Prospects Ramblings: Rookie Tournament Reviews

Peter Harling


Rookie Tournaments are all done or wrapping up as I write this up tonight, so let’s take a look at some of the noteworthy performances.

While many of these games were streamed live I was limited in my ability to see a lot of any of the tournaments but tried to see as much as I could from as many as I could. I reached out to our writers and got some great insights from some of the guys which are posted separately but I will link to from here.

Starting in Toronto the Leafs Rookie Tournament was a short three game series featuring the Leafs, Sens and Canadiens. All eyes were on Toronto first round pick Timothy Liljegren as many Leaf fans and media got their first glimpse at their prized first round pick from this past draft. Liljegren had his draft stock drop in his draft year as was well documented and much of the reason for that was his health and limited ice time playing on a poor SHL team facing relegation. However some scouts and writers that actually watched his play in Europe last year raised concerns about his defensive play and decision making in his own end and tendency to turn over the puck. This was glaringly and painfully evident in his first game against Montreal where he was a minus -3 and delivered a soft pass from behind his goal to a Montreal player in the slot for a goal. On the surface, it looked bad. However it is important to remember it was just one game, his first in North America and he didn’t get a lot of positional or puck support from teammates at times forcing him to make risky plays. His second game was better, showing signs of his high end skating and offensive abilities. It is yet to be determined where Liljegren will play this year, Don’t count on him playing in the NHL, leaving the AHL with the Marlies or back in Europe as his most likely options. I don’t think there is any chance he plays in the OHL with Niagara as it would eliminate his ability to play in the AHL until he turns 20-years-old, and he is too good to play junior.

Adam Brooks who played in the WHL as an overager will try to be a top six center for the Marlies this year but he missed the tournament as he is recovering from Mono.

Carl Grundstrom had an impressive performance and was both a physical and offensive force at times. He finished the year with the Marlies last year but id expected to be loaned back to the SHL this season.

For the Sens, goalie Marcus Hogberg who also finished last year in the AHL and had a poor showing, played a strong game against the Leafs and was stellar in the shootout closing the door on six shooter for the win.

One player I was excited for was invitee Pius Suter who we discussed on the DPR show. I had a hard time noticing him, and when I was able to find him I didn’t feel like he did anything to show he was worthy of a contract.

Christian Jaros has been getting some buzz as a candidate to see some playing time on the Sens roster this year and his performance showed why. Granted he is an older player at 21-years-old but he came as advertised; a big physical, hard hitting defensive defenseman. This could be a problem for Mark Borowiecki owners.

It was great to see Martin Reway back on the ice after missing all of last year with a serious heart ailment. Missing a year puts him behind the eight ball and he was already in tough to make it as an undersized winger, but don’t write this kid off. If he can find his game in the AHL this year with Laval his stock could begin to rise again. Reway is a solid watch list player who may prove to be a sneaky waiver or free agent pick up in deeper leagues.

Quick hits: (Players I thought played well) Andrew Nielsen, Martin Dzierkals, Kasimir K