The Memorial Cup, Flyers, Calder Trophy and more…
Zach Hopkins here, your Flyers prospect scout and DobberHockey senior writer with another edition of Prospect Ramblings. It’s been a little while since I’ve been in the saddle but what a fine time to jump right in. This is definitely one of hockey’s most exciting times of the year! Without further ado…
Those who know me best know that I like to start my ramblings by incorporating the Flyers. With the 2015 NHL Draft just a few weeks away, I’m intrigued as to who the best available player on the Flyers board will be when the seventh pick comes around. I’ve been toying the notion that the club should select Lawson Crouse, who may be the top power forward in this year’s draft class. His skill set is unique and he has quite a bit of potential. There is just one hang-up I have, and that is whether or not new coach Dave Hakstol plans on using Michael Raffl at LW on the Claude Giroux line. If the answer is no, I’d rather see them select Mikko Rantanen or Pavel Zacha; I’d lean towards Rantanen.
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As I mentioned above, what an exciting time it is in the world of hockey. The Stanley Cup Final is in full force, the World Championships were intense and a blast to watch and one of my favorite tournaments, the Memorial Cup, just finished up as well. Congratulations are in store to this year’s CHL Champion Oshawa Generals! Forward Michael McCarron was phenomenal in the postseason after recording 68 points combined between the Generals and London Knights. My favorite General remains Islanders prospect Michael Dal Colle who had an equally impressive playoff run after recording his second straight 90-plus point season. Garth Snow made so many wrong moves for so many years. It’s refreshing to finally see him pull off some moves that should positively position the Isles for years to come.
A few high-profile prospects may have played in their finals junior games at this year’s Memorial Cup. Host team Quebec goaltender Zach Fucale ended a brilliant junior run albeit a more down-to-earth past few seasons. Regardless, he remains one my top-ranked goaltender prospects and the Canadians will be smart to empty whatever resources into his development as the heir to Carey Price’s throne. Flyers blueline prospect Samuel Morin played in the tournament for Rimouski, the QMJHL champions, and will likely be preparing to earn a job on the big club come October on what is shaping up to be a crowded back end. Who can forget Edmonton’s 2014 first rounder Leon Draisaitl, the MVP of the tournament playing for the WHL champion Kelowna Rockets after the Oilers foolishly burned the first year of his entry level contract. While all eyes will be on Connor McDavid in Edmonton, I will be curious to see how new coach Todd McLellan works to develop Draisaitl, a player with huge offensive potential.
As the NHL Awards season inches closer, I’m becoming undecided on who I think should win the Calder Trophy. Aaron Ekblad surpassed my expectations as a rookie, especially with the monkey on his back known as being the first overall pick. He never wavered and was Florida’s top defender. I still think the voting will be in favor of either Johnny Gaudreau or Mark Stone. While the Senators were hot down the stretch, I’m not sure they would have gotten into the position they were in had it not been for his clutch performances. My guy is saying as a result, Stone takes it.
I still can’t believe that Max Domi and Anthony Duclair are in the same organization. Imagine if Arizona selects London Knight Mitch Marner with their top pick. They would then have two superb prospects who already have chemistry with Domi. There remains the strong possibility that the Coyotes could take Dylan Strome but it should would be interesting to see Marner taken in that position.
Stone fires home OT winner – cluth
Some unbelievable footage of Fucale with Halifax