There's been a lot of player movement in recent weeks as teams try to get their rosters finalized for next season. North Dakota defenseman Corey Fienhage finally made it official by signing with the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL. Fienhage was a third pick by the Buffalo Sabres, but was sort of a Joe Finley-type that never really developed the NHL-level skills to go along with his NHL-size, and he would have had a very tough time finding playing time with North Dakota next year, who should be very deep on defense. The Sioux are also expecting to lose David Toews to the WHL at some point, which again, isn't much of a loss.
Minnesota-Duluth goalie Brady Hjelle will be returning to junior hockey. After a pretty decent start to the year, Hjelle really fell off in the second half of the season, and ended up losing the starting job to Kenny Reiter. Meanwhile, UMD recruit Chris Stafne got into some trouble. Stafne was fairly borderline to ever play for UMD to begin with, and this probably gives the school a decent reason to cut ties.
Junior drafts can sometimes be a good indication of which players are leaving college. Notre Dame's Kyle Murphy was selected in the late rounds of the USHL Draft. Murphy played a little for Notre Dame last year as a freshman, but after a disastrous season, I can see Notre Dame wanting to make as many changes as possible.
Also, in today's NAHL Draft, Colorado College third-string goalie Mike Shiborowski was selected by Owatonna, meaning he'll likely head back to juniors. Shiborowski joined Colorado College midway through the season when Hudson Stremmel left for the WHL, and came to CC knowing it was likely only a one-year gig.
Speaking of the NAHL Draft, it happened today. If you're not a regular follower of the league, you were probably confused as to who all those teams were that were drafting. The NAHL Draft doesn't have many big names, but it's interesting to see kids coming from Tier III teams, or lesser-known programs and getting their shot at a scholarship. The league's new Canadian entry, Dawson Creek, seemed to focus on Canadian players. It would be great if the league expanded its footprint into Canada like that. I think my favorite pick of the day would be sixth round pick Joe Johannesson from the Kenora Thistles AAA program, named after the 1906-07 Stanley Cup Champion Kenora Thistles.
After news that the CHL would be included in the upcoming EA Sports NHL video game, Paul Kelly of College Hockey Inc. announced that the NCAA was working with EA Sports to get NCAA teams included in the game.
It's nice to see, though I think we'll have to wait to see the finished product. I'm at least a little skeptical of EA's ability to just insert 120 new teams into a game and have each one look great. Also, NCAA teams won't be able to have actual player names like the CHL because you can only get away with something that egregious in a country still under imperial rule in the 21st century.
On that topic, this editorial from a Ktichener newspaper raises some legitimate arguments. Yes, it is written in a cringe-worthy 43 single-sentence paragraphs and hilariously confuses the Spanish word for 'money' with the actor from Raging Bull, but at least raises a valid point about how one-sided CHL player contracts are. You can debate NCAA teams selling a team jersey with specific number on it as being borderline wrong, but attaching a player's name to merchandise and selling it for profit then giving none of it to the players, either individually or collectively is near criminal.