SUN Hockey Pool

NHL notes: Nathan MacKinnon among top prospects

Halifax Mooseheads forward Nathan MacKinnon. (DIDIER DEBUSSCHERE/QMI Agency file photo)

Halifax Mooseheads forward Nathan MacKinnon. (DIDIER DEBUSSCHERE/QMI Agency file photo)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:41 PM ET

Potential first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads is among the group of top prospects on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list of players to watch.

The list, which breaks down 2013 draft-eligible players into three categories -- A, B or C, with A being potential first-rounders -- and sorts them by league, was released Tuesday.

MacKinnon, who hails from Sidney Crosby's hometown of Cole Harbour, N.S., had 31 goals and 47 assists with the Mooseheads last season and finished second in QMJHL rookie of the year voting. He also had five goals and six assists in five games while playing for Canada at the under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

"His skill level, with the quickness with which he can execute, read and react -- there aren't many players who can do that," Central Scouting director Dan Marr told NHL.com. "At the Under-18 Ivan Hlinka, he displayed his 'A' game to where he did some things that no other player in this draft class has shown."

Also considered one of the top prospects for next year is Portland Winterhawks defenceman Seth Jones, the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones. He had six goals and 20 assists in 48 games with the U.S. under-18 team in 2011-12.

A total of 28 North America-based players, just one of whom is a goaltender (Zachary Fucale of Halifax), are included in the A list. Another 11 are on the list of European players.

NEW OWNER FOR KINGS?

The Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings could soon have a new owner, in a roundabout way.

Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Kings and the Staples Center, is for sale, according to its parent company. Anschutz Co., which is based out of Denver, says it has started the process of selling its AEG subsidiary and hired Blackstone Advisory Partners to help out.

"Nobody has been selected as a front-runner," Anschutz president Cannon Harvey told the Los Angeles Times. "We're starting the process under Blackstone's leadership to identify potential buyers."

The Times says one potential bidder is billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, a biotechnology entrepreneur who was part of a group that unsuccessfully tried to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is keenly aware that AEG is in play," spokesman Chuck Kenworthy told the Times. "We have the utmost respect for Phil (Anschutz) and Tim (Leiweke, AEG president and chief executive) and what they have accomplished in entertainment and sports and in revitalizing the downtown community.

"We clearly are interested in furthering this legacy for Los Angeles."

OVIE GOES HOME

As expected Alex Ovechkin has signed with Dynamo Moscow of the KHL for the duration of the NHL lockout.

Ovechkin opted to rejoin Dynamo, his former team, instead of taking a more lucrative offer from another Moscow-based team, CSKA, according to local media reports. The Washington Capitals forward could play Sunday when Dynamo hosts Ilya Kovalchuk-led SKA St. Petersburg.

"I'm happy to be playing in my home town," Ovechkin said. "I'll be wearing my old number (32), the same one I had when I was playing for Dynamo a few years ago."

Ovechkin, who turned 27 on Monday, skated with Dynamo Wednesday. He also issued a veiled threat that he could be back in Russia for good.

"I said it before, before I sign contract, if the league decide to cut our salaries and cut our contracts for what they want, I don't know how many guys will be coming back," Ovechkin said on conference call with The Washington Times and Washington Post.

"We signed contracts before and why they have to cut our salaries and our contracts right now? They sign us. (Now they) want to cut it, I think it's a stupid idea and a stupid decision by the NHL, (commissioner Gary) Bettman and the guys who work there."

After losing out on Ovechkin, CSKA general manager Sergei Fedorov instead inked Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk. Rumours suggest Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov will also sign with CSKA.

BRIEFLY

NHL office staffers had their pay cut by 20% Wednesday, according to ESPNNewYork.com. The league also has instituted a four-day work week starting Oct. 1, stemming from the third work stoppage since the 1994-95 season ... Valtteri Filppula of the Detroit Red Wings has signed with Jokerit Helsinki in Finland and could play as soon as early next week. Filppula has been skating with the Finnish team since last weekend ... Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, the top pick in the June NHL draft, will play for Neftekhimik of the KHL during the lockout. Yakupov was assigned to his junior team, the Sarnia Sting, but would prefer to play pro at home instead.


Videos

Photos