Before I get to that though, one note is that Chuck Fletcher has basically confirmed to Russo that Benoit Pouliot will be qualified. From his blog:
Russo: You won’t throw away Pouliot?
Fletcher: Absolutely not.
Now, I suppose that could be interpreted that he could be traded still... I guess it's not throwing away if you get something in return. But there ya go.
Okay, onto the new kids:
GOALIE Matt Hackett, 19 (3/7/90)
Posted a 34-15-3 record with a 3.04 goals against average (GAA), a .913 save percentage and two shutouts in 55 games with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2008-09. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound native of London, Ontario was the top ranked North American goalie by NHL Central Scouting. Hackett ranked eighth in the OHL in save percentage during the regular season and was named the Whalers most valuable player in the playoffs going 6-5 with a 3.01 GAA and a .930 save percentage in 11 contests. He is the nephew of former NHL goaltender Jeff Hackett.
NHL Central Scouting’s Al JensenLEFT WING Kristopher Foucault, 18 (12/12/90)
“He has great potential, very good size, very poised. His angles, his net positioning are very good. He's a very smart goaltender with excellent net coverage.”
Plymouth Whalers’ goaltending coach Stan Matwijiw
“You look at Matt, and he’s a pure goaltender. He’s the type of goaltender that NHL teams are looking for. He’s big in stature and takes up a lot of net. He’s very fundamentally sound. The work that I’ve done with him is tweaking a thing here and there. He’s already had good instruction, with his uncle (former NHL goaltender Jeff Hackett).”
From The Goalie Guild site:
And just when you expect to see another “big” goalie get pulled out of Europe, Matt Hackett is finally taken by the Minnesota Wild. The #1 ranked North American goalie prospect had high expectations to be drafted sooner, but the deed is done and now he has work to do with the Plymouth Whalers. This is an all around steal at #77 for Minnesota.
Hackett’s pedigree is well-documented through his uncle Jeff, who also happens to be Matt’s hero and idol. Similar to Lehner and Lundqvist, Matt’s positioning and stance is similar to Jeff, with skating ability, reading plays and composure under pressure as his major assets.
Over the next few years Hackett needs to work on playing higher up in his crease and giving the shooter less time and space to work with. Movement wise, Hackett is fluid and confident and with a great 6-foot-3 frame, so he takes up a lot of space up high after he drops into the butterfly.
BOTTOM LINE: Hackett had an amazing season for the Whalers, but his bloodline with his uncle Jeff is a little over-hyped in my opinion. He still has impressive skills though, so he could impress you at training camp!
Tallied 17 points (9-8=17) and 16 penalty minutes in 26 games with the Calgary Hitmen and Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2008-09. He added 16 points (11-5=16) in 18 playoff games for the Hitmen and was named MVP of the Eastern Conference final. The 6-foot, 202-pound left wing native of Calgary, Alberta was the 96th ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.
Calgary teammate of Carson McMillan, who will likely be an Aero this season.
RIGHT WING Alexander Fallstrom, 18 (9/15/90)
A senior captain at Shattuck St. Mary’s in 2008-09 led his team with 40 goals and 87 points in 52 games. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound right wing registered 67 points (20-47=67) in 62 games in his first season with Shattuck in 2007-08. He has committed to play at Harvard University this fall. The native of Gothenburg, Sweden was the 69th ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.
GOALIE Darcy Kuemper, 19 (5/5/90)
Posted a record of 21-25-8 with a 2.96 GAA, a .898 save percentage and three shutouts in his rookie season with the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels. He ranked second among WHL rookie netminders in save percentage and wins and third in goals against average. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound native Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was the ninth ranked North American goaltender by NHL Central Scouting.
From The Goalie Guild site:
The Minnesota Wild secured their second solid goalie prospect of the day by choosing Darcy Kuemper early in the sixth round. Kuemper played an impressive 55 games for the Red Deer Rebels after taking over for Morgan Clark early in the season. He posted very respectable numbers for a rookie with a 2.96 goals against average and his size is a big asset, as he stands at 6-foot-4 and 193 pounds.
When Clark started to struggle, Kuemper took over thanks to some great enthusiasm and his efficient movement. His ability to save energy over the course of a game was one factor in his great work early in the season and even better as the season came to an end.
I actually got some great insight on Kuemper back in February when I found this video about his season. I’m impressed with his perseverance and his understanding of the duties he has as a starter in the CHL.
BOTTOM LINE: Kuemper is an awesome sleeper prospect and Minnesota becomes a winner in the Entry Draft for their informed goaltending decisions. Kuemper’s a keeper!
FORWARD Jere Sallinen, 18 (10/26/90)
Recorded three points (1-2=3) and 31 penalty minutes in nine games with the Blues Espoo of Finland’s Junior League. The 6-foot, 183-pound native of Espoo, Finland registered three points (2-1=3) and 31 penalty minutes in six games for Team Finland at the 2008 Under 18 World Hockey Championships in Russia. Sallinen tallied 30 points (11-19=30) and 94 penalty minutes in 36 games in the Finnish Junior league in 2007-08. He was the 73rd ranked International skater by NHL Central Scouting.
LEFT WING Erik Haula, 18 (3/23/91)
Notched 84 points (26-58=84) and 46 penalty minutes in 53 games in his first season with Shattuck St. Mary’s High School in 2008-09. He led the team in assists and ranked second in goals and points. The 6-foot, 170-pound native of Pori, Finland will play for the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Omaha Lancers in 2009-10 and has committed to play for the University of Minnesota in 2010-11. He was the 57th ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.
CENTER Anthony Hamburg, 17 (8/30/91)
Notched 99 points (29-70=99) and 76 penalty minutes in 70 games for the Dallas Stars AAA Midget team in 2008-09. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound native of Phoenix, Arizona led the team in scoring and assists and ranked tied for third in goals. He was selected by the Omaha Lancers in the USHL Entry Draft May 13.
Texas kid! How cool is that?