A few days ago we talked about Seattle Kraken scouts attending the Hlinka Gretzky Cup taking place at the start of August in Czechia and Slovakia. It’s one of the premiere best-on-best Under-18 tournaments in the world. It gives NHL scouts a chance to start fine tuning their interests for the 2024 NHL Draft.
There are two players from Washington on the Team USA camp roster, Seattle native, forward Ben Wilmott and defenseman Hawke Huff from Mazama, an unincorporated village of 160 people on the eastern slope of the North Cascades. The final roster will be pared down and announced on July 24th.
It just so happens, tucked right in there behind that tournament is a best-on-best featuring the Under-17 group. So yes, we’re talking about projecting ahead to the 2025 NHL Draft. This is standard operating procedure in the scouting world.
While the U-18 runs from August 1st through August 6th, the U-17 also takes place in Czechia between August 4th and 8th. The Five Nations Tournament will include teams from the host country, the United States, Germany, Switzerland and Slovakia.
There are no Washingtonians on the U-17 Team USA roster, but there’s always the possibility that some day one of the player’s names pops up on a hockey roster in a neighborhood near you.
It’s had quite a tumultuous history, the New Jersey Devils franchise. Suffering through frequent financial troubles, once being called a “Mickey Mouse organization” by Wayne Gretzky, the infamous moment when head coach Jim Schoenfeld during a post-game confrontation in the 1988 playoffs told referee Don Koharski to “have another donut”, to a near-mini-dynasty that won Stanley Cups in 1995, 2000, and 2003, the fans of Los Diablos have experienced a little bit of everything.
On Saturday the club announced the passing of the team’s first ever head coach Billy MacMillan (NHL.com link) at the age of 80. After relocating from Denver where they were known as the Colorado Rockies, MacMillan became the inaugural season head coach for 1982-’83, re-assuming the position he held with the franchise for one season out west. The first year Devils went 17-49-and-14. After starting the next season 2-and-18, he was fired as head coach and general manager.
MacMillan won a Stanley Cup as a forward with the New York Islanders in 1980.
By the way, the Rockies turned Devils franchise was originally founded as the Kansas City Scouts, beginning play in the NHL in 1974. They lasted two seasons in Missouri before surviving five more in Denver.
Two NHL players signed new contracts ahead of their scheduled arbitration hearings. St. Louis Blues forward Alexei Toropchenko inked a two-year deal worth $1.25-million per season. The 24-year-old has 21 points in 97 NHL games and signed four days ahead of his arb’ hearing.
Same story for Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tanner Jeannot. The feisty winger picked up a two-year deal worth $2.655-million per season for the next two. He tallied 18 points and 107 penalty minutes in 76 games between time with the Nashville Predators and the Bolts. He was traded on February 26th.
His PIMs were tied for 9th most in the NHL last season.
Jeannot’s scheduled arbitration hearing date was July 24th, the same as Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn. His date and hearing remain on the docket. Eight days and counting …
ICYMI Weekend Wrap:
— Kraken Sign 1st-rounder Eduard Sale
— Seattle Kraken of the Future: Ryan Winterton
— Kraken Radio Man Leaving
— Kraken Friday: Return of the Firebirds; NHLer Facing Arrest
— Kraken Thursday: More Prospects on Display; NHL Deals