Final Mock Draft

With the draft rapidly approaching, here is our final draft rankings:

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs – Auston Matthews
  2. Winnipeg Jets – Patrik Laine
  3. Columbus Blue Jackets -Jesse Puljujarvi
  4. Edmonton Oilers – Matthew Tkachuk
  5. Vancouver Canucks -Pierre-Luc Dubois
  6. Calgary Flames – Olli Juolevi
  7. Arizona Coyotes – Mikhail Sergachev
  8. Buffalo Sabres – Alex Nylander
  9. Montreal Canadiens – Logan Brown
  10. Colorado Avalanche – Clayton Keller
  11. New Jersey Devils – Tyson Jost
  12. Ottawa Senators – Max Jones
  13. Carolina Hurricanes – Michael McLeod
  14. Boston Bruins – Jacob Chychrun
  15. Minnesota Wild – Charlie McAvoy
  16. Detroit Red Wings – Julien Gauthier
  17. Nashville Predators – Kieffer Bellows
  18. Philadelphia Flyers – Luke Kunin
  19. New York Islanders – German Rubstov
  20. Arizona Coyotes – Riley Tufte
  21. Carolina Hurricanes – Dante Fabbro
  22. Winnipeg Jets – Brett Howden
  23. Florida Panthers – Jake Bean
  24. Anaheim Ducks -Rasmus Asplund
  25. Dallas Stars – Samuel Girard
  26. Washington Capitals – Libor Hajek
  27. Tampa Bay Lightning – Pascal Laberge
  28. St. Louis Blues – Tage Thompson
  29. Boston Bruins – Alex DeBrincat
  30. Anaheim Ducks – Logan Stanley

 

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Updated Lottery Mock Draft!

It’s that time of the year, the lottery’s done, and the dust has been settled. So given the knowledge we have, here’s our updated mock draft. We have a few explanations below, so tell us what you think!

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs – Auston Matthews
  2. Winnipeg Jets – Patrik Laine
  3. Columbus Blue Jackets -Jesse Puljujarvi
  4. Edmonton Oilers – Jacob Chychrun
  5. Vancouver Canucks – Pierre-Luc Dubois
  6. Calgary Flames – Matthew Tkachuk
  7. Arizona Coyotes – Mikhail Sergachev
  8. Buffalo Sabres – Alex Nylander
  9. Montreal Canadiens – Logan Brown
  10. Colorado Avalanche – Olli Juolevi
  11. New Jersey Devils – Tyson Jost
  12. Ottawa Senators – Max Jones
  13. Carolina Hurricanes – Michael McLeod
  14. Boston Bruins – Clayton Keller

 

Analysis:

The whole Matthews vs Laine debate is just media hype in my opinion. It’s not really close, and Laine’s hype comes from a handful of games. Every year there’s always a scenario pitting the  established guy versus this hotshot underdog! Who’s going to be picked first?! At the end of the day, it brings in views. I’m not saying that Laine will be a ECHL player for his entire career, but at this point Matthews is a clear #1 selection for me. All of that is my opinion and there’s a pretty good chance I’m wrong.

Look for the Edmonton Oilers to trade down. Possibly with the Montreal Canadiens. The best players available are all forwards (Tkachuk, Nylander, Dubois), and the best defenseman are all available lower down (Chychrun, Sergachev, Juolevi). The Oilers are full of young wingers, and the Habs would love to get their hands on Pierre Luc Dubois. If a trade doesn’t happen, the trade talks for players such as Eberle, Hall, and Yakupov to heat up. But for simplicity’s sake, we’re assuming no trades happen.

We also know that the Canucks are planning to draft a forward so that removes a few defenseman, off our list. For us it’s a coin flip between Dubois and Tkachuk but Dubios’ offensive talent gives him a little edge over Tkachuk.

The Sabres could use a little more talent on the wings, so they take the best wing available left in Alex Nylander.

The Montreal Canadiens need a bigger center and choose the 6’6 Logan Brown. His game is a bit more polished and could possibly slot in at the 3C position next year. Well this is as long as Michel Therrien doesn’t play him on the wing à la Galchenyuk.

 

Agree? Disagree? Let us know! Comment below or “like” us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog/ or by tweeting us at @hkyblogger!

NHL Making Itself Truly A National League

With the KHL’s growth into China, it is giving itself a leg up on the NHL in growth. While the NHL has remained within Canada and the USA, the KHL has been trying to grow at a rapid pace all over Eastern Europe and Asia. I am not arguing that the NHL should try to capitalize the Mexican and Caribbean market, cause frankly, the only news you hear about Caribbean hockey is this. What I am arguing though, is that the KHL has positioned itself in growth markets and the NHL hasn’t responded. I know that the KHL isn’t in the greatest position financially, but turbulence was expected.

China is trying to develop it’s presence in hockey in preparation for the 2022 Olympic Games. The Government is placing a lot of resources on development of sports that haven’t been well developed in China. In order to do so, the Chinese government has been working with the KHL to get a team located in China. Mission complete, the HC Red Star Kunlun will be joining the KHL for the 2016-2017 KHL season. There are further opportunities for growth in Asia with markets such as South Korea, Mongolia, and even INDIA available.

Meanwhile, the NHL is unable to continue to compete with the growth of the KHL and is losing out on possible revenue streams. A valid argument includes the fact that the NHL is an established league that doesn’t necessarily have to grow while the KHL is still a league that technically is still in it’s infancy and it’s owners still treat the league as the “Wild West“. However, the NHL is still growing with expansion speculation in Las Vegas, Quebec City, and Kansas City. Yet, the growth is not the growth that the NHL needs. The NHL markets itself as the greatest league in the world, yet it is unable to grow past two countries. It has attempted to play games in Europe a few times, and results have been well, but there isn’t the appetite for the sport isn’t there. Hockey remains a niche sport, and their games were in areas where hockey is already being played full season (Germany, Finland, Sweden).

Critics will argue that the NHL expanding to unserved markets will lead to a NFL Europe like disaster. However, there were many opportunities to grow the NHL brand without having capital investment like NFL Europe. Training camps, development camps, and community outreach programs allow for NHL organizations to develop hockey in developing countries, or find unknown prospects. However, their lack of development has left the NHL in a stagnant position. Without continued growth, maturity of the product peaks, and eventually, the decline begins.

Not Your Average Hockey Blog Mock Draft!

As one of our first posts in our reboot, we would like to revive a yearly tradition and present to you our 2016 NHL Mock Draft 1.0. How is this mock draft different from last year? Our mock draft has been relatively accurate in the years. Eight out of thirty (27%), of projected draft picks were drafted within two picks of the projected slots in 2013, eleven out of thirty (37%) in 2014 ,and ten out of thirty (30%) in 2015.

As part of our increased coverage and increased writers, we are able to simultaneously give eight, that’s right eight mock drafts all at once!

Each individual mock draft has been submitted by their writers themselves, and we’re excited to see if we have any changes during the year!

Some notes from our writers:

Ok, so. Say you really want a top flight Defenceman. And say your team is underperforming under a new head coach – badly. What do you do? If you said trade your #1 Centerman and pray for 1st overall, you may just be qualified to GM the Columbus Blue Jackets. All kidding aside, Columbus needs a top centre after acquiring Seth Jones, and who better to fill that role than potential Franchise player Auston Matthews? From there things get a bit hectic. The Leafs want Alex Nylander, but it’d be unjustifiable to draft him at #2, and they aren’t stupid enough to trade away the 2nd overall pick (Shut up). So instead they’ll take a player with familiarity with ANOTHER of their top flight prospects, Matthew Tkachuk, who plays with Mitch Marner in London. Buffalo needs Defence to go with their shiny new Eichel, so they’ll go with the best guy in the draft at that position in Jakob Chychrun. In a surprise move, Edmonton finally realize they have enough forwards and go with Olli Juolevi. Calgary and Winnipeg get amazing players in Laine and Puljujarvi almost by default based on the need of teams ahead of them, and Anaheim has enough size that they can justify drafting high skill baby Ny (and we don’t have to play him much, YAY). I don’t think Carolina will keep elder Staal so it’s time they start building around new young centre Mcleod. Nashville gets a new Jones so fans who bought Seth’s Jersey only have to change the number on the back and hey, kid’s a whiz offensively in his first OHL season so that’s a plus. And last but not least the Flyers continue to fill the Void that is their defence with young Mikhail Sergachev, and may actually get somewhere with him. – Jordan Doran

I chose Charles McAvory for the Sharks because, after the first half of this season, the entire club knows that the team is in desperate need of more skilled d-men. They need a solid stay-at-home defenseman. McAvory could end up being that guy. – Aidan Carlsen explaining his rationale on the Sharks pick.

I had Jacob Chychrun dropping to 4 instead of at 3 to the Sabres because the Sabres currently have a top offensive defenseman in development with Rasmus Ristolainen and a strong top 4 defenseman in development with Jake McCabe. The Sabres also have few strong young strong centers in Ryan O’Reilly, Zemgus Girgensons, Jack Eichel, and Sam Reinhart. What they don’t have besides Marcus Foligno is a bit power forward. This is where Patrik Laine comes in. Laine is a hulking forward who uses his size well. His big size and his willingness to use it will be a big factor on the Sabres picking Laine. The Oilers on the other hand need a big mobile defenseman who can man the power play. Chychrun can man the power play and can pair along with Nurse to lead the Oilers into the future. Well this is unless the Oilers get their usual first overall pick… – Alson Lee

If you have any comment or questions, make sure to tweet us @hkyblogger or “like” us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog/ Make sure to share with your friends and neighbours so we can keep the conversation going!

 

Is The NHL Ready For A Gay NHL Player?

Editor’s Note: Make sure to follow me on Twitter here @hkyblogger, “like” us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog/ and to share this with your friends!

The NBA and NFL have something the NHL doesn’t. An openly gay player. Jason Collins was the first openly gay player in the four major sports, and Michael Sam was the first openly gay player to be drafted in to the four major sports. The NHL has not had an openly gay player yet. Statistically speaking, there will be at least one gay player in the NHL fraternity of 750 players.

We wanted to see how hockey players felt about this, so we set out to find how players felt about having a gay teammate. We gave them all anonymity and the opportunity to state their opinions about this topic. We were given almost universal positive opinions on this issue. “I would have zero problem with it whatsoever. I want a good team mate and a person that plays hard every night. Their sexual orientation has no bearing on that. I know in the hockey world it would be a new thing to have a openly gay player, but it would be handled with class and respect.” – unnamed player.

We did have negative opinions on this issue, not because they are homophobic or they didn’t agree with the lifestyle others chose. They were more worried about the media circus that would come along with the an announcement. They didn’t want to have the spotlight of the league on a non-hockey issue. However, many players told me something I believe is echoed widely in the league. They couldn’t care less. They judge teammates on how they play. They don’t care about their sexual orientation, but will they put the extra effort on the ice? Will they get the greasy goals? “It really wouldn’t bother me to have a gay teammate. If they can help us win hockey games and are a generally good person I’d welcome them with open arms. I can’t speak for any of my teammates but I can’t imagine they would feel much differently. Sexual orientation shouldn’t define someone. Their personality and willingness to contribute to the team should.” – Different Unnamed Player.

If there is a gay player in the NHL out there (and according to Patrick Burke, there is.), I leave you with this message, your peers do not really care about your sexual orientation. Just train hard, and play even harder. Be a good teammate, and be a good role model. There’s a lot of kids looking up to you.

Interview with Borna Rendulić!

Retrieved from: https://twitter.com/bornarendulic. Photo used with permission.

We recently caught up with Colorado Avalanche forward Borna Rendulić! For the readers that aren’t familiar with him, he’s the first Croatian born NHL player ever (Joel Prpic played in the NHL and the Croatian national team, but was born in Canada.). He’s played all over Europe before crossing the pond to join the Avalanche organization. Rendulić was able to play 26 games in the AHL and 11 games in the NHL before suffering an injury. Even though that’s a tough way to end your season, he’s been working hard in the gym to be better than ever. Make sure to follow him on Twitter @bornarendulic. Make sure to follow us on Twitter @hkyblogger and “like” us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog. So without further to do, here’s our chat with Borna Rendulić!

As per usual, we are in bold.

Croatia isn’t the biggest hockey market in the world, generally known more for soccer. How did you end up playing hockey with most of the country crazy about soccer?
Although I was and still crazy about soccer, I started with hockey almost by coincidence. When I was a 6-year old, I went with my preschool group to skating a course and one of the Medvescak coaches saw me skating. He liked my style and called me to join a hockey team. I said yes and the rest is history haha, I mean, that’s how I started with hockey, although I trained in soccer, basketball and handball as well in my childhood.

How often do you get noticed in the streets of Zagreb?
I don’t get noticed in the streets of Zagreb very often. But it happens from time to time. I only get noticed very often in Zagreb when I come for a hockey game.

What is it like to be the first player born and raised in Croatia to play in the NHL? Do you feel that there is a certain amount of pressure knowing that you represent Croatia whenever you step on the ice?
Well it’s a really big thing, definitely a dream come true and absolutely a huge accomplishment for me. Of course, there’s a lot of pressure that comes with it. You know the proverb from Spiderman, “With great power comes the great responsibility” haha. So yeah, the pressure is always here, but I’m trying to give my best to represent Croatia the best as I can.

What was your first game in the NHL like? Take us through it, the butterflies and the excitement.
My first NHL game was pure excitement and enjoyment. However, it’s impossible to describe all the feelings and emotions with words. There is a big mess in your head, you are fascinated by the crowd and everything, but you are still 100% concentrated on the game and every shift you take. You want to give your best while you are in awe, so yeah, it’s really hard to explain everything that’s happening out there. I hope I managed to give you at least a bit of the atmosphere.

Where is the puck from your first ever goal? Is it something you show off to your friends, or is it something you put away as a keepsake?
The puck from my first goal is in my home. It has a special place in my room with all the other medals and awards I won during my career. That is one of the things that I put away as a keepsake more than I show it off. I don’t like to brag so these types of things are something I keep for myself.

What’s the best part of your game?
I believe the best part of my game is my shot, especially my slapshot. Also I’m a winger with a big frame, and I am always being told that I posses a promising combination of size and scoring ability. I think I’m an intelligent player, good in corners, who likes to play offensive, but smart. I am tactically very good and I have a finisher’s instinct both in strength and skill to power my way to the net. I have a good technique and tendency for finesse and attractive game.

What’s something you need to work on?
On the other hand, I often look passive off the puck and I could up my intensity and sharpness. Furthermore, I need to fine-tune all aspects of my play. I have to place special focus on skating and adding grit, in addition to improving my defense and realization skills. That are some things I definitely need to work on.

So the next part is more of a rapid fire section, it’s a get to know you. You ready?
You’ve played hockey all over Europe and now in North America, how many languages can you speak fluently?

I speak Croatian natively, Finnish and English fluently. I think my English is the best of all three languages I speak, and my friends often tease me that I speak Finnish and English better than Croatian haha. I also understand Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin because these languages are very similar to Croatian.

Who did you idolize growing up?
When I was growing up I idolized Wayne Gretzky, but I also liked Mario Lemieux and Joe Sakic. They are the best of all time but at the same time, they were one of the few players I had heard of since we couldn’t have watched any hockey in Croatia. However, I later started to like Ovechkin when he came up and got to the NHL. I idolized him during the most of my career so I can say he was and is my idol.

There’s a lot of pranksters in hockey, who’s the biggest prankster in the locker room and what’s the best story you have?

Well all the guys in the locker room are cool and funny. We have a lot of pranksters, and when I first came to Colorado I instantly liked Berra, Briere and Hejda. But I don’t want to single out anybody, I love them all, they are all kings! I have a lot of stories haha, don’t know if I could say some to you and what story would be best for you haha.

Who’s the roomie on the road?
My roomie on the road is Dennis Everberg and we get along quite well.

What’s fun to do in Zagreb?
There’s a lot of fun things to do in Zagreb, although not as much as the US. But Zagreb has a lot of sights, wonderful parks and promenades. The clubbing is ok and everyone can find something for themselves. It’s not such big city, but it’s beautiful and is definitely one of the best places to visit when in Croatia, together with Dubrovnik. Zagreb has lots of restaurants, bars, wine bars and tourist attraction that can leave anyone breathless.

Final questions:
Advice for aspiring hockey players?

I think the best advice for aspiring hockey players is just to believe in themselves and to work and train their asses off. That’s the best combination for success.

Who should we interview next?
If you want some interesting hockey stories from Croatia, you should interview Ivan Sijan.

This is a terrible pun, but I just have to ask this, how often do people ask if you’re “Borna” ready and on a scale of 1 to 10 how annoying is it?
People ask me many things and thus they ask how ready I am. But it’s not a problem to me to answer any questions, so I don’t find that question annoying at all. So the answer is 0.

Thank you for your time.

Where Are They Now Part 2!

We originally did a Part 1 which you can find here: https://notyouraveragehockeyblog.com/2015/05/01/where-are-they-now/. After posting on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/hockey/comments/354ozm/anyone_have_a_where_are_they_now_request/), we’ve decided to do a Part 2. Yeah we know the post was a long time ago, but at least it’s here right? Make sure to keep on requesting and if we have enough requests, we’ll do a Part 3! Make sure to check us out on Twitter @hkyblogger and on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog

Taro Tsujimoto
I have been searching for him for hours, and I can’t find anything for him. Sorry guys… Kidding! He’s an imaginary player created by Punch Imlach who got frustrated in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft. Tsujimoto was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres and everyone believed it! All the major news outlets picked it up. No information could be found on him. Well it’s cause he didn’t exist! But if he did exist, he would have been 61 now. So where is he now? Still imaginary!

Sergei Zubov
Sergei Zubov, the He retired in 2010 after a season in the KHL, and was a coach for SKA St. Petersburg for the 2011-2012 KHL Season. After that he and had joined the St. Louis Blues front office as a consultant, while doing double duty with CSKA Moscow as an Assistant Coach. However, he seems to have chosen to leave his St. Louis Blues role before the 2013 KHL season. After the 2013-2014 season, he returned to SKA St. Petersburg as an assistant coach while helping out with National Team duties as an assistant coach as well. So where is Sergei Zubov? Well he’s keeping busy with KHL and National Team duties!

Owen Nolan
Owen Nolan played 18 years for the Nordiques, Sharks, Leafs, Coyotes, Flames, Wild, and the ZSC Lions before retiring. So where is he now? He’s now running two restaurants called Britannia Arms; one in downtown San Jose and one in Almaden, CA. Nolan also hosts a and hosts several TV shows. He’s now an avid fisher and hunter and you can catch his show Sportsman 360 TV on NBC Sports Outdoors on Wednesdays at 3:30.

Editor’s note: If you’re a hockey player or aspiring hockey player, training is key. So if you want to get bigger, get faster, make sure to check out our friends over at Hockey Training. Who knows? They could be the extra boost that you need.