New Years Prospects Ramblings, World Junior Round Up, Kingston Blockbuster Trade and more

Peter Harling

2018-01-01

Happy New Year and I hope you all had a great holiday. Im just getting back into some hockey coverage after a busy Christmas season of work and family so lots to get caught up on.

The Kingston Frontenacs made a blockbuster trade acquiring Kingston native Gabriel Vilardi (LA Kings) and defenseman Sean Day (New York Rangers) from the Windsor Spitfires in exchange for the Fronts 2017 first round pick Cody Morgan and a bevy of second round picks. Day is in his final season of junior eligibility and it is expected that Vilardi will have an opportunity to crack the NHL next year with the LA Kings, meaning these are likely rental players for Kingston. Kingston is far from a powerhouse but sits at fourth overall in the Eastern Conference and is on track to the playoffs. Adding Vilardi gives Kingston a bonafide elite centre to line up with Jason Robertson for as good a top pairing combination as you will find in the Eastern Conference. The forward depth in Kingston consists of Finnish import winger Linus Nyman, who went undrafted in the 2017 draft, and is only two points behind Robertson on team scoring with 43 points in 36 games. 2018 draft eligible prospect Nathan Dunkley is third in team scoring and has been enjoying a breakout season which should see him move the needle on his draft rankings as the second half of the season plays out. Dunkley has 33 points in the first 31 games. Another player having a breakout season in Kingston is big 6-4 Tyler Burnie. Burnie also passed through the 2017 NHL Draft unselected after posting only six points in 52 games in his rookie season with Kingston. This year he has an elevated role and has responded with 15 goals and 26 points in 33 games. Yet another player undrafted in 2017 from Kingston is the speedy Brett Neumann who may not have the eye-popping stats, but he passes the eye test for me with flying colours. Neumann is a speedy two-way center that pushes the pace of play well, forces turnovers, is strong on draws and in many ways reminds me of the player Kingston traded away to acquire him in Warren Foegele. The addition of Day solidifies the Kingston defense as Day will bring some more offensive punch to a blueline anchored by Toronto pick Eemeli Rasanen and Nashville pick Jacob Paquette.

***

While the World Junior plays out,