It may be summer outside, but its always hockey season in our hearts. There is ALWAYS hockey to be watching and this week we're lucky to have the World Junior Summer Showcase – the first chance of the season for youngsters to show off their talent in hopes of landing a spot to represent their country this winter.
The 2017 Showcase is being held in Plymouth, Michigan, so what better team to talk about first than the host country, USA? The squad has no shortage of talent and featuers some familiar names from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Jake Oettinger (DAL), Keith Petruzzelli (DET), Dylan St. Cyr (2018), Joseph Woll (TOR)
Mikey Anderson (LAK), Sean Day (NYR), Adam Fox (CGY), Max Gildon (FLA), Quinn Hughes (2018), Tyler Inomoto (FLA), Phil Kemp (EDM), Nate Knoepke (2018), Chad Krys (CHI), Ryan Lindgren (BOS), Luke Martin (CAR), Andrew Peeke (CBJ), Dylan Samberg (WPG)
Joey Anderson (NJD), Jack Badini (ANH), Evan Barratt (CHI), Kieffer Bellows (NYI), Logan Brown (OTT), Sasha Chmelevski (SJS), Logan Cockerill (NYI), Sean Dhooghe (2018), Trent Frederic (BOS), Max Gerlach (2018), Tim Gettinger (NYR), Patrick Harper (NSH), Max Jones (ANH), Patrick Khodorenko (2018), Will Lockwood (VAN), Ivan Lodnia (MIN), Grant Mismash (NSH), Casey Mittelstadt (BUF), Josh Norris (SJS), Ryan Poehling (MTL), Jason Robertson (DAL), Brady Tkachuk (2018), Riley Tufte (DAL), Oliver Wahlstrom (2018), Kailer Yamamoto (EDM)
USA is bringing the big guns to the tournament with names like Logan Brown and Casey Mittelstadt likely to drve the hype train. There's also a large number of 2018-eligible prospects making an appearance in the tournament, including notable name Brady Tkachuk – younger brother of Matt and son of Kieth. Given how fast matt made a name for himself in the NHL, there will be lots of spotlight on Brady to show equal grit and feistiness going into his draft year.
With a number of returning players from last year's gold medal roster, and 5 players that went inthe first round of the entry draft just a month ago, USA is looking like a force to be reckoned with.
DAY ONE RECAP
USA White (4) vs Finland (2)
– The expected goalie showcase: Oettinger vs Lukkonnen, the first two goalies off the board in the 2017 draft. The best goalie of the game: St Cyr, who played the second half of the game for USA and stopped 18-of-19 shots.
– Evan Barratt and Casey Mittelstadt combined for some nice goals in the contest. Barratt scored off a great feed from Casey, and returned the favor later by creating a turnover and getting the puck to a wide open Mittelstadt who finished the play off beautifully.
– Sloppy play led to most goals in the affair, but Finland's Janne Kuokkanen (CAR) made it look too easy when given time alone in front of the net.
– USA was the deeper team; almost every player managed a SOG whereas Finland relied a bit too heavily on Kuokkanen and Juuso Valimaki (CGY) who accounted for lmost half the team's shots.
Sweden (4) vs USA Blue (3)
– Joseph Woll stood his ground when bombarded on a number of occasions including on the penalty kill. He stopped 12-of-13 in his half of the match.
– What a shot by Dhoogie for his goal…teach me how to do that.
– Jesper Bratt (NJD) scored twice for Sweden, both using exceptionally soft hands in close.
– Liljegren (TOR) tallied a goal and an assist and continues to show why he was expected to go so much higher in the draft.
– Riley Tufte is looking bigger every time I see him, and if he can continue using that frame to his advantage I feel sorry for his defenders.
Stay tuned this week as we look at the other countries competing in this fun tournament.
As our July 31-in-31 series wraps up and you're officially up-to-date on your team's newest prospects via the Entry Draft, look forward to our August series which will provide full depth chart analysis of every NHL organizaiton. this is the meaty analysis that makes you a fantasy guru and a number-one fan, and we can't wait to get this content out!