Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Roundup: KIngs, Aces & the draft

Today's link roundup has items on former Ice coach Darryl Sutter a win away from another Stanley Cup, a peek at the NHL Entry Draft, the Alaska Aces winning the Kelly Cup, a peek at the ECHL offseason and Ice player movement updates. All below the jump.

  • The Los Angeles Kings are one win away from their second Stanley Cup in three years after beating the New York Rangers 3-0 on Monday night. That also means former Indianapolis Ice coach Darryl Sutter is one victory away from his second Cup, as well. Sutter's coaching prowess has been touched on a lot, but here's another long look at the coach who led the Ice to the Turner Cup in 1990.
  • The NHL Entry Draft is June 27-28 in Philadelphia. We'll be watching for two things:
    • One, the familiar faces: the former Indiana Ice players who get picked. Five players with Ice ties -- 2013-14 defensemen Josh Jacobs and Ryan Mantha, 2012-13 players Blake Siebenaler and Rinat Valiev, and affiliate list player Mitch Slattery -- were listed in the final CSS rankings. Jacobs is committed to Michigan State next year. Mantha is committed to North Dakota, but has stated on Twitter that he will go wherever the team that drafts him wants him to go -- either the NCAA or major junior route. Siebenaler and Valiev are both playing in the Canadian Major Junior leagues.
    • We'll also be watching the Chicago Blackhawks' selections, as they will be among the core of players we'll likely see with the Indy Fuel down the road. With the draft primarily made up of 18-year-old prospects, players picked this summer would be likely to suit up in the Chicago organization (for the Blackhawks, AHL Rockford IceHogs or ECHL Indy Fuel) sometime in 2016 or after.  Players currently in the Canadian major junior will be eligible to come to Indy at age 20 (in 2016), while college players often have four years of eligibility and could come between 2016-2018. For a look at prospects already in the Blackhawks' system, click here.
  • The Alaska Aces clinched the Kelly Cup with a 4-0 victory over Cincinnati on Monday night. The Aces won the series four games to two, and clinched their third ECHL championship. Alaska also won titles in 2006 and 2011.  Click for links to game stories from the Anchorage Daily News, Cincinnati Enquirer and ECHL. Also, a sidebar on Cincinnati goaltender Rob Madore winning the playoff MVP despite being on the losing team -- a la Ron Hextall in 1987.
  • The ECHL offseason begins this weekend. Teams must submit their final 20-man rosters on Sunday, and then can give qualifying offers to eight players on those rosters by the end of June. The rest become free agents and can begin signing on Monday. A timetable and roster selection primer is here.
  • The AHL's Calder Cup Final is also going on at the moment, with the St. John's IceCaps (Winnipeg) playing the Texas Stars (Dallas). St. John's tied the series at 1-1 Monday night and heads back home.  
  • USA Hockey is very close to eliminating fighting from junior hockey (USHL, NAHL & the many Tier III leagues) by tying a fighting major to an automatic game ejection.
  • Most of the 2013-14 Clark Cup champion Indiana Ice roster will be headed off to college next year, but a few with remaining junior eligibility will either go to the USHL teams that picked them in the dispersal draft, Major Junior or elsewhere. On Monday, Jacob Pritchard announced he will play in the Junior A British Columbia Hockey League with the Powell River Kings.

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