We are a society that loves lists.
If you don’t believe me, check out the magazine covers near the supermarket checkouts. The sexiest this. The ugliest that. The biggest this and the smallest that.
And now, because it’s early in the hockey season, we bring you NHL’s Central Scouting’s Watch List.
Really, it doesn’t mean a thing. In the world of junior hockey, the only list that matters is the final one from the NHL draft in June.
The Watch List that came out this week didn’t include any Rolexes or Timexes. Rather, it listed a whole bunch of players from here and abroad, all of them eligible for the NHL’s 2016 draft, and it categorized them as A, B or C prospects. An A prospect is deemed a potential first-round selection, with B in the second or third rounds, and C in the fourth, fifth or sixth rounds.
The A list includes four players from the WHL — F Tyler Benson of the Vancouver Giants, D Kale Clague of the Brandon Wheat Kings, F Max Lajoie of the Swift Current Broncos and F Sam Steel of the Regina Pats.
It doesn’t include F Dillon Dube of the Kelowna Rockets, who, barring injury, will be a first-round pick in June.
In the aftermath, it remained for Brent Sutter, a former NHL player of note who now is the owner, general manager and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, to put things in perspective.
In conversation with Greg Meachem of the Red Deer Advocate, Sutter had two things to say.
First, to players on the list, he said:
“Continue to develop, do not get caught up in some list that’s come out with your name on it. Don’t worry about that. Focus in on the process of becoming a better player and helping (your) team have success.”
Second, to players not on the list, he said:
“Just because you’re not on the Central Scouting list doesn’t mean you’re not on an NHL team’s list. That’s just one scouting bureau. It doesn’t reflect what NHL teams might think of an individual. It’s just what (Central Scouting’s) scouts think.”
As usual, Sutter hit the nail squarely on the head.
If you are interested in the Watch List, it’s right here.
F Curtis Hamilton (Saskatoon, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he was pointless in one game with the Edmonton Oilers (NHL) and had 12 goals and 20 assists in 63 games with the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL).
I'm told Winterhawks asst. coach Keith McKittrick declined domestic violence diversion program & has 10/29 trial date. (thx @emilyesmith)— Scott Sepich (@SSepich) September 30, 2015
Keith McKittrick, who was heading into his second season as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, remains on administrative leave as he continues to deal with assault charges in Beaverton, Ore. He was arrested in August and is facing charges involving assault, strangulation and harassment. He had been scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 14. . . . In his absence, Jamie Kompon, the Winterhawks’ general manager and head coach, and assistant coach Kyle Gustafson have been handling things.
The Saskatoon Blades got their roster down to 24 players on Wednesday by releasing two players from their roster. . . . D Jake Kohlhauser, a 19-year-old veteran of 77 regular-season games split between the Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals, Edmonton Oil Kings and the Blades, is expected to join the BCHL’s Powell River Kings. He was pointless in two games with Saskatoon this season. Kohlhauser, from St. Albert, Alta., was a second-round pick by Vancouver in the 2011 bantam draft. Saskatoon had acquired Kohlhauser from Edmonton for a 2016 eighth-round bantam draft pick. . . . The Blades also dropped F Brayden Uhrich, 17, who is expected to play for the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs. From Rosetown, he was pointless in four games with the Blades last season and had yet to get into a game this season. He had been an 11th-round pick by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . Saskatoon is carrying two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 15 forwards. That includes injured D Anthony Bishop.
The Swift Current Broncos have released D Griffin Foulk, a 20-year-old from Broomfield, Colo. The Broncos acquired Foulk from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in December for a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . He had a goal and three assists in 38 games with the Broncos. . . . All told, he has played 191 regular-season games, split among the Broncos, Lethbridge, Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Foulk’s departure leaves the Broncos with two 20-year-olds — G Landon Bow and F Scott Feser.
The Tri-City Americans have released F Tyler Morrison, who had been acquired from the Vancouver Giants in November. In that deal, the Americans gave up D Josh Thrower in exchange for Morrison and a second-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . Morrison will turn 20 on Oct. 23. . . . From Sherwood Park, Alta., he had eight points, including three goals, in 45 games with the Americans. In 199 regular-season games, 154 of them with the Giants, he has 12 goals and 45 assists. . . . Morrison’s departure leaves the Americans with three 20-year-olds — F Parker Bowles, F Beau McCue and F Brian Williams. . . . Tri-City now has 26 players on its roster, including two goaltenders and eight defencemen.
There was great news for two WHL clubs on Wednesday as a couple of top players are on the way back from NHL camps. . . . The Tampa Bay Lightning have sent back F Brayden Point, one of the WHL’s top offensive threats, to the Moose Jaw Warriors, while the Colorado Avalanche returned F Conner Bleackley to the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Meanwhile, Everett Silvertips D Noah Juulsen, who reported to the Montreal Canadiens’ camp with a concussion, has been cleared and is scheduled to play tonight against the Ottawa Senators. Juulsen was a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2015 draft.
Potential WHL players still with NHL teams:
Calgary: F Jake Virtanen, Vancouver.
Everett: D Noah Juulsen, Montreal.
Prince Albert: D Brendan Guhle, Buffalo.
Red Deer: D Haydn Fleury, Carolina.
Seattle: F Mathew Barzal, NY Islanders.
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F Tim Vanstone, 19, has been named the 40th captain in the history of the Prince Albert Raiders. Vanstone, from Swift Current, is into his fourth season with the Raiders. . . .
F Gavin Gould, 19, had a goal and five assists on Wednesday as the host Merritt Centennials beat the West Kelowna Warriors, 9-1, in a BCHL game. Gould is from North Vancouver and has committed to Michigan Tech. . . . G Cole Kehler, who was dropped by the Kamloops Blazers last week, made his Merritt debut with 29 saves. . . .
The U of Minnesota-Duluth will retire No. 1 on Oct. 30 in honour of former NHL G Glenn (Chico) Resch. A Moose Jaw native, he played five games with the SJHL’s Regina Pats in 1966-67 before going on to spend four seasons at Minnesota-Duluth. He was in the WHL in 1991-92 as the general manager of the Tri-City Americans.
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Derek Hulak switching to #24 this season in memory of close friend Cody Smuk who passed away after battle with cancer. #txstars— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 30, 2015