Prospect Ramblings – Canada/Russia Series Notes (Nov 13 2016)

Hayden Soboleski

2016-11-13

Recapping the CIBC Canada vs Russia series so far in this Sunday Ramblings…

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Though often overshadowed by the many NHL storylines ongoing right now, the annual series pitting Team Russia against Teams WHL, OHL, and QMJHL (in that order this year) has begun. This is an excellent opportuntity for young prospects to stand out among the best of their peers, and for viewers who are usually limited to North America to see the talent Russia has to offer.

 

Games against the WHL all-stars have finished with the squads earning one win apiece, while in one game so far the Russians have bested the best of the OHL. The schedule for the remaining games:

  • OHL vs Rus: Nov 14
  • Rus vs QMJHL: Nov 15
  • QMJHL vs Rus: Nov 17

 

Now, for a few series notes:

 

  • The biggest news leading up to the tournament – the absence of Nolan Patrick. The projected #1 pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has been sidelined with an upper-body injury and decided to play it safe and sit out the WHL games. Bad news for fans but I dont think anyone predicts this will hinder his draft stock.

 

  • Carter Hart (PHI) definitely had the better showing of the WHL goaltenders, stopping 33 of 34 shots in his start. To be fair, the team in front of him was likely playing a little harder after dropping Game 1, but that loss is more than partially on the shoulders of Connor Ingram (TBL), who let in three goals in his start (one terrible, two tough but very stoppable). 

 

  • Sam Steel (ANH) may not have racked up the most points, but he brought a dominant game to the series and stood out as a dangerous player. Anaheim found a gem with this late 2016 first-rounder who is currently second in the WHL points race.

 

  • Team Russia can shoot. Nearly every player on the team put shots on goal in every game so far, and can do it through screens just fine.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Team Russia takes Game 1 of the <a href="https://twitter.com/cibc">@cibc</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CANvsRUS?src=hash">#CANvsRUS</a> Series. <a href="https://t.co/Ippr9sG0UB">https://t.co/Ippr9sG0UB</a></p>&mdash; Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) <a href="https://twitter.com/Sportsnet/status/795866480436838400">November 8, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

  • After being near-invisible in Game 1, Tyler Benson (EDM) broke out for three points in Game 2. This somewhat sums up his junior play so far – flashes of a very complete player who can change a game, but not every night. 

 

  • 2017 Draft Eligible Klim Kostin impressed in Game 1, was quieter in Game 2, but did show why he's projected to be picked in the top half of the first round next spring. He isn't bothered by physical play and steps away from stereotypical Russian style.

 

  • Team Russia doesn't like losing. This brawl at the end of Game 2 showed some fire that carried over into Game 3 against Team OHL. Game 3 was a much more physical affair, and the Russians did well to stick to their guns despite losing the hitting game. They had the last laugh thanks to two goals by German Rubstov (PHI). In what might be a BIG deal for the QMJHL – there are rumors surfacing that Rubstov may be trying to move to North America to play in the Quebec league for the remainder of this season. I'm jealous of East-coast scouts if this turns out to be true.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Some beautiful patience in tight from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flyers?src=hash">#Flyers</a> prospect German Rubtsov, who was outstanding tonight. <a href="https://t.co/5QbY0cPD1Y">pic.twitter.com/5QbY0cPD1Y</a></p>&mdash; Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) <a href="https://twitter.com/scottcwheeler/status/796912778921517056">November 11, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

 

  • Top 2017 Draft -eligible prospect Owen Tippett got to stand out with some powerplay success, but Gabe Vilardi is surely hoping to be more noticeable in Game 4.

 

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PROSPECT TRANSACTION NEWS:

  • After much fuss about sending their once highly-revered prospect to the AHL, Jake Virtanen has been recalled back to the Canucks. Let's hope he sees enough ice time to actually learn the NHL game

 

  • AJ Greer has been recalled by the Avalanche in wake of a potential Duchene injury. Greer is tearing up the AHL as a rookie and has earned this call-up by pissing off every team he's played against.

 

  • Garnet Hathaway has been called up by Calgary. Not much to see here other than some hits but his hard-working nature could earn him favorable status on a team looking for positives right now. 

 

  • Florida claimed Seth Griffith off waivers from Toronto (previously claimed from Boston). In the right situation, he could be the next Marchessault. I've been impressed when I watch him, albeit in limited ice time.

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In good news for hockey fans, especially those with a love for prospects, 2016-17 may become the season of the prospects podcasts. Our very own DobberProspects Radio has you covered with a fantasy perspective, while Sportsnet's Jeff Marek is bringing us The Prospect Project 2017, a great look at top-end players who will become franchise's top building blocks in the future. And of course, as a lifelong fan, I'm extremely happy to be able to listen to Bob McKenzie on his very own show, even if its less focused on prospects than we are here on the site.

Links:

DobberProspects Radio

Prospect Project 2017 

TSN Bobcast

 

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As always, thanks for reading and best of luck in your fantasy leagues of all sorts. 

Hayden Soboleski

@soboleskih

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATEST PROFILE UPDATES

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