Prospect Ramblings – Wednesday November 19th

Dean Youngblood



Subway Super Series player updates, a look at Team Canada’s potential World Junior squad and a look at a few of Rossy’s underrated prospects who are heating up…


Wednesday, November 19th


It’s an active time of the year for prospect news as injuries on NHL clubs result in minor league call-ups giving prospects a time to shine. Preparation for the highly anticipated 2015 IIHF World U20 Junior Hockey Championships is in full force as countries are identifying potential roster players. Specifically, we are in the middle of the SUBWAY® Super Series which is a six game series between the Russian All-Star squad and three CHL teams carrying top players from the WHL, OHL and QMJHL.


Let’s start with the Super Series. In a tournament that is traditionally dominated by the CHL (47-14-5 record coming into 2014), Russia took a 3-0 series lead after sweeping the WHL and owning the first OHL game 4-0. The OHL responded well on Monday night cruising to a 5-1 victory in Kingston and the QMJHL held off the Russians Tuesday night to make game six worth watching. Russia leads the series but the CHL can tie it with a win Thursday in Rimouski. With only one game remaining, let’s take a quick look at some prospects, drafted and undrafted, that have impressed.


Ivan Provorov (Brandon Wheat Kings, 2015 NHL Draft) – The WHL leader in defenseman goals (8), Ivan Provorov had a great showing in both Subway Super Series (SSS) games out west recording an assist in both games. An exception skater, Brandon Wheat Kings import blueliner owns some exciting offensive instincts and projects to be an intelligent and poised puck-moving defenseman. Provorov projects as a Top 30 pick.


Pavel Kraskovsky (Russia, Winnipeg Jets) – With a two goal, three point effort in the Brandon game, Jets’ 2014 6th round selection, Pavel Kraskovsky, was very good. He was buzzing all night and did an excellent job using his rangy 6-foot-4 frame to outmuscle opponents and fight to get into scoring lanes.


Rushan Rafikov (Russia, Calgary Flames) – Not particularly known for his offensive skills, Rafikov has done well to find his way onto the scoresheet posting one goal and three assists. The Flames’ 2013 7th rounder has maintained his low-maintenance smart hockey throughout the exhibition series and remains a defender Russia has leaned on for big shutdown minutes. Calgary appears to have got good value on Rafikov.


Vyacheslav Leshchenko (Russia) – An undrafted 1995-born forward, Leshchenko was a player who stood out for me. He’s terrific on the attack flashing quick feet and elusive agility, making him extremely difficult to check. He had a beautiful assist during last night’s QMJHL setting up defenseman Dmitry Yudin.


Igor Shestyorkin (Russia, New York Rangers) – Stood on his head in three of Russia’s first four games turning away 91 of the 93 shots fired at him. For a while there, it didn’t appear that any CHL skater would figure out how to get pucks past the Russian netminder. Shestyorkin allowed four goals in Tuesday’s game but it still appears Shestyorkin will serve as one of Russia’s WJC goaltenders. He plays an exciting style of goaltending and one that uses desperation saves. Now, who doesn’t love that?