NHL Prospect Notebook: McTavish arriving just in time for Petes

Anaheim Ducks centre Mason McTavish (37) and Winnipeg Jets centre Andrew Copp (9) work for the puck with defenceman Neal Pionk (4) watching during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Alex Gallardo/AP)

The Peterborough Petes were the recipients of some good news when Anaheim first-rounder Mason McTavish was sent back to the OHL. McTavish scored in his NHL debut and was playing well before suffering a lower-body injury Oct. 18 against Calgary.

McTavish scored two goals and added an assist in his nine NHL games, the last of which was Nov. 18 against Carolina. Upon his return, he was assigned to AHL San Diego, where he played three games, scoring one goal and adding one assist. The Petes desperately need McTavish’s help as they sit ninth in the OHL’s Eastern Conference. The Petes host North Bay at home Friday night. McTavish, chosen third overall by the Ducks in 2021, played with the Petes in the 2019-20 season, scoring 29 goals, adding 13 assists for 42 points in 57 games.

• The San Jose Sharks made a similar move earlier this month when they returned first-round pick William Eklund back to his SHL club in Djurgarden.

• Hendrix Lapierre was reassigned by the Washington Capitals to Acadie Bathurst on Nov. 10.

• Seth Jarvis may have seen the last of his time with Portland in the WHL. Jarvis played in his 10th NHL game Monday and drew an assist as the Hurricanes fell to San Jose 2-1 in overtime. The super-skilled winger has been playing on Carolina’s top line with Jordan Martinook and Sebastian Aho. The Canes selected Jarvis with the 13th-overall pick in the 2020 draft.

Another prospect, Cole Sillinger of the Columbus Blue Jackets, continues to make his case. Head coach Brad Larsen said, joking “we’ve been trying to get rid of him since camp, but he won’t let us.” Larsen has been impressed with Sillinger’s work ethic, compete level, preparation and most importantly, his hockey IQ. Sillinger has spent the season on a line with veteran Jakub Voracek and 2020 first-round pick Yegor Chinakov. The "one man and two babies" line was highly effective in a 3-0 win over Winnipeg on Wednesday.

Jarvis and Sillinger are still able to play for Canada at the world juniors, but if they continue to play big minutes for their respective NHL clubs, it’s hard to see how their GMs Don Waddell and Jarmo Kekalainen would release them. Carolina is pacing the Metropolitan Division, while Carolina currently possesses the first wild-card spot in the East. Jarvis is playing 14:12, while Sillinger is averaging 14:25 per game.

• As for other pro prospects eligible for the World Juniors, cross Tyson Foerster off the list. He was injured while playing for Lehigh Valley in the AHL, and is scheduled to have shoulder surgery, a procedure that will keep him out of the lineup for at least five months. Last season, Foerster injured his other shoulder and missed significant time. Another highly touted Flyers prospect, Zayde Wisdom underwent shoulder surgery in August, and no return date has been established for him.

• I'm really excited for 5-foot-7, 175-pound Montreal prospect Xavier Simoneau continuing to have success. After four years in Drummondville, he’s lighting it up with Charlottetown, leading the league in scoring with 10 goals and 24 assists for 34 points in 17 games. The Montreal Canadiens took a flyer on him in the 6th round of the 2021 draft after he went overlooked in 2019 and 2020.

• Don’t look now, but Matthew Savoie is leading the WHL point parade, with 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points in 21 games. Jn fact, Winnipeg Ice players account for the top three scorers in the league going into play Thursday. Savoie has five multi-point games in his last seven.

• For our non-drafted player of the week, we will fudge the 2003 rule and stick with a late-born 2002 player in Winnipeg’s Mikey Milne. Born on Sept. 21, 2002, Milne went undrafted in 2021, but continues to get extended looks, in part because of playing on Savoie’s team. In his own right, Milne continues to hover around the WHL lead with 15 goals. Teammate and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Connor McClennon leads the league with 17.

• Looking ahead to the 2023 draft, consider Oshawa’s Calum Ritchie. Generals’ head coach Todd Miller says there are some similarities between Ritchie's game and that of Mark Scheifele, whom Miller had coached while an assistant to Dale Hawerchuk for the Barrie Colts. Ritchie is the OHL’s top rookie scorer going into play Thursday.

• One very important piece of news may have been overlooked when the QMJHL approved the QMJHL Cup’s most recent format change. Moving forward, the QMJHL Cup will consist of three tournaments to showcase the best draft-eligible players in Quebec and the Maritimes.

The first event takes place Dec. 16-19, featuring two U15 teams and the top 80 prospects from the LHEQ and the RSEQ.

Maritime provinces in conjunction with QMJHL Central Scouting will create one roster for each province with the top U16 players and participate in a tournament in Dartmouth, N.S., between Feb. 3-6, 2022.

From April 27 to May 1, 2022, the top 40 Maritime-born prospects will be split into two teams, while the top 80 Quebec born prospects will split into four teams and compete in a tournament in Blanville-Boisbriand.

These events will also allow for Hockey Canada to see the best QMJHL prospects in preparation for the annual U17 development camp.

• The U.S. team captured eight of the nine top scorers in the recently completed U18 tournament in Switzerland, led by Rutger McGroarty and Cole Spicer, who each had eight points in the four-game tournament. Jimmy Snuggerud, Isaac Howard, Logan Cooley and Lane Hutson all put up seven points, while Cutter Gauthier had six.

• Lastly, a couple of weeks ago while preparing to do a CHL game between Ottawa and Barrie, I spoke to 67’s GM James Boyd. We covered a number of topics, but one most interesting piece of information was brought to light about Ottawa’s success over Boyd’s five-year tenure as GM.

While working as an assistant coach and GM for Mississauga before taking the job in Ottawa, Boyd employed the services of leadership and performance coach Marc Guevremont. Upon taking the Ottawa job, one of the first things Boyd did was to reach out to Guevremont. After couple of conversations, it was easy to see why. The basic premise behind Guevremont’s teachings is that when all things are equal, the team with better leaders will win.

Guevremont preaches the F.B.C. method: When adversity strikes, the team with the leaders who respond First, Best and most Consistently will drive their team to victory. While hockey teams typically focus on the X’s and O’s, Guevremont feels a leadership system can be developed within a team.

The program helps coaches connect with players, and players connect with players. The system features a leadership council of players from all age groups, so that with the cyclical nature of junior hockey, new leaders can be churned year over year. Leadership techniques make for better accountability and the desire for all players and coaches to pull in the same direction.

Boyd feels this program has been the basis for his overwhelmingly strong record in the standings, and in developing players for careers in pro hockey and several other vocations. You can see more of Marc’s work here.

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