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Future Watch 2015

Future Watch 2015

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.

In This Issue

KEEP YOUR HEAD UP

A– | RANK 6 THE NEXT WAVE OF BLUE JACKETS’ talent to arrive at the NHL level is going to ruffle feathers and maybe leave a mark. Power forwards Kerby Rychel and Josh Anderson have had trial runs with the Blue Jackets, but they’ll likely be permanent fixtures in Columbus beginning in 2015-16. If you remember how John Davidson and Jarmo Kekalainen built the St. Louis Blues – big, skilled and nasty – their philosophy in Columbus shouldn’t come as a surprise. Elsewhere in the system, highly skilled forwards such as Sonny Milano and Oliver Bjorkstrand look to be a couple years away. 1 SONNY MILANO LW, 18, 6-0, 190 Plymouth (OHL) 39-16-38-54-22 2014 draft, 16th overall OVERALL 22 Milano’s puckhandling skills are irrefutably special (see YouTube). The kid produces highlight reel goals and has incredible scoring instincts and…

In This Issue

BLUELINE BOUNTY

C+ | RANK 23 IT’S LESS THAN A YEAR INTO RON Hextall’s tenure as Philadelphia Flyers GM. He only has one draft under his belt. But over his post-playing career, he’s been around the organization long enough to know that defense is Philly’s No. 1 current priority. Also, numbers 2, 3 and 4. By no mere coincidence, the Flyers’ top four prospects are defensemen. Hextall insists on a patient, build-fromwithin model, so he’s putting a lot of stock in these kids. “We’re happy with our prospect group,” he said. “We have a lot of kids coming. They’re not all going to hit, but we believe a fair share will.” 1 SAMUEL MORIN D, 19, 6-7, 225 Rimouski (QMJHL) 26-4-19-23-47 2013 draft, 11th overall OVERALL 31 Morin sustained a broken jaw early in the season and that set him back…

In This Issue

TAKE A NUMBER AND GET IN LINE

COLLEGE FREE AGENTS MATT O’CONNOR IS focused on one thing – playing his best for Boston University in what could be his final season with the team – but don’t take that to mean the 23-year-old goalie is one of those all-or-nothing prospect archetypes. He has already made the most of his collegiate experience and could complete a master’s degree in public health if he chooses to return to school for his senior year. Nevertheless, O’Connor’s stellar play on the ice and commitment to his game despite going undrafted has made him who he is now: one of if not the NCAA’s top free agent pursued by an NHL team. And he’s thrilled with the way things have unfolded. “In a way, this is a weight off my shoulders,” O’Connor said.…

In This Issue

BLUE CHIP SPECIALS

B RANK 15 WHEN THE BLUES HAVE SPENT one of their top picks on forwards in recent years, success soon follows. The club struck gold in 2010 when it nabbed Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko in the first round. But the Blues appear to have hit it big, too, with Ty Rattie and Dmitrij Jaskin from the 2011 draft and, more recently, Robby Fabbri and Ivan Barbashev from the 2014 draft. “Those guys are good,” said Bill Armstrong, the Blues’ director of amateur scouting. “It’s a process. We’re doing a better job of developing. You’re going to see some progress with those guys.” 1 ROBBY FABBRI C, 19, 5-10, 178 Guelph (OHL) 22-18-20-38-32 2014 draft, 21st overall OVERALL 19 The Blues went into the 2014 draft with their eye on center Nick Schmaltz, the younger brother of their defensive…