There is plenty happening in the hockey world to talk about, World Cup, CHL season, NHL training camp, All-American Top Prospects game, so let’s get to it.
Team North America is a roster composed of recent DobberProspects graduates and captured the imagination of the hockey world. The team played with speed and skill and were the most entertaining team to watch without exception. Loaded with elite skill and future superstars such as first overall picks Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Aaron Ekblad, Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the team was lead in scoring by Johnny Gaudreau and Shane Gostisbehere with four points in three games each.
There have been a lot of nice goals in the World Cup so far, and Team North America has scored a lot of them, but perhaps none more pretty than this one by MacKinnon
One interesting development I noticed was how Auston Matthews who was not originally considered for this team played his way into contention with his strong performance for USA at the World Championship. Matthews was a late addition to that team and started as a spare forward. By the end of the tournament he was their best player. Similar situation at the World Cup where he played his way up the roster to a top six role on an NHL All-Star team, and he is yet to play an NHL game. Matthews finished the tournament with three points in three games. All season long the debate between Matthews or Patrik Laine for the first overall was a close battle and at times Laine looked like he may usurp Matthews who was ranked number one all season. Laine was held pointless in three games at the World Cup for Finland.
Aaron Ekblad exited the tournament early after a hit from Leo Komarov. Ekblad has already had two concussions and I am not sure if this is his third, but he is skating in training camp in Florida.
A pair of Russian prospects that impressed are Ivan Telegin and Nikita Zaitsev. The Leafs may have found themselves a player when they signed Zaitsev as a free agent out of Russia. Zaitsev posted two assists and did not look outmatched playing against the best players in the world. Telegin has become an afterthought as a Winnipeg Jets prospect after he refused to play in the AHL and returned to the KHL. His play in North America didn’t warrant an NHL shot so he has been dismissed as relevant. Not so fast, Telegin scored three points in four games. It is still doubtful we ever see him in the NHL, but for now keep his name in mind.
The CHL leagues have begun, and while most of the team’s top players are at NHL training camps I have had a chance to see a few games already. I had my first look at 2017 NHL draft eligible prospect Maxime Comtois in Gatineau. He showed to be a very smart player who is an outward thinker of the game. He reads and reacts to plays well, showed excellent anticipation that directly led to a scoring chance and a good shot on goal. Last year Comtois was listed as 6-1 and 189 pounds, the media guide this weekend listed him at 6-2 and 200 pounds.
The Peterborough Petes have some new faces that have shown some promise. Semyon Der-Arguchintsev is very small at 5-9 and only 150 pounds but he skates very well, quick and agile and is elusive. He will need to be to survive. He shows good offensive vision and drives the play offensively. Despite his small size he protects the puck well with a wide low stance and sticking out his back side. Selected 27th overall in the second round of the OHL draft he is a player I will watch. The Petes first pick, eighth overall was Pavel Gogolev who has shown flashes of speed and skill but is struggling to get engaged in the play. Both Gogolev and Der-Arguchintsev are 16 years old and played on the same team last year in the CIHA where Gogolev led the league in goals with 38 and had 68 points in 46 games
The Petes also added a new CHL Import pick player in Matys Svoboda who was selected 23rd overall at the import draft. Svoboda is a 2017 NHL draft eligible prospect and he is a powerful skater with good speed and a carving stride and strong edges. He carries the puck with aplomb and I suspect he will make an impact.
The Petes will also welcome last year’s CHL import first round pick Jonne Tammela who was selected by Tampa Bay 118th overall in the fourth round in 2015. Tammela is currently at the Lightening in training camp.
The Kingston Frontenacs have two prospects that will be top draft picks in the NHL draft in 2017. Jacob Paquette has been sidelined with an ankle injury which cost him his roster spot at the Ivan Hlinka, but should be ready to play very soon. Jason Robertson is a player who impressed as a rookie cracking a loaded Eastern Conference Champion roster as a second round pick. Robertson was part of the All-American Top Prospect game where he raised his stock playing a strong game physically and started and finished this goal
For more on the All-American Top Prospect game, listen to DobberProspects Radio episode 2 where guest Russ Cohen, Listen here.
NHL training camps have started, no more rookie or prospects games as teams are playing pre-season games and the cuts have already begun. Some teams have begun to announce some cuts and the early cuts are easy and obvious with mainly little known players. Here are the relevant cuts made so far.
Buffalo Sabres have sent Devante Stephens to Kelowna (WHL), Cliff Pu to London (OHL), Vasili Glotov to Cape Breaton (WHL)
St. Louis Blues have sent Dmitri Sergeev to Chicago (AHL) and Evan Fitzpatrick to Sherbrook (QMJHL)
Colorado Avalanche returned Travis Barron to the Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Chicago Blackhawks sent Radovan Bondra to Vancouver (WHL),and Nathan Noel to St. John (QMJHL)
Calgary Flames sent Matthew Phillips to Victoria (WHL)
Edmonton Oilers sent Dylan Wells to Peterborough (OHL)
Find all the NHL transactions listed on the Eliteprospects home page
- Prospect Rambling: 2019 First Round Mid-Season Expectation vs Reality Grades
- Prospect Ramblings: Scouting Notes from Around the CHL
- Prospect Ramblings: Underrated European Prospects on Notable Draft Rankings
- Prospects Ramblings: Brogan Rafferty, Scouting Notes, Zayde Wisdom and Midseason Guide
- AHL Report - January 2020
- OHL Report: January 2019
- Prospect Ramblings: Top Prospects Game, & Thoughts on Brogan Rafferty (Jan. 17)
- DPR Episode 79: Vitali Abramov and Russ Cohen Guest