August 27 2014 08:17AM
I knew something was up when we recorded a new podcast last night and there was no major NHL news to report. Usually when that happens something goes kablooey the second we upload it. Low and behold, apparently the NHL is close to expanding by four teams, including another one in Toronto, by 2017.
August 26 2014 10:31AM
There's no question that Jordan Subban has more tangible obstacles than your typical prospect standing between himself and a future in professional hockey. Beyond just the unfair comparisons that he draws in the wake of his older superstar of a brother, there isn't exactly ample precedence for a player of his physical stature in today's NHL.
Listed at 5'9'', 175 lbs, he doesn't just fall well short of the average for the types of athletes that comprised the position last season; his diminutive frame barely registers him on the relative spectrum. Out of the 303 defensemen that the NHL lists on its page, only 5 of them - Francis Bouillon, Jared Spurgeon, David Warsofsky, Torey Krug, and Mark Cundari - suited up in a game last season while being listed at 5'9'' or shorter.
While that'll surely make finishing off future alley oop passes from Henrik Sedin with any sort of authority a difficult task, it fortunately doesn't take away from the current reality that Jordan Subban remains verifiably effective as a hockey player.
August 25 2014 12:17PM
At this point in time, it's a dead heat between "Frequent Flyer" and "Casualty of the Numbers Game" in laying claim to being the most recurring themes of Alex Grenier's playing career to-date.
After he fell into the Gillis regime's open, waiting arms as a sizeable overager named Alex in the 3rd round back in '11, Grenier has bounced around from league-to-league, and city-to-city. Since his half-year European escapade was cut short due to a myriad of unfortunate circumstances - including a concussion he suffered, and an influx of established NHLers trying to find refuge during the lockout with Red Bull Salzburg - he has suited up for 3 different teams in his short professional career in North America.
In fact, he has yet to be able to call a place "home" for more than one year at a time at any point in his career. That'll surely change this coming season, as Grenier enters the '14-'15 campaign with lofty expectations following his breakout showing as a rookie in the AHL. Maybe he'll even get to shift the aforementioned working narrative to "Productive Hockey Player" if he's able to build on that personal success he enjoyed last season.
August 22 2014 11:21AM
In his first year of eligibility for our cherished annual prospects list, Erie Otters forward Dane Fox makes his debut at number 12. An undrafted free agent, the 20-year-old Fox cashed in a whopping 64 goals while playing triggerman for Connor McDavid and Connor Brown with Erie in 2013-14. Sought after by a number of teams this winter, Fox signed a three-year entry-level contract - a deal that included the maximum signing bonus - with the Canucks in December.
Fox is the very last of a diverse and relatively successful class of undrafted free agents that were signed by the Canucks during the Mike Gillis era. It's a class that can claim a couple of star graduates, including Eddie Lack and Chris Tanev, and some big misses in Sebastian Erixon and Evan Oberg. No matter, the thing about an undrafted free agent is that they're found money, basically no-risk propositions.
In Fox's case, it's easy to get carried away looking at his massive OHL goal totals and forget that he managed his feat, and it's still impressive, while playing as an overager with a generational talent on a stacked team. That's critical context, and it's pretty unlikely that Fox will be a top-line scorer at the NHL level. Fox is still an intriguing depth prospect though, and his relatively high debut ranking slot speaks to that.
Nation World HQ
August 22 2014 08:05AM
The NHL changes the draft lottery, Bertuzzi-Moore 10 years later, a Gino Odjick tale, truculence in Calgary, bye bye Tyler Bozak, and more in this week's Roundup