While there are still plenty of decisions still to be made before the Wolves’ roster is finalized for opening night on Sept. 21, the club has made some interesting news over the past few weeks.
The CHL Import Draft was held June 27 and a couple of deals made a few days prior to the draft made it clear the Wolves were going for offence. The Wolves moved up in the draft and with the 27th overall pick, selected Dominik Kubalik, a 16-year-old, left-winger from the Plzen junior team in the Czech Republic. Kubalik has decent size at 6-1 and 175 pounds and is described as a skilled goal scorer with a hard accurate shot. He also comes from a hockey family with older brother Tomas Kubalik, a top young prospect in the Columbus Blue Jackets organization.
The Wolves then used their second pick to take another Dominik — this time Dominik Kahun, a 16-year-old centerman from the Manheim junior team in Germany’s DNL league. While not huge in size at 5-8 and 165 pounds, Kahun led his league in scoring with 21 goals, 36 assist for 57 points in 36 games, has outstanding speed and is considered a power play specialist.
We all know the Import Draft can be a bit of a gamble, but the credentials with these two players make the picks very intriguing.
When it does get down to Training Camp time, a familiar face will be absent from Wolves preparations.
Jeff Beukeboom has moved on, leaving the OHL to become an assistant coach with the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League.
Beukeboom spent three years with the Wolves, first as an assistant to Mike Foligno and the last two years with Trent Cull. His main responsibility was working with the defence, and Beukeboom can take a lot of the credit in the development of Frank Corrado and Justin Sefton, both NHL draft picks.
It wasn’t hard to understand why players hung on his every word — not just because of his physical presence, but because he is a four-time Stanley Cup winner and has been in every pressure-packed situation imaginable.
It’s fitting Beukeboom moves on to the pro ranks with the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate, since he won his fourth Cup with the Rangers in 1994.
He was a class act and it won’t be easy to replace him behind the bench.
Speaking of defence —a former Sudbury Wolves defenceman is also making the move to the pro game.
Josh McFadden has signed a three-year entry level contract with the Florida Panthers. McFadden came into his own after being acquired by the Wolves in November 2009 and went on to become one of the OHL’s top offensive defencemen, finishing third in scoring among blue-liners in the 2010-11 season.
He turned down an opportunity to join the Montreal Canadiens organization prior to last season, instead deciding to rejoin the Wolves for his overage season in hopes of a better pro deal, while at the same time keeping his post-secondary options open.
McFadden was the perfect choice to wear an “A” on his Wolves uniform as his leadership abilities helped with the development of the Wolves’ younger players. He was a hard worker in his time with the Wolves and is very deserving of the contract he earned from the Panthers.
As is the case with most off-seasons, change can be expected. The good news is that we’ll get the chance to see how that change all shakes out with Training Camp just 46 days away.
Stew Kernan is the radio and television voice of the Sudbury Wolves, and the news director at EZ Rock and Q92. This column appears every other week in Northern Life.
Posted by Heather Green-Oliver