For all the attention Anthony Duclair and Pavel Buchnevich have received since the start of the hockey season, it was Adam Tambellini whom the Rangers actually drafted with their first pick in the third round in 2013. A leg injury in the summer limited him at the start of his freshman season with the University of North Dakota, and although his play improved as 2014 approached it never felt like Tambellini truly felt comfortable. He confirmed and acted upon that, choosing to leave UND and the NCAA as a whole for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. Tambellini explained the move to the Calgary Herald.
“'It was more of a hockey decision for myself,' Tambellini explained. 'Me and my family sat down and we really looked at the situation there. I’m looking to play a lot of games and play a lot of minutes. My choice to come to Calgary was pretty simple after finding that out.'”
Tambellini left UND Tuesday and rushed to Calgary. His transition and arrival in Calgary was so quick and unexpected that he played last night's game without a nameplate on his jersey. Nonetheless, he was noticeable in his debut, scoring a goal, adding three assists, and making a really nice deke to draw a penalty. Here is video of the goal:
It's an incredible performance for Tambellini in his first game with a new team and as he grows familiar with the group he'll only get better. That being said, this also displays why point production needs to be put in context. The NCAA, consisting mostly of guys in the 18-22 range, is a whole different animal from canadian junior leagues, which consist mostly of guys in the 16-19 range. Nonetheless, a great debut for Tambellini.
Keep reading for other prospect updates.
Anthony Duclair continued his heavy production last night, this time with a three-point performance in a 6-2 Quebec win. Duclair set up Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Adam Erne for a one-timer on the PP in the first period for an assist. Duclair then scored twice in the third period. The first one came from a whole lot of luck, as a puck he passed into the slot redirected into the net off a defenseman. The second goal came off a rebound from his own rush. Duclair was fed the puck in the neutral zone and beat the defenseman to the outside. He cut towards the net, deked, and was ultimately stopped, but the puck stayed near the slot and he found it during the ensuing scramble. Duclar, with 35 goals in 40 games, is now tied with Anthony Mantha for the QMJHL lead, though Mantha has played and absurd eight less games. He is also tied for second in points, with 63.
Mackenzie Skapski was somehow named Second Star in a 5-4 loss for the Kootenay Ice, and though I did not watch, I'm going to assume this game was similar to the previous eight, with Skapski receiving virtually no help and him making a number of great saves to keep his team within reach. Here's a tweet from a random person who apparently is a fan of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the team Skapski faced.
— Dawna Welterlich (@dawna_w) January 9, 2014
The Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL have decided to rebuild, meaning that many of their top players were traded prior to the QMJHL trading deadline. Among those was Ryan Graves, who was sent to a much better Val-d'Or Foreurs team. Graves should be making his debut tonight.
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