Team Canada Roster Predictions 2.0!

I know, I know, our writer mattobrien425 has already written a piece, but I thought heck why not! I’ll write one too! So here’s my lineup for Team Canada! If you disagree on it, make sure to comment below! You can also “like” our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog! You can also follow me on Twitter: @HkyBlogger!

Forwards:
1st Line:
Tavares – Crosby – Stamkos
Reasoning: You get some crazy amount of speed out of those three, and all three have tremendous offensive abilities.

2nd Line:
Perry – Toews – Sharp
Reasoning: Any other team, and Toews is your 1st line center, but Crosby is definitely your 1st line center if you’re Canada. You have two wicked shots with Sharp and Perry, and a very strong playmaker in Toews. They will provide a very strong second wave of scoring behind the 1st line. Against weaker teams, I can see the 2nd line scoring most of the goals.

3rd Line:
Richards – E.Staal – Carter
Reasoning: Carter and Richards are magic when they’re together, so it seems like good idea to pair them up together no? Staal had the fifth most faceoff wins this year (behind Giroux, Toews, Bozak, Bergeron). He is reliable in the 3rd line role where his main objective is to win faceoffs.

4th Line:
Lucic – Getzlaf – Nash
Reasoning: All three of these guys are huge. They can easily wear down a lot of teams, and would sort of be the “goon” line. Yeah yeah, there’s no such thing as goons at the Olympic level, but these guys can still make the other team uncomfortable easily, especially Lucic…

Defenseman
1st Line:
Doughty – Weber
Reasoning: Both very solid d-men. They’re very steady and do not crack under the pressure.

2nd Line:
Keith – Seabrook
Reasoning: They have their whole chemistry thing going here. Why would you want to break it up?

3rd Line:
Letang – Subban
Reasoning: This pairing can be very important if Canada is trailing. The two are both offensively minded, and can easily lead the Olympics in scoring by a defenseman. Not very strong defensively, but offensively, both can light the lamp.

Goalies:
Starter:
Corey Crawford
Reasoning: Tough one here… I’m thinking Crawford, since he did win the Stanley Cup right..?

Backup:
Carey Price
Reasoning: He’s the future of Canada goaltending, so it doesn’t hurt for him to play along right?

Roberto Luongo
Reasoning: The elder statesmen remains. If the two goalies both can’t play well, Mike Babcock knows that he has a reliable goalie that doesn’t choke in the Olympics (unlike the Stanley Cup Finals).

Extras:
It’s Russia, so I’m going to bring a few more players along.

Joe Thornton
Reasoning: I know Canada has a bunch of centers, but I’d bring him along just in case Getzlaf gets hurt. He’s a big guy, and would fit in well in the 4th line role. He also has a bunch of experience he can pass on to the rest of the team.

Logan Couture
Reasoning: He’s a great playmaker, and it would be a great experience for him, and to take everything in for 2018.

Taylor Hall
Reasoning: See Logan Couture, but change playmaker to scorer.

Jay Bouwmeester:
Reasoning: Sort of like Joe Thornton and his experience thing, but he’s also a minutes muncher, he could be very good if one defenseman looks like he can’t handle the pressure very well.

Agree? Disagree? Comment below!

Solutions To The Leafs’ Problem

If I was Dave Nonis, I wouldn’t be happy either… Photocreds: http://www.onesecondleft.com/

The Leafs currently have two Restricted Free Agents (RFA) left and according to Capgeek, have $4,895,833 in Cap Space. It’s not currently known what D Cody Franson is seeking, but it is known  that F Nazem Kadri is looking for a “home run contract”. In my opinion a “home run contract” is valued at $4-4.5 million. If you disagree with that amount, make sure to comment below on what you think a “home run contract” is. If Kadri is looking for a $4.5M, that means the Leafs will have $395,833 left for Franson. which is below the league minimum set at $550,000. So what can the Leafs do? Well we thought of a few options, and we’ve decided to list them out! Let us know what you think the Leafs should do or what the Leafs can do by commenting below! If you like our stuff, make sure to share with your friends, or “like” us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/notyouraveragehockeyblog !

Trade:
A realistic way to solve this problem will be through trades. Looking at the Toronto Maple Leafs, there are a few players with some trade value. I will assume that Franson is looking at a $3M contract, so the Leafs will have to clear out approximately $3M. Looking at the list of players, I’m going to speculate a bit, but if I were a opposing GM, I would inquire about the availability of Carl Gunnarsson, Nikolai Kulemin, and possibly a mix of Mark Fraser, Jake Gardiner, and more. I know the idea of not having any of those players is not something Leaf fans want to hear, but it’s the reality of the situation. A trade of Gunnarsson for a draft pick, would immediately solve the problem of the cap, but opposing GM’s know that the Leafs are having trouble with the cap and can easily ask unreasonable prices for these players. If you were to do a trade to free up cap space, what would you do? Comment below!

Sticking With The Qualifying Offers:
This one is completely crazy I know, but it’d work. Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson both were tendered qualifying offers so that the Leafs can keep them as RFA’s. According to Capgeek’s calculator, Kadri’s qualifying offer was valued at $850,500, and Franson’s at  $1,200,000. Technically, if both Kadri and Franson holdout, they would have to rejoin the team on December 1st, and be paid the qualifying offer for the remainder of the year. Obviously this is not the ideal situation, because they would be missing 27 games. Also, Leafs fans can basically be saying good bye to the players. They’re not coming back. It also runs the risk of teams with tons of cap space, placing an offer sheet on one of the players *cough Jay Feaster cough*.  Let’s just say that someone signs an offer sheet to Kadri for $4.5M and the Leafs do not match, the Leafs would receive a 1st and 3rd round pick in the 2014 Draft. Would you do it? Comment below!

“Wade Redden” It:
Since crazy ideas, don’t hurt, here’s another one. It’s true that players can no longer be buried in the minors like what the Rangers did with Wade Redden, but sending players down to the minors may help with some of the pressure. Capgeek calculates that a player with a one way contract would have a cap hit calculated as:  cap hit – (minimum salary + $375,000). In this case, the cap hit would be calculated as, cap hit – ($525,000 + $375,000), or cap hit – ($900,000). If the Leafs were to bury the contracts of lets say, Paul Ranger and Colton Orr, that would save the Leafs, $1.8M. However, they would be exposed to waivers, so again, this is a risky move. But hey, high risk – high reward!

That’s all the ideas I have, how about you? Let’s hear some! Comment below!

Let’s Meet Dmitrij Jaskin!

JaskinWe recently caught up with Dmitrij Jaskin of the St. Louis Blues! Here’s a fun fact about him: he was drafted by HC Sibir Novosibirsk first overall in the 2010 KHL Draft! He was also drafted 41st Overall by the St. Louis Blues in 2011. He decided to not play for the KHL, and instead played for Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, which owned his rights after selecting him 22nd in the 2012 CHL Import Draft. He made his debut this year, playing two games with the big club and is has impressed! His coach Ken Hitchcock has said, “I really like Jaskin a lot. He’s going to be a good player for us for a number of years.” NHL.com’s Adam Kimmelman said that Jaskin is St. Louis’ top prospect (http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=679764). You can learn more about him by following him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/DmitrijJaskin. You can follow me on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/HkyBlogger, and you can like our page here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog. If you like our stuff, make sure to like, and share with your friends! It really helps us grow as a site! Enough with the jibber jabber, here is our interview with Dmitrij Jaskin!

We are in bold.

So first things first, how has your day been?

I’m back home in Prague, Czech Republic. I just keep working on my summer workouts and enjoy time with family and friends.

What’s a day in the life of Dmitrij Jaskin?

Same answer. It depends if its the summer or the winter.

What about game day? How do you get prepared for that?

I think everybody has same preparation before games. I wake up and have breakfast, go for a morning skating, grab some lunch, go take a little nap, and then get ready for the game.

What was it like to be drafted 1st Overall in the KHL, and 42nd in the NHL draft?

Getting drafted to the KHL was nice, but nothing special. I didn’t really know about the KHL draft. My father just called me when I was in school haha! Getting drafted in the NHL was different in comparison to the KHL. It was my first time going to the United States and everything was new to me. I didn’t really know what was going on ,but I just felt closer to realizing my dream of playing in the NHL.

Haha, so what was your reaction like at school when you first heard that you’ve been drafted?

I just couldn’t believe it. I knew I had good year but not like 1st Overall Pick good. Anyways, it was just a good feeling. Afterwards, like I said, nobody called me.

 

So you didn’t go to the KHL, but instead went to the QMJHL. When you first arrived at Moncton, how different was it from home?

It was a totally different country. New people, new family, it was different. Everything is about hockey, so there were a lot of new things for me.

If you make the team next year, what will you miss the most about Moncton?

I will miss everything. My Canadian family (Marc and Manon), my teammates, friends, all stuff around the Wildcats organization.

So you played two games this year for the St. Louis Blues. Can you describe the feeling when you walked out on to the ice of an NHL crowd for the first time?

I was a bit nervous probably like everyone’s first game, but it was the moment I’ve been waiting my whole life. It was something like living in a dream for a moment or fulfilling a dream. Just to get the first part of my hockey life part done which was to make it to the beast league in the world, the NHL.

Was there any pressure to score a goal in your NHL debut?

I didn’t really have a chance to score in my first game, but in the second game, I had a couple good shifts so I don’t think I had too much pressure on me.

What’s something you’ve learnt from playing internationally for Czech Republic?

Its something different, but when I’m playing against different players from different countries, I realize that its always nice to play for the country.

Highlight of your career? 

I think highlight is my entire season last year and my first NHL game of course.

Lowlight of your career?

Lowlight probably when I was injured two years ago.

 

The next part of it is a rapid fire round. This is where the fan gets a closer connection to you! 
Favourite Food? 

My mum’s homemade Russian food.

Would you rather play without a helmet or without gloves? 

I’d like play with my helmet and gloves haha!

Best way to spend a night at home?

Probably at home with my family, get some good food, and just enjoy the time with them.

What’s on your iPod right now? 

On my iPod, probably everything. All kind of music; rock, pop, rep, disco, really whatever.

 

Final Questions:

Who should we interview next?

I have no idea.

Advice for aspiring hockey players?

Again, I have no idea.

Thanks for your time. 

No problem.

Photocreds: https://twitter.com/DmitrijJaskin

Let’s Meet Greg Chase!

Greg ChaseWe recently caught up with Greg Chase of the Calgary Hitmen and Edmonton Oilers. As you may remember, he was recommended by his teammate, Chris Driedger! If you don’t remember, check out our interview with Chris here: http://bit.ly/15TMZNq Greg was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 7th Round of the 2013 NHL Draft. He’s a great follow on Twitter. You can follow him on Twitter: @GregChase9. You can also follow me on Twitter: @HkyBlogger and “like” us on the Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/notyouraveragehockeyblog

As per usual we are in bold.

How has your day been?
Pretty good so far! Long but can’t complain, it’s summer. You?
It’s been pretty good! So what’s a day in the life of Greg Chase?
Nothing special. Get up early and head to the gym, workout to begin the day. After that I get to work for the rest of the day. Maybe throw in some golf a couple times a week
So on to hockey, what kind of player do you consider yourself?
I’d say I’m a power forward, I like to drive pucks to the net and get in on the forecheck. I can be relied on to produce offence, but also am strong in my own defensive zone.
A mix between a power forward and a two way player?
Exactly
In your opinion, is it possible to train a player to play a certain way (power forward, playmaker, etc.) or is it human nature?
I personally believe there’s a lot to a player “you can’t teach” like the quotes say.You can teach the systems (how to play in the d-zone/how to skate/forecheck/hit). But you can’t teach raw talent. If you could, everyone would want to be Sidney Crosby and play like him, but that just won’t happen.
Just going to take a wild guess, but in your opinion, Crosby’s your favourite player?
Actually, no! Johnny Tavares! Guy does crazy stuff with the biscuit.
If there’s one player’s game you try to emulate, who is it and why?
I’ve been told a few times I play like a Brad Marchand or Andrew Shaw type player because of my aggression and how I like to stir it up.
Playing in Calgary, is it hard with a lot of media pressure towards you guys?
I wouldn’t say pressure. I’d say it’s a benefit learning to deal with media in a big junior market. It will help when guys get to the pro levels by knowing what/when/ and how to say things in certain negative or positive environments.
Have you ever said anything you shouldn’t of?
Personally no, we get a lot of help from media sources knowing what to say. It’s a huge positive advantage.
Do you feel prepared when you talk to the media in Edmonton?
I know what to expect. Haven’t got asked anything too difficult to answer. Lots of positive things to answer.
So let’s talk about when you were drafted, what was going through your mind, and who did you hug first?
I didn’t really know what to think. All I know is a couldn’t of been more happy and proud, spending it with my family. I think my dad was the first of many to get a hug.
So we interviewed your teammate Chris Driedger, are there any funny/embarassing/awesome secrets about him?
Actually no haha. He’s been my roommate for two years and we spend alot of time together. He’s extremely normal for a goalie. But Chris and I are really into Netflix and a game called Clash of Clans. He also makes a great fried Egg sandwich If that’s what you’re looking for it’s nothing special!
Haha, I sense a bromance! Do you guys have a favourite show to watch on Netflix?
We do get along well. We crushed every Prison Break episode this year. As well as the whole Harry Potter series. We’re professional movie watchers.
So this is probably a good time to move on to the next part which is a rapid fire session. Don’t think just answer!
Ready?
Lets do it.
Movie you look forward to seeing?
Anchorman 2
Favourite Movie of all time?
Dumb and Dumber
On a scale of 1-10 what do you rate your cooking ability?
At least a 5
Favourite Food?
Pizza’s hard to say no too
Go to topping on your pizza?
All meat
Favourite sport to watch that’s not hockey?
Basketball and Lebron!
Final questions: Who should we interview next?
Zane Jones. He’ll make ya laugh.
Sounds good! Do you have any advice for aspiring hockey players?
Always be respectful and work hard. It’ll take you a long way. And if you don’t get what you want, keep pushing. Work towards your dream and great things can happen!
Thank you for your time!
Thank you. Take care.

Photocreds: Twitter.com

Interview With Saku Salminen

SakuWe recently caught with to Saku Salminen of Jokerit in the Finnish SM-liiga! He was also drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2013 NHL Draft in the 7th Round  (184th Overall). He has had plenty of experience representing his native Finland, playing in the U16,17,18, and 20!  He’s a good follow on Twitter, and you can follow him on Twitter: @SakuSalminen. You can follow me on Twitter: @HkyBlogger, and like us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/notyouraveragehockeyblog If you like our stuff please share it with your friends! It helps alot!

Without further to do, here is our interview with Saku Salminen! As per usual, we are in bold.

First question, how has your day been?

I just woke up and hit the gym. I just came back home and now I’m going to take a nap and then go play golf with my friends.

So what’s a normal day like in the life of Saku Salminen?

Well I graduated from high school earlier this spring so  I don’t have any school work to do any school work. I usually wake up before 10am and do some kind of practicing. After, I try to eat healthy and take a little nap. Afterwards, I like to hang out with my friends and family. Nothing special really. Maybe a round of golf.

How important is eating healthy?

It’s the key to having a successful hockey career. When you eat well you feel well and that’s how you play well.

So do you have a “cheat” food, you’re not really supposed to eat but you eat anyways?

Chocolate is my weakness. I can leave everything else out, like candy and chips but I just have to eat chocolate. Usually I have like one day a week that I let myself eat like pizza or something like that.

Ohhh chocolate haha. On to hockey, what was it like being drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning? Could you take us back to what you were feeling?

It was great! It was a little surprise, but when i heard that I was drafted by Lightning I was thrilled! It was so amazing to hear it. I couldn’t believe that it was true.

Is there someone in the Lightning organization you can’t wait to play with?

Of course. To play with the superstars like Stamkos and St.Louis would be a dream come true. I played with Nikita Kucherov at the development camp and I really enjoyed playing with him.

What has been the highpoint of your career so far?

There have been few moments. When I was playing for HIFK we won U18 Finnish championship. Also my first elite league game and of course the U18 and U20 WJC. And of course, getting drafted in to the NHL by as great as a team as the Tamp Bay Lightning.

What about your lowpoint?

All of my biggest injuries. It’s hard to be injured and watch games among the crowd. Also losing U20 Finnish Championship Finals 2011.

The next part is a rapid fire round, don’t think just answer.

Ready?

Favourite Food?

Big grilled steak with garlic potatoes is always good!

What’s on your iPod?

Spotify! Of course with all kind of music.

xBox or PS3?

PS3 one and only.

Favourite TV Show?

Theres so many, but “Suits” is my favourite.

Backyard barbecue or fancy dinner?

I prefer backyard barbecue. Its cosier and more relaxing. I like chilling around.

Final questions:

Who should we interview next?

You could interview Joonas Korpisalo, the goalies for Helsingin Jokerit, U20 Finnish national team and Blue Jackets draft pick.

If you had to give one piece of advice to aspiring hockey players what would it be?

Dream big, believe in your dreams, work hard and someday you could be living your dream.

Thank you for your time!

Thank you.

Photocreds: Twitter.com

Significant Free Agents Yet To Sign

We’re in the awkward time of the year where the main part of free agency is done, and the beginning of training camp hasn’t started yet. There are still a few significant free agents who have yet to sign, so let us refresh your memory just a little bit!

Forwards:

Mikhail Grabovski: Mikhail’s a great player, but he’s certainly not worth the $5.5M he was getting before. I’d predict he will get somewhere along the lines of $3-4M. KHL may be an option, but I don’t feel like it’s what Grabovski wants. The KHL will probably offer more money for him, but I feel that Grabovski’s got a chip on his shoulder and feels that he needs to do well this year to prove the Leafs’ management wrong.

Damien Brunner: He was sensational as a rookie for the Detroit Red Wings. As a 27 year old rookie, had had 12 goals and 14 assists in 44 games. There isn’t a lack of interest for the Swiss forward, but he is rumored to be asking for a pay day in the range of $3M. He’s worth closer to $2M in my opinion, but that’s just my opinion. What’s yours? Comment below!

Defenseman:

Eh, there’s not any big names to be honest…

Goalies:

Ilya Bryzgalov: Well, well, well…

Everyone’s favourite goalie turned astronaut currently doesn’t have a job. It’s rumored that he has a KHL offer on the table. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say he gets signed a couple days before camp. Not for much money, but hey, he’s earning $1.643M a year for the next 14 years to not play for the Flyers. He could end up in a platoon role for the starter for a team, but off the top of my head, can’t think of one…

Tim Thomas: He’s back right? He’s probably going to get an offer like Bryzgalov, probably in the back up role, but you never know right? *cough Philly cough*.  If not it wouldn’t surprise me if he decides to retire.

Honorable Mentions:

Chad LaRose: I know Chad isn’t the flashiest player, and most people wouldn’t put them on their list, but the story is interesting. According to a column written by Luke DeCock of newsobserver.com, the forward has disappeared. GM Jim Rutherford has been trying to get in touch with him, but has not been able to since the end of the season. You can read the full article here: http://bit.ly/181wdcY.

Teemu Selanne: Everyone knows if he’s going to sign with a team, its going to be the Anaheim Ducks. It’s just curious to know if he will sign with the team.

Did we miss anyone? Comment below!

Some names to keep in mind for the 2014 NHL Draft

We can certainly agree that the 2013 NHL Draft was the most anticipated one in a while although only time will tell if it will surpass the one in 2003 in which most drafted players selected in the first round turned out to have successful NHL careers.  I happened to like the 2009 entry draft myself with John Tavares, Brayden Schenn, Hedman and Duchene as top ranked prospects. Usually when I follow a player since he turns 14-15 I always look forward to the year he is drafted. That was the case with Tavares and Schenn. However there is no such player for 2014 as the list of eminent prospects is lean. We must keep in mind however that a player can always develop quickly during a short period of time. For example, Jonathan Drouin was playing Midget AAA in Montreal in December 2011 and by September 2012 he was among the top 5 NHL prospects for the draft last June in New Jersey.  He was finally drafted 2nd overal by Tampa Bay.

There is no flashy star this coming season but there are skilled and great all-around players nonetheless. If the OHL did not draw too much attention in 2013 the league has lot of promising prospects for 2014. It will be the opposite for the QMJHL which had its best year ever in terms of players being drafted among the top 60 in 2013. Consequently this coming year might very well be its lowest ever. As usual the young European players are not too be neglected. Most of the top 17-18 year-old players under the radar of NHL scouts have all played in international tournaments so we will have the opportunity to see most of them at the next World Junior Championship in Molmö. Sweden.

Which names can we expect to hear early on the next 27th of June at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia as the GMs will approach the microphone? Here is my Top 5 list of junior prospects worldwide with additional names to garnish the whole. This short list was made according to what I have read in scouting reports and players I watched at the WJC, IIHF World U18 and the Ivan Hlinka Tournament.

1) Sam REINHART, C, Kootenay Ice (WHL), (6’0″, 185 lbs)

First there was Max the older brother who got drafted, then Griffin was drafted 4th overall in 2012 by the New York Islanders – a future NHLer for sure – and now here comes Sam who could be the highest drafted among former NHLer Paul Reinhart’s three sons. In a few words the kid simply knows how the game works. He is a very intelligent player with and without the puck. He can score (65G, 84A in 139 WHL games) and if you happen to be coaching him he is the type of player you want on the ice for all purposes in any crucial situation. To cap it off, he was Canada’s top line center and team captain in leading the team to the IIHF Under 18 Gold Medal. The only aspect of his game is to work on the strength of his accurate shot. He is young and gaining muscles will correct that. Reinhart is a can’t miss.

2) Leon Draisaitl, C, Prince Albert Raiders, (WHL), (6’2″ 198 lbs)

Draisaitl is my favorite player of the pack and I’m hoping he will be drafted 1st overall. Although he still have to improve on his quickness to jump on the play the rest of his game is very much there. That includes a strong ability to protect the puck and find a teammate for the perfect pass. Add to that a quick release. For those skills he reminds me a lot of the great Jaromir Jagr and Marian Gaborik for his size and speed. Representing Germany at the last WJC, he scored 4 points in one game managing to finish 1st in scoring for his national team as a 17 year-old. He will be there in December as he could become the highest ever drafted German hockey player. He was also wise enough to have a taste of North American hockey by joining the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders who are very happy to have him aboard. He tallied 58 points in 64 games in his rookie season in 2012-2013. Draisaitl will be among the league’s top scorer this season if he stays healthy.

3) Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie Colts (OHL), (6’4″, 215 lbs)

This physically imposing defenseman has the distinction of following John Tavares as the second 15-year old to be given exceptional status to enter the OHL a year early since its creation in 2005. He can beat older players in a battle for the puck 99% of the time. He clears the puck in front of the net and most of all he has a very hard shot. A blasting one. I had the chance to watch him for the first time on TV last May as the Barrie Colts lost the OHL FInals to London in 7 games (OT). He was no stranger to their success. He is not a top scoring D but he has shown improvement all along to be consistent. The season is promising for him. I would pick him in my team over Seth Jones any day of the week. Definitely the top D in the next draft.

4) Roland McKeown, D, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL), (6’1″, 186 lbs)

One scout went as far as to mention that the Kingston Frontenacs will be the Halifax Mooseheads of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft with three solid prospects in left wing Samuel Bennett, right wing Spencer Watson  and defenseman Roland McKeown. There is no doubt that his skating ability is at an elite level with a great speed and acceleration both forwards and backwards.  He is smooth on his skates.  It looks easy. Think Scott Niedermayer here.  He is as good defensively as he is offensively. His knack to jump on the play and move up the puck is NHL caliber. His plus/minus stat must improve though as he finished his rookie season with a minus-24. Mind you the Frontenacs were a minus-57 as a team last season. If he improves during the season we will hear more from him.

5) William Nylander, C, Sodertalje J20, (5’10″ 170 lbs)

The son of former NHLer Michael Nylander is looking to follow in his father’s footsteps.  He has outstanding hands and amazing stickhandling ability.  He can pass the puck where you would think it is not possible, making him an excellent playmaker.  Nylander is a solid skater who has speed and excellent acceleration and can change pace easily in the neutral and offensive zones . Great shot and it is accurate. Defensively he will have to get better and he must add up some muscles. Reports show him as a #2 overall prospect but because of those two last elements I rated him 5th.  At 17, he plays in the Sweden 1st Division with older players.  The only stats available are 6 points in 8 games.  Anyhow he always finds a way to be on the scoring sheet. I can hardly wait to watch more of him at the WJC in December.

Who could sneak in that top 5?

Portland Winterhawks center Chase DeLeo,

Peterborough Petes  left wing Nick Ritchie (Yes…Brett Ritchie’s brother).

Oshawa Generals left wing Michael Dal Colle.

Red Deer Rebels defenseman Hayden Fleury,

Calgary Hitmen left wing Jake Virtanen.

The potential sleeper: Portland Winterhawks center Dominic Turgeon, son of former NHLer Pierre Turgeon. (Long shot but I like him).

Big question mark: Daniel Audette who plays for my hometowen Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL. Although he was drafted 1st overall in 2012 in the Q league Audette has barely drawn any attention in 2012-13 and the fans here are not impressed by his will to develop into the player he can be. At 5’8”, 168lbs his skills are his best assets but we have yet to see them every single game. His injury was no excuse.

Top Goalie: Thatcher Demko. A native of San Diego, Demko went 30-9-4 with six shutouts, a 2.08 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 46 games with the U18 team in 2012-13. Impressive stats.

Every year I set my eyes on 2-3 top prospects on a daily/weekly basis. Leon Draisaitl and Sam Reinhart will be among them. The other one will be Connor McDavid, 16, already considered the top prospect for the 2015 NHL draft.