The Pittsburgh Penguins have had a tendency to trade away draft picks, season after season. Given this tendency, their farm system is running out of promising young players. Most prospects are in the NHL at this point or looking to move up within a season or two.
With the lack of draft picks, it’s been surprising to see the Penguins not place any more emphasis on scoutingundrafted college and international players.
But the Pittsburgh Penguins might have to send waves of praise to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins during the upcoming season.
Who is Conor Sheary?
The 22 year-old forward is rather unknown to most Penguins fans. He played his college hockey at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and never produced at more than a point-per-game rate.
After graduation,Sheary eventually signed a tryout agreementwith the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, played in the final two regular season games of the 2013-2014 season and was held off the score sheet. Then in 15 playoff contests, Sheary produced 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) and was a +4 skater.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton decided to bring Sheary back and in his first full AHL season, he played in 58 games, scored 20 goals, assisted on 25 more and was a +8 skater. Then during 8 playoff contests, Sheary produced 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) for the baby Penguins.
That brings us to the present and Sheary will now look to earn a spot on the Pittsburgh Penguins roster during training camp.
Why was he not drafted?
The Penguins, like every other team, passed on Sheary four years in a row. He never was an offensive star in college and the biggest problem was his size. Sheary is 5’9″ and just 161 lbs.
But despite his small stature, Sheary is not afraid of playing defense. He tries to model his game after the three-time Selke trophy winner Pavel Datsyuk.
Sheary also is not one to shy away from contact, during the baby Penguins game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals he knocked the 6’4″ 200lb defenseman Kevin Gravel into the bench.
Despite being a smaller player, Sheary’s incredible hockey IQ allows him to find ways to compensate for lack of size. He’s a lightning fast forward who seems to who honed his scoring touch.
Despite standing at 5’8″ and 183 lbs, Johnson leads the league with 12 goals and you guessed it, he was an undrafted free agent as well. While Johnson produced more offensively during his final years in the AHL, he was a more complete player to begin with.
From all reports, Sheary is a tireless worker who continually wants to get better and has dedicated himself to being the best player he can.
Before you think that Sheary is too small to make it into the NHL, look at Tyler Johnson, look at Martin St. Louis.
Small and quick forwards have proven to have value in the NHL. I’d go so far as to argue that being an “undersized” player is an advantage in the modern NHL.
Nashville, Tenn. (April 9, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Thursday that the club has signed free-agent forward Steve Moses to a one-year, $1 million contract for the 2015-16 season.
Moses, 25 (8/9/89), set the Kontinental Hockey League goal-scoring record in 2014-15, netting 36 goals in 60 games for Jokerit (Helsinki, Finland) during the club’s inaugural season in the Russia-based league. The 2015 KHL All-Star also tied for seventh in KHL points this season (36g-21a-57pts, 60gp), helping Jokerit to a 40-win campaign. The Leominster, Mass., native spent his first two professional seasons with Jokerit, then in the Finnish Elite League, in 2012-13 and 2013-14, amassing 61 points (34g-27a) in 97 games. In 2012-13, Moses led the league in game-winning goals (7), and paced all rookies in goals (22).
The 5-9, 172-pound winger played four seasons at the University of New Hampshire from 2008-12, recording 98 points (47g-51a) in 148 collegiate games, including 22 goals in 37 games as a senior in 2011-12, which ranked him among the Top 15 in the NCAA. Moses played his junior hockey with the Boston Junior Bruins of the EJHL from 2005-08.
BOSTON – Adding to his list of accolades for the 2014-15 season, Jimmy Vesey has been named the winner of the Walter Brown Award, as announced by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston on March 24.
The Walter Brown Award is handed out to New England's best American-born Division I college hockey player, and Vesey is the 11th Harvard hockey player to win the award, and the first since Dov Grumet-Morris in 2005.
The nation's oldest nationally-recognized college hockey honor, the Walter Brown Award was established in 1953 by the members of the 1933 Massachusetts Rangers, the first American team ever to win the World Championship Tournament. Brown coached the Rangers to the title in Prague, Czechoslovakia, that year; the team defeated Canada 2-1 in overtime in the championship game.
Vesey finished first in the final balloting just ahead of Boston University freshman Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, MA). Support for the other 18 Walter Brown Award semifinalists was broadly diversified; Vesey and Eichel, who are both among the ten finalists for the 2015 Hobey Baker Award, received all of the first- and second-place votes.
Vesey earns the award after winning both the ECAC and Ivy League Player of the Year awards, and was a first team all-league selection in both the ECAC and Ancient Eight. The winger paces the country in goals (31) and goals per game (0.86) and is second nationally in points per game (1.58). He was also selected to the ECAC All-Academic Team.
"Jimmy is a great player who has had a tremendous season. He has been incredibly consistent offensively, leading the country in goals scored, and has been relied upon in all key situations," said Harvard head coach Ted Donato. "Jimmy has also established himself as a team leader both on and off the ice. He is very deserving of this prestigious award and we are very proud of him."
The North Reading, Massachusetts native led Harvard to victory at the ECAC Tournament with a tournament-record nine postseason goals, and to its first NCAA Tournament Appearance since 2006.
Harvard will take on Nebraska-Omaha in South Bend, Indiana, at the Compton Family Ice Arena on the campus of Notre Dame on Saturday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be telecast live on ESPN3 and via the WatchESPN app.
If you watched Tousignant play without knowing him off the ice, it could be hard to like him. It’s difficult to think of a game this season that Tousignant was in the lineup for where he wasn’t under someone’s skin on the other team.
That player recently was Troy Bodie, a 6-foot-4-inch, bruising winger for the Toronto Marlies, who scrapped with Tousignant in the March 14 game at the Civic Center. Tousignant, who stands at just 5-foot-11, once again fought with a bigger player than himself and held his own.
“I really love the game, the way I play it,” Tousignant said. “Getting under other team’s skin, I just love it. I don’t think I have too many friends outside of my team, but I love that type of play.”
That’s not to say Tousignant is a player without skill or ability. He finished his final season of junior hockey in 2008-09 at over a point-per-game pace, with 77 points from 68 games, split between the Prince Edward Island Rocket and the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. But the thing with professional hockey is that nearly everyone was a scorer in juniors. And when he made it to the professional ranks, Tousignant found out early that he would need to play the game differently than the status quo to make it at this level.
“When I jumped to professional hockey in the AHL, my first coach, Glen Gulutzan, told me that I had to change my style, to do things that other players didn’t want to do.”
How Tousignant changed his game was by taking his vigor and his drive and turning it into the physical side of the game. He responded with 495 penalty minutes over parts of six professional seasons, many of which came through fighting, a part of the game that comes with getting under the skin of other players.
“We rely on him in situations that get our opponents on edge, he’s an agitating guy to play against,” Huska said. “That’s what makes him a special player.”
Playing the game that way can certainly be taxing, but it fits Tousignant like a glove. It’s not a coincidence that Huska used the word energy to describe the center. Tousignant comes to the rink with the same energy as a person that he does as a player.
It was that energy that came to the forefront just over one month ago, on February 16, when Tousignant, along with three of his Adirondack Flames teammates, Sena Acolatse,Turner Elson and Bryce Van Brabant, visited the Double H Ranch in Lake Luzerne, NY. Double H Ranch is a special place in the upstate New York community, where children with disabilities get the chance to ski in the winter.
When the Ranch staff asked the players which of them was crazy enough to ski down the mountain in the adaptive sled, Tousignant’s teammates immediately signed him up. In what has become known as “Tousi’s Wild Ride,” he flew down the mountain with a smile on his face as he got to experience how children with disabilities are able to ski.
This is the same Mathieu Tousignant, who just three days before dropped the gloves with Rochester’s Jerome Leduc. The same player who leads the Flames with 12 fights this season and brings energy and passion to the lineup every night.
For Tousignant, it’s the energy that always shines through, regardless of whether it’s on the ice or in the community. Tousignant has led the Flames this season in community appearances with a variety of different events, just as he leads the team in fights. But for Tousignant, it’s never difficult to separate the energy he has on the ice from the off-ice activities. For him, it’s just another place where he can exert it.
“I enjoy doing the community stuff,” Tousignant remarked. “I remember when I was a kid we had a junior team in my hometown and we could skate with them and do things with them, I remember it like it was yesterday. If I can give it back to the kids here, that’s one thing I enjoy doing. My family gave me the value when I was a kid to take care of the person next to you, it doesn’t matter who it is and that’s just the way I’ve been living life.”
In early December, Tousignant, alongside teammate Ryan Culkin, spent an afternoon at the Glens Falls Youth Center, a center for local kids to enjoy after their time after school. The two Flames players hung out with kids, playing basketball, dodgeball and other games throughout their stay.
The kids played games of knockout in the gym and Tousignant would not stop playing until he was able to win one. As he remarked after the event, he may have gotten more of a workout than he did earlier in practice earlier that day. Tousignant, as he tends to at community events, may also have enjoyed being there even more than the kids did, which isn't hard to believe with the smiles he and Culkin gave to the room.
“He’s a real good person,” Huska said. “I think first and foremost when you have good people, when you take them away from their work setting, they’re great people around the community and [Tousignant] is one of those people. He loves to help, to be around and do things and he’s just a very caring person.”
Tousignant’s energy and personality is infectious, something he said he always tries to bring every time he comes into the Civic Center.
“When you get to the rink, you should enjoy being at the rink,” he said. “I’ve been playing hockey since I was three years old and the only reason why I play is because I love it. I come here every day with a smile on my face and when you do, you’re more likely to put a smile on a teammate’s face too.”
Although it’s never a reaction he will instill in his opponents, Tousignant’s outlook on hockey has always been the right one, on and off the ice. It’s that combination of what Tousignant brings to not only the Flames but to the local community as well, which has made him such a favorite amongst the coaches, staff and fans here in Glens Falls, something that will be remembered long after the Flames leave the area after the season.
A new KHL goal scoring record has been set this season – but the old record wasn’t broken by Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Radulov or any other player you might expect.
Steve Moses, an undrafted 5-foot-9 forward from Leominster, Mass., scored the record-setting 36th goal on a penalty shot Wednesday.
Moses, 25, played four seasons at the University of New Hampshire and scored 22 goals and 35 points in 37 games as a senior. He played eight games with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL in 2011-12 before signing on with Jokerit of the Finnish League. This season, Jokerit joined the KHL, and Moses has been a point-per-game player through 57 games. There are 60 games in the season.
Northeastern Assistant Coach Jerry Keefe working with a group
Youth Walk On Skills Return!
We are excited to announce that Youth Walk On skills will return this spring for 7 weeks every Tuesday beginning April 7th at Breakaway Ice Center in Tewksbury, MA. Cost per session is $15/player and there is no commitment necessary! Be sure to join our professional staff each week to work on your skating, puck handling, shooting and more.
(Photo courtesy of Steve Babineau/NHL via Getty Images)
HEH Summer Pro Camper Schaller Scores First NHL Goal
BY SHAWN HUTCHEON
As hockey fans filed into Boston’s TD Garden on the night of December 21, 2014 they spoke about their anticipation of that evening’s game between the Boston Bruins and the Buffalo Sabres.
Due to slow starts to their seasons, each team was struggling to find their games and identities.
The Sabres lineup was riddled with injuries and illness and had more than one player on its roster on recall from the Rochester Americans, Buffalo’s American Hockey League affiliate.
Usually, young players who are called up to the NHL, receive between four to eight minutes of playing time and do all they can to impress the coaching staff. After all, it is every player’s dream to play in the NHL and once he gets there he does not want to go back to the minors.
Such was the case for center Tim Schaller.
On this night, the 24-year-old native of Merrimack, New Hampshire found himself lining up across from Bruins veteran and Stanley Cup champion, Patrice Bergeron, in the face off circle in just his third NHL game.
Schaller played a strong game, keeping it simple within the Sabres defense first system preached by coach Ted Nolan and after two periods the clubs had skated to a 2-2 tie.
Schaller came out for the third period not knowing how the period would play out but it did not take long for the big (6-foot-2) Sabre forward to make an impact.
The puck was in Buffalo’s zone when linemate Brian Flynn took control of it on the half wall. He chipped the disc up to winger Nicolas Deslauriers, who carried it along the right wing boards into the Boston zone. Deslauriers sent the puck into the corner and out-raced Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to regain control of it. He, then, chipped the puck behind the Boston net, where Schaller had positioned himself in front of Seidenberg’s partner, Dougie Hamilton. Schaller skated into the pass and in one quick movement, beat Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask with a wraparound to put the Sabres ahead on the scoreboard 3-2 at the 1:27 mark of the period.
It was Schaller’s first National Hockey League goal and point.
The Bruins would score later in the period and win in overtime by a 4-3 score. However, after the contest, the topic in the Sabres dressing room was Schaller’s goal.
“Well, something I strive to do every shift is get the pucks to the net,” Schaller said when asked to describe the play that resulted in his lamplighter. “Deslauriers made a nice play around the net there and you know, I got the puck to the crease and under his feet and it slid in.”
The New Englander admitted he was so elated that he was not sure how to celebrate.
“No, I didn’t even know how to celebrate,” said Schaller. “I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug so I guess that’s all I needed.”
Of course, all good hockey families travel together from the time of that very first learn to skate session all the way to an NHL arena and the Schaller family made the trek down from New Hampshire to TD Garden.
“Yup, that was them,” Schaller said as he held the puck that slid past Rask. “Mom, dad, brother…I’m not even an hour away from home so I probably have 20-30 people in the stands tonight. I’m excited to get the puck to them (his parents). That will be good for them.”
Schaller was not shy to reveal that scoring his first goal in Boston was one to remember.
“Yup, grew up coming to this building as a kid so this was pretty special,” he said.
Schaller also played in TD Garden as a member of the Providence College Friars.
“Twice and lost both times. Thanks for reminding me.” Schaller joked.
Before heading out to meet up with his parents and entourage, I asked Schaller what advice he would give to youngsters who dream of playing in the NHL.
“It starts in practice,” he answered. “If you don’t work hard in practice, you aren’t going to get anywhere. If you work hard in practice, good things will come in the games so it all begins in practice.”
If it is true that practice makes perfect, then the night Tim Schaller scored his first NHL goal in front of his parents in Boston could not have been more perfect.
High End Hockey is excited to announce that our in-season private shooting lessons are back!
These lessons will be offered on our synthetic shooting facility at the Breakaway Ice Center in Tewksbury, MA. The sessions will focus on proper shooting technique, changing the angle, shooting off your inside leg, one timers and more.
Lessons will be offered Tuesday through Thursday evening between 6:30 and 9:30pm.
Each summer High End Hockey has a variety of programs for skaters ages five up to and including National Hockey League players.
One of the most popular programs is the 3 vs 3 league. Teams, comprised of nine skaters and one goaltender, can enter the league or High End Hockey can place players on teams. The ice is divided in half by temporary boards and two games are played simultaneously.
The circuit lasts from early June to the end of August and the teams compete for the coveted HEH Championship t-shirt that each player is awarded after his team wins the playoff round.
This year, the Elite Division, comprised of professional and college players, consisted of ten teams. After a six week regular season then two weeks of playoffs, it all came down to the championship match between the Blues, also known as, the Northeastern University Huskies versus the Senators, a club led by New Jersey Devil Joe Whitney, Winnipeg Jet Will O’Neill, Pensacola Ice Flyers (Southern Professional Hockey League) Steve Bergin and Joe Caveney, Norfolk Admiral (American Hockey League) Steve Whitney, and United States Premier Hockey League standout Tyler Whitney.
It was a fast, highly skilled, back and forth affair but as with most championship games, goaltending was the difference and incoming freshman netminder Jake Theut made several highlight reel saves in backstopping his Northeastern squad to the High End Hockey title.
It is NU’s second consecutive HEH 3 vs 3 championship.
After the tilt, three champions discussed how playing in such a league enhances their skills
Senior Torin Snydeman uses his 3 vs 3 experience to help him become a better offensive player.
“You have to play in small areas,” said Snydeman, who attended the Arizona Coyotes Development Camp in July. “It helps you work on being creative offensively and because there are a lot of goals scored, it gets you used to finishing and capitalizing on your chances.”
Snydeman also likes the freedom of a league that has no coaches or referees.
“It’s fun,” continued the native of Groton, Massachusetts. “It’s exciting because you just like the freedom of not playing the systems that you do during the regular season.”
Adam Reid, a senior, who hails from Chino Hills, California agrees with his teammate.
“It (3 vs 3 league) gets your confidence back up quite a bit,” Reid, an alum of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, explained. “You get to score more goals than in the regular season, create more offense in small spaces, and just being with the guys is fun because it’s a little bit different from what we do during the year (regular season). It’s the purest form of the game and my first time playing 3 on 3. I really enjoy it and I’ll be back next summer. It works for everybody. You can benefit from playing 3 on 3.”
Colton Saucerman, who is entering his junior year at NU, agrees with Snydeman and Reid in that the league helps with being creative with the puck and feels it enhances other parts of his game, as well.
“For me, personally, it helps with patience and on ice vision,” said Saucerman, who hails from Colorado Springs, Colorado. “I like to be creative and make plays and I think this league helps with that. It allows me to try things that I normally wouldn’t try in game situations and I gain confidence. It also really helps me with one on one battles below the goal line.”
Saucerman made it a point to mention that it is a fun circuit to play in.
“This is really competitive,” he said. “Playing against guys like the Whitney brothers and other guys of such high caliber has really helped improve my game and it’s a lot of fun to just go on the ice and try new things.”
It may be no surprise that Northeastern University is one of the premier teams in Hockey East, the preeminent college hockey league in the country. The players on that team have achieved that through countless hours of intense effort on and off the ice. Playing 3 vs 3 hockey is one such method of enhancing their skills and improving their play.
While 3 vs 3 hockey has its critics, one would be hard pressed to make the argument that it has not assisted in giving players of all ages the edge over those who do not participate in such leagues.
High End Hockey Owner and President Jon Hutcheon, who instituted the 3 vs 3 leagues into his company’s programs did so with one belief in mind.
“The point of 3 vs 3 hockey on a small ice surface is to make players think and react quicker,” Hutcheon, who played five seasons of professional hockey before establishing HEH, said. “Despite the ice surface being 200 feet by 85 feet, the game of hockey is played in small areas so it only makes sense that in order to improve your skills and thought processes, you need to play in a confined area. The players really enjoy it and that’s why, mostly through word of mouth, we have more NHL, AHL, and college players, including NHL draft picks, coming here to play each summer. They see, and feel, the improvements they make and take their improved games back to their winter teams which only helps their teams be better also. It’s a win/win situation.”
After winning two consecutive HEH championships, no truer words have been spoken about the Northeastern University Huskies.