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Major Junior (WHL, OHL, QMJHL)

Everett and Swift Current Pull Off Summer Trade

The Western Hockey League’s (WHL), Everett Silvertips and Swift Current Broncos, have pulled off a trade that sent Ethan O’Rourke from Everett to Swift Current in exchange for Sahvan Khaira.

O’Rourke, the 6’5″ Forward had one goal and three assists in 29 games with the Silvertips. Before his stint in  Everett, O’Rourke had five goals and 14 assists with the Prince George Cougars during the first part of the 2017-18 season.

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Ethan O’Rourke with the Prince George Cougars Prior to Arriving in Everett Photo: Doug Wesscott/ Elite Prospects

In exchange for O’Rourke, the Silvertips acquired  6’4″ Defenseman, Sahvan Khaira. Khaira recorded six goals and 20 assists with the Broncos in the  2017-2018 season. Prior to playing in Swift Current, Khaira played in Seattle for the Thunderbirds from 2014 to halfway through the 2016 campaign.

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Sahvan Khaira Photo: Doug Wesscott/ Elite Prospects

 

 Goalie Prohibition. What did the CHL Learn from the European Goalie Ban?

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Photo: Timo Savela

In 2013, the body that is the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) banned European goaltenders from taking any roster spots in either the QMJHL, OHL, or WHL, choosing to justify the ban by advising that the league wanted to promote and develop more Canadian goaltending prospects. The decision confused many nations in Europe, especially Finland, which became known over the past 20+ years as a nation that developed amazing goaltender talent for hockey teams in North America.

Now, in 2018, the CHL, admitting that their experiment had largely failed to have the intended outcome, lifted the ban on European goaltenders. While the data collected during the ban period was largely dismissed, what ultimately skewed the results was the emergence of more American goaltenders, as they were not affected by the ban and originally outnumbered European goaltenders before the ban was put in place, a fact that (once the data revealed it to the league) confused them as to why they had ever put the ban in, to begin with.

Once the ban on European goaltenders was officially lifted, the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL wasted no time and selected Finnish goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, a Buffalo Sabres 2nd round draft pick in 2017 (54th overall), whom the Sabres have already signed to an entry-level contract. While most will look at the pick as Sudbury getting a spectacular goaltender for at least the next 2 years, it will also be looked back on by CHL historians as the pick that marked the end of the European Goaltender Prohibition, a ban that ultimately, and unfairly, took away a valuable training ground from a generation of Finnish goaltenders.

What to know about Maxim Cajkovic: The 1st Overall Pick in the CHL Import Draft.

 

Maxim Cajkovic – Elite Prospects, 2018

Maxim Čajkovič was selected number one overall in the 2018 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft by the Saint Johns Sea Dogs in the Quebec Major Junior League. The Forward (2001 birth year) hails from Bratislava, Slovakia and plays for the Malmo Redhawks in the Swedish J20 SuperElit League, where he produced 21 points (10 goals and 11 assists) in 28 games with the team last season. He also split time with the J18 squad where he recorded 17 points (14 goals and 3 assists) in just 10 games. Čajkovič was a member of the U18 IIHF Slovakian team and helped his nation to a quarterfinal bid in the U18 World Championships. In his 5 World Championship games, he logged 4 goals and 7 assists.

At 5’11 and 185 pounds, Čajkovič uses his size well in and around the net. He often plays on the first power play unit and has put up good numbers in man-advantage situations. He scores a lot of second-chance goals on the doorstep, and if he continues to improve his stick handling, he could put up even more numbers in even-strength situations.

At 16, he is in line for another growth spurt, and the added size combined with technical ability could make him closer in comparison to another big-bodied European scorer, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Maxim’s size and offensive potential could help him excel in the QMJHL, while keeping up with the demands of both skill and physicality that Major Junior hockey is known for. Cajkovic will be eligible for the 2019 NHL draft, and is currently projected to go in the top 30.

 

The Western Hockey League to go with a 68 Game Schedule for the 18-19 Season

Calgary, Alberta – The Western Hockey (WHL) has just announced that the 2018-2019 Season will be shortened to 68 games, four less than any previous WHL season.  The move comes with the attempt to lessen team budgets for arenas and travel while allowing players to focus on training, development and their academic studies.  Players will now be able to spend more time in their classrooms as the league has dramatically reduced the weekday games.  The WHL will play just 98 Wednesday games in 2018-19 as opposed to  128  in 2018-19. The league will also lesson new weekday games to 188 in 2018-19 (49 fewer than in 2017-18)The regular season for the WHL starts September 21st and ends  March 17.

The WHL has been a premier league in the CHL and serves as a Major Junior staple. The association is well known for its professional ran organizations that play in pro-like arenas across the Western United States and Canada. Players from the WHL are drafted annually to the National Hockey League and come well developed to continue on their hockey careers at the professional levels. Only time will tell how the shortened season will affect the WHL, the teams, and players in the long run.

 

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