Happy Winter Solstice! The first official day of winter is also the day with the fewest moments of daylight.
We all know what that means… sweatpants, warm drinks and plenty of hockey to watch!
We at DobberProspects have been covering the upcoming World Junior Championships with exceptional depth of late so I won’t droll on too much about it.
Obviously, the big news was Buffalo loaning Alex Nylander to the Swedish squad to push their forward corps from deep as beans to ridiculously potent.
As discussed in a Ramblings last week, if they decide to play both he and Pettersson on their off-wings, the snipes will come fast and furious.— /Cam Robinson/ (@CrazyJoeDavola3) December 21, 2017
Big time skill. https://t.co/vsE18Rm9oC
Sweden will have the option of loading up a top line or spreading their wealth around by sliding Pettersson into the centre position to eat up the offensive minutes and have Andersson drive their everything line – providing terrific two-way ability.
No matter which way you cut it, this Swedish squad is deep and dangerous and for my money, is the odds-on favourite to take home gold despite being on the North American ice – traditionally the spot where Canada or the US thrive.
Many betting outlets have them at 6.5-1 odds to take home the gold, and I can’t be the only one who has laid a bit of coin down on that juicy line.
Canada and the US sit at around 2-1 odds.
Staying in Sweden, the word around the campfire is that Canucks’ prospect, Jonathan Dahlen will stay with Timrä IK in the Allsvenskan despite having an out-clause that kicks in this January to move up to the SHL or cross back over to North America and join the Utica Comets in the American League.
Dahlen has been a part of the Timrä organization since he was 16, and currently the team sits first in the league with a legitimate chance at being promoted to the SHL if they can take home the championship.
Clearly Dahlen has allegiances to the club that has given him a great deal of opportunity and respect as a teenager playing in a men’s league and it would be extremely difficult to walk away from your mates in the midst of their run – especially as the team’s (and league’s) best player.
While I believe his development would be best served in a higher league, he has an opportunity to help propel Timra into the SHL for next season. It's a club that's given him a great deal and I'm sure he feels like returning the favour. #Canucks https://t.co/JpHNysT8bE— /Cam Robinson/ (@CrazyJoeDavola3) December 19, 2017
Dahlen sits fifth in league scoring with 12 goals and 26 points through 21 games, and his 1.24 points-per-game output ranks tops in the league.
Look for the recently-turned 20-year-old to be in Utica next season and be pushing very hard for first call-up duties with the Canucks.
Vitalii Abramov leaves for the World Junior Championships as one of the hottest players in the CHL. The Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospect and reigning QMJHL Player of the Year sits third in league scoring for 2017-18 with 45 points in 29 games.
He’s stuck in the CHL-NHL transfer agreement that won’t allow him to play in the American league despite clearly being too good for Major Junior. Look for him to dominate play at this winter’s tournament, continue his massive numbers in the back half of the season and then push for a spot with the Blue Jackets next fall.
He’s a serious fantasy prospect.
Kole Lind sure didn’t enjoy being snipped from Team Canada last week. The Canucks’ 2017 second round pick went back to Kelowna and is looking to prove the team wrong.
In his first game back, Lind recorded a hat trick and followed that up with a four-assist outing the very next night. He was all over the ice, creating chances and even engaging in a spirited tilt.
He heads into the holiday break with 16 goals and 43 points in 25 games – good for 1.72 points-per-game which sits fifth most in the WHL.
If you haven’t heard yet, the NHL is going to get another dynamic brother duo in the near future.
Quinton and Jack Hughes are forging their path towards the NHL in similar ways and despite one being a forward and the other a defenseman, their high-level skill and exquisite skating abilities are the common denominators.
Quinn is pushing to crack USA’s World Junior squad as a draft-eligible defender, and he’s earned that distinction by being one of the better freshmen in the NCAA this season. He’s arguably the best skater in the entire class and despite being just 5’10, he has all the earmarks of a top-level offensive defender at the next level.
He sat seventh on my draft board the last time I published and I have a strong suspicion that he’ll be pushing securely into the top five by the time January rolls around.
Meanwhile, his younger brother, Jack is the odds-on-favourite for first overall in 2019 and is torching the U17 circuit with the National Development Program while pumping off 15 points in nine USHL games.
He too has all the blazing speed you can handle from the middle of the ice.
Keep your eyes on these two kids, they’re going to be good ones.
Brock Boeser continues to be an absolute revelation for the Vancouver Canucks this season. The 20-year-old rookie has led the league in goals since November 1st, potting 16 markers in 24 contests.
His release is amongst the very best in the world as Carey Price learned this past week.
Sure, he’s converting on 20 percent of his shots, but he’s the level of sniper that can sustain near that output.
With the rash of injuries to top players and the bottom falling out of the Canucks’ season, Boeser has, and is, the only real selling feature on a team in desperate need of one.
Vancouver looks to have their star player of the future; now all that’s left to do is surround him with the talent needed to jump that level into the superstar stratosphere.
That’s all for this week. I hope you all have a terrific holiday season filled with loved ones and fantasy victories. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3.
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