Archive for March, 2012

(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Shawn Hunwick from Michigan University signed a deal to stay with the Columbus Blue Jackets through the remainder of the 2012 season, after Steve Mason got hit in the head with a puck at Wednesday’s morning skate at Nationwide Arena.

The Blue Jackets will have Allen York start in place of Mason but had no other options for a backup. Former Wing Manny Legace is on an AHL-only contract with the Springfield Falcons, Columbus’ AHL affiliate.

Not all the news for Hunwick was good Wednesday. A top-10 candidate for the Hobey Baker Award, he was not among the top three finalists for the award, which will be handed out at next week’s Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla.

Hunwick played for the Michigan Wolverines in the CCHA. Hunwick joined the team as a walk-on in 2007–08 and saw little playing time. During the 08-09 season, Hunwick led his team to a CCHA tournament title, where he won tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP). He then led the Wolverines into the NCAA tournament for Michigan’s 20th consecutive appearance, where Michigan lost to Miami.[2] During the next season, he led the team to the NCAA title game, where they lost 3–2 in overtime to Minnesota-Duluth. In 2011-12, he was named one of the ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. (more…)

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Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America

Got an interesting text message today, saying that John Grahame was back in the NHL.

Wait, what?

Yes, this is true. The New York Islanders have agreed to terms with Grahame on a deal to run through end of this season. Grahame, 36, was a goalie coach with Sioux City of USHL. Pending a physical, he’ll likely join the Isles on Friday so Kevin Poulin can return to Bridgeport. He played most recently for the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League, and last played in the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2008 (He is pictured here with Colorado, where he never played).

In May 2008, after the conclusion of the Hurricanes’ season, as a free agent, Grahame signed with Avangard Omsk of the new Kontinental Hockey League.

On December 12, 2009, Grahame signed a professional tryout contract for the 2009–10 season with the Philadelphia Flyers AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms. After playing in 12 games with the Phantoms, Grahame signed a contract with the Colorado Avalanche and was assigned to the injury-hit Lake Erie Monsters on March 3, 2010. He played in 14 games, recording only 4 wins, with the Monsters to finish the season and was re-signed on a one-year contract by the Avalanche on July 2, 2010. (more…)

Jussi Rynnas

Posted: March 28, 2012 by Steven Ellis in Toronto Maple Leafs
 

AP Photo/Don Heupel

The Good: A big goalie at 6’5, Rynnas takes up a ton of the net and moves extremely well for his size. Not only is he quick, but he’s also aggressive and has a very competitive nature that should fit in well with Toronto. He has an extremely wide stance that allows him t0 appear big in the net, and move with NHL-level quickness. When he’s crouching and looking through bodies, his glove is at a perfect height, something that takes practice.  He demands a ton of space in and around his crease and will push you around if your in his way. Combined with his skill, Rynnas is a hard-working individual with a fierce, competitive edge to his game. Most over-sized goalies are considered a bit passive, but Rynnas is active and agile. (more…)

David Aebischer

Posted: March 27, 2012 by Steven Ellis in Winnipeg Jets

AP Photo/Rick Havner

The Good: David Aebsicher, a Swiss native, has impressed scouts with his poise. He has quick reflexes and an eagerness to learn and get better. He has done a good job handling pressure well (such as taking over for Patrick Roy in Colorado). Scouts like his poise and range in net. Aebischer  brings a more veteran presence to the Winnipeg organization, as he has been to the dance before and has won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001. He has also posted a 30-plus win season to boot, and has done much better than scouts ever expected of him. He is currently splitting time with two other goalies in the AHL with the St.John’s Ice Caps, and may possibly see some more time in the NHL if injuries occur.  (more…)

Braden Holtby

Posted: March 27, 2012 by Steven Ellis in Washington Capitals

Braden Holtby

The Good: Holtby has the prototypical size that scouts look for in a goalie and is a sound technical goalie that plays a butterfly style. His positioning and top of the net awareness are sometimes an issue as he’s been beaten by high shots at times. He has an above average glove hand and displays strong athleticism in net. Holtby has the stamina and conditioning level to handle a big workload – he was one of the busiest goalies in terms of shots and minutes played during his junior career. In terms of intangibles, whether it is just a matter of having been in the right place on strong teams or that he elevates the play of the team around him, Holtby has won a lot of games the past two seasons. In several NHL games, showed the fiery, competitive side of his game and his will to win. Holtby will be an effective NHL netminder at some point in his career. (more…)

Eddie Lack

Posted: March 26, 2012 by Steven Ellis in Vancouver Canucks
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Nick Didlick/Getty Images

The Good: Läck is a big goaltender who uses his size to his advantage looking through traffic to see the puck, and aggressively challenging shooters. Despite his size he has good lateral movement, covers the bottom of the net well, has good balance, and is positionally sound.The key to his overall in-game success as a rookie was his excellent positioning. His ability to square up to AHL shooter by arriving on his angles with precision and balance, especially at such a consistent level, was exceptional. He is an even-keeled and “quiet” guy in the crease, so he was tough to knock off his game or catch out of position. In the games I watched him play last season, he always seemed to get his big body behind pucks and soak up rebounds. He has incredible size for the goaltending position, and tremendous agility for a big goalie. Lack displays a calm demeanor that assures confidence with his teammates. (more…)

Ben Scrivens

Posted: March 26, 2012 by Steven Ellis in Toronto Maple Leafs
 

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

The Good: Scrivens has good size at 6’2 and he’s an aggressive goalie who likes to challenge shooters – but also keeps his game simple. He has a calm demeanour in net which breeds consistency in his game. His frame, combined with his ability to move quickly between the pipes allows him to get in front of the puck quickly. He’s shown success at the NCAA level and is now translating that success into his early pro career. Like most NCAA players, he’ll need to develop consistency over a longer season and not fizzle out. Scrivens solidified himself as the starting goalie in the Marlies organization, and unless goaltending help is found, Scrivens may have a good chance to make the Leafs next season. Despite finishing his short NHL stint with a losing record, Scrivens did impress and could make a solid career in the NHL. (more…)