Thursday, August 16th
Plenty of solid prospect action has been occurring over the past few weeks and I’m here with updates.
Chris Peters has his final wrap-up of the USA National Evaluation Junior Camp and features his top performers. Tyler Biggs (Maple Leafs) finished second in USA scoring over the camp with four goals and seven points in six games. The top scorer was Sean Kuraly (San Jose Sharks, 5th round in 2011) with six goals and nine points in 5 games – keep an eye on him. Kuraly owns good size (6’2”) and tallied 70 points in 58 games for the USHL’s Indiana Ice. Other notable performers at the USA NEJC were Alex Galchenyuk (Canadiens), John Gibson (Ducks), Stefan Noesen (Senators), J.T. Miller (Rangers), Nic Kerdiles (Ducks), Jacob Trouba (Jets), Seth Jones (2013 consensus top 3 pick), John Gaudreau (Flames), Matt Grzelcyk (Bruins)…among many many others. Peters talks about each of them and projects an early Team USA Roster (I’ve inserted the teams the players have been drafted by).
Gaudreau (Flames) – Galchenyuk (Habs) – Miller (Rangers)
Lucia (Wild) – Kuraly (Sharks) – Noesen (Senators)
Kerdiles (Ducks) – Trocheck (Panthers) – Biggs (Maple Leafs)
Pietila (Devils) – Fogarty (Rangers) – Hartman (2013)
On the bubble: Bardreau (undrafted), Boyd (Capitals0
Reilly (Blue Jackets) – Jones (2013)
Gostisbehere (Flyers) – Trouba (Jets)
Skjei (Rangers) – Murphy (Coyotes)
On the Bubble: Grzelcyk (Bruins), Haar (Capitals), Sieloff (Flames)
Sparks (Maple Leafs)
On the Bubble: Stolarz (Flyers)
Here you go Montreal fans…(from Peters)
Alex Galchenyuk — It wasn’t an overwhelmingly great camp for Galchenyuk. That said, considering the situation, he performed well. With only eight games played last season, a long rehab of a serious injury and no game action between April and August, there’s a lot to be said for how he played. Galchenyuk undoubtedly is a key for this team to have success. Once he gets back into the routine of practicing and playing regularly, he’s going to get back to the level everyone knows he can be at. You could see the flashes of skill and creativity that made him the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. The best thing is that Galchenyuk got better as the camp went on, with his last game being his best, so that’s a really positive sign. Once he gets back to game speed, and keeps getting stronger, he’s going to be a tough guy to play against.
2012 Canada-Russia Challenge
As you probably know, Canada and Russia split the four game series with a two wins a piece and an overtime was needed to decide the winner. Ryan Strome lifted Canada to victory less than five-minutes into the extra frame with a nice shot beating Lightning prospect goaltender Andrei Vasilevski.
Rather than waste too much text with an explanation of the purpose and participants of this tournament, I will direct you to three articles I recently wrote highlighting those prospects that left impressions on me. I speak on Yakupov, Huberdeau, Strome, Scheifele, Hamilton, Ryan Murray, Ryan Murphy, Malcolm Subban, Mikhail Grigorenko…the list goes on and on.
2012 Canada-Russia Challenge: Game One in the Books (Thoughts and reaction from Game One)
Malcolm Subban, CANADA (Boston Bruins, 23rd in 2012) – It was not surprising to see Malcolm Subban rated as a top 10 selection by some experts entering the 2012 draft as he was simply fantastic in game one. Neither Russian goal can be faulted to Subban’s play but he was the difference maker in the outcome today outplaying fellow first-rounder Andrei Vasilevski of Russia in goal. Subban made 19 saves en route to being named the player of the game.
Final Impressions from the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge (Recaps Canadian players as well as some impressive Russians)
4. Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs, 5th in 2011) – After a shortened WHL season due to injury, Morgan Rielly donned the red and white to prove that his talents were worthy of a lottery pick and that’s exactly what he did. As with most young defensemen, Rielly will continue to work on his defensive game but at this point he shows that he’s capable and at least being on-par with his peers in that area. On the attack, Rielly dazzled with his rare ability to find open ice as his confidence with the puck allows for him to hold onto the puck long enough to open up lanes for attacking. His skating was his most impressive asset and that’s reassuring for a player that experienced a serious ACL injury. Morgan Rielly will be one of Canada’s top defensemen at the upcoming 2013 World Junior Championships as he’s a lock for this team.
Stat Line: 1G 3A
And…Please, definitely give this one a read as it’s fantasy based and found on the home page of DobberProspects…
Report Cards: Fantasy Relevant Players from the Canada-Russia Challenge
Here’s a teaser,
Mark Scheifele, C (Winnipeg Jets); CRC Grade: A+
Personally, I had some reservations about Mark Scheifele after last season. He was impressive during Jets camp and in the brief stint he had with the Winnipeg Jets to open the season. In a few live viewings last season, Scheifele was somewhat mediocre playing for the Barrie Colts. It’s possible that he had “off games” but he left me wanting more. My opinion changed drastically as soon as he stepped on the ice for this series. Scheifele looked bigger, stronger and played with great confidence. His finesse game was noticeable as his puck handling skills were immediately on display, feeding teammates with saucy passes and executing plays at top speed. In addition, Scheifele’s power game was evident as he used his frame to box out opponents, creating space and then driving hard to the net. His intensity was a bonus as well.
Final thoughts on #CanRus2012, it was a tremendous mini-series as both Russia and Canada competed hard making for four very thrilling and entertaining games. I’d like to see some sort of prospect tournament between countries every August. In my opinion, it’s a much more telling evaluation seeing these kids in a competitive environment than holding their usual WJC summer evaluation camps.
2012 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament
Featured here are some of the top prospects for the 2013 and 2014 NHL Drafts.
Canada went undefeated in round robin play to finish first in Pool B and has advanced to the semi-finals. Projected first overall pick in 2013, Nathan MacKinnon recorded three points in the Canada’s opening game. MacKinnon currently has two goals and five points through three games.
Max Domi (2013), son of Tie Domi, then answered in the second game with a four-point effort (2G, 2A). The crafty Domi has two goals and three assists to this point.
A personal favourite of mine, Josh Morrissey (D) has been exceptionally strong in the first three games recording one goal and four assists to share the team scoring lead with Nathan MacKinnon. He’s a very poised two-way defender that does pretty much everything well – shot, pass, create offence, defends, and hits.
I am currently working on a preliminary ranking for these 2013 draft-eligibles and you will learn more when I release that (hopefully in the next week).
Surprisingly, Team USA went winless and will now play in the 7th place game on Friday against Slovakia. Adam Erne is the top name to watch from the American 2012 Ivan Hlinka squad leading up to the 2013 draft.
Russia was also eliminated from medal contention and will compete against Switzerland in the 5th place game. Russia was the favourite to challenge Canada after bring a very talented crop that won the Under-17 Hockey Challenge last year in Windsor, ON.
The first semi-final matchup features Sweden and Finland. In the second semi-final matchup, Canada faces off against the Czech Republic (the team that defeated Canada in exhibition play 6-4) Friday at 1 pm EST. Unfortunately, these games are not televised and are nearly impossible to find online.
The Gold Medal game takes place on Saturday (Times TBD)
Anthony Duclair (2013 draft eligible) scores for Canada at the Ivan Hlinka U18 Tournament:
Ryan Strome mimics the 1972 Paul Henderson scoring the series winning goal in overtime
Considered a top 5 pick for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Sean Monahan (one of only 2 draft eligible on Team Canada) scores:
Yakupov’s lone goal in the Canada-Russia Challenge was a beauty and very Yakupov-ish:
Thanks for reading,