September 02, 2013

Introducing the 2013-14 Ottawa 67's

When training camp opened this past Wednesday, head coach and general manager Chris Byrne went on record as saying that not every veteran was safe, and younger players could steal spots away from veterans.  Now that the dust has settled from camp, Ottawa will open the 2013-14 season with eight new faces.

Cuts are still possible between now and the start of the regular season, but for the time being, they have 26 players on the roster.

The 2013-14 Ottawa 67's


G Daniel Mannella - This story has taken an interesting turn during the writing of this piece.  Mannella has decided to leave the 67's to go after NCAA aspirations, but his story is still interesting and inspiring to say the least.  Since he made the cut and, for a day, was on the official roster, he deserves to be listed under the newcomers.

Anybody who doesn't believe in Byrne's "reward-based system" can look at Mannella as solid evidence.

Ironically, the 18-year old Toronto native was sent from Georgetown to Stouffville of the OJHL last season after Georgetown picked up ex-67's netminder Keegan Wilson.

In the spring, with the cards stacked heavily against his team, and Travis Konecny, Troy Henley and Dylan McDonald lining up against him, Mannella stood on his head late in 67's rookie camp.

Clint Windsor and Jacob Blair were the best goaltenders at main camp this past week, but Mannella quietly stuck around, before delivering an unbelievable performance on the final sessions each of the last two days.  It was a convincing enough effort for Byrne to keep Mannella, as short as that stay may have been.

LW Tyler Hill - He only signed a couple of weeks ago, but the 6'6 winger instantly drew attention because of his size.  He isn't quite the same player, but his puck skills in the opposing end should remind fans of Tyler Graovac.  If his foot speed improves, Hill can be a dangerous player.

C Dylan McDonald - Quietly had a solid camp, and while he didn't neccessarily stand out during all the scrimmages, Byrne wants to develop his top prospects by throwing them right into the fire.  This will be the second year in a row that Byrne dresses all three of his top picks from the previous spring.

RW Sam Studnicka - Studnicka was acquired from Windsor in the summer as a shutdown forward.  He played against other team's top lines for the most part last season and fittingly, played several shifts against Konecny at camp.  He will replace Mark Petaccio, but will play a more shutdown role, rather than the physical role Petaccio played.

D Alex Lintuniemi - When the 67's passed on exceptional status defenceman Sean Day at the 2013 OHL Priority Draft to take Konecny, perhaps they had their eyes set on Lintuniemi when they held the second overall pick at the CHL Import Draft.

The 67's desperately needed to fill the void left by overaged Michal Cajkovsky, and while Day appeared to be the perfect candidate when the 67's finished last place, that hole will now be filled by Lintuniemi.

The 17-year old Finnish-born defender won't be as physical right away as Cajkovsky, but will bring the same physical element that Cajkovsky brought to Kingston as a rookie, a physical presence that 67's fans hope will grow in the next couple of years.

Lintuniemi can play the powerplay and penalty kill, and has an amazing first-pass, ideal for a team that had so much trouble breaking out of their own end in 2013.

D Adrian Sloboda - It was 12 years ago that Karol Sloboda came to Ottawa and was instantly a top-four defenceman, and while it's highly unlikely that his namesake will follow suit, Adrian is one of Slovakia's most highly-touted prospects for the 2014 NHL draft.

Sloboda plays a similar game to Nevin Guy and as such, might not see as much ice time as Guy looks to be a mainstay.  The second import taken by the 67's in 2013 may not stay if he doesn't get ice time, but fans of the Barberpoles can expect to see him in a handful of games and hope that he grows.  He's only a '96-born and his best years are still ahead of him.


G Clint Windsor
G Jacob Blair

D Jonathan Duchesne
D Taylor Davis
D Jake Middleton
D Mike Vlajkov
D/C Nevin Guy

C Trevor Dulong - After appearing in 12 games last season, Dulong showed some offensive growth during camp, scoring a number of goals including the shootout winner in a second-day scrimmage.  As a '96-born, he has room to grow, but is a perfect fourth-line center for the time being.
LW Daniel Walsh - Was believed to be on the block and didn't have much of an impact on day one at camp.  It wasn't until a two-goal performance with a toe-to-toe fight against Brendan Bell between the goals that he stood out.  From there on out, he was one of the best players on the ice.
C Andrew Abou-Assaly - Was injured after taking a puck in the groin area, it's unknown whether he will be ready for the pre-season or not.
RW Brett Gustavsen
LW Connor Brown


A number of players were given rests during scrimmages throughout the first three sessions, while a couple of top draft picks didn't play as much once they proved instantly that they belonged.

C Travis Konecny - The first overall pick didn't take long to make his presence felt.  Six minutes into the first scrimmage he took the puck from his own blueline, breezed by Guy, danced around Lintuniemi and tucked it past Blair.

A few minutes later, he narrowly avoided a huge hit from Hill before turning back and knocking 225-pound Ryan Van Stralen flat on his back.

During the second day, Konecny barely saw any ice time as he had his spot solidified.  By the last day, he was lined up with Van Stralen and Fielding, which will likely be a unit to start the pre-season.

C Dante Salituro - As impressive as Konecny was, Salituro was the best player on the ice for long stretches during camp.  He hasn't grown much, but is noticeably faster and better with the puck.

D Troy Henley - Didn't stand out during rookie camp, but definitely came to play at main camp.  Physically solid and defensively responsible, it's likely Henley ends up on a pairing with Vlajkov.

LW Brendan Bell
RW John Urbanic
LW Ryan Van Stralen
RW Taylor Fielding

Not guaranteed to return

RW Joseph Blandisi - He's listed as a winger, hinted that he wants to move to center and played defence for the majority of the scrimmages.

There's a very small possibility he sticks in the pro ranks, but it's extremely unlikely.  Still, it's worth noting that he will miss pre-season games as he heads to Denver for Colorado Avalanche camp.

C Sean Monahan - Monahan showed up for the last day of training camp, but wasn't on the ice.  He's now in Calgary as the Flames' top draft choice from 2013.

Calgary needs some sort of size down the middle and want to showcase their young talent in what's expected to be another year as a draft lottery team.  Perhaps it isn't best to throw Monahan into the fire and likely a losing dressing room, but all signs point to him sticking in the NHL.

Even if Monahan comes back, he's a lock for Team Canada at the Under-20 Championships, and a trade candidate come the trade deadline.

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