Here we are. School is back in session. Euro leagues are firing up regular season and intra-divisional tournaments. Hell, even NHL Prospect Camps have opened. It’s hockey season! And while I don’t have many coherent, well-thought-out words for you today, I do have something.
Below are some of my notes from the most recent episode of Prospect Central on Sportsnet650. There’s a look at a few team’s top prospects as we count down the top pipeline’s in the league. Some thoughts on the most recent Four Nation’s tournament, and the on-going Champions Hockey League tourney.
I hope you enjoy!
Denisenko (FLA)-Morozov (VGK)-Dorofeyev (VGK) was the top story – Ran that tournament as a top line for the Russians – clearly the best line on the best team at the tourney. Created most shifts. Ran the puck possession. Denisenko is ridiculously talented. I love his vision and ability to hang onto the puck to allow lanes to open. He’s going to be a star.
Vasily Podkolzin was doing his thing. So many chances for himself and his mates, but nothing to show for it. The motor never ends with this kid. He linked up with Kirill Marchenko (CBJ) and Danil Savunov (AZ). Expect those two Russian lines to stick together for the WJC in December.
Podkolzin’s first three KHL contests this year have Canucks’ fans calling for him to tap out of the two-year deal and cross the pond (41 seconds in Gm1, 10:30 in Gm2, 40 second in Gm3). But this was always going to be a battle to earn real ice with SKA. That’s one of the deepest teams in the second-best league in the world. The VHL (Russia’s equivalent to the AHL) just opened their season. My guess is Podkolzin splits his time between the two leagues – seeing top six in the V and bottom six in the K.
And guess what? That’s ok.
Podkolzin will star on the international stage at the WJC, WJAC-U19 and any other U20 event that the Russia squad participates in.
Nils Höglander (VAN) was the best (and only) bright spot for the Swedes. They sent a weaker squad – as did the Finns.
Champions Hockey League
This is a pro tourney that pits a TON of Euro teams against each other throughout the season. They start off with a bunch in September and October then it whittles down.
Some interesting youngsters who are looking good:
Tim Stützle – After Adler Manheim incubated Moritz Seider into the top 10, they’ll look to do the same with the skilled centre in Stützle. Speed and quickness are the name of the game. Quality vision and a nice release round out the profile.
He’s been seeing second-line duty and has two goals and three points in three games thus far. This kid is no joke.