Prospect Ramblings: WJHC Semis, Zadina Makes his Move and Pettersson Snipes Again

Cam Robinson

2018-01-04

                                                       

A hearty belated Happy New Years to you and yours. Hopefully the holidays were a restful period that brought you peace and contentment to begin anew in 2018.

 

With the big news in the prospect-world clearly being the ongoing World Junior Championships and semi-final matchups that concluded Thursday evening, we’ll take a moment to do some news and notes from around the non-U20 best-on-best tournament before diving in.

 

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As a teaser, my third installment of the 2018 NHL Draft Rankings will be published early next week.

 

You can find the most recent edition from the end of October here.

 

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Jack Roslovic had done everything he could to earn a call-up to the Winnipeg Jets. The 20-year-old, second year pro had paced his AHL squad and sat at or near the top of the league leaderboard for points while improving his two-way game.

 

What he hadn’t done was force an injury to one of the big club’s top six forwards.

 

That all changed now that Mark Scheifele has hit the shelf for six to eight weeks, and Roslovic finally got the call. He found himself in the press box however as Marko Dano slid into the first contest without the team’s top line pivot. Dano had been a mainstay in the healthy scratch zone so the team clearly wanted to give him some ice, but the Jets surely don’t want their top prospect watching for too long and Roslovic should find a way to work him into the lineup soon.

 

What happens next will be up to him.

 

If Roslovic can find a way to be productive from a bottom six role, he could become a true candidate to join the ranks of tantalizing Jets’ youngsters to own. If not, it’s back to Manitoba to keep working at it.

 

He's a player with very nice skill and one to watch in keeper formats. 

 

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With the shoddy goaltending a major talking point in Vancouver these days, it’s natural for people to speculate on the Canucks’ plans for top goaltending prospect, Thatcher Demko.

 

The recently-turned 22-year-old has been marinating exactly as hoped. He’s taken over the full-time starter's role in Utica this year in his second full season in the AHL and has been more than steady, sitting fifth in the league with a 0.924 save percentage while seeing a ton of rubber – his 707 shots against are the third most.

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thatcher Demko is off to the AHL All Star game. The 22-year-old has a 0.924 SV% and has seen the 3rd most shots in the league. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Canucks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Canucks</a></p>&mdash; /Cam Robinson/ (@CrazyJoeDavola3) <a href="https://twitter.com/CrazyJoeDavola3/status/949012462728196096?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 4, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Canucks’ President, Trevor Linden, recently stated the club is not interested in rushing Demko into the league to patch the holes on what is quickly becoming a sinking club once again; so poolies should trust the process here too.

 

Demko remains one of the premier goaltending prospects in the world and should be owned across all deep formats. Keep in mind though, that it’s unlikely he produces tangible fantasy results until the 2019-2020 season and more likely in 2020-21 as both Nilsson and Markstrom are under contract next season and Markstrom around for the 2019-20 campaign as well. 

 

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I spoke about Vancouver Canucks’ prospects, 2018 draft-eligible players and more on Sportsnet650 this week. Listen here.

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On to the main events of the evening.

 

In the first Quarter Final matchup, Sweden and the US pushed back in forth in a very tight matchup for much of the first 30 minutes of play. There were few dangerous scoring chances on either end but the American controlled a better chunk of the play.

 

A little over half way through the second frame, the Tre Kronor power play was given an opportunity, and for a unit that was clicking at nearly 25 percent coming into the game and featured Rasmus Dahlin, Elias Pettersson, Lias Andersson and Alex Nylander, you knew something would have to give.

 

It did, in the form of yet another Pettersson snipe.

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It was Pettersson's tournament-leading fourth power play marker and fifth goal overall. 

 

The Americans had some life in them after the tally, outshooting the Swedes 12-3 over the next several minutes, but shortly into the third period, the momentum swung considerably away from the home team.

 

Three goals in 128 seconds, including TWO shorthanded tallies on the same penalty kill put Sweden up for 4-0.

 

Despite a couple late tallies by Kieffer Bellows – his seventh of the tournament to share the lead amongst all skaters, and Brady Tkachuk, it was too little too late.

 

The Americans will have to regroup and muster the energy to fight for Bronze tomorrow while the Swedes finally put their medal-round disappointments behind them after three straight fourth place finishes and will have a chance for Gold (and to make me some cash!).

 

Andersson (NYR), Nylander (BUF) and Dahlin (2018) were named players of the tournaments for Sweden with Pettersson receiving the strange omission.

 

Adam Fox (CAL), Bellows (NYI) and Casey Mittelstadt (BUF) were named the top players for the US side.

 

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Canada and the Czech Republic squared off next and a great deal needed to go right for the Czechs to earn another upset after defeating the Finns on Tuesday.

 

They got off to the perfect start when 2018 top prospect, Filip Zadina made two quick moves and buried a gorgeous wrist shot top corner just six minutes in. It was one of two markers on the night for the Halifax Mooseheads’ winger who sits tied for the tournament lead with seven goals and has eight points in six contests.

He is a near-lock to be selected in the top five this June and is making a serieous case for that second overall slot. 

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Filip Zadina really wants me to move him into the two-hole for this upcoming <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/2018NHLDraft?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#2018NHLDraft</a> rankings. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WJC2018?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WJC2018</a></p>&mdash; /Cam Robinson/ (@CrazyJoeDavola3) <a href="https://twitter.com/CrazyJoeDavola3/status/949088201037135872?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 5, 2018</a></blockquote>

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After that though, it was all Canada. The boys in red and white scored seven straight goals, with 12 different players earning a point and the coaching staff rolling four lines to conserve energy in preparation for Friday’s Gold Medal match.

 

The final score was 7-2 Canada.

 

Libor Hajek (TBL), Martin Necas (CAR), and Josef Korenar (SJS) were named the top Czech players while Drake Batherson (OTT), Connor Timmins (COL) and Cale Makar (COL) were named the top players for Canada at the tournament.

 

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Here are the top scorers as we head into the final day of the tournament: 

The Bronze medal game goes Friday at 1:00pm and the Gold medal tilt will occur at 5:00pm (PST)

 

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Feel free to follow me on Twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3

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