While I try to reserve this space for players up for this year’s draft or ones who have already been picked, there’s a treasure trove of 2016s at the world under-18s right now. Auston Matthews just broke Patrick Kane’s U.S. NTDP scoring record, while Finland is getting a huge performance from Patrik Laine (Jesse Puljujarvi’s playing pretty well, too). And Dmitri Sokolov of Russia is already on the minds of NHL scouts. With that established, let’s take a look at some of the other great youngsters in the game today.
A cruel and tragic twist of fate struck the Russian hockey community over the past week.
First, coach Valery Belousov passed away April 16. He was 66. Belousov won three Russian championships and enjoyed a successful run in the KHL late in his career, most famously guiding Traktor Chelyabinsk from the league basement in 2010-11 to the Gagarin Cup final in 2012-13.
Then, returning home from Belousov’s funeral April 21, coach Sergei Mikhalyov died in a car accident in the Chelyabinsk region. He was 67. He coached Salavat Yulaev Ufa for several seasons and most recently served as GM of Lada Togliatti in the VHL, Russia’s second-tier pro league. Mikhalyov also coached Russia’s world junior team to a silver medal in 2006.
Admittedly, I don’t smoke pot and I never have. But I listen to a lot of music made by marijuana enthusiasts and since today is 4/20, I thought it would be fun to come up with the best hockey jerseys for potheads.
We did have the idea of posting the article at 4:20 Eastern time, but then thought folks should have some time to read before the mythical hour was upon them. We also figured we shouldn’t post it in the morning because none of the target audience would be awake yet.
So let’s get to it now.
With a power play assist in the first period against Slovakia, Team USA’s Auston Matthews put himself in the history books. The elite center and top prospect for the 2016 NHL draft had himself his 103rd point of the season, breaking the National Team Development Program record of 102, set by Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane in 2005-06.
In a year where Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel have ruled the prospect world, it’s time to give Matthews his due.
The Czech Republic is all set to host the 2015 World Championship later this month, but what should be a happy time in the hockey nation has been overshadowed by a strange allegation involving national team coach Vladimir Ruzicka.
The Frozen Four is in the books and it was a classic, with Providence College winning its first-ever hockey title over Boston University. But the season still might not be over for Terriers frosh Jack Eichel, as he and Nashville pick Jimmy Vesey of Harvard were expected to play for Team USA at the World Championship in Switzerland. Meanwhile, we’re getting very close to the world under-18s as well in the Czech Republic. With CHL playoffs still going strong, let’s cruise around the prospect world once again.
David Levin is going to open a whole lot of eyes when he suits up for the Sudbury Wolves next season. The Ontario League franchise announced today that the skilled right winger with the Toronto-based Don Mills Flyers would be their top choice, first overall, in Saturday’s OHL draft. Levin’s a pretty good prospect, but he’s certainly the best to ever come out of Israel.
Move over, Martin Brodeur, there’s a new sharpshooting goaltender. And as far as scoring by goaltenders is concerned, he might just be the equivalent of Wayne Gretzky.
For the second time in 11 days, Kaapo Kahkonen, the 109th overall selection by the Minnesota Wild in 2014, has found the back of an empty net.
The first goal came on March 28 in the Finnish second league, Mestis, when Kahkonen’s TUTO Hockey was playing KooKoo. Kahkonen collected the puck behind the net and when it looked like he was going to send it up the boards, the KooKoo winger sealed off the wall, leaving the middle of the ice open for Kahkonen to bury the end-to-end shot: Read more