Noah Dobson Accepting the QMJHL Playoff MVP Award (Sportsnet)
Last week, I decided to give some (mostly) unedited notes from my pre-podcast preparation. It was met with positive feedback and as such, I thought I’d give the people what they want and do so once again. I’ve added some more thoughts from tonights wildly entertaining Memorial Cup semi-final matchup as well.
- Halifax loses the final prelim game 4-3 in OT but still gets the ticket right to the final. The round robin in a four-team tournament is crazy.
- Three teams tied for first with 2-1 records.
- Host team making the finals – but I thought the host team was a joke? This happens more than we expect. One reason for that is the extra time off.
- I’d love to see this tournament format changed. There are several ways they could do it, my favourite option would see the winners of each league be joined by the team that they defeated in their league final, the host team, and one wildcard squad. The eight-team tournament would be seeded and could be run as single elimination. I’d be keen to even see it as a sweet 16.
- What a terrific showing in the semi-final matchup between Guelph and Rouyn-Noranda. The Storm has been incredible all spring, wheeling back in every series after going all in by acquiring Sean Durzi and Nick Suzuki. They can keep their heads up after losing 6-4 (with an ENG) on Friday night.
- I don’t want to point fingers here, but the Storm decided it had had enough of Ryan Merkley and moved him out part way through the season for Pavel Gogolev and some non-elite picks. Gogolev played a bit part for them in the playoffs but the team still performed better with Merkley out. He’s got the big upside, but the whispers continue with his effort and attitude.
Jakub Lauko (Boston – 3rd) is coming on hot for Rouyn-Noranda
- Speed driven player
- Elite acceleration. Very real breakaway speed
- Appears to be another gem found by one of the best scouting teams in the league.
- Boston is deep on the big squad with young players like DeBrusk, McAvoy, Carlo, Heinen, Pasta, all playing major roles.
- They also have Lauko, Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, and Anders Bjork waiting in the wings. Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson suffered through a difficult season and will head back to Sweden next season to suit up for Växjö. I don’t think it’s the last we’ve seen from him.
- Boston may have blown 2015, but they know how to mine talent later in the draft.
Nick Suzuki (Montreal via Vegas)
- There’s not a ton left to be said about Suzuki. He’s long proven capable of being a truly elite junior player. His mind, play-creation and release are beyond note-worthy. I still wonder how his speed will translate moving up, but I feel he’s intelligent enough to make good on his skillset. I don’t see a truly high-end upside, but a very good #2C for a lot of years.
Alexey Toropchenko (STL 4th 2017)
- Really stepped up in the playoffs and especially the Mem Cup
- 6’3 winger protects the puck well. Has some skill. Could be an NHL player which is what you want from the mid rounds.
- Not sure about his upside, but this tournament has been a good sign at least
Antoine Morand (ANA 2nd 2017)
- Best buddies with Maxime Comtois
- Has always been a big producer in the Q
- Energy line upside.
- I like Anaheim’s pipeline. They’re a team in transition (see: falling precipitously) but have some decent pieces coming
- Former Leafs overage draft pick, now Kings’ prospect in the Muzzin deal, has been lights out.
- He’s been 20 years old all season so he better light it up, but still, his mobility and offensive senses are high.
- He’s played above a ppg as a defender for nearly two years.
- The Kings need help everywhere – including a young up and coming RHD.
- I have a lot of time for this guy. He was underrated for much of his draft-eligible campaign until the great Memorial Cup. He backed that up with a tough time on a historically bad team, before joining the Huskies and winning the QMJHL Playoff MVP.
- He hasn’t had the big counting stats at this tournament, but the way he can control the game is elite at the junior level. He was out there doing some dirty dangles too.
Someone asked me on Twitter today if I was running the Canucks and was offered Dobson for the 10th overall pick this June, would I make that deal? The answer is yes. Yes, I would.
- Raphael Lavoie – really the only one making an impact thus far.
- Was hoping to see more from Alex Beaucage who I think has a good chance of being a top-100 guy with some upside.
- The WHL Champs suffer once again. We haven’t had a WHL champion win a game in 13 straight contests.
- Brett Leason was a complete non-factor. No points, -4 in three games.
- Same with Alexei Protas
How filthy is New York going to be in the near future? This is a club that announced to their season-ticket holders that they were going to rebuild a mere 15 months ago and next season they will be welcoming a literal smorgasbord of young talent onto their roster.
Youngsters on NYR for 2019-20 (Full time)
Youngsters on NYR for 2019-20 (Part-time)
Oh, yeah, and they’re also adding JACK HUGHES or KAAPO KAKKO. By my count, that’s three potentially elite forwards with Hughes/Kakko, Kravtsov, and Chytil. A high-end offensive defenseman – on the right side, I might add. And one of the very best netminders currently outside of the NHL.
K’Andre Miller is also very very good.
Knowing New York, they’ll insulate this young talent with a high-profile, high-cost star or two. It’s going to get fun in the Big Apple in a short while.
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