Alexander Zalivin of the Russia All-Stars stops a shot by Maxime Sauve of the QMJHL All-Stars. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The CHL-Russia Summit Series got underway Monday night with the ‘Q’ stars getting first cracks at their Eastern foes in Drummondville, Que. Once again, the Canadians came out on top, but at least the Russians are dressing big names such as Dmitry Kugryshev, Maxim Kitsyn and Igor Bobkov this year. Standout players from that game and more in this week’s look at kids we’re excited to see in the NHL some day.
1. Charlie Coyle, RW – South Shore Kings (EJHL): Born in Massachusetts, it shouldn’t be a surprise where Coyle wants to find himself in the future.
“I’ve wanted to go to B.U. my whole life,” said the Kings star.
But Coyle is taking an interesting path on his way to the Boston Terriers program. A star at Thayer Academy last year, the 6-foot-2, 207-pound power forward switched off to the Eastern Junior League this season, where his 30 points in 18 games are good for second on the team.
“I thought that was the next step for me,” Coyle revealed. “It’s a longer schedule, it’s a good league – the players are bigger, faster and stronger.”
And whenever he needs advice, he can always turn to his cousin, who also attended Thayer and Boston: former NHL star Tony Amonte.
“He helped us at Thayer last year, so he gave me some pointers,” Coyle said.
Ranked as an ‘A’ prospect to watch by NHL Central Scouting, Coyle may suit up for the Terriers next season, or he may spend a year in the United States League with Indiana. Either way, he’ll bring an intimidating combination of gritty corner play and high-end passing ability. Finding one NHL model has been tricky for the teen so far.
“I’ve been thinking about that for a long time,” Coyle said. “I try to take pieces from different guys – Milan Lucic; always plays physical, finesse players like Sidney Crosby for his playmaking.”
Sounds like a pretty potent mix. Draft eligible in 2010.
2. Alexander Zalivin, G – Moscow Dynamo (KHL Jr.): About the only thing standing between the Russians and embarrassment in Drummondville was Zalivin, who was outstanding in net. The Dynamo prospect stopped 53 of 56 shots in a losing cause, keeping himself square to the puck and never giving up when there was a rebound. Draft eligible in 2010 (undrafted in 2009).
3. Gabriel Bourque, LW – Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL): The Quebec League’s player of the game against Russia, the 5-foot-9 Bourque used his speed to the max Monday night. His roofer over Zalinin’s shoulder proved to be the insurance marker for the ‘Q’ squad and it had some nasty velocity on it. Drafted 132nd overall by Nashville in 2009.
4. Stefan Elliott, D – Saskatoon Blades (WHL): An intelligent blueliner who can play the game both ways, Elliott’s offensive totals are starting to creep up the Western League leaderboard. The Blades star now has 23 points through 24 games. Drafted 49th overall by Colorado in 2009.
5. Riley Sheahan, C – Notre Dame Fighting Irish (CCHA): A rare draft-eligible freshman, Sheahan comes from the same St. Catharines program as Michigan State’s Daultan Leveille. With seven points in 11 games, it seems as if the 6-foot-2, 200-pound pivot is just getting warmed up in South Bend. Draft eligible in 2010.
6. James Reid, G – Spokane Chiefs (WHL): Buried behind marquee netminder Dustin Tokarski last season, no one seemed to notice Reid had a 1.68 goals-against average in 18 appearances. Fortunately, the Chiefs backstop had an encore in him and is humming along with a 2.19 GAA despite playing behind a weaker Spokane team. Draft eligible in 2010 (undrafted in 2009).
7. Ryan Spooner, C – Peterborough Petes (OHL): The Petes aren’t particularly deep this season, but that hasn’t stopped Spooner from having a grand campaign. The two-way forward has 26 points in 23 games and has scouts moving him up on their draft lists. Draft eligible in 2010.
8. Kirill Petrov, RW – Ak-Bars Kazan (KHL): Wearing the ‘C’ for the Russians and showing a lot of drive, Petrov may have been held off the scoresheet in Drummondville, but was still visible. His creativity and willingness to pay the price for going to the net were admirable. Drafted 73rd overall by the New York Islanders in 2008.
9. Luke Adam, C – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL): Using his 6-foot-2, 203-pound frame to punish on the forecheck, Adam was a tenacious force against the Russians and a frequent threat offensively. In his first year with Cape Breton, he is putting up the best numbers of his career with 34 points through 24 games. Drafted 44th overall by Buffalo in 2008.
10. Erik Haula, LW – Omaha Lancers (USHL): The Finnish national must have a love affair with the American Midwest: He played at Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota and will join the U of M’s Golden Gophers next season. In the meantime, he’s doing damage in Nebraska with 20 points in 14 games. Drafted 182nd overall by Minnesota in 2009.
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.
For more great prospect profiles and news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.