Super Series ramblings, games one
Welcome to the latest edition of the ramblings, and my first in quite some time. I’ve been busy with my full-time job, video/stats coaching job, sports and everything else that we all have to deal with. My list has a new entry that I’ll reveal in tomorrow’s; feel free to guess, but suffice to say that I’ve started seeking something, and it’s going golden!
Starting with Dobber’s quick blurb yesterday, we should have a new ramblings up for at least four days this week, so make sure you stay tuned in! Today will be on the first two days of the Super Series, then I’ll be back again tomorrow with the rest of the prospect world, and then Brendan will be recapping the Super Series.
These were written before game two of the super series. I will add my thoughts on game two, either as an addendum later today or I’ll put them in with tomorrow’s ramblings.
The most significant current event in the prospect world right now, other than the regularly stupefying displays of talent by Eichel and McDavid (and now McDavid’s broken hand), is the Subway Super Series. I wasn’t able to watch it personally, but it seems that the 3-2 Russian game one win was not indicative of the final score. Russia’s goalie, Ranger’s prospect Igor Shestyorkin (aka Shesterkin, because it seems “yor” is too weird for us North Americans), kept them in the game despite him facing 21 more shots than his Canadian counterpart Eric Comrie. I guess that Russia must be even colder than Canada, as Shestyorkin was promptly pulled before the shootout. Hindsight made it look genius as Russia prevailed in an 11 round slugfest (puckfest?).
Regardless of the pull, many anoited Shester(yor)kin as Russia’s best player. That can happen when the other team always has the puck and the knob of your stick makes a save, but some excellent glove saves showed real flashes of his potential. I don’t recommend drafting him unless you can wait years and years and years, but if you can sign him and possibly flip him after the World Juniors, do it. From what I can gather, he will be battling Ilya Sorokin (another Rangers prospect!) for Russia’s starting job. A dominant performance at the WJC can help you cash in on your lottery ticket before finding out if it really is a winner, and that makes these two better than your average lottery ticket. See: Andrei Vasilevskiy.
While the Super Series is a minor point of Canadian pride as well as team pride (as far as who makes the Canadian teams), and a source of entertaining hockey, the real value to us poolies is seeing Russian players against the better known Canadian prospects. Many of these prospects play in the KHL or one of its junior leagues so, along with the World Juniors, this is a rare chance to evaluate them with our own eyes.
One Russian to stand out was Ivan Provorov, the game’s only 17 year old. Almost every article about the 6’0, 200lb defensemen mention the poise he plays with, and by all accounts that was on full display last night. His frame, defensive poise and point-per-game WHL stats are putting him on the map as a mid first round pick. As far as fantasy value goes, he has close to zero defect risk, crossing the pond at a young age, and his mix of reliability and offensive prowess could make a good investment. As usual, don’t expect significant production until he gets to age ~22.
From our very own Brendan Ross, Russia’s NHL drafted players:
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>NHL drafted players – Shesterkin (NYR), Rafikov (CGY), Valiev (TOR), Kroskovsky (WPG), Tolchinsky (CAR), Barbashev (STL), Scherbak (MTL)</p>— Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RossyYoungblood/status/531832531356643328″>November 10, 2014</a></blockquote>
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On the other side of the ice, and the pond, Canuck prospect Jake Virtanen had a head injury scare but came back to lay a Russian out, and then scored a goal for good measure. Virtanen has only played seven games for his Junior club the Hitman, but he has reversed last year’s trend by posting twice as many assists as goals at four to two.
The line of Greg Chase (EDM), Jayce Hawryluk (FLA) and John Quenneville (NJ) seemed to click, and all three looked good against the Russians. Chase may have been venting some frustration after asking for a trade from the Hitmen. Both sides seem optimistic that something will be resolved quickly, and I would hesitate before condemning either the player or the organization. Both Hawrlyuk and Quenneville have upped their scoring paces from their draft year and sit at ~1.5 points per game. Information in a player’s draft+1 year can be hugely valuable in projecting prospects. Draft position is imperfect information, and while no prospect gets better linearly, there are a lot of busts every year and the path to bustville starts in your draft+1 year. Luckily for their owners, both seem to be progressing nicely.
McDavid highlights, just an average game for him: