Friday, 28 June 2019

Blades handled Malysjev departure well - D-man has to do what is best for him

Emil Malysjev elected to leave the Blades to play closer to home.
    In his one season with the Saskatoon Blades, Emil Malysjev left you wanting to see more.
    That makes his departure from the team tough to see. After going unselected in the NHL Entry Draft that was held June 21 and 22 in Vancouver, B.C., Malysjev informed the Blades he was staying in his home country of Sweden to pursue career opportunities in the game there.
    As a result, he wouldn’t be returning for an 18-year-old sophomore campaign in the WHL.
    Malysjev had informed the Blades brass for a lengthy stretch after the team’s playoff run came to an end what his thought process was. The club started preparing for the fact the Malysjev wouldn’t be back.
    That included selecting two defencemen from the Czech Republic in the CHL Import Draft held via conference call on Thursday in 19-year-old Libor Zabransky and Radek Kucerik, who will turn 18-years-old in December.
Emil Malysjev was solid in his own zone.
    Zabransky has played in the WHL for the Kelowna Rockets, but after the Rockets released him on Jan. 12, he became available again for the Import Draft.
    In Malysjev’s case, the Blades did what was best for the player. He felt more comfortable staying home, and the team showed understanding and let him do what he thought was best for him.
    The majority of the players in the WHL are teenagers, and when all is said and done, about 90 per cent of them won’t skate in an NHL regular season game as a player.
    All players coming into the WHL will wrestle with the fact that one day they will no longer be active players in the game at a competitive level including the ones that go on to have NHL careers.
Emil Malysjev improved steadily throughout the 2018-19 season.
    You have to weigh if the experience you gain being away from home playing in the WHL is worth it. For every player, that evaluation will be different.
    For imports like Malysjev, you have to add in the fact he left his home country and family and friends behind to cross an ocean to play hockey in a new country and a new city. Import players have to work through learning and adjusting to a new culture and often a new language on top of figuring out what their new team expects from them.
    Malysjev was taking on all of that as a 17-year-old, but he did have an advantage in the fact he could speak English fluently.
    The blue-liner, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 190 pounds, was succeeding on all fronts.
Emil Malysjev could potentially make noise on the international stage.
    He improved greatly as the season progressed. Paired with overager Dawson Davidson, Malysjev appeared in 63 regular season games with the Blades posting three goals, 14 assists and a plus-13 rating in the plus-minus department.
    Malysjev skated in all 10 of the Blades post-season games scoring a goal and posting an even-rating.
    He was rated 192nd among North American skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings.
    With Davidson and fellow overage defenceman Brandon Schuldhaus exhausting their major junior eligibility at the conclusion of the Blades run in the WHL playoffs, Malysjev was initially pegged at being a key returnee for the team.
Emil Malysjev was solid in his one full season with the Blades.
    However, that won’t be the case.
    With the improvement Malysjev showed last season, one had to wonder how much he would have improved had played with the Blades as an 18-year-old or even as a 19-year-old.
    Still, Malysjev might still find his way to the NHL or even a lengthy professional career playing in Sweden or somewhere in Europe. Some of the Blades might cross paths with Malysjev on the international stage.
    It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him possibly skating with Sweden’s world junior team some day.
    Malysjev is doing what his best for him. As a teenager, he is still growing on many levels, and now he will continue that growth near the support system of his family and friends.
    The Blades helped him take a big leap forward in the game during his season in Saskatoon. Now, they are helping him by letting him go home, which is what he had his heart set on doing.

Raiders’ Kelly receives sweet Senators award again

Parker Kelly was a repeat award winner at Senators development camp.
    Parker Kelly was rewarded for the second straight year for a strong showing at the development camp of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators.
    On Friday, the Prince Albert Raiders power forward was presented the Jonathan Pitre Memorial Trophy as the hardest working player at the Senators development camp for a second straight year.
    The Camrose, Alta., product was a co-winner of the inaugural edition of the award last year with Brady Tkachuk.
    The award is named after Jonathan Pitre, who was also known as the “Butterfly Boy.” Pitre passed away in April of 2018 from recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, which is a rare genetic mutation that causes the skin to blister and fall off at the slightest touch.
Parker Kelly (#27) played a key part helping the Raiders win the WHL title.
    He bonded with many of the Senators players and was named an honourary scout for the team in 2014. Pitre raised more than $200,000 for research of the disease.
    Last season, Kelly had a big campaign for the Raiders setting career highs in goals (35), assists (32) and points (67) in 64 regular season games. He posted a plus-42 rating in the plus-minus department, which was also a career high.
    Kelly helped the Raiders win the WHL championship posting eight goals, nine assists and a plus-19 rating appearing in all of the team’s 23 games in the WHL playoffs.
Parker Kelly lifts the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
    He is eligible to return to the Raiders as an overage player next season. Kelly signed an entry-level contract with the Senators in September of 2017 after a strong showing at their training camp that year, and it is highly likely he will play next season somewhere in the Senators system.

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