Regan (SJ) and Riley Barber (WSH) generated a fair amount of chances and all certainly have the offensive ability to do so when the games count.

Stefan Matteau (NJD) showed a few good flashes in terms of power and skill, but his moments didn’t really lead to much in terms of scoring chances. He’ll be a guy to monitor for this event.

Alexander Wennberg (CBJ) was excellent today. He was simply just fine in the summer, but has played pretty well in the SHL and that showed today. He created two of SWE’s goals and both were very difficult and creative offensive plays. With that part of his skill set, plus good speed, and a committed defensive game he’s a really intriguing prospect.

Gustav Olofsson (MIN) is a player I haven’t gotten to see since he was in the USHL last season and he was a pleasant surprise. He played in all situations, showing good two-way hockey sense moving the puck well and sticking to his check. Olofsson didn’t stand out in any big way, but he quietly noticeable.

Brett Pesce (CAR) had some pretty good moments where he would make tough defensive stops and be a factor in the transition game, but he also got turned and his so-so mobility may be exposed at times on the big ice surface.

December 10, 2013, 08:36 PM ET

Mini-podcast: Real-life analytics (Coller/Pfeffer)

by Timo Seppa

Host Matthew Coller talks with Ottawa 67’s statistical analyst Matt Pfeffer about his job, “shot quality”, and where stats in hockey are headed.

Listen here (34:27).

December 9, 2013, 02:21 PM ET

Mini-podcast: Head shots 2 (Coller/Levine)

by Timo Seppa

Host Matthew Coller and Jeff Levine - a former lawyer for an NHL team - talk about the recent concussion lawsuit and whether former NHLers could get a similar settlement to what the NFL recently paid out.

Listen here (30:17).

December 4, 2013, 09:40 AM ET

Last week’s NHL Network Radio appearance

by Timo Seppa

Better late than never?

Here’s my two-segment conversation about the NHL season’s quarter mark with host Mick Kern and Peter Berce, hitting on surprises and who’s for real and not for real among teams and players. There’s a bit of talk about Olympic selections as well - particularly goalies.

Click here to listen (25:45).

November 25, 2013, 08:16 AM ET

Mini-podcast: Subway Super Series (Coller/Wagman)

by Timo Seppa

Host Matthew Coller and HP raconteur Ryan Wagman discuss the Subway Series Series, some recent NHL trades, and why the West is best.

Listen here (40:30).

November 16, 2013, 04:41 PM ET

Mini-podcast: 2014 draft targets (Coller/Treff)

by Timo Seppa

Host Matthew Coller chats with HP prospect expert Leslie Treff about the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and some of the top players teams might be targeting.

Click here to give a listen (27:23).

November 13, 2013, 03:55 PM ET

Mini-podcast: Big changes in Buffalo (Coller/Seppa)

by Timo Seppa

Host Matthew Coller and HP editor Timo Seppa talk about a long-awaited day of big changes for the Sabres, with Darcy Regier and Ron Rolston out, and Pat Lafontaine and Ted Nolan in.

Listen here (33:35).

November 10, 2013, 11:07 PM ET

Mini-podcast: Luck or skill for the Leafs? (Coller/Wagman)

by Timo Seppa

Matthew Coller and Hockey Prospectus author Ryan Wagman discuss whether Toronto’s success is luck or skill, and hit on the Oilers, Panthers, and Hall of Fame.

Listen here (24:34).

November 8, 2013, 02:22 PM ET

Mini-podcast: Woes of the Flyers (Coller/Yost)

by Timo Seppa

Host Matthew Coller and HP contributor Erik Yost talk about the Flyers’ future. Will Paul Holmgren get the ax? Will Giroux ever find his groove? Plus, Erik’s live witnessing of Ray Emery’s assault on Braden Holtby.

Click here to listen (21:09).

October 30, 2013, 10:01 AM ET

Vanek-Moulson, update

by Ryan Wagman

After posting my recent analysis on the Moulson-Vanek trade, a few additional details of the trade were reported by Pierre LeBrun at ESPN.com.

First, the Islanders have an option to defer the first round selection surrendered to Buffalo until the 2015 draft, if their 2014 first rounder is a top ten pick. There is no word about any limitations on the pick if it is deferred.

Secondly, the Sabres are eating approximately $1.4 million of Vanek’s salary in the deal.

These two concessions mitigate the risk taken on by Islanders GM Garth Snow in the trade. The Islanders are a team that is driven by their youth. Even if they should fail to make the playoffs this year and pick in the top ten (as Vukota expects), they have a very strong prospect core, with young impact talent not currently on the NHL roster including Ryan Strome (ranked as the #11 prospect overall by Corey Pronman), Ryan Pulock (#24), Griffin Reinhart (#34) and Calvin De Haan (#98), while Brock Nelson (#61) and Matt Donovan (#105) should be better after getting their feet wet as rookies this year. In other words, the Islanders are a team with an upward trajectory, even if they regress to the mean this year. Should they finish in the bottom ten, there are plenty of reasons to believe that they will place far better in the standings in 2014-15, especially if they ramp up roster spending in anticipation of the move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn the following year. With this new information, I am comfortable downgrading the risk taken on by Snow’s inclusion of the first rounder.

With the knowledge that the Sabres are kicking in $1.4 million to cover Vanek’s salary, that more or less entirely negates the cash advantage described in the original analysis. Further, that will maintain the Islanders’ relative cap strength for future deals should an opportunity arise.

In summary, the Vanek deal still presents a risk for the Islanders. There are now simply parameters in place that mitigate that risk, but the risk is still present, as they surrendered a number of strong assets for - barring a contract extension - a 70 game player rental. The Sabres still did well to find a buyer so early in the season, as they could command more value in return with the buying team receiving more today then they would via a trade deadline deal and now the Sabres will not have to worry about torpedoing trade value through an unfortunate injury. The deal is still a win for Buffalo in terms of their proximity to a competitive window, without guaranteeing that the Islanders move any closer to their own.

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