Rossy’s Prospect Ramblings – Aug 13th




Monday, August 13th, 2012

You can check out my recaps from Game one of the Canada-Russia Challenge at The Hockey Writers (and also, The Hockey Guys). The former focuses more on some of the prospects that impressed me (Oilers’ Nail Yakupov, Jets’ Mark Scheifele, Bruins’ Malcolm Subban, Habs’ Charles Hudon, Blues’ Ty Rattie, among others) as well as some players who were somewhat disappointing (Islanders’ Ryan Strome, Panthers’ Jonathan Huberdeau and Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevski). Canada won game one 3-2 but followed up with a loss in game two 6-3.  Quick thoughts on game two:


–        Yakupov and Grigorenko were simply dominant creating scoring chances at will. Russia’s Kirill Kapustin (undrafted) netted a hat trick in the win.

–        Canada missed the size and puck possession of Mark Scheifele (ejected early) and Jonathan Huberdeau (took his turn as a scratch) in game two and seemed to be chasing the Russians around.

–        Ryan Strome played much better in Game 2 with increased minutes but I am still very skeptical of how his game (finesse with a lot of high risk taking) will translate to the NHL. Strome has exceptional vision but he is often way too cute with the puck and that leads to costly turnovers. He will never be a player relied on for his defensive game so he will have to crack the top six to become a fantasy asset. He reminds me a lot of Nazem Kadri. Both players are very skilled but I think each of them were selected a little too high in their drafts and as a result, they will have an uphill battle to meet those lofty expectations associated with that draft spot.

–        Phil Di Giuseppe (Hurricanes) got into the lineup for the first time in game two and he was very noticeable in limited minutes. His puck pursuit is something fun to watch and when he’s in possession of the puck he has a real knack for finding the open ice and teammates. Prior to the 2012 NHL Draft, I felt that Di Giuseppe was worthy of a first round pick and I still stand by that. The Canes got good value when he was selected in the second round.

–        Dougie Hamilton (Bruins) has logged big minutes in the opening two games and he’s had his good and bad moments. He’s playing tough minutes against Russia’s top players and has made some gaffs but, in my opinion, his impressive plays have outweighed the bad ones. Hamilton needs to make the Bruins roster this season or else he will just be wasting a year dominating the OHL again. He’s shown some underrated offensive skills on the blue line for Team Canada and while it looks awkward (because of his size), he always executes them well.

–        Ryan Murphy (Hurricanes) is a both a treat and nightmare to watch on defence. His puck-handling and rushing abilities are phenomenal but he just doesn’t know when to do it at the right times. In his defensive zone, he’s virtually useless as he’s usually caught out of position. Murphy almost stuck around in Carolina last season but he certainly has a lot of work to do in his defensive zone before earning minutes in the NHL. But man, he’s a wizard with the puck inside the offensive blue line!


Game 3 and 4 of the Canada-Russia Challenge takes place in Halifax, NS and gets underway tonight @ 6:30 pm EST (TSN). Tune in to watch these talented prospects. Scratches for tonight’s game have not been released yet but Lauren Brossoit (Calgary Flames) will get his 1st start of the series. In game 4 Tuesday, Coach Steve Spott will choose one of the three goaltenders to get their 2nd start. Depending on how well Lauren Brossoit plays tonight, I’d say it’s between him and Subban. Remember, this Canada-Russia Challenge is being used as Canada’s World Junior “summer evaluation camp” so these kids are playing for a spot on the 2013 WJC Team. Some of these players could be in the NHL (Huberdeau, Scheifele, Hamilton, etc) but they are leaving nothing to chance.


If you have questions about players or this series please comment below or send me a tweet (@Rossyyoungblood).



The USA National Evaluation Junior Camp is all complete and several players made an impact. All eyes were on Alex Galchenyuk (Canadiens’ 3rd overall selection) and he seemed to perform “okay”. He’s skating well but at the same time he’s shaking off the rust that