Prospects Ramblings: World Cup, CHL, NHL Training Camp

Peter Harling

2016-09-26

2016-wch

There is plenty happening in the hockey world to talk about, World Cup, CHL season, NHL training camp, All-American Top Prospects game, so let’s get to it.

Team North America is a roster composed of recent DobberProspects graduates and captured the imagination of the hockey world. The team played with speed and skill and were the most entertaining team to watch without exception. Loaded with elite skill and future superstars such as first overall picks Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Aaron Ekblad, Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the team was lead in scoring by Johnny Gaudreau and Shane Gostisbehere with four points in three games each.

There have been a lot of nice goals in the World Cup so far, and Team North America has scored a lot of them, but perhaps none more pretty than this one by MacKinnon

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/TeamEUR_WCH">@TeamEUR_WCH</a>, just do this and you should be fine. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WCH2016?src=hash">#WCH2016</a> <a href="https://t.co/Axcd98aNzf">pic.twitter.com/Axcd98aNzf</a></p>&mdash; Team North America (@TeamNA_WCH) <a href="https://twitter.com/TeamNA_WCH/status/780130140743462912">September 25, 2016</a></blockquote>

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One interesting development I noticed was how Auston Matthews who was not originally considered for this team played his way into contention with his strong performance for USA at the World Championship. Matthews was a late addition to that team and started as a spare forward. By the end of the tournament he was their best player. Similar situation at the World Cup where he played his way up the roster to a top six role on an NHL All-Star team, and he is yet to play an NHL game. Matthews finished the tournament with three points in three games. All season long the debate between Matthews or Patrik Laine for the first overall was a close battle and at times Laine looked like he may usurp Matthews who was ranked number one all season. Laine was held pointless in three games at the World Cup for Finland.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Auston Matthews stickhandling on his knees leading to <a href="https://twitter.com/TeamNA_WCH">@TeamNA_WCH</a> opening the scoring a minute in. <a href="https://t.co/bmi6CuDyML">pic.twitter.com/bmi6CuDyML</a></p>&mdash; Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) <a href="https://twitter.com/Sportsnet/status/778675117098278912">September 21, 2016</a></blockquote>

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Aaron Ekblad exited the tournament early after a hit from Leo Komarov. Ekblad has already had two concussions and I am not sure if this is his third, but he is skating in training camp in Florida.

A pair of Russian prospects that impressed are Ivan Telegin and Nikita Zaitsev. The Leafs may have found themselves a player when they signed Zaitsev as a free agent out of Russia. Zaitsev posted two assists and did not look outmatched playing against the best players in the world. Telegin has become an afterthought as a Winnipeg Jets prospect after he refused to play in the AHL and returned to the KHL. His play in North America didn’t warrant an NHL shot so he has been dismissed as relevant. Not so fast, Telegin scored three po