Prospects Ramblings: Beanpot Review, Five Nations Preview and NHL Trade Deadline Thoughts

by Peter Harling on February 13, 2018
  • Prospects Rambling
  • Prospects Ramblings: Beanpot Review, Five Nations Preview and NHL Trade Deadline Thoughts

Some of the upcoming mile stone markers this season to come are the Beanpot Tournament, which I am watching as I write this, the Five Nations U-18, and the NHL Trade Deadline, which is less than a month away.

Lets start with the NHL Trade Deadline. ICYMI on the weekend Hayden Soboleski had a great Rambling highlighting several prospects that may be on the market, read it here

One player Hayden touches on I wanted to expand on is Leafs Nikita Soshnikov. He has missed a lot of time due to injury and is close to becoming exempt from waivers. He had been assigned to the Marlies on a conditioning stint where he played in five games, scored two goals, five points and had 17 shots in five games. During that stretch he played three games in three days and was one of the more energetic players as described by Marlies Coach Sheldon Keefe. As of today the Conditioning stint expired and many were expecting the Leafs to announce a trade rather than lose him on waivers. The Leafs have a full roster in the NHL with no room in the press box. But rather than give him away, the Leafs have recalled him, and placed him back on Injured Reserve.

Our friend Scott Wheeler from the Athletic Toronto follows the Marlies close and posted these quotes from Soshnikov himself regarding his health.

{soure}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Soshnikov, Feb. 3: “I’m close to 100 per cent. But nobody is 100 per cent this time of the year. I can push through it.”<br><br>Soshnikov, Feb. 11: “It helped me a lot (the stint). Hopefully I’m in pretty good shape now.” <a href="https://t.co/yzCl6XmCpE">https://t.co/yzCl6XmCpE</a></p>&mdash; Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) <a href="https://twitter.com/scottcwheeler/status/963089160436436999?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 12, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Based on his play on the ice and comments off the ice, it seems a stretch to be able to put him back on waivers. Nevertheless all this does is buy a little more time as the Leafs are still going to be forced to make a move, but this is some masterful roster manipulation by LouLamoriello.

For a terrific synopsis of all 31 teams Trade Deadline needs be sure to check out TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s latest podcast, the BobCast. Bob breaks down each team discussing if they are buyers or sellers and touches on several prospects that may be used as trade commodity.

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The Five Nations Under-18 Tournament starts this week as well and is one of the tournaments that give scouts a good look at several 2018 NHL Draft eligible prospects. USA is the host and one of the five nations, the others include the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden and will be played from February 13th to the 17th. You can stream the games here, and you can follow the stats and see the rosters here at USA Hockey National Team Development Team page.

Players that are projected to be high picks include:

Finland: Mikko Kokkanen, Kaapo Kakko, Jesperi Kotkaniemi (Ranked 17th), and Sampo Ranta

Russia: The big gun here will be Andrei Svechnikov. With Filip Zadina not attending for the Czechs it deprives Svechnikov of another opportunity to compete head-to-head for the second overall ranking, but it does give him the chance to perform in a tournament of some of the best in his peer group.

Sweden: Adam Boqvist failed to crack the Swedish roster for the World Junior and may have been overtaken on many draft rankings by Zadina and Svechnikov. This tournament will provide Boqvist with an opportunity to secure at least the second overall ranked defenseman after Rasmus Dahlin (Who will not be competing because he is at the Olympics).  Other prominent Swedish prospects to watch include Adam Ginning and Jacob Olofsson.

USA: The Americans have a strong roster featuring four players ranked in my first round of my February Draft Rankings including Bode Wilde, Oliver Wahlstrom, Joel Farabee, and Mattias Samuelsson. Other players to watch ranked outside my top 31 include K’Andre Miller and 2019 Draft eligible Jack Hughes.

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Thanks to TSN for broadcasting the Beanpot final in Canada. It is quickly becoming must watch hockey as the games are highly competitive and full of top prospects. This year Boston University and Northeastern competed for the title and the game was outstanding. The Huskies won their first title since 1988 on the strength of their top line of Adam Gaudette (Vancouver Canucks), Dylan Sikura (Chicago Blackhawks) and Nolan Stevens (St. Louis Blues).

The star of the show was clearly Gaudette who scored a hat-trick and further helped his cause for the Hobey Baker Award. Gaudette still has a year of College eligibility remaining, but you know the Canucks will make a hard push to pull him into his pro career. The other high profile prospect on that line is Hawks Dylan Sikura who is in his senior year, and also represented Canada this year at the Spengler Cup. This will be something to watch closely as he needs to sign with Chicago at the conclusion of his season. If he remains unsigned through August 15th he will become an unrestricted free agent. It would be hard to pass up playing for Chicago given their track record and his older brother Tyler plays for their AHL affiliate the Rockford IceHogs. The third player from that line is one I was more unfamiliar with in Nolan Stevens, a St. Louis Blues prospect. Stevens is the heavy player on the line and typically has the role of playing in the dirty areas, but he scored a very pretty skilled goal to get the Huskies on the board to tie the game with a nifty toe drag to get past the defender and then neatly tucked it in past the goalie.

Another player from the Huskies I knew little about and was highly impressed with is defenseman Jeremy Davies, who also represented Canada at the Spengler Cup earlier in the season. Davies is only 1% Fantrax owned and is a fast rising prospect and still relatively unknown. His offensive game has been developing as evident by his inclusion to the Canadian Spengler Cup roster and he had three assists in the win. Davies was dangerous on the Huskies power play, distributing the puck with crisp, quick passes to the tape and displaying great vision. He is a player you need to know.

Finally I have been hearing a lot of good things about Huskies freshman sensation goalie Cayden Primeau who I included in my recent 2017-18 Montreal Canadiens Top Ten Prospects. Primeau has won the starting job as a freshman which is difficult to do, and he is one of the top goalie is all of NCAA hockey. The Habs look like they have a great find with the 199th overall pick in the 2017 draft. With Carey Price the incumbent, and Charlie Lindgren and Michael McNiven all in the system look for Primeau to be brought along nice and slowly.

For Boston University it was frustrating to not have Jordan Greenway who as I mentioned last week in my Prospect Scouting the Olympics Ramblings is with Team USA in PyeongChang, and they missed him. It was great to get another viewing of 2018 NHL Draft eligible prospect Brady Tkachuk who had a strong game, but caused a goal to be disallowed after making contact with Primeau. Tkachuk was his usual self, playing physical, strong on the forecheck, carrying the play offensively and getting under the opposing players skin.

This game was very much a goaltending duel as both Primeau and Jake Oettinger (Dallas Stars) played terrific. Oettinger was solid for USA at the World Junior earlier in the year and was strong in goal again tonight for the Terriers. He is a big goalie that gives shooters little and moves very quickly laterally leaving little time for cross crease passes and one-timers.

Another player to stand out to me was free agent Bobo Carpenter, a 21-year-old center for the Terriers. At 5-11 he lacks a size advantage but I also would not say he is at a disadvantage. He was deployed in key roles, is a point per game player this season with 17 goals and 28 points in 29 games. In his junior year he could return for his senior year, but it is possible he receives some NHL free agent offers to turn pro this summer. He is worth keeping an eye on.

 

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Speaking of college hockey, the Hobey Baker Award fan voting is open. You can cast your vote for the Hobey Baker short list here

Some of the nominees I consider to be favorites include

Henrik Borgstrom – Florida Panthers

Cooper Marody – Philadelphia Flyers

Casey Mittelstadt – Buffalo Sabres

Dylan Sikura – Chicago Blackhawks

Troy Terry – Anaheim Ducks

Jack Evans – Montreal Canadiens

Adam Gaudette – Vancouver Canucks

Tanner Laczynski – Philadelphia Flyers

Colton Point – Dallas Stars

Scott Perunovich – Free Agent

Daniel Brickley – Free Agent

Ryan Donato – Boston Bruins

Riley Tufte – Dallas Stars