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Prospect Pulse: Chris Vande Velde

Vande Velde, an Edmonton Oilers 2nd rounder, in a Moorhead, Minnesota native who came up through the USHL and now plays with the UND Fighting Sioux. As such, I have the opportunity to see him quite often. He was a fringe player last year who often didn’t play more than 3 or 4 minutes a game. He figures to have a breakout season in the WCHA this year, and if his first game against Manitoba was any indication, Vande Velde has arrived in the NCAA.

Vande Velde logged a lot of ice time in the first game for the Sioux, lining up as the 2nd line center and playing a regular shift. He figures to get time on the 1st PP unit and the 1st PK and will definitely be a contributor this season. The hulking centerman has learned to use his frame to his advantage and will be able to lean on smaller defensmen to create chances down low. In addition to his skills on the cycle and in front of the net, Vande Velde is a smooth skater with surprising speed. His large size is intimidating in full flight and he can use it to back defenders into the zone.

Vande Velde, who wears #29 for the Sioux, is a smart player who also plays a strong defensive game. He is very physical and has a knack for jamming up passing and shooting lanes. Watch for him to put up big numbers on this potent Sioux team. To cap things off, my wife also recently declared him her new favorite hockey player. Where have you gone Mike Peca?

A Q and A with Vande Velde can be found here.

News You Can Use Late in the Day:

-The Philadelphia Flyers have signed All-Star hopeful Rory Fitzpatrick. Vote Rory!

Carey Price and Kyle Chipchura get their first taste of action tonight.

-The Gretzky’s are holding a garage sale.

-Attendance woes in Detroit continue.

-I meant to post this yesterday and forgot. The Ducks have demoted Bobby Ryan.

Eric Duhatschek sees Paul Stastny as the best American NHL’er. On that note, the transcript of a conference call with Stastny.

Nike a victim of hockey’s declining popularity in the US. Hockey Rants weighs in on the issue and notes that Rbk is making some of the same mistakes.

-The Capitals are confident that they can reach the playoffs, but aren’t resting on their early season laurels.

Cam Ward dropped 24 pounds in the off-season and is off to a good start.

Taking Note observes that Wild prospect Colton Gillies had 5 point night versus the Regina Pats. Coach Lemaire will not be happy that he is scoring more than 1 goal per game. Thats not Wild hockey.

On Frozen Blog writes that Capitals prospect Jeff Schultz has been sent down to Hershey.

-Lightning defender Brad Lukowich has his own record company.

-There are two Chris Chelios’.

-Interesting story out of Pittsburgh about the longest serving member of each team.

-The Edmonton Oilers have recalled JF Jacques from Springfield. Either a trade is looming or they need someone to play 3 minutes a night.

Patrik Stefan has retired from the NHL.

-Note this video of David Koci getting the decision in this fight with Derek Boogaard.

-The Canadian Federal government has ponied up $400,000 for the World Pond Hockey Championships in New Brunswick.

-The Flames hope to forget last year’s dismal road record.

-A good story on an atom team in Toronto with some famous names on the jerseys.

-NHL Players will lose 9.5 percent of their cheques to an escrow payment this year.

-The Flames called up a goalie from Mount Royal College to help out in college. Note that he bested Kiprusoff in the scrimmage.

Ex-Bruins doing ok in LA.

Martin Havlat will be out at least a month in the best case scenario.

-A little puff piece on Nik Lidstrom.

Stan Fischler wonders who will replace Sean Avery.

-The Coyotes’ Josh Gratton is still a week away from action.

Jose Theodore should be activated by this Friday, as backup Tyler Weiman has already been demoted.

-Oiler Blogger Lowetide with an update on former and current Oiler prospects drafted between 1999 and 2003.

Power Rankings from the CBC.

For Illegal Curve, I’m Kyle Kosior