Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sioux in the Pros: Training Camp News

NHL training camp rosters are getting whittled down with the regular season just a week away, and several former Sioux are engaged in opening day roster spot battles. Among the camp rookies, Jason Gregoire, Matt Frattin, and Brad Malone have survived their teams' cuts thus far.

Brad Malone was impressive at the Colorado Avalanche training camp, and he's in the running for a job as Colorado's fourth line center. With his size and skill set, it's also within the realm of possibility that he could earn a spot on the wing if Av centerman Jay McClement is awarded the fourth line job.

Matt Frattin, who is averaging a point per game in five preseason contests (2 G, 3A), has virtually locked up the third line left wing spot for the Toronto Maple Leafs. As camp began, Frattin, Nazem Kadri, and Joe Colborne were all expected to compete for the position that was widely considered to be open for the taking. Colborne started slow and was inconsistent prior to being cut from camp, but both Kadri and Frattin were performing well and running neck and neck until Kadri suffered a knee injury that could keep him out of the lineup for up to a month. Frattin has impressed the Toronto staff, and he is looking forward to taking advantage of his opportunity by striking while the iron is hot.

Ryan Johnson may also benefit from an injury in his quest to make the Detroit Red Wing roster and defenseman Matt Smaby is experiencing a similar situation in Anaheim.

Among those who have been reassigned to minor league training camps, defenseman Joe Finley looks to shake off the injury bug and find a home in the Buffalo Sabres organization. After the Phoenix Coyotes assigned Brett Hextall to the Portland Pirate training camp, GM Don Maloney had some good things to say about the former Sioux forward (Click the quote for the full article):

"I think it's a fact of life that your first-round pick gets more time to show what he can do vs. a later-round pick. A good example for us might be (sixth-round pick) Brett Hextall, whose had a terrific camp; he's very good. We were really happy with him, and arguably, he could still be there, but we think he's a first-year pro, and we have a couple other guys, we're still waiting to see a little bit more from."

Evan Trupp, who recently signed with the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL), is participating in the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals training camp, while Derrick LaPoint is attending Syracuse Crunch training camp (AHL) on a tryout invitation.

Other former Sioux news:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sioux Recruits 2011-12

I've posted a new link to a list of committed Sioux recruits and their 2011-12 stats. The list, found on the Future page, will be updated regularly throughout the season.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sioux in the Pros 2011-12

I've got a new link to a list of former Fighting Sioux playing professionally in 2011-12 on the Past page. The statistics will be updated regularly (should be automatic, but we'll see how that goes...) and player transactions will be reflected in the list as they occur. I should have a list for Sioux recruits posted on the Future page by the end of the week as well.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

NHL Training Camp Links & 2012 NHL Draft Prelim. Rankings


Mike Brophy writes in his column at that Matt Frattin is taking advantage of his chances:

Matt Frattin has taken advantage of every opportunity he has been given to make the Maple Leafs. A finalist for the Hobey Baker Award with the University of North Dakota last season when he scored 36 goals and 60 points in 44 games the 23-year-old right winger looked like a man playing with boys at the team's rookie camp in Oshawa last week. He stood out in the weekend scrimmages and was flying again in the first pre-season game against the Senators. Frattin's greatest attribute in Game 1 was his drive to the net.


Ryan Johnson welcomes the challenge of attending Detroit Red Wing training camp as a tryout attendee. Red Wing head coach Mike Babcock had a couple snippets about Johnson's performance thus far:

"I thought Huds, (Fabian) Brunnstrom and (Ryan) Johnson were a good line (previously), so I stayed with that. It had nothing to do with Patty, I just wanted to look at something else.'' 

"(Jan) Mursak was all over the puck, hounded hard. (Brendan) Smith was a good player today. Nyquist is a real good hockey player. Ryan Johnson and Brunnstrom have done a real nice job for themselves.''

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Evening Links & Welcome To Twitter

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rookie Tourney Wrap, Who's Going Camping, Toews Getting Physical, Etc.

Rookie camp action wrapped up this week as NHL teams prepared for the start of their main training camps. Jason Gregoire and the Winnipeg Jets rookies closed out their Young Stars action with a 2-0 win over Vancouver. Gregoire finished with a goal and an assist over the course of the three game tournament, and he is heading into main camp with a shot to play for his hometown team.

The Phoenix Coyotes rookies dropped the second game of their two game set with the LA Kings by a score of 4-3. Brett Hextall scored a power play goal for the Coyotes, giving him three goals in the two games against Los Angeles, a franchise he is certainly familiar with. And as he embarks on his goal of making the Hextalls a four generation NHL family, he is playing the game in the family tradition.

Brad Malone wrapped up rookie camp with the Colorado Avalanche, and here's what one observer had to say:

Brad Malone: lovelovelove this kid, wasted no time getting physical in 1-on-1 drill, looking for contact immediately, picked a few corners and made Aitokallio look silly, worked with Mike Brennan for several minutes on deflections, tipping nearly every shot into the net or off the post (the shots were pretty soft, though)

And some more analysis on Malone's play.


An interesting sidenote to the above stories of Gregoire and Hextall is the role college hockey has played. Gregoire stated that it wasn't until he was 15 that he became aware of the NCAA hockey option, and Brett was urged by his father Ron to take the college route so that he'd be prepared if his hockey career didn't work out. Last weekend, during a Q&A session at the FSC Breakfast/Sioux Fan Fast, Andrew MacWilliam commented that he too didn't hear much about the NCAA option until later on in the recruiting process.

MacWilliam commented that the Canadian major junior teams can come at you early and hard, doing whatever they can to make you ineligible for the college option. This is pretty significant considering that kids are 14-15 years of age during their CHL bantam draft year. I'm doing my best to paraphrase MacWilliam's comments from memory here, but he also stated that he knows of players that have exhausted their junior eligibility who won't be playing at the next level, and they are now less prepared to take on life after hockey because the educational aspect of the Canadian junior system is not as strong as it is in the NCAA.

It was some interesting commentary, and it certainly makes you wonder if the marketing arms of the NCAA and College Hockey, Inc. need to be pushing into Canada with more aggression in order to let families and kids know of the viability and benefits of the college choice. It goes without saying that college hockey most definitely isn't for everyone and that CHL hockey (of which, by the way, I am a fan of) also has an awful lot to offer, but the Canadian exposure to the college option appears to need strengthening. Of course, time will only tell if this past summer's rash of top US-born talent backing out of their collegiate commitments is a trend or a short term anomaly, but perhaps there will be more focus instead on retaining elite American talent.

Also interesting is if you look at the ten confirmed players who have committed to enrolling at North Dakota over the next few years, how many Canadians do you see? Stefan Matteau has dual citizenship, so do we count that as 1/2? There's really no point here, just a curious observation considering North Dakota's strong and proud tradition of Canadian-born players.


It's post-Labor Day, so it's officially camping season. Here's a list of former Sioux players taking part in NHL training camps:

PlayerNHL Club
1Jason BlakeAnaheim
2Matt SmabyAnaheim
3Corey FienhageBuffalo
4Drew StaffordBuffalo
5David ToewsChicago
6Jonathan ToewsChicago
7Brad MaloneColorado
8Mike CommodoreDetroit
9Ryan JohnsonDetroit
10Chris VandeveldeEdmonton
11Taylor ChorneyEdmonton
12Matt GreeneLA Kings
13Chay GenowayMinnesota
14Hunter BishopMontreal
15Darcy ZajacNew Jersey
16Travis Zajac (Injured)New Jersey
17Zach PariseNew Jersey
18Brian LeeOttawa
19Brett HextallPhoenix
20Chris PorterSt Louis
21TJ OshieSt Louis
22Matt FrattinToronto
23Jason GregoireWinnipeg
24Joe FinleyBuffalo
25     Michael Forney                Winnipeg

I don't think I missed anyone, but if I did let me know.


The commitment to offseason training was rewarded yesterday as both TJ Oshie and Iron Man extraordinaire Chris Porter fared very well during the fitness testing at St Louis Blues camp. And here's a bit more on the conditioning testing.


From the "For What It's Worth Department," Jason Blake's group won the Anaheim Ducks annual training camp kick-off golf tournament. Check out the sweet orange jackets awarded to the winners-The Master's has nothing on these things:


Everyone knows Jonathan Toews is one of the best all-around hockey players in the world, but he appears to have spent some time this summer working on the physical side of his game:

Toews response to the hit can be found in this Sun-Times piece.


The College Hockey Blog has released its WCHA Preview, which has North Dakota coming in second.


Sioux commit Jordan Schmaltz is featured as one of the best players around yet to play in the NHL. If you don't want to go through the entire slideshow, the Schmaltz page is right here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trupp Signs

Evan Trupp has signed a deal to play for the Cincinatti Cyclones of the ECHL. Every member of last season's senior class will be playing professionally this upcoming season. Press Release

Rookie Tourney Updates, Miller Time, Parise Comments on Nickname, Etc.

NHL rookie camps and tourneys were in full swing this week, and a number of former Sioux players have fared well:

Matt Frattin appeared in two games for the Maple Leafs rookies, and Tuesday night he one-timed a beautiful powerplay goal against Ottawa. The Toronto Sun says Frattin had an impressive rookie camp. Below is a an interview with Frattin following Tuesday's game:

Other Rookie Camp Notes:
  • Chay Genoway and the Minnesota Wild rookies placed fifth at the Traverse City tournament. He finished play with one goal and one assist in four games. 
  • The Buffalo Sabres rookies defeated the New York Rangers to win the tournement, and Corey Fienhage claimed one assist in two games of action with the Sabres.
  • Jason Gregoire and the Winnipeg Jets are 1-1 at the Young Stars tournament. Gregoire has one goal thus far, and if the Jets intend to send him to the AHL out of training camp, he's at least making that decision a hard one.
  • Brett Hextall and the Phoenix Coyotes rookies rallied to defeat the LA Kings 8-7 last night. Hextall scored two of Phoenix's five third period goals with father Ron, the Kings assistant GM, taking in the action. Brett is looking to make the Hextalls a four generation NHL family.
  • The Denver Post published a brief interview with Colorado Avalanche prospect Brad Malone.

The ECHL's Gwinnett Gladiators recently acquired former Sioux Brad Miller via trade. Gwinnett's head coach had some good things to say about Miller, who is returning home to Georgia.

Other former Sioux news:
  • Aaron Schneekloth has found a home with the Colorado Eagles, who will be joining the ECHL this year.
  • Zach Parise did a Q&A with Puck Daddy, and he had something to say about the potential retirement of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
  • Bleedin' Blue is speculating on potential St Louis Blues line combinations, and they like TJ Oshie on the second line. Meanwhile, the St Louis Post-Dispatch did a Q&A with Oshie.
  • The Orange County Register is previewing the Anaheim Ducks upcoming season, and Jason Blake and Matt Smaby are in the mix.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Quick Monday Evening Links

  • Travis Roche signed a contract extension with Bern of the National League A, Switzerland's top tier league. The extension will keep Roche in Bern through the 2013-14 season. He finished 15th in the league in scoring last season with 41 Pts (9G, 32 A) in 39 games.
  • Here are a couple more features on Matt Frattin: TSN Blog and Toronto Star article.
  • According to Bleedin' Blue, TJ Oshie is one of five Blues that could surprise this year.
  • Ryan Johnson is entering the Detroit Red Wing training camp with only one goal in mind.
  • If you want to catch Brett Hextall and the Phoenix Coyotes rookies take on their counterparts for the LA Kings, the two game set will be streamed live at The rookie games are scheduled for Wednesday at 8:00 PM and Thursday at 4:00 PM.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sioux NHL Links & Rookie Camp Updates

Here are some links pertaining to former Sioux as we head into NHL training camps:

Chay Genoway scored a goal for the Minnesota Wild, but it wasn't enough as the Wild fell to the Buffalo Sabres 6-3 yesterday in each team's opener in the Traverse City rookie tournament. Corey Fienhage notched an assist for the Sabres. Buffalo's next game is today at 1:30 against Columbus while the Wild face Detroit this evening at 5:30.


Matt Frattin and the Toronto Maple Leaf's rookies defeated David Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 yesterday in the Maple Leaf's rookie tournament. The game was streamed on the Leafs official website with a half hour delay, and the quality was pretty good. Frattin seemed to be pressing early but played well in the second and third periods. I also thought Toews had a solid game, though neither player ended up in the scoring column. Also, former Wisconsin Badger defenseman Jake Gardiner looked very sharp for the Leafs and his two goals certainly displayed his strong skating and puck protection skills. The Leafs play again tonight, but Frattin will not be in the lineup. The Blackhawks were back on the ice taking on Ottawa at 1:00 this afternoon.


Yesterday marked the first practice at the Winnipeg Jets' rookie training camp. Jason Gregoire, who will be battling for a full time NHL gig, is appreciative of the fan support the Jets received for their first practice.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Duncan Signs, David Toews Traded, Rookie Tourney Updates, Etc.

Ryan Duncan has signed a contract with the Portland Pirates of the AHL, an affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes. Duncan, who in 2006-07 became just the second ever Fighting Sioux to win the Hobey Baker Award, played for EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian Elite League the past two seasons after appearing in two games for the AHL's Bridgewater Sound Tigers following his senior season at North Dakota.


Today the New York Islanders traded the rights of David Toews to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for future considerations. Toews, the younger brother of former Sioux and current Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, spent two seasons at North Dakota before opting to join the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL last season. Toews was also added to Chicago's roster for the Toronto Maple Leaf rookie tournament, and on Saturday he'll be taking on former teammate and current Maple Leaf Matt Frattin.


Speaking of Frattin, he was interviewed recently for Leafs TV, and had some great things to say about his time at North Dakota:

Heading into camp there's been alot of buzz concerning the open competition for the final forward spot among Toronto's top 12, a competition that will surely feature Frattin, Nazem Kadri, former DU Pioneer Joe Colborne and others. Hopefully a solid rookie tournament this weekend will propel Frattin towards a great training camp and a regular roster spot with the Leafs.

Frattin was also recently featured as one of five Leaf's prospects on the rise.

If you want to catch any of the Maple Leaf rookie tournament action, Toronto's games will be streamed on their official website.


Derrick LaPoint, who recently signed with the Reading Royals of the ECHL, will be taking part in the Florida Panther rookie camp. LaPoint briefly discussed his upcoming professional plans with a local TV station.


Jason Gregoire, who will be suiting up for Winnipeg's entry in the 2011 Young Stars Tournament, is featured as one of the five Jets to watch this weekend. The rookie tournament will be held in Penticton, BC and is hosted by the Vancouver Canucks.

Wanna catch some of the Young Stars in action? Here's the info.


Below are a couple links concerning where Ryan Johnson might fit in with the Detroit Red Wings should he crack the roster:

Pro Hockey Talk
Detroit Hockey Report


In more Motor City puck news, former Sioux Mike Commodore is ready to compete for a regular spot on the Red Wing blue line.


Sioux commit Jordan Schmaltz is one of just four USHL players to make this list of 2012 draft eligibles to keep an eye on.


Chuck Schwartz of Bucky's 5th Quarter recently unveiled his WCHA preview for this upcoming season.


Finally, in a busy day for the Ralph, single game tickets go on-sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM and Sioux Fan Fest will take place on ice level of the main arena from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Former Sioux News, LaPoint Signs, NHL Rookie Camps, Links, Updates, Etc.

Former Sioux Ryan Johnson has accepted a try-out with the Detroit Red Wings. The faceoff and shot blocking specialist spent the latter portion of last season with the Chicago Blackhawks and would be a nice addition to Detroit's penalty killing unit if he can crack the roster.

Derrick LaPoint has signed with the Reading Royals of the ECHL. LaPoint, a former Florida Panther 4th Round draft pick, became a free agent August 15 after failing to come to terms on an entry level deal. The Royals are the ECHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Meanwhile, as first reported by the Grand Forks Herald's Brad Schlossman, Andrew Kozek has signed on to play with the Nikko Ice Bucks of the Asia Hockey League. Also in Asia is Former Sioux Darcy Mitani, who plays for High 1 and is the league's all-time leader in Assists and Points.


A few weeks ago Matt Frattin was confirmed to take part in Toronto's rookie tournament. Several additional former Sioux will also be taking part in NHL rookie camps and tournaments beginning next week as the NHL's preseason starts to rev up. Chay Genoway will suit up for the Minnesota Wild's entry (Full Roster) in the Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament while Corey Fienhage will be playing for Buffalo. The MSG Network will be broadcasting the tournament's New York Ranger games (J.T. Miller will be playing), and depending on the standings after pool play, maybe we'll have the opportunity to catch the Wild or the Sabres take on the Rangers.

The Vancouver Canucks will be hosting the 2011 Young Stars Tournament. The Winnipeg Jets will be part of the tournament and while no Jet roster has been released, I'd expect Jason Gregoire to be part of the lineup.

Brett Hextall will be attending the Phoenix Coyotes rookie camp while Brad Malone is on the Colorado Avalanche training camp roster.


According the to the Edmonton Journal Dillon Simpson is part of a deep pool of Oiler defenseman prospects while Sioux commit Jordan Schmaltz makes this Top 5 list of the top U.S.-born 2012 draft prospects.


Here are a couple of updates from previous posts:

Sioux Commits in Fargo taking on the Force:

Opponent Sioux Commit Sioux Schedule
Thu, Oct 20 vs Sioux City Jordan Schmaltz @ Wisc. 21st & 22nd
Fri, Nov 11 vs Cedar Rapids Jack Rowe No Game - Off Week
Fri, Nov 18 vs Lincoln Luke Johnson No Game
Sat, Nov 19 vs Lincoln Luke Johnson @ BSU 19th & 20th
Fri, Dec 09 vs Team USA - 18 S. Matteau, M. Koules vs. Neb-Omaha
Wed, Dec 28 vs Lincoln Luke Johnson No Game
Fri, Jan 06 vs Sioux City Jordan Schmaltz No Game
Sat, Jan 07 vs Sioux City Jordan Schmaltz Clarkson @ Winnipeg
Thur, Jan 26 vs Sioux City Jordan Schmaltz vs Wisc. 27th & 28th
Sat, Apr 14 vs Lincoln Luke Johnson No Game

Road Game On-Sale Dates:

Series Game Date Tix On-Sale Tickets/Details
Home Games - Sept. 10 Tickets
Wisconsin Oct 21/22 Sept. 22 Tickets
Minnesota Nov 4/5 Oct. 5 Details
Bemidji St Nov 19/20 Sept. 17 Tickets
Alaska-Anchorage Dec 2/3 Sept. 26 Tickets
Clarkson @ Winnipeg Jan 7 TBD Tickets
St Cloud St Jan 20/21 Sept. 12 Tickets
Minnesota-Duluth Feb 10/11 Sept. 26 Tickets
Denver Feb 24/25 Sept. 10 Tickets
Final Five (St Paul) Mar 15/16/17
NCAA Regionals Mar 23/24/25

Frozen Four (Tampa) Apr 5/7