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 ‘nhl entry draft’
Posted: June 26th, 2014

The 2014 NHL Entry Draft has been described as wide open with several players capable of being the No. 1 pick.
That may be true, yet the player that should be picked first overall tonight at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia seems simple to me – Barrie D Aaron Ekblad. Why? Because I’ve always

Aaron Ekblad

believed you build a winning team from back to front.
Ekblad is the total package on defense – a big (6-4, 217 pounds) shutdown D who’s strong, physical, quick and agile on his skates. He can produce consistently on the offensive end, and has the hockey intelligence to spearhead the power play.
The Florida Panthers, who have the No. 1 pick, already have promising young D on the roster – Erik Gudbranson and Dmitry Kulikov – but they should pounce on Ekblad quickly. If not, the Buffalo Sabres should say thanks to the Panthers for passing on him, and quickly make Ekblad their pick at No. 2.

Check out these videos on Ekblad and other top draft prospects

Now check out some mock drafts…

* Ryan Kennedy from The Hockey News

* overview
*’s Adam Kimelman
*’s Mike G. Morreale
*’s Steven Hoffner

First-round order 
1. Florida
2. Buffalo
3. Edmonton
4. Calgary
5. N.Y. Islanders
6. Vancouver
7. Carolina
8. Toronto
9. Winnipeg
10. Anaheim (from Ottawa)
11. Nashville
12. Arizona
13. Washington
14. Dallas
15. Detroit
16. Columbus
17. Philadelphia
18. Minnesota
19. Tampa Bay
20. San Jose
21. Buffalo (conditional from St. Louis)
22. Pittsburgh
23. Colorado
24. Anaheim
25. Boston
26. Montreal
27. Chicago
28. Tampa Bay (from N.Y. Rangers)
29. Los Angeles
30. New Jersey 



Posted: January 14th, 2014

Check out NHL Central Scouting’s full list of prospects in the midterm rankings for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, and then find out why the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday in Calgary, Alberta, will play a key role in how the draft unfolds…

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: August 22nd, 2013

A blog based in Sweden is reporting that Erie Otters draft pick Andre Burakovsky has signed a 3-year contract with the Washington Capitals, which picked him in the NHL Entry Draft earlier this summer.
That should clear the way for the Austrian-born winger to play with the Otters this season. Otters GM Sherry Bassin has said the Capitals want him to play in Erie, although Burakovsky is quoted as saying that the AHL could be an option. European-born players don’t fall under the AHL’s age rule forjunior-eligible players, which calls for them to be 20 years old by Dec. 31 of this season or have completed 4 junior seasons. No update yet from Bassin since he last said talks with Burakovsky’s agents are “healthier.”

Posted: July 31st, 2013

Erie Otters defenseman Troy Donnay confirmed Wednesday that he has signed a contract with the NHL’s New York Rangers.
The three-year, entry-level deal is worth $2.15 million, according to Donnay, 19, wasn’t selected in the NHL Entry Draft in June. But the Fenton, Mich., native attended the Rangers’ prospect camp a month ago. That led to a chance to play for the Rangers in the Detroit Red Wings’ Traverse City Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., in September.
“It means a lot to me and my family,” Donnay said in a text message.
The 6-foot 7-inch, 185-pounder heads into his second full season in Erie with 13 points, a minus-70 rating and 76 penalty minutes in 95 games. He was acquired along with forward Dane Fox in a January 2012 deal that sent center Greg McKegg, defenseman Brett Cook and goaltender Tyson Teichmann to the London Knights. He has 17 points, a minus-65 rating and 104 penalty minutes in 143 OHL games.
“I can’t thank the Rangers enough for giving me the opportunity,” he said, “as well as the Otters organization and (managing partner/GM Sherry) Bassin for acquiring me in a trade and giving me a chance to play.”

- 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 26th, 2013

Check out’s final mock drafts for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, which is set for Sunday at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Posted: May 16th, 2013

Add another major publication – Sports Illustrated – to the always growing list of media outlets throughout North America that have done feature stories on hockey phenom Connor McDavid since he joined the Erie Otters as a 15-year-old at the start of the 2013-14 OHL season.
Sports Illustrated has a four-page article in its latest magazine entitled “The Next Next Next One.” McDavid, the highly touted No. 1 pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection who’s already expected to be the top pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, also has been featured by media outlets such as the New York Times, USA Today and, The Hockey News, Toronto Sun, The Globe and Mail in Toronto) and Le Journal de Montreal.
McDavid, 16, a native of Newmarket, Ontario, finished second among all OHL rookies with 66 points in the regular season. He won a gold medal, and led all scorers with 14 points in seven games, with Canada in the IIHF U18 World Championship in Sochi, Russia.

Posted: April 24th, 2013

Erie Otters winger Stephen Harper stood 128th among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, which was released Wednesday. Harper, 18, slid 90 spots down the list after being picked 38th in the midterm rankings released in January. He had 18 goals and 38 points in 67 games this season after totaling 24 goals and 35 points in 63 games as a rookie in the 2011-12 OHL season.
Otters winger Nick Betz, 17, doesn’t appear in the final rankings after standing 106th among North American skaters on the midterm list. He had four goals and 12 points in 44 games this season. He missed two months of the season’s opening half recovering from an appendectomy.
Defenseman Seth Jones (Portland, WHL) and goaltender Zachary Fucale (Halifax, QMJHL) top the list among North American skaters and goaltenders, respectively. Sault Ste. Marie defenseman Darnell Nurse and Ottawa center Sean Monahan rank among the top five skaters, while Mississauga’s Spencer Martin ranks fifth among goaltenders. The Finnish-born duo of Aleksander Barkov and Juuse Saros top the list of European skaters and goaltenders, respectively. The NHL Entry Draft is set for June 30 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.