Hawks Take Swedish Forward Berglund in Second Round

With their 2nd Import pick of the day, the Portland Winterhawks selected late birthdate 1991 born Jacob Berglund from Malmo, Sweden.

Berglund was born on 11/17/91 making him eligible for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.  He is 6’1, 198, and shoots left.

Here are some stats:

2008-09:

Malmo – Swedish 1 (one step below Swedish Elite League) — 25 GP, 1-0-1, 6 PIM

Malmo – U20 — 25 GP, 16-12-28, 48 PIM

Malmo – U18 — 5 GP, 4-8-12, 18 PIM

2007-08:

Malmo – U20 — 13 GP, 2-3-5, 6 PIM

Malmo – U18 — 23 GP, 17-9-26, 42 PIM

From a quick Google search, it shows that Berglund is represented by Agent Gunnar Svensson (who’s son Magnus Paajarvi- Svensson was drafted by Edmonton on Friday night in the First Round of the NHL Draft, and older son Bjorn played for Moose Jaw in the WHL).  On his site, it shows that Berglund was under contract through the 2008-09 season in Malmo, but nothing after that.

If both Niederreiter and Berglund are in Portland this season, this could be one of the most successful Import Drafts in the Hawks history.  I’m looking forward to August…

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Hawks Move Up, Select Niederreiter

niederreiter-nino_d9r4607The Portland Winterhawks moved from the 5th pick in the CHL Import Draft to the 2nd, swapping picks with the Moose Jaw Warriors (in exchange for a 4th Round Bantam Pick in 2010 and a 6th Round Bantam Pick in 2011) and selected 1992 born forward Nino Niederreiter from Switzerland.

Niederreiter becomes the first Swiss born player to be selected by Portland, and the first in the CHL since Luca Sbisa went to Lethbridge in the second round of 2007.

He is 6’1″, 203 and shoots left.  He was the only 1992 born player on the HC Davos Elite Jr. A Team in 2008-09, here are his career statistics:

2006-2007 Davos U18 Elite Novizen 32 43 19 62 38
2007-2008 Davos U18 Elite Novizen 32 39 26 65 62
Davos U20 Elite Jr. A 5 5 1 6 4
Switzerland U18 WJC-18 6 1 1 2 2
2008-2009 Davos U20 Elite Jr. A 30 20 14 34 44
Davos U18 Elite Novizen 6 6 6 12 6
Switzerland U18 WJC-18 6 3 3 6 16

Head Coach and GM Mike Johnston saw Niederreiter up close and personal at the most recent U18 Championships in Fargo, where Niederreiter was a point a game player for the Swiss team.

Also, Niederreiter was named the Best Forward at the European Youth Olympic Festival in February.

The Hawks own a second round pick that they could use later this afternoon in the CHL Import Draft.

In their history, the Hawks have had 24 players from Europe play in Portland…here are their stats, ranked by most points as a Hawk:

1 – Jozef Balej — 176 GP, 105-85-190, 103 PIM

2 – Jiri Beranek — 142 GP, 56-124-180, 105 PIM

3 – Richard Zednik — 126 GP, 79-88-167, 243 PIM

4 – Marcel Hossa — 188 GP, 65-99-164, 182 PIM

5 – Andrej Podkonicky — 135 GP, 55-90-145, 208 PIM

6 – Marian Hossa — 53 GP, 45-40-85, 50 PIM

7 – Radim Valchar — 139 GP, 30-35-65, 77 PIM

8 – Jannik Hansen — 64 GP, 24-40-64, 67 PIM

9 – Jakub Klepis — 70 GP, 14-50-64, 111 PIM

10 – Ondrej Vesely — 80 GP, 20-36-56, 64 PIM

11 – Thomas Bjuhr — 39 GP, 28-26-54, 23 PIM

12 – Stanislav Balan — 67 GP, 14-23-37, 102 PIM

13 – Viktor Sjodin — 102 GP, 19-18-37, 125 PIM

14 – Dmitri Markovsky — 57 GP, 9-17-26, 22 PIM

15 – Jan Koznar — 67 GP, 9-10-19, 56 PIM

16 – Tomas Jansson — 32 GP, 1-16-17, 122 PIM

17 – Stefan Langwieder — 59 GP, 2-14-16, 91 PIM

18 – Roman Prazak — 58 GP, 6-9-15, 43 PIM

19 – Ivan Dornic — 62 GP, 6-9-15, 33 PIM

20 – Tomas Fojtik — 65 GP, 2-13-15, 48 PIM

21 – David Turon — 36 GP, 3-6-9, 38 PIM

22 – Per Elofson — 15 GP, 2-6-8, 4 PIM

23 – Max Brandl — 12 GP, 1-2-3, 6 PIM

24 – Martin Bucek — 38 GP, 2-0-2, 18 PIM

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Ponich to St. Louis

dsc_9012Brett Ponich was selected by the St. Louis Blues with the #48 pick in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft this morning.

No other current Winterhawk player was selected in the draft.

Ponich becomes the 108th player drafted while playing for the Hawks, and the first since Colton Sceviour (4th Round – Dallas) and Frazer McLaren (7th Round – San Jose) in 2007.

Of the 107 players drafted previously, 70 have gone on to play at least one game in the NHL, or about 65%.

The pick by St. Louis was the sixth time that the Blues have chosen a Hawk, and the first since Matt Walker was chosen in the 3rd Round of 1998.

Ponich was just the second d-man from the WHL chosen, with Jared Cowen going to Ottawa with the 10th pick in the first round, and he was selected ahead of other highly touted d-men such as Stefan Elliott, Tyson Barrie and Brayden McNabb.

Congratulations, Brett!

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Preseason Schedule and Home Opener Info…

As posted on www.whl.ca, here is the preseason schedule for  the Portland Winterhawks:

Saturday – August 29 — vs. Seattle at Memorial Coliseum — 7:00

Friday, September 4 — vs. Spokane at Comcast Arena in Everett — 3:00

Saturday, September 5 — vs. Prince George at Comcast Arena in Everett — 11:30 AM

Sunday, September 6 — vs. Everett at Comcast Arena in Everett — 7:00

Friday, September 11 — vs. Tri City at Toyota Center in Kennewick — 7:05

Saturday, September 12 — vs. Lethbridge at Toyota Center in Kennewick — 2:00

Also, the Hawks home opener will be on Saturday, September 26, against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Not sure when the Hawks will start, most likely on the road the previous weekend, as the Hawks will not be an opponent for any team in their home openers (which, as a broadcaster, makes me happy as I won’t have to find an extra 15-20 minutes of filler for the pre-game while the home team, as Scooter used to say, blows the place up).

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Prospect Updates/Updated…

*Updated – Added Adam Smith to the BC U16 as I had missed him earlier…

As we are all aware of by now, hockey is no longer just a half-year sport…and some of the prospects for the Winterhawks are getting some extra work in this summer by attending their respective Province Development Camps for the top players in each province.

This is a stepping stone to representing their home province in tournaments like the World U17 Championships that Brad Ross, Troy Rutkowski and Keith Hamilton took part in last winter in Port Alberni, BC.

This year, there are 14 players from the past two bantam drafts taking part, they are:

British Columbia:

U17 (1993 born players) – Tyler Wotherspoon – D (2008 – 2nd rounder)

U16 (1994 born players) – Reece Wilcox – D (2009 – 3rd rounder); Brayden Low – F (2009 7th rounder); Troy Stecher – D (2009 7th rounder); Adam Smith – F (2009 – 9th rounder)

Alberta:

U17 – Ty Rattie – F (2008 – 1st rounder)

U16 – Adam de Champlain – F (2008 – 10th rounder)

Saskatchewan:

U17 – Brayden Holloway – F (2008 – 3rd rounder); Tayler Thompson – F (2008 – 9th rounder); Corbin Boes – G (2008 – 10th rounder)

U16 – Derrick Pouliot – D (2009 – 1st rounder); Taylor Leier – F (2008 – 2nd rounder)

Manitoba:

U17 – Jory Jastrzebski – F (2008 – 6th rounder)

U16 – Brendan Leipsic – F (2009 – 6th rounder)

Best of luck to all the players and I look forward to seeing them in the Hawks training camp in August.

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Q & A with MJ…

mj practiceAs we are in the middle of the offseason, with just about eight weeks to go before the players start convening on Portland for the Winterhawks training camp, I thought it would be a good time to check in with Winterhawk GM and Head Coach Mike Johnston on a number of topics…

Here we go…

AK — You just finished the prospect camp in Calgary with 1993 and 1994 born players…what was your perception of the camp and the players and were there players that stood out to you from the camp?

MJ — Really there were two purposes for the camp. The first as you know was for our coaching staff to become familiar with the young players in our organization. Prior to this year’s draft I had a chance to watch most of the 1994’s we picked but had not watched the previous years draft which were 1993 born players. Now I know what type of depth we have and specifically at what positions. The second and equally as important part of the camp was for the players and their families to get to know our staff and become educated on what life will be like as a WHL player. After reviewing the camp I feel that we accomplished the objectives. Parents had their questions answered – the players were evaluated and Rich Campbell had time to educate them on summer training and preparing for main camp.

AK — The NHL Draft is coming up quickly, are you planning on being in Montreal?

MJ — Yes our coaching staff will be there to take in the NHLCA Coaching Symposium, promote our potential draft picks and finalize plans for the Euro Draft.

AK — Right after that, the CHL Import Draft occurs, you have the fifth selection…have you narrowed down your list of players that might be available, and, how hard is it to find players that are willing to come to North America and play in the CHL?

MJ — This has been an interesting process because of the uncertainty. We can only speculate on who the teams ahead of us will pick and most people feel there are 5-6 key guys who will come over. The other difficult part is that some countries are easier to deal with than others. I was hoping to get a shot at a couple of Swedes and Fins that I saw at the Under 18 World Championships but most have decided to stay and sign with their local pro teams for another year. The Russian born players are difficult to get a read on because of the confusion as to who is actually representing them? Usually the Ontario and Quebec leagues have more success with these players.

AK — Training camp starts in August, how excited are you to run your first WHL camp?

MJ — The thing I am most excited about is that we are going to have a quality camp. We have young guys who are hungry to come in to make an impression and hopefully get signed. And we have an older group with a lot more depth than in previous years.  I anticipate from the older group to see great competition for spots on our team. Right now we are still working on recruiting a few players presently on our list who will help add depth to the camp.

AK — On paper the 2009-10 Winterhawks still look to be young, but, does the experience that the ’91 and ’92 players gained last year bode well entering into the season?

MJ — I believe it does but I am not sure. This will be my first experience seeing how a year playing in the league and a summer of training can change a young player. Most experienced coaches in the league tell me that I won’t even recognize the players because of how much they have changed and matured. I know our guys are working hard so I am looking forward to seeing the improvements.

AK – One of the major decisions for this season will be with the 1989, or overage, players…what is your plan for addressing that situation?

MJ — First, we will carry 3 overage players. This will help our team immensely because I felt last year we were really missing that core group of experienced guys. Our decision on who stays with the team will largely be determined in training camp. Also, I expect Mucha and Ehrhardt to once again get an opportunity to go to an NHL camp and hope they impress enough to make it …but if not this will make the choices more difficult.

AK – Lastly, you carried three goaltenders for most of last season, would you like to be down to two for the 2009-10 season?

MJ — Yes for sure. Who will get those spots is wide open. If Mucha returns he will definitely have the edge.

Thanks to Mike for taking the time to answer the questions and we’ll find out more about the NHL Draft on June 26-27 and the CHL Import Draft on June 30.

Red Wings Avalanche HockeyLastly, congratulations to former Hawk Cody McLeod for agreeing to a three year deal with the Colorado Avalanche worth $3.1 million.

McLeod should be an inspiration to any player that has the will to make it to the top level.  He just wouldn’t be denied and once he got the opportunity to play in the show, he worked so hard that he made it very difficult to take him out of the lineup.

I was a bit worried when Tony Granato wasn’t retained as the Avalanche Head Coach, but new bench boss Joe Sacco must like what he sees as well in McLeod.

Some brief details can be found here.

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Konowalchuk/Deadmarsh Join Avs Staff…

a_deadmarsh_iD031625041.JPG

A couple former Winterhawks back in the NHL…especially good news for Adam Deadmarsh, who had his NHL career shortened due to concussions…and also for Konowalchuk, who had his cut short due to a heart condition…
From www.coloradoavalanche.com
Konowalchuk, Deadmarsh Added to Staff
Former Avalanche Players Return to Organization in Coaching Capacities
Colorado Avalanche
Jun 19, 2009, 12:44 PM EDT

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today the appointment of Steve Konowalchuk as assistant coach. In addition, the club announced that Adam Deadmarsh will serve as the team’s video/development coach.

The former Avalanche players join a coaching staff that includes head coach Joe Sacco and assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre.

“We’re very excited to add Steve and Adam to our staff,” said Avalanche General Manager Greg Sherman. “Both have a level of familiarity with the Avalanche organization, and we’re confident they will provide our club with the same passion and commitment they showed as players.”

Konowalchuk, 36, will begin his first season with the Avalanche in a coaching capacity. He previously spent the 2007-08 campaign as a member of the club’s Player Development Department after retiring from the NHL in September of 2006.

“I look forward to continuing my working relationship with the Avalanche,” said Konowalchuk. “I know the vast majority of these players very well, having worked with them at different points of their careers.”

Konowalchuk played 790 games over 14 NHL seasons, recording 171 goals and 225 assists with Washington and Colorado. The forward also appeared in 52 playoff games, totaling 21 points (9g/12a).

Washington’s fifth selection (third round, 58th overall) in the 1991 Entry Draft, Konowalchuk made his NHL debut on April 12, 1992 and went on to spend parts of 13 seasons with the Capitals. His best year came in 2000-01, when he set career highs in goals (24) and points (47) while playing in all 82 games. He served as Washington’s team captain in 2002-03.

Acquired by Colorado just three weeks into the 2003-04 season, Konowalchuk recorded 19 goals and 39 points in 76 games with the Avalanche that year. He was limited to only 21 games due to a wrist injury in 2005-06. Steve retired from the game of hockey during Colorado’s 2006 training camp due to a heart condition.

A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Konowalchuk represented the United States at five international tournaments: the 1992 IIHF World Junior Championship, the 1996 and 2004 World Cups of Hockey and the 2000 and 2002 IIHF World Championships.

Deadmarsh, 34, enjoyed a nine-year stint in the NHL with the Quebec/Colorado franchise and the Los Angeles Kings. In 567 career games, he totaled 184 goals, 189 assists and 819 penalty minutes.

Quebec’s second selection (first round, 14th overall) in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Deadmarsh made his NHL debut during the 1994-95 campaign with the Nordiques. The following season, he was part of the Avalanche’s first Stanley Cup Championship team, posting 17 points (5g/12a) in 22 postseason games. He led the Avs with 33 goals in 1996-97.

“My family and I are excited to come back to Denver,” said Deadmarsh. “Hockey has always been my life, and it’s great to begin my coaching career with the franchise I won a Stanley Cup with.”

The Trail, British Columbia native spent parts of seven seasons with the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise and totaled 288 points (138g/150a) in 453 games before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 21, 2001. He went on to play two and a half seasons in Los Angeles before eventually retiring from the NHL on Sept. 22, 2005 due to post-concussion syndrome.

Deadmarsh represented the United States at six international events, including the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998 and 2002 Olympic Winter Games. In addition, he is one of only 18 players to ever suit up for Team USA at three IIHF World Junior Championships (1993-95).

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