THE PIPELINE SHOW: CHL insider Steve Clark
This week on TPS we get a closer look at the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL and the fallout of the sanctions levied against the club last week. Get to know a tri of high school players, a pair from the USHL and a Golden Gopher that are all eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft. And talking about the upcoming NHL Draft, you’ll hear from a highly ranked defenceman and also an underrated goaltender from the Class of 2019.
CHL Insider: Steve Clark
The Niagara IceDogs are in the news and not only for their performance on the ice this season in the Ontario Hockey League. Late last Friday, before a long weekend in Canada, the OHL issued a press release stating that the IceDogs had been hammered with a $250K fine and the loss of a pair of 1st round draft picks, for “violating certain League player recruitment policies”. Other than a press release from the team saying that they will appeal the league ruling, no details have been unearthed.
On the ice, Niagara is having a terrific year and after trade deadline acquisitions, are in a position to challenge for the division title and perhaps more. Led by stars like Jason Robertson, Akil Thomas, Kirill Maksimov, Jack Studnicka and Ben Jones, the IceDogs are a formidable opponent for any other OHL club.
To take a closer look at the team, I called on IceDogs TV broadcaster Steve Clark to share what he knows of the situation both on and off the ice in Niagara.
HockeyProspect.com: Dusten Braaksma
Throughout the season I like to check in with the guys at HockeyProspect.com and pick their brains about some of the players we need to know for the upcoming NHL Draft. This time around it’s Dusten Braaksma telling us about a few high school players, a pair of skaters from the USHL and one member of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
We start with a pair of players from Chaska, a high school in Minnesota. Forward Rhett Pitlick cracked the top 31 for the group last month so I asked why that was. We also get to know defenceman Mike Koster, Pitlick’s teammate. The other high school player is forward Ryder Donovan who plays in Duluth, MN.
Gophers blueliner Ben Brinkman isn’t putting up offensive numbers this year but there is more to his game than that, according to Braaksma.
2019 Draft Spotlight: Alex Vlasic
It’s a banner year for the US-NTDP when it comes to the NHL draft and that’s saying something because “The Program” regularly sees a number of players chosen early every June. But this year it wouldn’t surprise most people if almost the entire U18 roster heard their names called out in Vancouver because it’s such a strong group.
That’s where my conversation with 6’6 defenceman Alex Vlasic began as I picked his brain about his team, the season they are having and his role on a loaded roster. We also covered his background in Chicago, his path to Plymouth, the inspiration he gets from his San Jose Sharks cousin and more.
I also asked Vlasic about his choice to go to Boston University and if he expects to be a Terrier next year or in 2020-21. Of course with the London Knights of the OHL holding his major junior rights, I had to ask if the CHL is an option that he is considering and to his credit, Vlasic answered the question diplomatically.
2019 Draft Spotlight: Ethan Anders
The second 2019 Draft Spotlight this week is also the In the Dub segment as we get to know Red Deer Rebels netminder Ethan Anders.
The undrafted goaltender hails from Regina but signed on with the Rebels midway through is midget season and hasn’t looked back since. In a year where WHL goaltenders feature heavily in the NHL Draft rankings, 6’1 Anders is a guy that has to be seen.
We chatted about the current struggles of the team having returned from a difficult road trip which included a road closure and a rescheduled game in Everett due to bad weather. I asked Anders how much scoreboard watching the team is doing considering how tight the WHL’s Central Division is with only 10-12 games remaining.
I also wanted to know how Anders sees himself as a goaltender and what is left on his personal “To Do” list for the rest of this season.
Guy Flaming is the host of The Pipeline Show, a year round, 100% prospect orientated podcast now in its 14th season. Since 2006, the mandate of the program has been to introduce the audience to the future of the NHL and that is accomplished every week by speaking with the top players, coaches, general managers, scouts and media that junior and college hockey have to offer. It is free to subscribe to The Pipeline Show and is available via iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, Spreaker, the Podcast App and www.thepipelineshow.com