The big showcase to watch this week is the World Jr. A Championship in Camrose, Alta., where international teams from Russia, Germany, Belarus, the U.S. and two from Canada (East and West) clash for bragging rights and a little more exposure for their stars. A couple games are already in the bank and the victors get the glory on The Hot List, our weekly roundup of players we can’t wait to see in the NHL some day.
1. Taylor Hall, C – Windsor Spitfires (OHL): All hail Hall. The 17-year-old has officially usurped John Tavares atop the OHL scoring list, thanks to a huge Spits run that has seen the team obliterate the competition during an 11-game win streak. Hall now has 33 points in 18 games, as does partner-in-crime-from-the-blueline Ryan Ellis. Draft eligible in 2010.
2. Brian Dumoulin, D – New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL): When Central Scouting released its “Players to Watch” list recently, there was only one ‘A’ ranked player from the Eastern Jr. League and that was Dumoulin.
“Me and my mom were looking at the website when it came out,” Dumoulin said. “It’s terrific. It’s a good start – but it’s just a start.”
Indeed, Dumoulin, who has 13 points (10 assists) in 15 games from the blueline for the Monarchs, has been compared to Ryan Whitney and the youngster will have a chance to further that analogy when he starts his NCAA career in Boston next season.
While Whitney was a Boston U. Terrier, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Dumoulin will suit up for the crosstown rival Boston College Eagles.
“We felt it was a good spot,” Dumoulin said. “Couldn’t find anything wrong with the school or the hockey and it’s a great location.”
And despite coming from a lesser-known league, Dumoulin already has international experience under his belt, as he was part of Team USA’s entry at the summer’s Ivan Hlinka tourney in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. That team was largely comprised of unknowns and didn’t fare well, but the journey itself was well worth it for the offensive defenseman.
“It puts you in a league of your own,” he noted. “It was half the team’s first international competition. For most of us it was the highest level we had ever played and the most pressure we had faced.”
Until this year’s draft comes around, that is.
Draft eligible in 2009.
3. Sergei Chvanov, C – Severstal Cherepovets 2 (Rus): Chvanov made a big splash in his first game at the World Jr. A Championship in Camrose, Alta., torching Belarus for a hat trick and an assist as Russia bulldozed the underdogs 10-4. Draft eligible in 2009.
4. Jared Cowen, D – Spokane Chiefs (WHL): Currently known as the best draft eligible defenseman besides Victor Hedman, Cowen is only one goal shy of last year’s total (four) already. Of course, it’s his size (6-foot-5, 218 pounds) and puckmoving ability that really has NHL teams salivating. Draft eligible in 2009.
5. Scott Darling, G – University of Maine Black Bears (Hockey East): A behemoth of a netminder at 6-foot-6, Darling is having a great frosh so far: In three appearances, he is boasting a skimpy 1.01 goals-against average and a brawny .955 save percentage. Drafted 153rd overall by Phoenix in 2007.
6. Philippe Paradis, LW – Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL): The Cataractes are on a serious tear, riding a 10-game win streak with Paradis getting in on the fun. The Q’s offensive player of the week has 19 points in 20 games and plays physical. Draft eligible in 2009.
7. Vladimir Tarasenko, LW – Sibir Novosibirsk (KHL): Also benefiting from the Camrose sacking of Belarus was Tarasenko, who posted four assists in the drubbing. A late birthday, the winger is nonetheless already playing in the Kontinental League, where he has put up four points in 16 games; impressive considering his age (17) and ice time (8:29 per game). Draft eligible in 2010.
8. Brandon Pirri, LW – Streetsville Derbys (OPJHL): Pirri is on fire for Streetsville this season, where he rang up 41 points in 15 games before heading out to Camrose and promptly scoring two goals and an assist in his first match with Canada East. The RPI commit was named player of the game in a 6-3 win over Germany. Draft eligible in 2009.
9. Ryan Stoa, C – University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (WCHA): There’s a lot of people happy about Stoa’s return since recovering from the knee injury that wiped out most of the youngster’s 2007-08 campaign. The Gophers are grateful for his 10 points in six games – (the best pace of his NCAA career) and the Colorado Avalanche are happy one of their brightest prospects is back on track. Drafted 34th overall by Colorado in 2005.
10. Danick Paquette, RW – Lewiston MAINEiacs (QMJHL): Paquette had a hat trick against Acadie-Bathurst to give him 14 points in 15 games. But the 5-foot-11, 208 pound winger can do other things with his hands, as his three fights to date (he had 14 last year) will attest. Drafted 64th overall by Atlanta in 2008.
The Hot List, a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday, only on thehockeynews.com.
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