Bluelines: Devils Keep Pick, Prospect Watch and the Junior Rangers
Thursday, February 23, 2017
By Stan Fischler
• Fooling most of the experts, Lou Lamoriello decided to retain his first-round draft pick—number 29. While Nervous Nellies in the media thought otherwise, the Devils' boss will forfeit a pick in one of the next two drafts as part of the Ilya Kovalchuk signing that miffed Bettman, Inc.
• It looks like the Sabres got a good one: Buffalo signed 2011 first-round pick Joel Armia to a three-year entry-level contract. Armia recorded 38 points in 54 games in the Finnish Elite League this season, while also shining for Team Finland at the World Junior Championships in Alberta, scoring five goals in seven games.
• Garth Snow continues to rebuild his Islanders. The club agreed to terms with Johan Sundstrom of Frolunda HC of the Swedish Elite League. The 19 year old signed a three-year entry level contract after recording eleven points in 49 games for Frolunda, and adding a goal and four assists during Sweden’s gold-medal run at the World Junior Championships.
• The Rangers will be represented by two prospects at the National Junior Evaluation Camp for Team USA’s 2013 World Junior Championships squad. 2011 first-round pick JT Miller, will return after a strong performance in last year’s tournament, while Steve Fogarty, taken in the third round of last year’s Draft, will attend for the first time. Fogarty posted 82 points in 60 games for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL, while Miller posted 62 points in 61 games for Plymouth in his first OHL season.
• Speaking of the World Juniors, Team USA has named ex-Sabre and ex-Devil Phil Housley the head coach of the 2013 team. Housley served as an assistant coach for the bronze-medal squads in 2007 and 2011. Housley recorded 1,232 points during 21 seasons in a Hall of Fame career.
• No matter what happens to the franchise in the next month, the Coyotes will be back in Phoenix – Glendale next fall. NHL schedule-makers already have the Arizona sextet on its official home and away slate. Which means that even if the very troublesome Goldwater Group tries to block the sale, the ‘Yotes will open at Jobing.com arena next fall.