The Will Sports Group

The RIG 28 for June

June 3

June 8

Boy’s hockey gear stolen; Nashville’s Matt Irwin supplies new equipment
Mike Devlin
Times Colonist

NHL defenceman Matt Irwin of Brentwood Bay took a break from his Stanley Cup duties to help a local family after their 11-year-son had his hockey gear stolen from a storage locker at Spencer Middle School.

The boy’s father, Jason Shemilt, asked on Facebook this week for help replacing the gear.

“We cannot afford to replace any of it,” Shemilt wrote. “Our son is heartbroken that the gear is gone.”

Irwin, 29, heard of the story and supplied the family with a new set of equipment.

“He wants to be out there with his friends,” Irwin, who plays for the Nashville Predators, said during an interview on TSN.

“And we know how expensive hockey gear is. I’m so fortunate to have good friends at CCM who were able to help out.”

Irwin grew up playing hockey at the Peninsula Recreation Centre and Pearkes Arena, and then for the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL. His family still lives in Victoria.

Nashville is in Pittsburgh tonight to play the Penguins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The best-of-seven series is tied 2-2.

If the Predators win, Irwin would have the right to bring the Stanley Cup to Victoria for a day with family and fans.


June 14

Robert Calisti Commits to Greyhounds
Ontario Hockey League

Sault Ste. Marie, ON – Soo Greyhounds General Manager Kyle Raftis is pleased to announce this afternoon the commitment from 2017 draft pick ROBERT CALISTI.

The Toronto, ON native was the Greyhounds’ 3rd Round Pick (2nd overall by the club) in this past April’s OHL Priority Selection.

“We are very excited to welcome Robert and his family to the program. What makes Robert one of the top offensive defencemen in this age group is his ability to push the pace with his skating and puck movement” began Hounds GM Kyle Raftis.

“Combined with an elite shot from the blueline and tenacity on the defensive side of the puck, we are very excited to be a part of Robert’s future hockey and academic successes” he added.

The 5.09, 172-lb centreman played one season ago with the Toronto Nationals Minor Midget hockey club.
In 33 regular season games played, Robert had 5 goals and 15 assists (20 points) with the Nationals before adding 3 points (1g, 2a) in 7 games played at the OHL Cup.

Most recently, Calisti rounded out the OHL Gold Cup earlier this month as the highest scoring defenceman in the tournament.
In 5 games he notched 5 assists including 2 power play points.

“I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Soo Greyhounds. They are a great organization and I’m thankful for the opportunity they have given me. I’m looking forward to getting started” said Calisti.


Arthur Kaliyev Commits to Bulldogs
Ontario Hockey League

Hamilton, ON – The Hamilton Bulldogs have announced that the team has received a commitment from 2017 second round (26th overall) selection Arthur Kaliyev, who has agreed to an Ontario Hockey League standard player agreement with the club.

Kaliyev, a 6’1” and 171-pound left winger, was a standout at the recent Bulldogs Rookie Orientation Camp in April.

Bulldogs President and General Manager Steve Staios says this is a significant signing for the hockey club. “Arthur Kaliyev is a dynamic player who has great vision with the puck and an elite ability to score goals,” said Staios. “He makes everyone around him better. We are very pleased to add Artie to our team.”

The Russian-born Kaliyev played last season for the Detroit Compuware U16 where he scored 13 goals and 5 assists, for 18 points in 19 games. He then went on to lead the team to the USA Hockey Youth Tier 1 U16 National championship where he led the tournament in scoring.


June 15

June 23

Andy Andreoff Signs Two-Year Contract Extension with LA Kings


The LA Kings have signed forward Andy Andreoff to a two-year contract extension, Kings Vice President and General Manager Rob Blake announced today.

Andreoff’s contract will have an Annual Average Value (AAV) of $677,500.

The 26-year-old Andreoff (born May 17, 1991) is a 6-1, 210-pound native of Pickering, Ontario who appeared in 36 regular-season games this past season with the Kings, posting two points (0-2=2) and 70 penalty minutes.

Selected by the Kings in the third-round (80th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Andreoff has appeared in 114 regular-season games over three seasons in the NHL, posting 15 points (10-5=15) and 164 penalty minutes. This past season he appeared in his 100th NHL game, Feb. 7 at TBL and during the 2015-16 campaign, Andreoff set career-highs in goals (8) and points (10).


Blackhawks acquire Murphy and Dauphin from Arizona for Hjalmarsson
Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks today acquired defenseman Connor Murphy and forward Laurent (luh-RAH) Dauphin (DAW-fah) from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

“Niklas’ contributions to the three Stanley Cup championship teams are well known but his dependability as a teammate, selfless attitude and the way he represented the Chicago Blackhawks on and off the ice are what made him such a beloved member of the organization,” said Chicago Blackhawks Senior Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman. “He made his debut in Chicago in 2008 and quietly established himself as one of the toughest competitors in franchise history. We wish he and his family continued success.”

Murphy, 24, recently completed his fourth season in the National Hockey League-all as a member of the Coyotes. Last season, he notched two goals and a career-high 15 assists in 77 games. He has tallied 17 points in each of the last two seasons and blocked a career-high 142 shots during the 2014-15 season. In 258 career NHL games, the blueliner has 13 goals and 36 assists.

The Dublin, Ohio native represented Team USA at each of the last four World Championships, serving as team captain in 2017 and winning a bronze medal in 2015. Selected 20th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft by the Coyotes, Murphy is the son of former NHL defenseman, and current Philadelphia Flyers assistant coach, Gord Murphy.

Dauphin, 22, has played 32 career games in the NHL over the last two seasons with Arizona, scoring three goals and one assist. Last year, he split time between Arizona and the Tucson Roadrunners of the American Hockey League. With the Coyotes, he scored two goals and recorded an assist in 24 games and registered 28 points (17G, 11A) in 38 games with the Roadrunners. A native of Repentigny, Quebec, Dauphin was a second-round selection (39th overall) by the Coyotes in the 2013 NHL Draft.


June 24

June 27

Canes Agree to Terms with Patrick Brown
Ken Preston
Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with forward Patrick Brown on a one-year, two-way contract. The deal will pay Brown $650,000 at the NHL level or $160,000 at the American Hockey League (AHL) level, with a guarantee of $190,000.

Brown, 25, completed his third professional season in 2016-17, posting 12 goals and earning 16 assists (28 points) with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. The Bloomfield Hills, MI, native also skated in 14 games with the Hurricanes last season, averaging 9:42 of ice time per game. In 196 career AHL regular-season games with Charlotte, Brown (6’1″, 197 lbs.) has scored 27 goals and earned 36 assists (63 points). He has skated in 28 career NHL games with Carolina, scoring one goal and earning one assist (2 points). Brown originally signed with Carolina as a free agent on April 12, 2014, following his four-year collegiate career at Boston College.


Josh Ho-Sang, 21, to share wisdom with young Islanders
Kenny DeJohn

Josh Ho-Sang isn’t ready to call himself a veteran, especially with only 21 games of NHL experience. But on the first day of minicamp for prospects at the Northwell Health Ice Center, Ho-Sang said he is embracing a mentorship role for the first-time participants.

“It’s nice to give to the newer guys what I received from all the older guys,” said Ho-Sang, the Islanders’ 2014 first-round pick who had 10 points with the team at the end of last season. “That exchange in your role, it’s a little bit different.”

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After making headlines in training camp in 2015 for arriving late and subsequently getting sent back to junior hockey, Ho-Sang has produced at all levels and hopes to perform well enough this summer that the Islanders won’t think twice about his status as a pro.

“There’s still a lot of moves they can make, and for me, I just want to come in as strong and as fast as possible and kind of not make it a decision for them . . . just ‘Josh is ready,’ ” he said.

Coach Doug Weight said the 21-year-old Ho-Sang showed flashes of what he’s capable of last season and was pleased with the way he played.

“He had some blips and he responded well, and I think that’s a key for a young guy, and especially Josh,” Weight said. “We have to continue to work with Josh and push him in all facets, on and off the ice.”

Ho-Sang expressed excitement in the organization’s acquisition of Jordan Eberle from Edmonton last week, hoping that the veteran wing will be a source of knowledge.

“Jordan Eberle’s actually been one of my favorite players throughout my career,” Ho-Sang said. “I love what he did in Edmonton. I think that he’s a tremendous player, and I’m super excited to get a chance to talk to him and pick his brain a little.”


Chabot focused on taking advantage of opportunity with Senators
Don Brennan
Ottawa Citizen

Thomas Chabot knows from personal experience how hard the Senators were hit at the expansion draft.

He also realizes the increased opportunity he has with the loss of Marc Methot.

“For the month and a half I spent here, it seemed like everyone really enjoyed Marc around the locker room,” said Chabot, who was kept in Ottawa last season until Nov. 2, at which time he was returned to the Saint John Sea Dogs and proceeded to establish himself as the best defenceman in junior hockey. “He was great to me, on and off the ice. He’s also from here and I knew he loved playing here. It must have been hard on him.

“But personally, it’s something good for me. He’s a left ‘D’, too. It’s a spot that’s opening in the lineup, so it’s something good for me. Obviously, I was feeling bad at first for him. But it’s something that’s going to be positive for me and I’m going to have to take advantage of it.”

The question to be answered is how long it will take the 20-year old Chabot to fill the hole left by Methot as a Top 4 blueliner. Unfair expectations or not, many believe he’s ready to step into the NHL now.

“I believe I am, too,” said Chabot. “I believe in myself.

“My goal right now is to have a full time job here in Ottawa. Obviously, I have (other) goals for myself, but I just keep them to myself. I’m going to start by making the team first, and then we’ll see what’s going to happen from there.

“For me right now, the only thing I’m focusing on is my summer. My summer is going to be huge for me. It’s going to make a difference in September, when I come back.”

Currently attending his third development camp with the Senators, Chabot needs to show better than he did in his second. Last July, assistant GM Randy Lee expressed his disappointment at Chabot’s intensity level during the week-long session held at Bell Sensplex. He expected the No. 18 overall pick of the 2015 entry draft to “dominate” and “make an impact” during the drills and scrimmages held for 40 prospects.

Chabot seemed to take the criticism to heart.

“I’m making sure this year I come back and I’m ready,” said the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder. “The trainers and everyone are aware of my situation. I didn’t get the time to work out (last year) as much as the years before for the fitness testing here. It’s something I’m getting ready for. I’m focused. I want to show these guys I want to make the jump next year. It’s important to start right here at development camp.”

Chabot took a trip to Cancun with some friends after the Sea Dogs were eliminated in semifinals of the Memorial Cup, the end of a busy hockey season that also included a shootout loss to an American team that included Senators prospect Colin White in the finals of the world junior championship.

“I told Colin, I still can’t look him straight in the face,” said Chabot.

Despite the team setbacks, Chabot was showered with personal accolades. He became the first defenceman to be named the WJC tournament MVP, scoring four goals and six assists in seven games. He was also named the CHL Defenceman of the Year, despite playing in just 34 games.

And leading the Sea Dogs to the QMJHL league title is an obvious source of pride for Chabot.

“I’m proud of a lot of things I accomplished over that year,” he said. “Obviously, it’s been a long time since I’ve won a championship, win a league, like we did this year. I’m proud of the guys. It’s been a really fun, really great year.”

Chabot expects his summer will once again include working out in Quebec City (which is 25 minutes from his home in Set-Marie-de-Beauce) with the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Antoine Vermette, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, David Savard, Steve Bernier and David Desharnais.

“I have the chance to be surrounded by NHL players, to see what they do,” he said. “It’s something I’m really grateful for and I’m taking advantage of that.”

And then, he’ll try to take advantage of a bigger opportunity that awaits him in Ottawa.

“He just has to show us that he’s taken his game to another level, a lot of leadership,” said Lee. “There’s still a couple of aspects of his game that he’s working on, that he’s talked to us about, that he’s going to address, in terms of shot. But we’re really happy with everything in terms of his defending is much better, his endurance is much better, his strength is much better, his stick is much better.

“It’s basically the messages to the coaches and to the general manager, that yeah I’m going to challenge for a spot next year.”


Koltygin, le «beau risque» de Glaude
Jonathan Habashi

HOCKEY. Il y a quelques mois à peine, Pavel Koltygin était considéré comme l’un des meilleurs espoirs en vue du repêchage de la Ligue nationale de hockey. Nombre d’observateurs s’attendaient à voir le Russe être réclamé dès la deuxième ronde lors de l’encan tenu samedi, à Chicago, mais il finalement glissé jusqu’au sixième tour.

Détenteurs du 176e choix au total, les Predators de Nashville ont finalement jeté leur dévolu sur Koltygin. Trois ans après la signature de Frédérick Gaudreau, le recruteur trifluvien Jean-Philippe Glaude est celui qui a convaincu ses patrons de parier sur l’attaquant des Voltigeurs de Drummondville.

«Au rang où on a repêché Pavel, on est très confortable avec cette sélection. Compte tenu de son potentiel, on calcule que c’est un beau risque. Pour plusieurs raisons, on a un bon feeling. Le repêchage, c’est souvent une question d’instinct», a expliqué Glaude au lendemain de la séance de sélection.

«Le talent naturel de Pavel saute aux yeux. Il a connu une saison en deux temps, mais ce n’est pas nécessairement inquiétant à nos yeux. L’important, c’est de comprendre pourquoi il a ralenti après Noël», a ajouté l’homme de hockey de 36 ans, qui a défendu les couleurs des Voltigeurs pendant quatre saisons entre 1998 et 2002.

Débarqué directement de la Russie l’automne dernier, Koltygin ne parlait alors que quelques mots d’anglais. À travers un calendrier chargé, le jeune homme a dû s’adapter à un nouvel environnement ainsi qu’à un style de jeu différent.

«C’est très gros pour un joueur de cet âge. Ce n’est pas tout le monde qui s’adapte de la même manière. En deuxième moitié de saison, il a aussi dû composer avec les nombreux échanges que les Voltigeurs ont faits. Plusieurs vétérans sont partis et ses compagnons de trio ont changé. À seulement 17 ans, il s’est retrouvé à affronter les meilleurs défenseurs adverses. C’était une grosse commande pour lui. Malgré ce contexte difficile, il a terminé la saison avec 22 buts», a souligné Glaude.

Durant son long passage à vide en deuxième moitié de campagne, Koltygin a semblé se laisser abattre. Il n’était pas rare de le voir revenir au banc la tête basse, en se laissant glisser sur la patinoire.

«On n’a pas aimé son langage corporel quand les choses allaient moins bien pour lui. En entrevue, on lui a donc posé directement la question sur son attitude. Sa manière de répondre était numéro un. Il a dit qu’il en était conscient et que c’est quelque chose qu’il voulait améliorer. Ça nous a donné un bon feeling», a raconté Glaude.

Les solides performances de Koltygin au championnat mondial des moins de 18 ans, en Slovaquie, ont également attiré l’attention des Predators. «L’équipe russe lui a confié un rôle plus défensif. Il l’a accepté sans rechigner. Il a été discipliné et très solide en désavantage numérique.»

Au-delà de son comportement, Koltygin devra surtout améliorer sa constance à sa deuxième campagne en Amérique du Nord. Les responsables du recrutement des espoirs des Predators, Scott Nichol et Wade Redden, lui rendront d’ailleurs visite à quelques reprises à Drummondville afin de l’accompagner à travers ce cheminement.

«Ces deux-là font un travail incroyable pour développer nos jeunes joueurs, a affirmé Glaude. Ils vont lui permettre de corriger plusieurs détails dans son jeu, mais aussi en dehors de la glace. Par exemple, ils peuvent lui suggérer certains changements dans son alimentation pour l’aider à passer à travers le long calendrier. On va aussi l’aider à mieux se protéger, parce que l’an dernier, il s’est fait pincer à quelques reprises. Il doit être conscient que le jeu se referme plus vite ici que sur les grandes patinoires européennes.»

«Quand on repêche un joueur, l’objectif n’est pas qu’il soit bon aujourd’hui, mais bien dans quatre ou cinq ans. Dans le cas de Pavel, il possède des qualités de base naturelles telles que son coup de patin, sa vision du jeu, ses habiletés avec la rondelle et son lancer. Pour le reste, on a confiance qu’il va continuer à se développer dans les deux prochaines années avec les Voltigeurs sous les ordres de Dominique Ducharme, un entraîneur pour qui j’ai une grande estime», a conclu Glaude, qui a été dirigé par Ducharme il y a une quinzaine d’années chez les Patriotes de l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.


June 29

Joshua Ho-Sang hopes to stay with Islanders all season
Brian Compton

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang’s eyes lit up Tuesday when he was asked about the recent acquisition of right wing Jordan Eberle.

Ho-Sang, 21, was extremely excited not only for what Eberle is expected to bring to the Islanders, but also because he and Eberle each is a right-handed shot. Eberle was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Islanders for forward Ryan Strome last Thursday.

“I think he’s a top right winger in the NHL,” Ho-Sang said after the Islanders opened their annual development camp. “Just to be able to learn from him and see what works, what doesn’t, it’s nice having someone who’s the same handedness as you. You can really talk to them. They know exactly what works because they’re right-handed versus being a lefty, it’s like, you’ve got different things. Just being able to talk to him and figuring out what he does and what he thinks I can do better and picking his brain, just talking in general, it’s going to be lots of fun.”

A first-round pick (No. 28) at the 2014 NHL Draft, Ho-Sang spent the first five months of this season with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League before making his NHL debut on March 2. He had four goals and six assists in 21 games for the Islanders, nearly helping them qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs after being at or near bottom of the Eastern Conference standings for much of the first half of the season.

“It was awesome,” Ho-Sang said. “I was just happy to get the experience. Just to throw on that jersey for real, not in preseason, so for me it was a really cool experience. I’m very happy that I got the opportunity to play and see what it’s all about. I just want to play 82 games now.”

Islanders coach Doug Weight was pleased with Ho-Sang’s first taste of the NHL. He’s hoping it carries over into training camp in September.

“Josh was great,” Weight said. “We were getting feedback from [Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson] about his attitude down there, and he was playing hard, learning the system and played with some passion. I think he showed that when he came up. He easily could have had better numbers than he had. He created a lot of opportunities in games that he was snakebit or the puck wasn’t going in. Ten points in 21 games, but he could have done a lot better than that, and I think his game was good. He had some blips, and he responded well, and I think that’s a key for a young guy, and especially Josh.

“You see him out there, he’s a dynamic talent. He wants to get better. We have to continue to work Josh and push him in all facets on and off the ice.”

Despite his solid play late in the season, Ho-Sang said he realizes an NHL roster spot won’t simply be handed to him next season. He knows he has to put in the work.

“For me, I just want to help out in any way I can,” Ho-Sang said. “It’s not necessarily what I can bring to the table, it’s the end goal, which is making the playoffs. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that last year. If I can do anything to help, and they see that I have assets that may help them, then I’d love to be on board. But it’s still a long summer and there’s a lot of moves that they can make.

“I want to come in as strong and fast as possible and kind of not make it a decision for them, just, you know, ‘Josh is ready.'”


Draft All Access: Heiskanen