Prospect Ramblings: Memorial Cup, Calder Cup, NHL Combine and more

Peter Harling

2016-05-31

2016 Mem Cup Champs

The London Knights are the Memorial Cup Champions, The AHL Calder Cup Finals begin, and the scouting combine begins and more in this week’s ramblings…

Let’s start with the at the Memorial Cup where Mitch Marner and his line with Christian Dvorak and Matthew Tkachuk were absolutely dominant scoring a combined 34 points in four games. Marner simply dominated the entire CHL all season winning just about anything he possibly could including major hardware such as MVP for the OHL, OHL playoffs, CHL and the Memorial Cup. The last player to achieve this was Brad Richards back in 2000.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OHL?src=hash">#OHL</a> History by Mitch Marner:<br>Red Tilson Trophy<br>Wayne Gretzky 99 Award<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CHL?src=hash">#CHL</a> Player of the Year<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MCMemorialCup?src=hash">#MCMemorialCup</a> MVP <a href="https://t.co/cYAyWBKrA7">pic.twitter.com/cYAyWBKrA7</a></p>&mdash; OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) <a href="https://twitter.com/OHLHockey/status/737697931545972736">May 31, 2016</a></blockquote>

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ICYMI Paul Zwambag wrote a nice piece in his ramblings regarding Marner being NHL bound or back to junior, read it here. There is good debate regarding where Marner should play next season. Perhaps the Leafs split his time. I can see a scenario where he dominates in training camp and preseason and that carries over into the regular season. I can also see him slowing down at the quarter mark of the season and struggling to hold onto a top six role. Should that occur, the Leafs could simply loan him to Canada for the World Junior Championship and return him to London for the second half of the season for another playoff and Memorial Cup run with the Knights. It is not unprecedented as that happened recently with prospects such as Leon Draisaitl and Anthony Duclair.

Other players who were standouts at the Memorial Cup include the Sharks Timo Meier who scored a goal a game pace with five goals and eight points in five games. Meier has the size and strength to allow him to step into the NHL full time next season and possibly even join the San Jose Sharks at the Stanley Cup finals on their black aces taxi squad. Carolina Hurricanes prospect Haydn Fleury had a strong tournament scoring five points in his four games. Fleury and Meier were the only non Knights players named to the Memorial Cup All-Star Team, joining Marner, Dvorak and 2016 draft eligible prospects Olli Juolevi and Tyler Parsons. Dobber Prospects Edmonton writer Zach Laing was at the Memorial Cup and will have a feature on the Tournament tomorrow.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MCMemorialCup?src=hash">#MCMemorialCup</a> All-Star Team:<br>G – <a href="https://twitter.com/Tylerparsons22">@Tylerparsons22</a><br>D – <a href="https://twitter.com/OlliJuolevi">@OlliJuolevi</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/fleury96">@fleury96</a><br>F – <a href="https://twitter.com/Marner93">@Marner93</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/10_CD">@10_CD</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/MeierTimo">@MeierTimo</a> <a href="https://t.co/ESjH0g0oEv">pic.twitter.com/ESjH0g0oEv</a></p>&mdash; CanadianHockeyLeague (@CHLHockey) <a href="https://twitter.com/CHLHockey/status/737397180961427456">May 30, 2016</a></blockquote>

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Connor Bleackley only managed two assists in his four games but the former first round pick of the Colorado Avalanche made an impact in games and at times controlled the play. Bleackley headlines a list of players who if remain unsigned by the end of the day will be entered back into the draft. Bleackley was recently traded to the Arizona Coyotes in the Mikkel Boedker trade knowing they were not going to sign him. If the Coyotes do not sign Bleackley they will be awarded a compensatory second round pick and he will go into the 2016 draft. Cap Friendly posted this tweet with a complete list.

Source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The following is a list of players from the 2014 Draft class who's clubs will lose them on June 1st if not signed. <a href="https://t.co/Rr7Eb8wcq4">pic.twitter.com/Rr7Eb8wcq4</a></p>&mdash; CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) <a href="https://twitter.com/CapFriendly/status/735938995822202880">May 26, 2016</a></blockquote>

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Bleackley is the only significant name on the list but some other names I noticed who could be of interest include 2014 Memorial Cup star Edgars Kulda, 2015 Memorial Cup winner Matthew Mistele as well as Elivs Merzlikins, Alexis Vanier, Ryan Mantha, Aaron Haydon, and Jacob Middleton.

***

The AHL Calder Cup Finals are set to begin June first between the Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) and the Lake Erie Monsters (Columbus Blue Jackests).

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">AHL announces complete  schedule for the 2016 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CalderCup?src=hash">#CalderCup</a> Finals→ <a href="https://t.co/qrznb62oDb">https://t.co/qrznb62oDb</a> <a href="https://t.co/5r4AKjYsVF">pic.twitter.com/5r4AKjYsVF</a></p>&mdash; AHL (@TheAHL) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheAHL/status/737644873982087168">May 31, 2016</a></blockquote>

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The series features some prominent prospects from each side including Jakub Vrana who has 13 points in 17 games for the Bears. Promising prospect Madison Bowey is also having a strong rookie season and is playing a prominent role for the Bears. They are two sure-fire NHL prospects who will be fantasy contributors in Washington in the very near future. Players to watch on Lake Erie include Zach Werenski who recently made the jump to pro after dominating the NCAA. In the final seven regular season games Werenski only managed one goal, but in the post season he has four goals and 11 points in 13 games. Werenski should be a contributor in the NHL for the Blue Jackets next season. Josh Anderson, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Sonny Milano all had brief looks in the NHL this year and will look to make the jump full time next year on the strength of their strong post season play. You can watch all the Calder Cup Final games online for free, see here for details.

***

The 2016 NHL Scouting Combine begins today in Buffalo and 114 draft eligible prospects have been invited. The top prospects are put through several fitness and conditioning drills as well as subjected to a series of interviews with team management and scouting staff. While the combine probably does not influence teams draft rankings drastically, it can be a deciding factor in how aggressively they want to pursue a player or not. The interview process is the most influential component of the combine.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">114 draft–eligible players are expected to attend 2016 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHLCombine?src=hash">#NHLCombine</a>, which runs through Saturday in Buffalo. Details: <a href="https://t.co/Q56LcQwdpl">https://t.co/Q56LcQwdpl</a></p>&mdash; NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) <a href="https://twitter.com/PR_NHL/status/737342979921313796">May 30, 2016</a></blockquote>

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The Tweet above links to the full list of invited prospects for the combine.

***

Some news and rumor tid bits…I mentioned in a prospect ramblings a few weeks ago that Boston Bruins prospect Alex Khokhlachev was unhappy with his use and opportunity provided by the Bruins and as a Restricted Free Agent was considering signing in the KHL.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The scuttlebutt in Russia is that disgruntled center Alex Khokhlachev will be signing with a KHL team on July 1 <a href="https://t.co/CZyX1cnP2f">https://t.co/CZyX1cnP2f</a></p>&mdash; Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) <a href="https://twitter.com/HackswithHaggs/status/737731281253961732">May 31, 2016</a></blockquote>
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While it is not confirmed officially that he has signed with SKA in the KHL because it cant officially occur until July first, it sounds like a done deal. The Bruins may look to move his rights before then and allow another team the opportunity to convince him to sign.

Another Russian free agent rumored to be signing in North America soon is forward Roman Lyubimov. The 6-2, 207 pound forward did not post impressive numbers in the KHL this season with seven goals and 14 points in 52 games, but impressed NHL GMs at the World Championship scoring four goals and eight points in 10 games.

The Toronto Maple Leafs invited under sized QMJHL offensive defenceman Nikolas Brouillard to their rookie camp last year and were impressed, but an injury may have cost him a contract. The Leafs were up against the 50 contract limit, but with Mark Arcobello signing in Bern today, the Leafs signed Brouillard to an AHL contract. Brouillard is small at 5-10 and 170 pounds which is why he went undrafted, but he has proven to be an effective offensive defenceman posting 17 goals and 59 points in 54 games split between Quebec and Rouyn-Noranda this year. He has been the leading goal scoring defenceman in the QMJHL for the past two years and his career totals of 259 points in 312 games are impressive. The 21 year old has had back-to-back trips to the Memorial Cup in the past two seasons and posted two points in five games both times. Look for Brouillard to replace TJ Brennan as the Marlies offensive defenceman and power play quarterback next year and put him on your watch list as he has the opportunity to earn a NHL contract out of his AHL deal the way Rich Clune and Byron Froese have done.

{Source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Here is Perron’s assist, he set up Nikolas Brouillard for a massive slap shot for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RNHuskies?src=hash">#RNHuskies</a> 3rd goal. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sens?src=hash">#Sens</a>  <a href="https://t.co/9f81bUqHaZ">https://t.co/9f81bUqHaZ</a></p>&mdash; Kathryn Jean (@msconduct) <a href="https://twitter.com/msconduct/status/736547607883972608">May 28, 2016</a></blockquote>

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June 1st is the release date for the 10th annual Dobber Prospects Fantasy Hockey Report. It is a must own guide for the hard core fantasy hockey players and prospect enthusiasts. It includes 12-18 fantasy-worthy prospects from each team, their upsides, their ETA for the NHL, and the 3YP stat – jam packed with info, includes fantasy hockey profiles for 2016 draftees. Be sure to get your copy in the DobberHockey shop today!

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LATEST PROFILE UPDATES

Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Joshua Ho-Sang 6.8 5.0
Tim Stuetzle 9.5 9.9
Filip Chlapik 5.0 7.5
Jayce Hawryluk 5.8 7.0
Timothy Liljegren 7.0 8.5
Rasmus Sandin 7.5 9.5
Klim Kostin 7.5 7.0
Ty Emberson 4.0 3.0
Matias Maccelli 7.5 5.5
Tyler Lewington 3.0 3.0

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