As the season begins to wind down, we’re starting to see some hardware handed out in the prospect ranks. Toronto Maple Leafs hopeful Mitch Marner, for example, just won the OHL’s Red Tilson Trophy as the league’s most outstanding player for his work with the London Knights. Another OHL award-winner is featured below in my weekly wrap-up. Elsewhere in the hockey world, the USHL is in the middle of its two-stage draft. During Phase 1 (for 2000 birthdays), Sioux Falls landed competitive center Gavin Hain with the No. 1 pick. Phase 2 (for 1999s and earlier) happened today. And speaking of the USHL, let’s get to this week’s round-up:
The Strome family has a tradition. Three sons have been drafted into the OHL over the years, and a couple nights before each one has left home, the family has thrown a big party featuring all their relatives. The son who was leaving would give a speech, and things would get misty. OK, fine. There were full-on waterworks. Ryan is the eldest and currently a member of the New York Islanders. Matthew is the youngest and just gave his speech last summer before departing the family home in Mississauga for Hamilton. And in the middle is Dylan, an Arizona Coyotes draft pick who has been tearing up the OHL as a member of the high-flying Erie Otters for nearly three seasons. “We thank everyone for the help and generosity they’ve given us,” Dylan said.
“They’ve followed us for so many years of our lives, and they know we’re going off to do what we love to do. For them to help us out so much, you get emotional when you talk about it. I was crying, Matt was crying, Ryan cried. I cried when Ryan said it, I cried when Matt said it. My parents were both crying. It’s OK to show emotion in our family.”
Finland is golden again thanks to the under-18s in North Dakota and all the international usual suspects came through at the tourney. Jesse Puljujarvi was huge, Clayton Keller took home MVP honors and Tyson Jost led the tourney in scoring. European scouts are basically done watching games now and the CHL playoffs are getting to the big stages, so you can feel the draft combine coming on the horizon. With the AHL starting Calder Cup proceedings, there is still a lot of good hockey left, though. So let’s take a trip around the prospect world again, shall we?
The world under-18s are going full-bore in North Dakota right now and there is some fantastic talent assembled. Sure, Russia’s under-18s were pulled out because of a drug scandal, but youngsters such as Klim Kostin and Andrei Svechnikov just get to make their impressions a year earlier. And with Jesse Puljujarvi joining Finland, the Americans will have several rivals to fend off if they want to defend their gold medal from last year. We’ve also got CHL playoffs getting serious and a special guest star from the coaching ranks in this week’s prospect round-up.
Before I start, I just want to say thank you to everyone who reached out or even just read the first article. I am also sorry for those who read it and think they could have done something for me; you can’t get help unless you’re ready to get help and at certain points of my life it was just easier to act how I did then to try and fix myself.
I hope it doesn’t come across as if I don’t love the game – I owe everything I have to it. I love it and respect it so much, it’s just that not everyone is built the same way. For any kids who read this and think any of this sounds cool or think these stories are “beauty”…the choices you make stick with you for life and one funny idea with your buddies or trying things you have no business getting into will stick with you for life, and take away everything you worked for and dreamed of growing up.
I snapped back into reality thanks to the voice of OnStar (great service, highly recommend). My nose was bleeding, it was 4 a.m., freezing cold wearing a Russian hat, a blazer, shorts, high socks and flip flops. My truck wasn’t turning on and OnStar had called the police. I have very vague memories of this event except the walk home from where this happened. The next morning as I began to piece back what had happened the night before and sifting through the stack of driving violations, I learned a few important lessons.
By Mo Cranker
With the end of the regular season, over half of the teams in the NHL are gearing up for what they hope will be an extended playoff run.
For the teams that miss, though, it’s more about reflecting on a failed season and looking forward to and preparing for the next season.
Whichever side your team falls on, there’s probably going to be an open roster spot, or two, ripe for the taking due to players retiring, free agency or trades.
Here’s a list of 10 prospects that are ready to earn a roster spot and make an impact on their big league club next season.
Welcome to the third installment of my 2016 draft rankings. I will do one more ranking before the actual festivities throw down in Buffalo, but with the CHL playoffs getting serious and the influential world under-18s about to start, this seemed like a good time for a snapshot. Here are a few notes to frame things:
My rankings are based off numerous conversations with NHL team scouts/executives. They’re the only ones with skin in the game, so I value them the most. From those conversations, I’ve been told that this year’s crop is pretty good for about 20-23 picks and then the field is wide open. This is a sneaky way of me telling you the latter half of my first round may turn out to be off when all is said and done.
For now, my rankings are based off “best player available.” This is pertinent because we would assume that Edmonton – guaranteed a top-five pick – will take a defenseman, based on organizational need. But anything can happen on draft day, so let’s just go with BPA for now.
With that being said, here’s my updated top 30:
All hail the Frozen Four champs from North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks stomped all over Quinnipiac in the final and while Vancouver pick Brock Boeser has confirmed his return for another campaign, several free agents are drumming up interest now. Boeser’s linemate, Drake Caggiula, helped his cause with two goals in the final, while defenseman Troy Stecher is expected to leave school early for an NHL contract. In the meantime, San Jose won the derby for Lithuanian goalie Mantas Armalis and the Michigan Wolverines lost their two best players to the pro ranks. Read about them and more in our weekly prospect wrap: