Friday, June 29, 2012

Genoway Signs Two-Year Extension With Wild

A second former Sioux restricted free agent-to-be has re-signed with his current team. A day after Brian Lee was extended by Tampa Bay, defenseman Chay Genoway re-signed with the Minnesota Wild. Genoway appeared in one game with Minnesota last season, but had a very nice rookie season with the AHL's Houston Aeros.

Aside from contract length, terms of the deal have yet to be released. It will be a two-way deal with a base NHL salary of at least $850,500 per year (that number is based on the NHL CBA, which stipulates qualifying offers for players making more than $660,000 but less than $1 million must include a 5% raise from their previous salary). Here is the updated Sioux NHL free agent list:

Jason Blake Anaheim UFA
Taylor Chorney Edmonton UFA
Mike Commodore Tampa Bay UFA
Matt Frattin Toronto RFA
Chay Genoway Minnesota RFA Minnesota 2 Years, 2-Way Contract
Brian Lee Tampa Bay RFA Tampa Bay 2 Years, $2.3 Million
T.J. Oshie St Louis RFA
Zach Parise New Jersey UFA
Chris Porter St Louis UFA
Chris VandeVelde Edmonton RFA
Matt Watkins Phoenix UFA

Signings & Offers

Tampa Bay defenseman Brian Lee, who was set to become a restricted free agent, signed a two-year, $2.3 million contract extension yesterday. The Lightning acquired Lee from Ottawa in a deadline deal that gave the former Sioux a fresh start, and he performed well enough in Tampa Bay for Steve Yzerman and company to keep him around for a couple more seasons. Here's a video clip of Lee delivering a big hit against Montreal after coming over from the Senators:

Lee was one of five former Sioux NHLers set to become restricted free agents (RFA) this offseason, and all five of those received qualifying offers from their respective organizations (in short, a qualifying offer is a contract offer that prevents a player from becoming an unrestriced free agent). In addition to Lee, TJ Oshie (STL), Chris VandeVelde (EDM), Chay Genoway (MIN), and Matt Frattin (TOR) have all received qualifying offers, and it would be a surprise if any of them were signed away from their current teams. Media outlets have reported that Genoway has signed a one year, two-way extension with the Wild, but thus far details of such a signing have not been confirmed by the Wild. Here's an updated look at all the former Sioux free agents who played in the NHL last season:

Jason Blake Anaheim UFA
Taylor Chorney Edmonton UFA
Mike Commodore Tampa Bay UFA
Matt Frattin Toronto RFA
Chay Genoway Minnesota RFA
Brian Lee Tampa Bay RFA Tampa Bay 2 Years, $2.3 Million
T.J. Oshie St Louis RFA
Zach Parise New Jersey UFA
Chris Porter St Louis UFA
Chris VandeVelde Edmonton RFA
Matt Watkins Phoenix UFA

Of course the big free agent prize is Zach Parise, who says New Jersey will be given fair opportunity to re-sign their star winger, even though it appears unlikely an extension would be agreed upon before he becomes an UFA on July 1st. After clearing some cap space, the Pittsburgh Penguins have jumped into the ring and are expected to make a strong push to acquire Parise's services

In a non-North American transaction, former Sioux standout Rastislav Spirko has signed with the KHL's Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. This will be Spirko's second season in the Russian elite league after having spent last year with Lev Poprad, where he poduced 18 points (10G, 8A) in 53 games.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Matt Greene Talks Cup & UND's Newest Draftees

UND's newest Stanley Cup winner Matt Greene says touching the hallowed trophy was an "indescribable feeling." Greene also receives a lot of grief from his teammates over his taste in music, but he's not afraid to fire back at the fist pumping crowd.


North Dakota had two players selected in the NHL Entry Draft over the weekend. Incoming freshman Jordan Schmaltz became UND's 16th first round draft choice after being chosen 25th overall by St. Louis while Paul LaDue was taken by the Los Angeles Kings in the 6th round. LaDue will arrive on campus in the fall of 2013 after playing one more season in Lincoln (USHL). Here are a few numbers and links concerning UND's newest draftees:
  • By being a first round pick attending UND, Schmaltz seems like a lock to make the NHL. After Joe Finley appeared in five games with the Buffalo Sabres last season, UND's first round success rate topped out at 100%. Of course, this number does not include 1986 first rounder George Pelawa, who passed away in a car accident during the fall of his freshman year at North Dakota, or 2010 first rounders Derek Forbort and Brock Nelson, whose draft class is still much too recent to include in such analyses.
  • Schmaltz was part of a record-setting first round for USHL products as six out of the 30 first rounders came from the United States' premier junior league.
  • St. Louis followed the trend of a defense-heavy first-round by selecting Schmaltz, a player they feel will become a household name.
  • Schmaltz and LaDue both contributed to what was a successful draft weekend for American-born players and NCAA products.
  • Through the 2007 draft, UND has had eleven players chosen in the 6th round, with six (54.5%) of those making it to the NHL. That is an outstanding success rate considering how far into the draft many of those players were taken. Making it even more impressive is that four of those former Sioux were more than just cup of coffee guys. Garry Valk (777), Dave Hudson (409), Marc Chorney (210), and Mark Taylor (209) all surpassed 200 career NHL games played.
  • LaDue was a 16th round selection in the 2010 USHL Entry Draft, and just two short years later he went in the 6th round of the NHL Draft. That is an impressive ascension.
  • In closing, Chicago's official site had an interesting piece leading into the draft. Find out what Blackhawk scouts had to say about Jonathan Toews in the years leading up to his selection as the 3rd overall pick in 2006.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

UND Recruits in USHL Summer Camps

A number of USHL tryout camps have already taken place this summer, and a few North Dakota recruits have been involved:
  • Lincoln Star veterans Luke Johnson and Paul LaDue both particpated in the Stars' Minneapolis tryout camp a couple of weekends ago. The Black and Blue blog covered the event about as thoroughly as possible, posting an array of previews, individual game recaps, and camp reviews. Check it out for some detailed information. The Western College Hockey Blog also posted this camp review.
  • Luke Voltin had a solid Des Moines Buccaneers tryout camp last weekend, highlighted by a two goal and one assist performance in the Saturday All-Star game.
  • Brendan Lemieux took part in this week's Green Bay Gambler tryout camp, recording a goal and an assist in Wednesday's All-Star game. The Green Bay Press-Gazette ran a feature on Lemieux, who will play a significant role for the Gamblers this coming season. Lemieux's fellow NoDak recruit Nick Schmaltz was not at camp.
  • While UND recruit Charlie Pelnik (injury) did not take part in the Fargo Force tryout camp held three weeks ago, potential North Dakota recruit Mason Morelli did. Morelli's UND lineage is strong as both his father and grandfather are former Sioux, and the Western College Hockey Blog analyzed the Minot youngster's situation in its Force tryout camp review.
  • The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders held their tryout camp a couple of weeks ago, but UND recruit Jack Rowe did not participate due to injury. Rowe has had a tough run of luck healthwise as he was injured at both the start and end of last season, so a healthy 2012-13 will be instrumental in preparing him for his arrival at North Dakota.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Random NoDak News, Past & Present

  • In their analysis of Oiler blueline prospects, The Edmonton Journal says defenseman Dillon Simpson is progressing nicely at North Dakota and should compete for a Team Canada roster spot at the 2013 World Junior Championships.
  • Forward Rocco Grimaldi and incoming freshman defenseman Jordan Schmaltz have been invited to participate in USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp this summer. Team USA's final roster will be determined in December following a pre-tournament camp. A full roster and camp schedule can be found via USA Hockey's press release.
  • Grimaldi, of course, is coming off a season during which his playing time was extremely limited due to a knee injury suffered during the preseason, but Florida Panther scouting director Scott Luce expects Grimaldi to be ready to fully participate in the team's development camp next month.
  • Schmaltz is one of five players The Toronto Sun says could go to the Maple Leafs at No. 35 in this weekend's 2012 NHL Draft.
  • While at Canadien's development camp last weekend, forward Danny Kristo told The Montreal Gazette that he felt he was ready to play professionally but he opted instead to return to the "close-knit family" at UND for his senior season because he has "some unfinished business in North Dakota." He says the professional success of four-year NoDak players Chay Genoway, Brad Malone, and Matt Frattin also figured into his decision.
  • Speaking of Genoway, it is being reported that the restricted free agent has re-signed with the Minnesota Wild. Star Tribune beat writer Michael Russo corroborated the blog post today in a Star Tribune chat session. Details are forthcoming.
  • If could re-do the NHL Drafts of five and ten years ago, Matt Frattin would be a first-rounder in 2007 and likewise for Matt Greene in 2002.
  • Brock Nelson came in at #12 on Lighthouse Hockey's Top 25 New York Islanders Under 25 countdown and Hockey's Future says Nelson is the #2 prospect in the Islander's system.
  • The Edmonton Journal says Chris VandeVelde is tracking "reasonably well" towards a career in the NHL.
  • In this article out of Sweden, former Sioux All-American Lee Goren says he has a few options in front of him to remain in the Swedish Elite League next season.
  • Former Sioux Bill Trew signed an extension to remain with Landshut (Germany Tier 2) for next season. Trew led the Cannibals to the league playoff championship this past season.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Schmaltz Dossier

With the 2012 NHL Entry Draft coming up this weekend (Fri/Sat), here's a batch of links regarding incoming North Dakota freshman blueliner Jordan Schmaltz, who is expected to be a late-first to mid-second round selection:

Player Profiles:
Player Rankings:
Mock Drafts:

Monday, June 18, 2012

UND's NHL Free Agent Rumblings

Here are a few links concerning North Dakota alums looking to sign new deals as NHL free agents this summer:

Kristo, Dell, MacMillan Go Camping

Danny Kristo, Mark MacMillan, and Aaron Dell all took part in the Montreal Canadiens pre-draft Development Camp that ran from last Wednesday through Saturday. (@All_Habs) provided great coverage of the event over all four days, and from their reports Kristo and Dell appeared to have fine camps. In their camp awards they recognized Kristo as being the Best Skater and having the Best Hands, and in the camp scrimmage he was named the game’s #1 Star after producing a goal and an assist for the victorious White Team. Here is what they had to say about the dynamic North Dakota forward in their post-camp wrap-up:  
may have been the player of the game, demonstrating his raw speed and soft hands, scoring once. To a certain extent, Kristo has flown under the radar with fans and media in Montreal but until help arrives in the form of the No. 3 pick at the 2012 Entry Draft, the Fighting Sioux right-winger is the Habs most-promising forward prospect. Kristo will head back to the University of North Dakota for his senior year in the Fall in pursuit of an NCAA championship.”
Dell also had a solid camp, earning this review of his play:
“In camp Dell demonstrated why he had such a successful NCAA career with solid positioning. He could improve his rebound control but was willing to be a battle to make the save when caught out of position.”
Also of note, Dell closed out the weekend by not allowing any goals during the end of camp shootout.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Afternoon Post

With game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final set for tonight, here's a quick batch of pre-game links:
In other news...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday Evening Post

An impressive trio of former Sioux entered the final round of the NHL playoffs with hopes of hoisting hockey's most prized trophy, but after just three games it's the Los Angeles Kings and Matt Greene who are on the verge of winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in the history of the franchise after soundly defeating the New Jersey Devils 4-0 last night in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles penalty kill has been phenomenal all postseason, and it was in shut-down mode again last night. Greene is one of the key cogs in the Kings' penalty kill unit, having logged the fifth most shorthanded minutes during the playoffs.

The Devils, meanwhile will be looking to become just the second team in Stanley Cup Final history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit. Considering the stellar all-around play the Kings have displayed throughout the playoffs, it would seem that New Jersey is facing an insurmountable challenge, but the Devils say they will refuse to go down without a serious fight as they try to survive one game at a time.

Particularly daunting is the thought of having to win four straight against Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick, who is producing historic numbers this postseason. Travis Zajac, whose return has helped fill a void down the middle for New Jersey, has had several high-quality scoring opportunities stymied by Quick. Last night was no different, as Zajac had a great chance on the doorstep only to see Quick turn him back with a tremendous glove save. You can take a look at the play right here.

Another North Dakota college hockey tie to these Stanley Cup Finals is that of Los Angeles King forward Dustin Penner, who is featured in this piece. The story states that the big Manitoba native played junior college hockey in Minot, but he actually spent two years playing for Minot State University-Bottineau (now called Dakota College-Bottineau) before moving on to the University of Maine.
In other news...
  • The Toronto Marlies return home down two games to none after dropping the first two games of the Calder Cup Finals to the Norfolk Admirals. Not having the likes of Matt Frattin, Nazem Kadri, and a couple other key forwards has left the Marlies in a pretty deep hole. They can start digging themselves out of it Thursday night in game two. Frattin, of course, is out for the duration of the series after undergoing knee surgery.
  • Drew Stafford's goal scoring dropped a bit this past season, but a deeper look at the stats indicate the Buffalo Sabre winger had a better season than most people give him credit for.
  • Rastislav Spirko completed his first season playing in Russia's KHL, and here's a nice highlight reel featuring some of his biggest plays:

  • Around the WCHA, Etc...Former Sioux standout Steve Johnson was officially announced as the new Nebraska-Omaha assistant coach yesterday. Johnson, the father of Sioux recruit Luke Johnson, is a former All-American whose 191 career points rank seventh on North Dakota's all-time scoring list...Minnesota-Duluth picked up a new recruit and lost a long-time fan...Minnesota State has a couple Stanley Cup Final connections...The NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee has convened for its biennial meetings, and among the key topics up for debate are the three-quarter face shield, shootout and overtime rules, and hybrid icing...And lastly, Minnesota has begun its countdown of the top 10 moments from the 2011-12 season. The Final Five semifinal against North Dakota has to be number one, doesn't it?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday Morning Coffee

  • Incoming freshman Jordan Schmaltz completed his fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine yesterday, and afterwards he stated that he is "100% committed" to attending North Dakota in the fall. Schmaltz commented that he realizes he is not NHL-ready and that a year or two or three of development at North Dakota will help him realize his NHL aspirations.
  • Inside College Hockey released its top 10 candidates to win the Hobey Baker Award in 2012-13 and North Dakota senior Danny Kristo is on the list.
  • Stanley Cup Final Game two is tonight, and Travis Zajac said there is optimism in New Jersey seeing as how the Devils took the Kings to overtime despite playing far from its best game. Zach Parise tried to give the Devils a third period lead in game one when he slid the puck into the goal using his hand. When asked whether he thought he might get away with it, he replied that, "Maybe the video review wasn't working." On the Los Angeles side, steady defenseman Matt Greene says this year's Kings are looking to establish a new chapter in the organization's history books. 
  • Matt Frattin will not be available during the AHL's Calder Cup Finals, and his banged-up Toronto Marlies dropped game one of the championship series to the Norfolk Admirals 3-1 last night.
  • Earlier this spring former Sioux Bill Trew led the Landshut Cannibals (Germany Tier 2) to the league's playoff championship. Trew was an offensive force for the Cannibals, leading the league in postseason goals (13), assists (14), and points (27).
  • Former Sioux netminder Jean-Philippe Lamoureux has signed with Villacher SV (Austria Tier 1) for the 2012-13 season. Lamoureux played with Olimpija Ljubljana, also of the Austrian elite league, this past season.
  • Lamoureux's former North Dakota teammate Ryan Martens will also be switching teams next season. Martens, who last season played for EHC Dortmund (Germany Tier 3), will be moving on to play for TSV Erding (Germany Tier 3).
  • Around the WCHA, Etc...Minnesota-Duluth has named its captain for 2012-13...Colorado College has released its 2012-13 roster...It is being reported that Nebraska-Omaha will hire former Sioux All-American & current St. Cloud State assistant Steve Johnson as its new assistant coach. Johnson will fill the vacancy left by Mike Hastings, who earlier this spring took over the head coaching duties at Minnesota State. An announcement is expected Monday...Boston University, who will be visiting Engelstad Arena in November, lost a sophomore defenseman to the professional ranks... 

Friday, June 1, 2012

2012 Sioux NHL Free Agents

Though the Stanley Cup Final is still a week or two from concluding, NHL free agency is looming on the horizon. Of the 17 former Sioux to skate in the league this past season, 11 will enter free agency this offseason unless extended by their current teams.

Perhaps the biggest trophy in the unrestricted free agent (UFA) pool is New Jersey captain Zach Parise, who is busy trying to lead the Devils to the Stanley Cup. His services will be courted by a number of teams if he and New Jersey are unable to agree upon a new deal.

Also worth keeping an eye on will be St. Louis Blue TJ Oshie, who is eligible to become a restricted free agent (RFA). Oshie is coming off his best year as a pro after signing a one-year deal as a RFA last summer and St. Louis would very much like to re-sign him this offseason, perhaps to a long-term deal.

Matt Frattin saw his first full professional season end prematurely in the AHL's Western Conference Finals, but the Toronto front office was impressed with his play this season and will look to lock up his services.

Here's the full list of NHL free agents, which will be updated as contracts are signed:

Jason Blake Anaheim UFA
Taylor Chorney Edmonton UFA
Mike Commodore Tampa Bay UFA
Matt Frattin Toronto RFA
Chay Genoway Minnesota RFA
Brian Lee Tampa Bay RFA
T.J. Oshie St Louis RFA
Zach Parise New Jersey UFA
Chris Porter St Louis UFA
Chris VandeVelde Edmonton RFA
Matt Watkins Phoenix UFA