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Sami Niku Looking to Emerge From the Lofty Shadows of the Jets Blue Line

If you’ve been following the Winnipeg Jets at the Young Stars tournament in Penticton, it’s players like Logan Stanley, Tucker Poolman and maybe even Michael Spacek who were the main draw. What you might not have expected was Sami Niku leaving them all in his dust. The smooth-skating, transitional defenceman, whom the Jets took 198th…

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Samberg: “Glad to be a Winnipeg Jet”

There was no way the Winnipeg Jets could leave this draft without addressing the glaring deficiencies on the left side of their blue line. Defence is the weakest part of their prospect pipeline, but the left is especially barren. Taking Finnish winger Kristian Vesalainen at 24th overall, while reasonable, didn’t address that need, raising the…

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Nation Network 2017 Prospect Profile: #9 – Cale Makar

There likely isn’t a more dynamic offensive defenceman in this year’s draft than Cale Makar of the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits. In the 53 years of the AJHL’s history, only 83 players have ever heard their name called at the NHL draft. Only three of them walked the stage in the first round,…

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Nation Network 2017 Prospect Profile: #13 – Owen Tippett

This draft might not possess a better pure goal scorer than Owen Tippett. His combination of speed, power and a deadly shot that many consider the best in his class make him a threat to score on any shift in a number of different ways. If you’re a fan of throwback hockey, you’ll love Tippett’s game. I…

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Nation Network 2017 Prospect Profile: #15 – Eeli Tolvanen

Players who can score at the drop of a hat are rare, and you can count Finnish sniper Eeli Tolvanen among them. You just don’t get a nickname like “The Finnish Tarasenko” without that kind of dynamism. Tolvanen caught everyone’s attention last season with an electric performance as a 17-year-old at the U18 tournament in Grand Forks,…

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Nation Network 2017 Prospect Profile: #28 – Maxime Comtois

It’s hard to believe that Maxime Comtois could fall so far as he has in the space of a single season. Once a presumptive top-five pick, Comtois’ star has fallen to that of a fringe first rounder. A strong rookie season with the QMJHL’s Victoriaville Tigres put the wind into Comtois’ draft year sails. He came…

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Nation Network 2017 Prospect Profile: #29 – Henri Jokiharju

When you think about the players at the forefront of the revolution currently taking NHL blue lines by storm, it’s speed, intelligence and a strong first pass as the common thread between them. Portland Winterhawks defenceman Henri Jokiharju carries these attributes in spades. The Finnish transitional defenceman joined the Winterhawks as a first round, 25th…

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Nation Network 2017 Prospect Profile: #33 – Mason Shaw

It was hard to watch Mason Shaw — generously listed 5’9″ — and not conjure images of Brendan Gallagher in his draft season. He’s one of the meanest bastards in the entire draft, and he doesn’t let maiming opponents impede his ability to produce offence or contribute to his team’s two-way solvency at even strength….

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Nation Network 2017 Prospect Profile: #41 – Ivan Lodnia

Ivan Lodnia might not register on most’s radar ahead of the draft, but that’s just because he’s lost in the Erie Otters bounty of flashy offensive prospects. On most CHL teams, Lodnia is a first line forward. In Erie, he was just another guy on a team replete with future stars. Don’t let that dampen your…

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Nation Network 2017 Prospect Profile: #50 – Josh Brook

Is there anything Josh Brook can’t do? The Moose Jaw Warriors tried their damnedest to find out, and Brook rose to each occasion with aplomb. At even strength, the Warriors let Brook grow from a secondary role to their top pair by season’s end. They weren’t as shy on special teams, where Brook played on…