Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CHL Import Draft takes place Wednesday

SAINT JOHN - The CHL Import Draft, arguably the strangest draft in sports, takes place on Wednesday.

While the Saint John Sea Dogs are not in prime picking location - they own the 53rd and 113th overall picks - it often doesn't matter a whole lot with many picks prearranged. Saint John's picks will come sooner than where they are currently placed because several teams will pass on their picks.

The Sea Dogs plan on using both of their selections in Wednesday's draft, which begins at noon Atlantic time. Defenceman Jakub Zboril is likely to graduate to the professional ranks for this coming season while the status of defenceman Oliver Felixson for 2017-18 is certainly unclear at this point. There's definitely a chance both of Saint John's import spots will be open.

The Sea Dogs haven't had great luck with the Import Draft in recent years with Zboril, who Saint John drafted fifth overall in 2014, turning into the best player. All-time, Saint John has struggled to find impact players when they aren't among the top teams selecting.

Here's who the Sea Dogs have selected in the Import Draft in past years:

Monday, June 26, 2017

NHL Draft Notes: Off year for the QMJHL

As most of you have probably heard, it was not a great 2017 NHL Draft for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Just 14 players were chosen overall with only five of those picks coming in the first two rounds. Only 14 QMJHL players were picked in the 2016 NHL Draft as well, which was a sharp decline from the 30 taken in 2015.

As you can see from the numbers tweeted out by RDS' Stephane Leroux, the QMJHL has become hot and cold in recent years, either having having a very good year or very poor. The 2017 Draft could be another bounce back year for the league, so that's good.

Here's the full list of QMJHL players chosen:

1. Nico Hischier (Halifax Mooseheads) – New Jersey Devils
23. Pierre-Olivier Joseph (Charlottetown Islanders) – Arizona Coyotes
50. Maxime Comtois (Victoriaville Tigres) – Anaheim Ducks
51. Zachary Lauzon (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) – Pittsburgh Penguins
60. Antoine Morand (Acadie-Bathurst Titan) – Anaheim Ducks
121. Drake Batherson (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles) – Ottawa Senators
130. David Noel (Val-d’Or Foreurs) – St. Louis Blues
136. Leon Gawanke (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles) – Winnipeg Jets
165. Arnaud Durandeau (Halifax Mooseheads) – New York Islanders
171. D’Artagnan Joly (Baie-Comeau Drakkar) – Calgary Flames
173. Cedric Pare (Saint John Sea Dogs) – Boston Bruins
176. Pavel Koltygin (Drummondville Voltigeurs) – Nashville Predators
191. Jocktan Chainey (Halifax Mooseheads) – New Jersey Devils
212. Ivan Chekhovich (Baie-Comeau Drakkar) – San Jose Sharks

Something else was noticeable this year:
This also marked the second straight year the Montreal Canadiens did not choose any Quebec-born players, which is - rightly or wrongly - something a lot of people care about.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bruins fans: Pare looks familiar

The second Cedric Pare was drafted by the Boston Bruins on Saturday, the tweets started pouring in.
The resemblance is really something.
Both are forwards, both play/played for Maritime QMJHL teams, both are from the Quebec City area and both were drafted by the Bruins.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

D'Orio invited to Penguins camp

After being passed over in this year's NHL Draft, Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender Alex D'Orio has received an invitation to attend the Stanley Cup champion's camp.

From TVA Sports' Mikael Lalancette:
As Lalancette notes, D'Orio was likely the victim of limited playing time and exposure, appearing in just 28 regular season games in 2016-17 - his first QMJHL campaign. D'Orio posted strong numbers in the games in appeared in though, going 19-4 with a 2.40 goals against average and a .903 save percentage.

D'Orio didn't see action in any playoff games but did appear in Saint John's blowout loss to the Erie Otters at the Memorial Cup.

A Sherbrooke native, D'Orio was selected ninth overall by the Sea Dogs in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft. The team opted to keep him in the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League for the 2015-16 season.

Pare drafted by Bruins

Cedric Pare was the lone Saint John Sea Dog to be selected in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Pare had to wait until the sixth round to hear his name called by the Boston Bruins, who selected him with the 173rd overall selection.

"It was awesome," Pare told media. "My family was there. My Mom, my brother, my grandparents. I was surprised a little bit, yeah. It's nice. I don't have words, I'm just excited."
Pare was on the bubble to picked in the draft. He was ranked 146th amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 176th by ISS Hockey and 202nd by HockeyProspect.com.

The 18-year-old played in his first QMJHL season this past year, recording five goals and 11 assists in 64 regular season contests. He added a goal and two assists in 18 playoff games. He also had some strong showings at the Memorial Cup, registering a couple goals in four games.

Pare was a first-round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft, but the team opted to keep him in midget AAA for most of the 2015-16 season.

With Pare getting drafted, the Sea Dogs have had at least one player picked in each of the past four NHL drafts.

Goaltender Alex D'Orio was the only other Sea Dogs player on the draft radar but was not selected. He will no doubt be invited to a development camp, though.

Sea Dogs could be drafted today

Today should be a better day for the QMJHL.

Just two players from the Q were selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft, which was held last night in Chicago. There should be a lot more selected today when rounds two through seven take place. The show begins at 11 a.m. on Sportsnet.

Two Saint John Sea Dogs players could be selected today: forward Cedric Pare and goaltender Alex D'Orio.

Pare was ranked 146th amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 176th by ISS Hockey and 202nd by HockeyProspect.com.

D'Orio, meanwhile, has been ranked all over the map.

NHL Central Scouting13th (NA goalies)
Sports Illustrated48th overall
Sportsnet - Jeff Marek69th overall
TheScout.ca122nd overall
Future Considerations134th overall
HockeyProspect.com196th overall

The Sea Dogs have had players selected in three straight NHL Drafts. D'Orio is looking to become the first Saint John goaltender to ever be drafted into the NHL.

Sea Dogs prospect Shane Bowers was selected by the Ottawa Senators last night. There could be a few more Dogs prospect taken today with Ben Mirageas (63rd) and Morgan Barron (98th) both ranked by Central Scouting.