October 26, 2011


For a handful of teenagers, making it through the coming weekend with their current NHL teams will mean mission accomplished. Some of the NHL's top young stars are nearing their 10th game of the season, if they play in that 10th game their teams will most likely keep them on the squad for the season as the first year of their entry level contract will be used.

The most interesting story is Edmonton. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads all rookies in scoring with 8 points in 8 games, which leads the Oilers as well. Nugent-Hopkins has no idea if he is staying in Edmonton or heading down the highway to Red Deer of the WHL. Thursday night against the Washington Capitals is game number nine for Nugent-Hopkins. Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche plays his 9th game tonight in Calgary. Landeskog has 5 points so far this season. Avs GM Greg Sherman has already said that Landeskog would likely be staying put. Also tonight in Montreal Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers plays his 9th game of the season against the struggling Montreal Canadiens. The top pick from the QMJHL in last Junes entry draft has 4 points and it is widely expected that he would also remain with the Flyers. Another player expected to stick with the big club is Columbus Blue Jackets Ryan Johansen. Johansen, who has 3 points in 6 games, has been playing top 6 minutes since Jeff Carter fractured his foot. Game 9 for Johansen is Sunday at home against Anahiem. Adam Larsson in New Jersey has 2 games left to make his case to stay with the Devils. He has 0 points so far this season. The Devils play Thursday in Phoenix and Saturday in Dallas.

Some of the other big name players from this past draft already had their future decided this week. Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets was returned to the Barrie Colts of the OHL and Mika Zibanejad of the Ottawa Senators was sent back to Sweden. Brett Connolly recieved better news from the Tampa Bay Lightning as Steve Yzerman made it official that Connolly would remainn with the Lightning.

- Mike Lord

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