The 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament ended over the weekend and Team Canada continued its dominance at the tournament claiming their ninth Gold in ten years. What prospects made an impact in the tournament? Let’s review;
First if you want to check the tournament stats you can find them via EliteProspects, below are the top 20 in tournament scoring.
The games were not broadcast in North America but if you want to watch any of the games you can click on the following links. The games are not in English or have no commentary, so I recommend having the rosters handy to reference players numbers.
Gold Medal Game, Canada vs. Czech Watch
Bronze Medal Game, Sweden vs Russia Watch
Aug 11 Russia vs Czech Watch
Aug 11 Sweden vs Canada Watch
Aug 11 Finland vs USA Watch
Aug 11 Switzerland vs Slovakia Watch
Aug 9 Slovakia vs Canada Watch
Aug 9 Czech vs USA Watch
Aug 9 Russia vs Finland Watch
Aug 9 Sweden vs Switzerland Watch
Aug 8 Finland vs Canada Watch
Aug 8 Sweden vs Czech Watch
Aug 8 Russia vs Slovakia Watch
Aug 8 Switzerland vs USA Watch
Aug 7 Slovakia vs Finland Watch
Aug 7 Czech vs Switzerland Watch
Aug 7 Canada vs Russia Watch
Aug 7 USA vs Sweden Watch
16-year-old Russian forward Dmitri Zavgorodny was the tournament leading scorer with an impressive five goals and ten points in five games. The undersized Russian stands at 5-9 and 161 pounds and was selected eighth overall in the CHL Import Draft by the Rimouski Oceanic. He has confirmed he will play his draft year in the CHL and that is a smart decision as he needs to be as accessible as possible to scouts and raise his draft profile. His dominance at the Hlinka is a great start!
All the 2018 draft talk is about Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, and for good reason, but there is another Swedish defenseman eligible for the draft in Adam Boqvist who is an early first round projected prospect. He was the best player for Sweden and the top defenseman scorer in the tournament with eight points in five games, and was second overall in scoring. Boqvist was selected in the CHL Import Draft by the London Knights, according to Boqvist’s agent he will not be playing in the CHL this season, but the London Knights have a strong recruiting track record so who knows; maybe he starts in London, or comes mid-way through the season or perhaps next year or not at all.
Tournament leading scorer was Czech’s Jan Janik who scored six goals in five games. Janik is also draft eligible, and has decent size as a 16-year-old at 6-1, but still needs to bulk up his 161 pound frame. Not selected in the CHL Import Draft, he will play his draft year home in the Czech Republic.
Canada was led by the highly touted Joe Veleno, who made a name for himself by being the first player granted the CHL exceptional status in the QMJHL. The Captain for Canada led the team in scoring posting seven points in five games. Last year playing on a stacked Saint John Sea Dogs roster he recorded 40 points in 45 games, expect a massive increase in points in his draft year as the Sea Dogs had several players graduate after last seasons Memorial Cup run leaving Veleno with all the ice time he will be able to handle.
Another strength to the Canadian roster was this year’s defense led by RHD Ryan Merkley and RHD Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL. Merkley is an exceptional skater and a dynamic offensive defenseman from the Guelph Storm in the OHL, he was the Rookie of the year posting 55 points in 62 games as a rookie defenseman! LHD Ty Smith was also a key member of Team Canada as an alternate Captian. Smith posted 32 points as a WHL rookie with Spokane Chiefs and had three assists in the tournament. He is a potential early first round pick for the 2018 draft.
Team USA had a brutal tournament; their top player was Jack Drury who played last year in the USHL for the Waterloo Blackhawks posting a modest 12 points in 44 games. He paced the Americans offensively scoring two goals and five points in four games. He will play his draft year in the NCAA as a 17-year-old with Harvard University.
Finland also had a disappointing tournament overall but 2018 Draft prospect Rasmus Kupari had an excellent tournament scoring seven points in four games. He created a lot of buzz and raised his draft stock for sure as he is showing signs of steady improvement. Keep in mind five of his seven points came against Slovakia, a lesser competition nation. The 17-year-old has a god size 6-1 and 183 pound frame already and his improving offense and skating skills make him a favorite draft riser. Kupari was selected by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the CHL import draft and will likely either play in the OHL or pro hockey in Liiga for his draft year. Here are some detailed scouting reports on Rasmus Kupari from our friends at FinnProspects
The deadline for expiring NCAA players to be signed before they become Unrestricted Free Agents is August 15th and in the past we have seen some impact players take advantage of this as recently as Jimmy Vesey last summer. The big prize this year around is Hobey Baker winner and NCAA Champion Will Butcher. Butcher was a Colorado Avalanche fifth round pick in 2013 and the 22-year-old has completed his four year academic career and will play pro hockey in the coming season and will likely sign with a team that will allow him to step into a NHL roster spot. Still only 65% Fantrax owned you may want to look into picking him up before he signs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team in need of improving their defensive depth and JVR for a defenseman trade rumors (or wishful thinking) have been prominent all year. The Leafs placed defenseman Alexei Marchenko on waivers today and it is expected he will leave the NHL for the KHL and likely play in the Olympics. This opens up a contract and roster spot in Toronto and the timing is curious to say the least.
Another highly coveted pending free agent is Hobey Baker Finalist Alex Kerfoot of the New Jersey Devils. The Devils drafted Kerfoot in 2012 and he spend four years with Harvard and in his final year as Captain he posted 45 points in 36 games. The Vancouver native has been rumored to be interested in the Canucks, Rangers and Chicago, but don’t rule anything out. Kerfoot may need some AHL time but at only 25% Fantrax owned he would be a sneaky good acquisition.