By Victor Fernandes Erie Times-News staff blogger
Staff writer Victor Fernandes has ice in his veins. Hockey – he plays it, coaches it and provides the region's best coverage of it.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1716
Posts tagged ‘chl import draft’
Posted: September 2nd, 2013

The Erie Otters and Niagara IceDogs meet in the preseason for the second time in three days. This time, it will be a 2 p.m. matchup today at Jack Gatecliff Arena in St. Catharines, Ontario.
The Otters capped their week-long training camp Saturday with a 6-3 win against the IceDogs at Mercyhurst Ice Center in their first of six exhibition games. The highly anticipated line of Connor McDavid, Connor Brown and Andre Burakovsky combined for five goals and 14 points in the win.
McDavid, the OHL’s reigning rookie of the year, led the way with a goal and five assists. Brown had two goals and three assists. Burakovsky, the fifth overall pick in the 2013 CHL Import Draft, had two goals – including the game-winner – and an assist in his Otters debut.
After today’s game, the Otters conclude the preseason with three more games – at Barrie on Friday at 7:30 p.m., against Owen Sound on Sunday at 2 p.m. at P&H Centre in Hanover, Ontario, at Kitchener on Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. and against Mississauga on Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. at Caledon East Arena in Caledon, Ontario.
In other news, eight players leave the club Tuesday to attend NHL rookie camps – Brown (Toronto), Burakovsky (Washington), Connor Crisp (Montreal), Oscar Dansk (Columbus), Troy Donnay (N.Y. Rangers), Stephen Harper (Philadelphia), Dane Fox (St. Louis) and Adam Pelech (N.Y. Islanders).
Dansk, Donnay and Fox are set to play in the NHL Prospects Tournament, which begins Thursday at Center Ice Arena in Traverse City, Mich.
Donnay and the Rangers face Carolina on Thursday at 3:30 p.m., followed by Fox and the Blues at 7 p.m. Dansk and the Blue Jackets play Carolina on Friday at 3:30 p.m., followed by the Rangers and Buffalo at 4 p.m. St. Louis meets Minnesota at 7 p.m. Donnay and Dansk will face off Sunday at 6:30 p.m. in the Blue Jackets-Rangers game. St. Louis faces Detroit at 7 p.m. The final day of games is next Monday.
Brown joins former Otters forwards David Broll and Greg McKegg in the Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament, which begins Thursday with a 7 p.m. game against Chicago at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario. The Maple Leafs face Pittsburgh on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Ottawa on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Burakovsky will attend the Capitals’ rookie camp from Thursday through next Monday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. The camp ends with a game against Harper and the Flyers’ rookies next Monday at 3 p.m. The Flyers’ rookie camp runs from Friday through Sunday at The Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. Crisp will attend the Canadiens’ rookie camp from Thursday through next Monday at Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, Quebec.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: August 30th, 2013

Andre Burakovsky felt a little tired after his Erie Otters’ on-ice debut Friday. Yet the lingering jet lag didn’t keep him from showcasing his skills.
He created scoring chances, and the first signs of chemistry with new linemates Connor Brown and Connor McDavid, in the team’s final scrimmage of camp at Mercyhurst Ice Center.
“It was really good,” said Burakovsky, the fifth overall pick in the 2013 CHL Import Draft, whose fluid skating, movement without the puck, stick-handling skills and big shot were on display. “Everything didn’t work out 100 percent, but it will get better every day. Hopefully it will be better (today).”
He missed the morning practice because his equipment, which had an extended layover in Paris, didn’t arrive until Friday afternoon. His gear arrived in the United States last night, but it was too late to participate in workouts on Thursday. He finally joined teammates on the ice two days after arriving in Erie. “It was a long time ago,” said Burakovsky, the Washington Capitals’ first-round pick in the recent NHL Entry Draft.
* Evans injured: C Jake Evans was helped off the ice with a right knee injury during the morning practice. Evans, whose 2012-13 season ended early with a knee injury, was evaluated by team doctors Friday. Sherry Bassin, managing partner and general manager, said he wouldn’t have test results until today. Evans was unavailable for comment Friday. He spent the scrimmage with his knee heavily wrapped in ice.
* Something to lose: Bassin said RW Thomas Lattavo (2012 sixth-round pick) has a spot on the roster, but he has to keep performing well to hold onto it. That’s been the mindset all along, Lattavo said. “I’m going to make a good impression. I’m sure they’re going to be happy with me,” said Lattavo, who made his OHL debut as a call-up late last season. “I feel more confident. I feel like I fit in really well. I’m not too worried about breaking through.”
Lattavo said his time with the Otters a season ago has given him an advantage over other prospects. “I came in with a little bit more confidence and more of a (knowledge of) what to expect,” he said. “Nerves (are) what’s going to kill all the kids. There’s really no room for error.”
* On the cusp: D Patrick Murphy (5th round, 2011) figures this could be his last legitimate chance to earn a spot. “I’m going to try to do everything it takes to do that,” said Murphy, who signed with the club two years ago but only played in Erie briefly the past two seasons. Murphy was cut from camp the past two years.
Unlike those seasons, he’s not taking anything for granted. “This year I know anything is possible,” he said. “I’m just going to work hard and hopefully make it this time.”
UPDATE: Lattavo survived the second round of cuts late Friday night. But he has chosen to leave camp after choosing not to accept the club’s decision to make him an enforcer.
* On the cusp, Part II: C Quentin Maksimovich (11th round, 2012) said he belongs among the top 25 players at camp. If Evans misses extended time (as well as Lattavo’s departure), that could clear a spot for Maksimovich to at least begin the season with the team. “I feel pretty comfortable out on the ice,” he said. “I’m making some plays.”
It’s challenging to try to earn a spot on a team filled with veterans, he said. “I’m just trying not to focus on it,” he said. “I’m just going to try to stay relaxed (and) just keep doing my thing. (I’ll) try not to worry about it. If it happens, it happens.”

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: August 29th, 2013

Andre Burakovsky arrived in Erie late Wednesday night. His luggage – as well as his hockey equipment – took much longer to get here.
“It liked Paris,” he said with a smile after watching his new teammates participate in morning workouts at Mercyhurst Ice Center. “It stayed there for awhile.”
Burakovsky, the fifth overall pick in the 2013 CHL Import Draft, had to wait until today to make his long-awaited Otters debut. Yet after a long trip from his native Austria, which included dealing with confusion with his ticket, buying a new ticket and then a layover in the French capital, he was happy to finally join his new team. “I’m finally here, and I’m glad for it,” Burakovsky said.
He looked forward to joining his new team on the ice for today’s scrimmage. “It should be really fun. I like everyone so far,” he said earlier in the day. “I want to go out on the side and have fun with the other guys.” Yet his luggage was still in Paris when the game began.
Burakovsky seemed to take it in stride. He’s used to being patient.
He took his time before deciding to join the Otters. “It was very important for me to make the right decision,” he said. The Washington Capitals (which picked him 23rd overall in the NHL Entry Draft earlier this summer), his agents and family” believed “it will be good for me to play in Erie and the OHL,” Burakovsky said. “I just had to come over because I think I can play a lot here and be a leader for the team. I think it could be really good for me and my future to play in Erie.”

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: August 22nd, 2013

Sherry Bassin has envisioned a line of Connor McDavid, Connor Brown and Andre Burakovsky. Now the Erie Otters can make that happen.
Bassin, the OHL club’s managing partner and general manager, confirmed today that Burakovsky has committed to play with the Otters in the 2013-14 season. The Austrian-born Burakovsky, 18, whose expected to join his new team sometime next week for training camp at Mercyhurst Ice Center, was the fifth overall pick in the CHL Import Draft earlier this summer. The 6-foot 1-inch, 176-pounder also was the Washington Capitals’ first-round pick (No. 23 overall) in the National Hockey League Entry Draft in late June.
“He’s an elite player. It’s a great day for Erie Otter hockey,” said Bassin, who added that the opportunity to play the North American style of hockey likely played into Burakovsky’s decision to play for the Otters.
Kevin Epp, his agent with Titan Sports Management in Vancouver, British Columbia, said today that Burakovsky initially didn’t plan to join the Otters because “we didn’t know anything about the organization. At the time (after the CHL draft), we were thinking it was pretty hard to make a commitment to come play with an organization you know nothing about. I think since they drafted him, they took the time and effort to get to know him and his family, and wanted to know his needs (as well as) outlined what opportunity lied ahead for him to play in Erie.”

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: July 9th, 2013

The Erie Otters won’t give up on getting Andre Burakovsky in their lineup next season.
“I believe the best possible (way) for Andre Burakovsky to become a professional (hockey player) is to come and play with us,” Dave Brown, Otters assistant manager of hockey operations, said today in response to reports that Burakovsky, the fifth overall pick in last week’s CHL Import Draft and the Washington Capitals’ first-round pick in the recent NHL Entry Draft, won’t report to the Otters.
Brown said Otters officials weren’t surprised when they learned of the initial report Monday, which was in a tweet from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News. Kennedy reportedly received confirmation from Kevin Epp, Burakovsky’s agent with Titan Sports Management of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Brown said club officials have yet to speak with Epp and Burakovsky. Yet they received conflicting thoughts before the CHL draft regarding Burakovsky’s hockey home next season. Contacts within the NHL told Brown that the Austrian-born Burakovsky would play in the CHL. Patrik Aronsson, his agent with AC Hockey AB in Molndal, Sweden, told Brown that Burakovsky wouldn’t report.
Meanwhile, Brown has received positive feedback from Capitals officials, namely Director of Player Development Steve Richmond, about Burakovsky joining the Otters. “They think it’s a great idea (that) he play in Erie and get to play on a line with Connor McDavid,” Brown said.
Now Otters officials will wait to learn about the Capitals’ plans for Burakovsky. The Otters also plan to speak with Epp, Brown said, to “prove … we are as good an organization as we think we are.”

Note: I’m waiting to hear back from Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, who was unable to speak this morning because he was in a meeting. Epp hasn’t returned a message left earlier today, while Aronsson has yet to respond to an e-mail. Check back for updates as well as a report in the Erie Times-News on Wednesday

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: June 28th, 2013

The Otters’ past selections in the CHL Import Draft:

Year Pos. Name (pick) Home country Career statistics
1996 D Arvid Rekis (21st) Latvia 25 G, 138 Pts, 337 PIM – 242 GP (1996-2000)
1996 RW Vadim Sharapov (50th) Russia 34 G, 77 Pts, 220 PIM – 118 GP (1996-98)
1998 RW Nikita Alexeev (5th) Russia 72 G, 160 Pts, 101 PIM – 189 GP (1998-2001)
1999 LW Ivan Huml (52nd) Czech Republic Did not report
2000 RW Lubor Dibelka (29th) Czech Republic Did not report
2001 C Alex Karaulchuk (47th) Ukraine 39 G, 97 Pts, 345 PIM – 185 GP (2001-04)
2001 LW/C Michal Kokavec (55th) Slovakia 7 G, 14 Pts, 49 PIM – 66 GP (2001-02)
2002 C Tomas Galasek (51st) Czech Republic 23 G, 41 Pts, 107 PIM – 184 GP (2002-05)
2003 C Ilya Yakovlev (12th) Russia Did not report
2004 LW Vladimir Tufykov (32nd) Russia 0 Pts, 0 PIM – 1 GP (2004-05)
2005 D Ivan Maximkin (28th) Russia Did not report
2005 LW Christian Seest Olsen (72nd) Denmark 3 G, 16 Pts, 24 PIM – 69 GP (2005-07)
2006 RW Stanislav Polodna (12th) Czech Republic 10 G, 35 Pts, 27 PIM – 84 GP (2006-07)
2007 G Jaroslav Janus (2nd) Slovakia 45-53-7-2, 3.69 GAA, .902 save pct. (2007-09)
2008 C/W Edgar Rybakov (4th) Lithuania 0 G, 1 Pt – 23 GP (2008-09)
2009 G Ramis Sadikov (36th) Russia 51-50-5-5 record, 3.53 GAA, .901 save pct., 2 shutouts (2009-11)
2010 F Tim Tankeev (29th) Russia 0 Pts, 3 GP (2010-11)
2011 LW Sondre Olden (31st) Norway 11 goals, 32 points – 48 GP (2011-12)
2011 C Vladimir Tkachev (37th) Russia Did not report
2012 G Oscar Dansk (3rd) Sweden 11-23-3-3, 4.11 GAA, .888 save pct. (2012-Present)
2012 D Artem Kuleshov (63rd) Russia 4 points, -17 rating – 50 GP (2012-13)
Note: The Otters made no selections in 1997.

Posted: June 11th, 2013

Canadian Hockey League teams have one more chance to select goaltenders in the CHL Import Draft.
On Tuesday, the league announced goaltenders won’t be eligible for the annual draft of European-born players starting in 2014. Goaltenders born in 1994 and 1995 can be chosen in the first round of this year’s two-round draft, which will be held July 3. The decision, which was approved by the CHL’s Board of Directors at a meeting in May, is in apparent response to the need to create more opportunities for Canadian-born goaltenders at the major junior level.
“The goaltender position is the most important in our game,” CHL president David Branch, who also serves as Ontario Hockey League commissioner, said in a prepared statement. “In partnership with Hockey Canada, the CHL has identified the need to further develop Canadian goaltenders by providing increased opportunities for them to compete in our league and succeed at the next level.”
European-born goaltenders currently with teams in the CHL’s three leagues – the OHL, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League – or selected in next month’s draft can continue to play until their eligibility expires. The Erie Otters, who have the fifth overall pick in this coming draft, already have Swedish goaltender Oscar Dansk on the roster. The Otters selected Dansk third overall in the 2012 CHL draft. They also enjoyed past success with European-born goaltenders, including Jaroslav Janus (No. 2 overall in 2007) and Ramis Sadikov (No. 36 overall in 2009).

Posted: May 3rd, 2013

Trent Fox has played hockey with his older brother, Dane, countless times in his life. But those times were in their driveway back home in Thamesville, Ontario. This weekend is different. This time, they’re both members of the Erie Otters organization.
“It’s exciting,” said Trent Fox, 16, the club’s fifth-round pick in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection who had 15 goals and 28 points in 27 minor midget games with London Knights Gold this season. “It will be a dream come true (if he earns a roster spot with the Otters. “I just have to do the hard work and do the little things to make it. That’s what I’ll do.”
Dane Fox, 19, who enters his overage season with the Otters, has served as his younger brother’s mentor heading into his first experience at the OHL level. “He’s been asking questions. I’ve just been calming him down and telling him what to expect and what to do and what not to do. He’s listening and asking questions. So I know that he’s ready to come out here and play.
Trent Fox didn’t last long in his first on-ice practice Friday during rookie development camp at Mercyhurst Ice Center. He left the ice early because of an ongoing battle with strep throat.
* News and notes: First-round pick Dylan Strome has officially signed with the Otters. … Strome will wear No. 19 as a rookie next season. Defenseman Artem Kuleshov wore that number as a rookie this season. But he isn’t expected to rejoin the club next season. Goaltender Oscar Dansk occupies one of two spots designated for European-born players. The Otters also hold the No. 5 overall pick in the CHL Import Draft this summer. … Defenseman Justin Felker was cleared to resume skating last week after being off the ice for four months because of a compression fracture in his neck that was originally feared to be career-threatening. … Center Jake Evans (knee) should be cleared to skate in the next two weeks.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: August 28th, 2012

ANCASTER, Ontario – The Erie Otters have depth on defense for the 2012-13 OHL season.
But veteran Kris Grant won’t be a part of that unit.
Grant, 19, who spent the past two seasons with the team, has requested a trade to a team closer to home in the Kingston, Ontario, area. So club officials told Grant to stay away from training camp to avoid being a distraction.
Sherry Bassin, managing partner and general manager, wasn’t surprised by Grant’s decision. “Last year, I was worried that he wasn’t committed to play,” Bassin said.
* An emergency plan: Bassin acquired goaltender Keinan Brown, 19, from Peterborough for a 10th-round draft pick Tuesday. Brown, who joins the team at camp Wednesday, appeared in two games in an emergency role late last season after Ramis Sadikov and Devin Williams suffered concussions.
Brown had an 0-2-0-0 record, 5.01 goals-against average and .873 save percentage with the Otters. Now Brown headlines Bassin’s emergency plan if Oscar Dansk or Williams are injured during the season.
* McCarthy released: The club waived Tyler McCarthy, and then released the overager after he cleared waivers. Bassin was unsure what McCarthy’s plans are for the coming season.
* On their way: Dansk, the third overall pick in the CHL Import Draft who agreed to terms with the Otters Monday, is scheduled to arrive in Toronto shortly after midnight Friday morning, and then join the team at camp later that day.
Meanwhile, second-year winger Sondre Olden and CHL second-round pick Artem Kuleshov are expected to join the team Monday in Erie.
Olden is training with his native Norway’s senior men’s team, which Bassin said gives him a better chance of possibly earning a spot with the national team.
Kuleshov remains unsigned, but “I don’t foresee that being an issue,” said Dave Brown, assistant manager of hockey operations. The transfer paperwork for the Russian-born defenseman is done, Brown said, but club officials still have immigration documents to complete.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: August 27th, 2012

The Erie Otters have agreed to terms with goaltending prospect Oscar Dansk, said Sherry Bassin, managing partner and general manager. Dansk, the third overall pick in the 2012 CHL Import Draft, was chosen by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the first pick of the second round in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Dansk is recovering from a minor knee injury suffered while playing for Sweden’s junior national team recently in Lake Placid, N.Y. Yet Bassin said he should leave Sweden to join the team at camp in the next few days, and he should be ready to play in the next couple of weeks.
Bassin also said he should finalize contracts with other undisclosed prospects in the couple of days.
In other news, defense prospect Riley Robertson and forward prospect Jordan Dunin have joined forward Dane Fox (broken bone in foot) on the Erie Otters’ injured list. Both suffered separated shoulders during the same summer skating session earlier, said Dave Brown, assistant manager of hockey operations. Yet unlike Fox, who isn’t expected to participate in training camp this week, Dunin and Robertson are listed as day-to-day.
Brown also confirmed that Dave Stickney has left the Otters after four seasons as head athletic trainer to take the same position with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Otters have hired Scott McLay, who spent last year as athletic trainer with the hockey programs and other sports at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

- Victor Fernandes

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