As you all know by now, the Dallas Stars selected Wyatt Johnston 23rd overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. This was despite Johnston having only played eight games in the past year and a third, thanks to COVID-19 shortening the OHL’s 2019-20 season and wiping out the 2020-21 season.
Such a move was naturally controversial, but here’s the thing — had Johnston played a full season, he might have gone much, much higher. After all, he was lighting it up with the Windsor Spitfires before the stoppage:
In the second two-thirds of his rookie season, Johnston took on a more prominent role...he racked up 28 points in Windsor’s final 36 games to somehow finish eighth among all under-17 OHL players in scoring.
“As a 16-year-old coming in, the expectations from a coaching standpoint are often not very high,” said Windsor associate coach Jerrod Smith. “But once he did get an opportunity [head coach Trevor Letowski] and I often looked at each other and were like ‘jeez, what were we thinking not giving this guy more of an opportunity right away?’”
While Johnston did get to play for Team Canada at the World Juniors for a few games, he was more or less unable to play competitive hockey after that point. Instead, Johnston resolved to improve himself in other manners, such as private drills or hitting the weight room:
“He was very, very focused on improving and trying to accomplish his goals. He was able to do really well considering he was training at home because it’s not as easy when you don’t have the environment to go see somebody. To have his own discipline at home, I thought that was impressive,” said [Spencer] Wight, who has trained Johnston since the seventh grade.
“His mindset is very much elite, whether it’s being on time every single day or the first kid in line for every single drill or knowing that he has weaknesses in his game and really not shying away from them. It has been a really cool experience to watch him.”
You can read more from Scott Wheeler behind the paywall here.
With the Stars having seemingly filled up their remainder forward spots via Free Agency, RFA Adam Mascherin is taking his talents over to Sweden:
Han kom trea i AHL:s skytteliga 20/21 & kommer laddad med totalt tre säsonger i NHL:s farmarliga. Nu är den kanadensiske forwarden klar för en säsong i Skellefteå AIK.— Skellefteå AIK (@skelleftea_aik) August 2, 2021
Varmt välkommen, Adam Mascherin! ✍️https://t.co/01L8SMz0Z3
As a result, Mascherin moves to the Stars’ Reserve List, meaning the Stars’ technically signed their last RFA when they inked Joseph Cecconi to a deal:
Around the League
This is wonderful news:
Here’s everything you need to know about the Evander Kane gambling allegations:
Everything we know (and don't know) about the Evander Kane gambling investigation. A lot of detail and info here from yours truly and @DavidPurdum, including reaction from NHL players to the scandal. https://t.co/9Me6MLenUd— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 3, 2021
To add further fuel on the fire:
Did you expect the Seattle Kraken to take Carey Price in the NHL Expansion Draft? Because his wife sure did:
"... I thought we were for sure headed to Seattle."— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 4, 2021
In a recent blog post, Carey Price's wife Angela detailed her expansion draft experience as she mentally prepared for the potential of the Kraken selecting her husband and the Canadiens' star goalie.https://t.co/TAE3PCmxJ4
Move over, Sedin twins: there’s a new Swedish pair on the horizon:
Meet Sweden's Newest Power Hockey Twins— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) August 3, 2021
can claim to have the best twins in hockey history thanks to Daniel and Henrik Sedin. They're looking to bring the next two to the hockey forefront thanks to Mattias and Hugo Hävelid, writes @StevenEllisTHN: https://t.co/lZYgoNpENk
This is... something:
This excerpt from a Russian interview where Zadorov talks about Nathan Mackinnon is pretty… I don’t know, inspiring? Eye-opening? The literal price of greatness. pic.twitter.com/5HiHAvnVnC— Joel Klettke (@JoelKlettke) August 3, 2021
Let’s end on some good news: the Chicago Blackhawks have pledged to make the findings of their sexual assault investigation public: