Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
Hopping on to pass on some prospect news that may, or may not, be interesting to our readers. It interests me greatly so I am sure you will be excited as well.
Over the past weekend, the prospect competition was in full force as Canadian and American teams evaluated their players in preparation of the upcoming Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Tournament expected to start in the upcoming week. Now, these players are not yet drafted into the NHL but you will certainly be hearing these names at DobberProspects and DobberHockey over the course of the next year as they will be front and center in the VERY deep draft class of 2013.
Personally, I was pretty disappointed that I could not make the trip to Mississauga to catch this camp live in action but other work commitments came first. However, the oft-criticized twitter verse did a magnificent job keeping me informed of how these draft-eligibles were performing. At the end of the day, Canada has an extremely talented team that hopes to stretch their success at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament to five-straight gold medals.
Former Maple Leaf and current Kingston Frontenac’s Head Coach Todd Gill is Canada’s bench boss for these top 1995-born players. Here is a look at the team with a few thoughts on players I have watched:
Nathan MacKinnon (F, QMJHL, Halifax) – projected 1st overall pick of 2013 NHL Draft will be Canada’s top player.
Jonathan Drouin (F, QMJHL, Halifax) – MacKinnon’s teammate in Halifax, Drouin has tremendous chemistry and is a lock to play with his Moosehead’s teammate. First round talent.
Anthony Duclair (F, QMJHL, Quebec) – His speed is an instant catalyst for offense and he’ll be a player surely to go safely inside the first round next year.
Yan-Pavel Laplante (F, QMJHL, PEI)
Jeremy Gregoire (F, QMJHL, Chicoutimi) – Gregoire is a player I am not overly familiar with, yet, but from scouts I’ve spoken to he is a player that can play a number of different roles and that will be a valuable asset.
Sam Reinhart (F, WHL, Kootenay) – Youngest brother to Max (Flames) and Griffin (Islanders), Sam is an extremely smart player and is one of the favourites for the 2014 NHL Draft. He was the WHL’s Rookie of the Year this past season notching 28 goals and 62 points.
Morgan Klimchuk (F, WHL, Regina)
Curtis Lazar (F, WHL, Edmonton) – As a 16-year-old, Lazar led his Edmonton Oil Kings’ team in scoring en route to a WHL Championship and Memorial Cup birth.
Ryan Kujawinski (F, OHL, Kingston) – The player that I’ve watched the most of is also probably one of the most improved of this bunch. Blessed with great size, skill and net drive, Kujawinski is an OHL star in the making. He took huge strides playing for Canada at last year’s U17 tournament in Windsor.
Max Domi (F, OHL, London) – Son of former Leaf Tie Domi, Max is much more skilled and should become a top 20 pick. He’s a bit individualistic at times but his puck skills are excellent.
Nick Ritchie (F, OHL, Peterborough) – Likely Canada’s second best player (behind MacKinnon) at camp, Nick Ritchie is the younger but more talented brother of Brett Ritchie (Dallas Stars). He brings size and skill to the forward corps and will be a tough player to play against as he hits everything in sight. 2014 Draft eligible.
Bo Horvat (F, OHL, London) – A personal favourite of mine for the 2013 draft, Horvat is capable of playing a defensive role to perfection but also displays dynamic offensive skills when put in that position. He’s considered a borderline first-round talent but I will GUARANTEE that he rises substantially up draft boards this season. He was Team Ontario’s captain and best forward at last year’s U17 tournament.
Nic Petan (F, WHL, Portland) – Skillful centre that should earn more offensive minutes as Sven Bartschi and company graduate from a deep Winterhawks roster.
Darnell Nurse (D, OHL, Sault Ste. Marie) – Big, mobile defenseman that has developed a ton over the course of a season was likely the most impressive defensemen at camp. First round talent.
Shea Theodore (D, WHL, Seattle) – Owns a tremendous hard accurate shot and stood out during the weekend camp as one of the better defenders.
Jordan Subban (D, OHL, Belleville) – Yep, another Subban brother and this one, Jordan, may be the most skilled in the entire family. He`s undersized but his puck skills are very good and he should be a first round pick next year.
Josh Morrissey (D, WHL, Prince Albert) – Talented two-way defenseman with first round potential, Morrissey is gifted with the puck on his stick and should be one of the best next WHL blueliners.
Madison Bowey (D,WHL, Kelowna)
Chris Bigras (D, OHL, Owen Sound) – Talented puck-moving defenseman that can also play a solid defensive game even though he’s a tad undersized. He has been one of the more impressive 95s that I have watched in the OHL and expect his draft stock to rise over the 2012-13 season.
Kayle Doetzel (D, WHL, Red Deer) – A bit of a surprise here beating out “exceptional” defenseman Aaron Ekblad for the 7th position but the big Ekblad only had a so-so camp and will be the only one eligible for this team next year.
Zachary Fucale (G, QMJHL, Halifax) – The third member of the Mooseheads team in Halifax is also Canada’s number one starting goalie and the projected top goalie of the 2013 draft class. He’s tremendously poised and could be that elite goalie the draft has lacked in the past few seasons.
Eric Comrie (G, WHL, Tri-City)
Good Luck Team Canada!
Furthermore, over the weekend, USA Hockey held their annual National Junior Evaluation Camp (used for WJC) evaluation camp in Lake Placid, NY and DobberProspects’ own Russ Bitely was live in attendance so look for a column from him soon. This team plays Notable players present were Habs’ 3rd overall selection Alex Galchenyuk, Winnipeg’s 9th overall Jacob Trouba, plus many many others – JT Miller (Rangers), Tyler Biggs (Maple Leafs), Stefan Noesen (Senators), goaltender Anthony Stolarz (Flyers), Stefan Matteau (Devils), Reid Boucher (Devils), Connor Murphy (Coyotes), Jordan Schmaltz (Blues), Garret Sparks (G, Maple Leafs), Mike Reilly (Blue Jackets)….the list goes on.
USA plays exhibition games using split squads (Blue and White) during their camp and yesterday’s featured a game between USA White and Team Sweden. Chris Peters does an excellent job covering this camp.
One prospect that impressed Peters was …
Mike Reilly (Blue Jackets) — Reilly may have scored his team’s only goal, but that’s not why he’s on this list. I had seen Reilly very little prior to this camp, and was a little skeptical in my first viewings. After watching him at this level, I think it’s pretty clear his 83 points in the BCHL were no joke. With elite skating ability and high-end puck skills, Reilly stood out the whole game. He created chances offensively and while he definitely freelances quite a bit, his speed allows him to make up ground quickly. He’ll need to have a responsible D partner, but there wasn’t a defenseman I saw in Monday’s games that were as creative or as threatening offensively as Reilly. He’s adequate in the D-zone, but a potential weapon offensively. If he can bring this same style to Minnesota in the first half, he could be in a top-four role with that skill-set. I haven’t seen too many U.S. defensemen play like Reilly. He’s certainly an exciting talent.
Lines for USA White:
Stefan Matteau – Travis Boyd – J.T. Miller
Blake Pietila – Cole Bardreau – Tyler Biggs
Jimmy Vesey – Alex Broadhurst – Logan Nelson
Vince Trocheck – Ryan Hartman
Scratched: Reid Boucher
Jake McCabe – Connor Murphy
Brian Cooper – Andy Welinski
Mike Reilly – Seth Jones
Joakim Ryan – Robbie Russo
Team Sweden rolled over USA White 5-1 with notable Swedish goals from Pontus Aberg (Predators), Mika Zibanejad (Senators) and Victor Rask (Hurricanes).
The other game was between USA Blue and Team Finland. Impressive in this game was…
Sean Kuraly (Sharks) — For the first two periods, I don’t think there was any question Kuraly was the best forward on the ice. He was creating chances with his size and speed and showed really good hands. He set up Lucia’s first goal by driving hard to the net and Lucia was able to drive home Kuraly’s rebound. I knew Kuraly was a good forward, but he looked better than any previous viewing as he’s put together a lot of his tools. His spot in camp is secure, and he’s made a statement in Lake Placid that he belongs in Ufa.
See link above for more impressive showings.
Lines for USA Blue:
John Gaudreau – Alex Galchenyuk – Colin Blackwell
Mario Lucia – Sean Kuraly – Noesen
Nic Kerdiles – Thomas Di Pauli – Brian Hart
Adam Reid – Steven Fogarty – Henrik Samuelsson
Garret Haar – Jacob Trouba
Brady Skjei – Shayne Gostisbehere
Jordan Schmaltz – Michael Paliotta
Patrick Sieloff – Connor Carrick
Lastly, Team Canada prepares for their Canada-Russia Jr Challenge to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series. This series begins Thursday with two games in Russia and then returns to Halifax, Canada for two games. All games will be televised on TSN or TSN2 and features hockey’s best prospects from Canada and Russia. See the Rambling archives for rosters…
Thanks for reading,