Tag Archives: NHL

Vrbetic amongst HEO players named to NHL’s watch list

Dunvegan’s Joe Vrbetic, a goaltender with the North Bay Battalion of the OHL, is amongst hockey prospects on a new list from NHL Central Scouting.

The 18-year-old became the Battalion’s primary backstop last season, manning the hemp hut for 42 games in what ended up being a shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 6ft. 6 in., 181 lb. athlete came up through the Eastern Ontario Wild ‘AAA’ program, before moving to Toronto to play a season in the GTHL.

Amongst his achievements, Vrbetic was a member of the HEO championship Wild team in the 2015-16 season, when he was also recorded a league best 1.79 goals against average.

In the 2018-19 season, as a member of the NOJHL Powassan Voodoos, he had a league best save percentage of .928.

Last year, he was named to the OHL’s second rookie all-start team.

Vrbetic was drafted into the OHL in 2018 by the Battalion, selected 31st overall. He is eligible for the NHL draft in 2021.

Other HEO alumni named to the NHL’s watch list include Mason McTavish, Roman Schmidt, Brandt Clarke, Isaac Enright, Ranvir Gill-Shane, and Connor Lockhart.

Vrbetic is given a ‘B’ rating by NHL Central Scouting, which means he’s listed as a second or third-round draft candidate in 2021.

Vrbetic graphic
(OHL North Bay Battalion graphic)
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Bring Back the Royals remembers John Wensink

Maxville’s John Wensink skated for the Cornwall Royals of the QMJHL for three season in the early 1970s, before going on to play professionally, primarily in the NHL with the Boston Bruins.

John Wensink, with the Boston Bruins, challenges the bench of the Minnesota North Stars. (screen capture)
John Wensink, with the Boston Bruins, challenges the bench of the Minnesota North Stars. (screen capture)

The ‘Bring Back the Royals’ group is active on social media. If you are interested in following them, check out their Facebook group here.

Wensink, now 67, retired from pro hockey following the 1988-89 season, when he was a member of Team Netherlands.

His time in the NHL stretched over 8 years, as he suited up for 446 games. He was drafted in 1973, selected in round 7 by the St. Louis Blues, 104th overall.

In recent years, Wensink has focused on coaching, working the bench of minor hockey teams in St. Louis.

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What impact will major staffing changes with the Buffalo Sabres have on Remi Elie?

Glengarry County’s Remi Elie has been a professional hockey player at the NHL and AHL levels for the past five seasons, the last two of which have been spent in the Buffalo Sabres organization, primarily as a member of the AHL-affiliated Rochester Americans.

The truncated 2019-20 campaign saw the 25-year-old left winger play exclusively with the Amerks, suiting up for 34 games, and recording 13 points and 10 penalty minutes.

Last summer, he was signed to a one-year, two-way contract for the NHL league minimum. He attended the Sabres training camp. At the start of the season, the Green Valley resident was put on waivers, clearing them and then assigned to Rochester. Injury hampered his availability during the fall. However, when he returned to the ice, Elie made an immediate impact for the Sabres.

The team’s (and his) season came to an end in March, when the AHL season was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this summer, the remaining games and playoffs were cancelled.

While the Amerks were poised for an extended run in the post-season, standing second in the North Division at the season stoppage, the Sabres were a disappointment, finishing 25th of 31 teams in the NHL. Buffalo recently learned that the club would be one of seven that would not have a berth in the upcoming (expected?) NHL playoffs.

Twitter announcement
The Buffalo Sabres’ AHL affiliate Rochester Americans post on Twitter about major staffing changes for the NHL club.

On June 16, the Buffalo Sabres “announced the team has relieved Jason Botterill of his duties as general manager. Senior Vice-president of business administration Kevyn Adams has been named general manager” to replace Botterill.

From the announcement, attributed to owners Terry and Kim Pegula: “This decision was made after many candid discussions with Jason during a full review of our hockey operation. We recognized we have philosophical differences regarding how best to put ourselves in a position to compete for a Stanley Cup. So, we decided to make this change.”

On the naming of Adams to the post, the owners add that the staff will take the appropriate time to “reconfigure our hockey operations. We have the benefit of this long 2020 pause to take time to reorganize and re-energize our hockey department. We recognize the importance of this offseason with so many player decisions to be made.”

Ralph Krueger has been named to the post of head coach, with the organization’s entire coaching group of last season having been dismissed.

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NHL’s Drew Doughty supports high school essay contest (deadline March 31)

There is still time for high school students to enter an essay contest being supported by the NHL’s Drew Doughty, with the deadline set for March 31 and a prize of $10,000 up for grabs.

The contest is being run by the company Scholars Education, which provides tutoring services. In partnering with Doughty for this essay contest, the company’s goal is “to help a deserving student further their education.” The NHL’ers role is a “commitment to helping Canadian students achieve academic success in light of recent school closures nationwide.”

From the announcement, “The scholarship is available to students in high school to attend a Canadian college or university. To apply, students must construct an essay (approximately 1,500 words) explaining how they have overcome adversity and explore the connection to a positive response to the world’s current situation. Eligible submissions will be judged by the Scholars Advisory Board which is made up of Canadian university professors with the winner chosen by Doughty himself. The $10,000 scholarship will be awarded to a student who shows exemplary writing skills.”

The deadline for applications for the scholarship is March 31, 2020. Students are invited to submit their essay application via e-mail to info@scholarscanada.com with the subject line Essay Contest Submission.

For further details, please see this webpage.

computer teen
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Remi Elie returns to the ice, scores OT winner

Remi Elie, who hails from Green Valley, scored the overtime winner for the AHL Rochester Americans in January 3 action versus the Belleville Senators.

His marker came 61 seconds into the extra session.

The 24-year-old Elie has seen limited action this season due to injury. He had been sidelined since a November 2 game that saw the forward notch a pair of assists. Elie, who was a 2013 second-round draft selection of the NHL by the Dallas Stars, returned to the Americans roster on December 31. His second game back was the aforementioned contest with the Senators, which finished as a 4-3 OT victory. Elie had five shots on goal.

He also played against the Toronto Marlies on January 4, putting up two shots.

On the season, Elie has 7 points in 11 games.

He’s been part of the Buffalo Sabres organization for the past two seasons. The Americans are Buffalo’s AHL affiliate.

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Remi Elie clears NHL waivers, assigned to AHL Rochester

For the second straight NHL hockey season, Green Valley’s Remi Elie found himself on waivers. This time it was the Buffalo Sabres, who only months ago had inked the 24-year-old to a new $700,000 US one-year, two-way contract.

The Sabres announced the signing of the restricted free agent on August 1. Elie joined the Sabres midway through last season, following a claim off waivers from the Dallas Stars, who had drafted the Glengarrian in 2013. He saw action in 16 games over the 2018-19 season with the Sabres, counting one assist, before being loaned to the AHL affiliate Rochester Americans. There, Elie had 14 points in 28 games.

The forward had been in the Sabres training camp until Monday, when he was placed on waivers, along with three other players, as the club reduced its NHL roster in preparation for the start of the season. Elie cleared waivers today and was transferred to the AHL Americans, along with teammates Curtis Lazar, Scott Wilson, and Casey Nelson, all of whom cleared waivers.

The Amerks had a decent 2018-19 season, finishing second in the North Division with 99 points. Their new campaign is slated to begin Friday night, when Rochester hosts the Syracuse Crunch.

Remi Elie / NHL photo
Remi Elie (NHL photo)
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Green Valley’s Elie to begin NHL training camp tomorrow

Remi Elie, from Green Valley, will be part of the NHL Buffalo Sabres training camp when it opens tomorrow, September 12, as the team today announced its roster of players competing for opening day spots.

Last season, Elie, under contract with the Sabres, split his time between the NHL club (0 goals, 1 assist in 16 games) and the AHL Rochester Americans (8 G, 6 A, 25 GP).

As I reported last month (see this post), the 24-year-old signed a one-year, $700,000 two-way contract with the Sabres for this season, meaning the team can use him at the NHL level, or option him to the AHL affiliate, as they did for the second half of last year.

Buffalo’s training camp opens with physicals, testing, and media availability. Inter-squad games follow over the next three days. The Sabres’ first exhibition action is scheduled for September 16, versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Elie signs for another pro hockey season with Buffalo

Green Valley native Remi Elie has re-signed with the NHL Buffalo Sabres. inking a one-year, two-way contract for the league minimum.

The Sabres announced the signing of the restricted free agent on August 1. Elie joined the Sabres midway through last season, following a claim off waivers from the Dallas Stars, who had drafted the Glengarrian in 2013. The 24-year-old saw action in 16 games over the 2018-19 season with the Sabres, counting one assist, before being loaned to the AHL affiliate Rochester Americans. There, Elie had 14 points in 28 games.

With a $700,000 two-way contract, the Sabres have the option to use Elie (a 6 ft 1 in, 215 lb left winger) at either the NHL or AHL level.

Remi Elie / NHL photo
Remi Elie / NHL photo
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