Monday, March 10th
Jumping on to give our readers a quick update on some prospects trending in the hockey world.
Biggest news in the prospect world today, the long awaited wait for Washington Capitals’ prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov’s debut has arrived. He will play versus the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night. Twitterverse is beyond excited for his debut but I caution people. Yes, Kuznetsov is a high-end prospect. Yes, he’s extremely skilled. But, Kuznetsov, 21, is likely to be eased into the lineup. He is starting on the fourth line with Jay Beagle and Tom Wilson.
“He hasn’t taken part in a full practice or been truly immersed in the system or NHL style of game.”
“I think it makes sense to start him on that line no matter what in fairness to the other guys. Obviously everybody’s excited to see him for all the reasons that you guys know but for the team he’s got to earn his stripes,” Oates said. “I think starting him there — he’s into the team, the system and not put him in a situation where he might make a mistake right off the hop and get off on the wrong foot. I think it makes sense to do it that way.”
Have patience with Kuznetsov owners as he’s entering a new country and has had very little time to acclimate himself to the game in North America.
Friday evening, I travelled to Sarnia to take in the Sting-Greyhounds game. Disappointed that the Greyhounds scratched Darnell Nurse (EDM), Tyler Gaudet (PHX) and Michael Bunting (2014 NHL Draft prospect) to give them rest heading to the postseason, I quickly forgot all about these lineup omissions. Why? Because this unbelievable goal came next….
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>Absolutely FILTHY goal scored by <a href=”https://twitter.com/OHLHoundPower”>@OHLHoundPower</a> Sergey Tolchinsky! Wow. Unbelievable. Goal of the year in hockey this year. Called it!</p>— Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RossyYoungblood/statuses/442104651979051009″>March 8, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
If you don’t remember, Sergey Tolchinsky went undrafted last season and after becoming a standout at the Carolina Hurricanes camp, he inked a deal with the team. Tolchinsky’s gifted hands, out-of-this-world puck creativity and constant one-on-one attacks were outstanding Friday night. He finished with two goals and three points in Sault Ste. Marie’s 7-0 win over the Sarnia Sting earning first star honours (obviously). The next night versus Windsor, Tolchinsky picked up four points. He’s small but after forcing the Hurricanes’ hand last Fall, I wouldn’t bet against this player.
2013-14 OHL Stat Line: 65GP-30G-88P (9th in OHL)
Speaking of gifted OHL puck handlers, Nikolay Goldobin continues to trend upwards for me heading towards the 2014 NHL Draft. I ranked the young Russian 17th in my latest rankings (found here… 2014 NHL Entry Draft Guide) but something tells me that he’s going to be great and will likely move up in my next release. He’s improved defensively and more importantly, he’s not a perimeter player like he used to be.
NHL Central Scouting’s number one ranked North American forward, Sam Bennett, isn’t exactly in the OHL’s good books as he sits out of game action awaiting a potential suspension for a high sticking infraction last Thursday.
The 2014 NHL Draft class continues to challenge me with a pack of prospects grouped very tightly at the top and then again through the middle of the draft. I’ve been studying notes, videos and reports hard and I think eventually I will have to go with my gut on which players will become the top NHLers. Seems obvious but I usually like to substantiate my hunches. If I were drafting right now, Sam Reinhart would be my top choice. Michael Dal Colle has been high on my list for quite some time and I think he’s going to surge as an NHL youngster. He hasn’t begun to tap into his potential and has been outstanding in every viewing this season and he’s RIGHT there with Bennett, Draisaitl, Ehlers and Ritchie). It’s hard to knock Ekblad down the list but I am starting to think he may be closer to his upside with the early development in his game. Worth noting, Prince Albert’s Leon Draisaitl has really turned on his game following a disappointing WJC showing with Germany….
<blockquoteclass=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>In the <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23WHL&src=hash”>#WHL</a>, Leon Draisaitland Sam Reinhart are tied at 97 points a piece (at this moment in time) to lead ‘Dub’ <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%232014NHLDraft&src=hash”>#2014NHLDraft</a> eligibles</p>— Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RossyYoungblood/statuses/442504550851686400″>March 9, 2014</a></blockquote> <script asyncsrc=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
I am just spit balling here but my top 10 as of today would go…
- Sam Reinhart (Kootenay Ice, WHL)
- Aaron Ekblad (Barrie Colts, OHL)
- Sam Bennett (Kingston Frontenacs, OHL)
- Michael Dal Colle (Oshawa Generals, OHL)
- Leon Draisaitl (Prince Albert Raiders, WHL)
- Nikolaj Ehlers (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL)
- Nick Ritchie (Peterborough Petes, OHL)
- Michael Nylander (Sodertalje, SWE)
- Jake Virtanen (Calgary Hitmen, WHL)
- Brendan Perlini (Niagara Ice Dogs, OHL)
There’s a case to be made for flipping any of these top 8 players, in my opinion, and this could all change within a few days. It’s that close.
Tampa Bay Lightning 2012 1st round selection, Slater Koekkoek, will miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. This is the third season in a row that Koekkoek’s season has been ended by a shoulder injury. Starting to get a bit concerning although the injured shoulder isn’t the same one he had repaired last season.
CanucksArmy takes a look at 2013 1st rounder Bo Horvat and what’s a reasonable expectation for the youngster.
Bo Horvat will, by all accounts, be an NHL player. He’s a very good CHL’er and possesses a skill set that is fawned over by NHL GMs. When prognosticating these sorts of things, though, we need to evaluate what the most likely outcome is moving forward. For Horvat, the most likely route his career takes sees him topping out as a decent 3rd line C, scoring in the mid-40s in points just once or twice, and finishing his career having played for 4 or 5 different teams.
All in all, Bo Horvat simply is not a player you build your future around, and is certainly not a player you draft with the 9th overall pick when there are players available that are clearly better bets to become impact pros – players like Valeri Nichushkin and Max Domi
Agree or disagree?
Too much sad news in the prospect world these days. Last week, Montreal prospect Tim Bozon was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis and is still battling the illness. For those who aren’t familiar with meningitisl, prognosis is usually very poor with potential complications including brain damage, hearing loss and learning disabilities. Keep Bozon in your prayers.
Further bad news has come to fruition in the OHL with reports that Saginaw Spirit forward Terry Trafford has gone missing and hasn’t been seen since March 3rd. Here’s hoping that Terry Trafford is safe and arrives home soon. Video of his parents on Sportsnet. Tough to watch.
The Sarnia Sting have, for a lack of a better word, clinched the 1st overall selection in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection Draft with an opportunity to add potential franchise defenceman Jakob Chychrun. There has been some speculation that Sarnia could opt to select sniper forward Adam Mascherin instead as he would provide the Sting with upwards of four years of service rather than Chychrun’s two years, as most believe he won’t require four years of OHL experience.
This would be quite the feat for Bruins defenceman Torey Krug…
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>4 more goals & Torey Krug can tie the Boston Bruins record for a rookie defenseman. Set in 1979-80 by…you guessed it- Ray Bourque</p>— Kirk Luedeke (@kluedeke29) <a href=”https://twitter.com/kluedeke29/statuses/442990118370951168″>March 10, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Thanks for reading folks,