Meet Auston Matthews, the next, next NHL draft phenom

Auston Matthews (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

Team USA has won two of the past five world junior championships and based on the talent available to the team, another title soon wouldn’t be surprising. Part of the challenge will be replenishing the roster when the top recruits join the NHL early and it seems like a foregone conclusion that Jack Eichel will be in The Show next season, rather than chasing gold in Finland. Luckily for America, Auston Matthews isn’t eligible for the NHL draft until 2016 – and he may be just as good as Eichel.

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Team Canada hopeful Lawson Crouse leads off The Hot List

Kingston's Lawson Crouse (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

The world junior picture is beginning to clear up as the holiday classic nears. Sweden won’t get Andre Burakovsky from Washington and Canada won’t get Bo Horvat from Vancouver, but the biggest blow may be to the Russians. That’s because Nikita Zadorov has become too integral to the suddenly-hot Buffalo Sabres. The World Jr. A Challenge also has some great talent this year and it’s going on now, so let’s take a look at some of the young players we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.

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Forget Mike Babcock speculation: Focus on Tyler Myers

Tyler Myers  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mike Babcock is vehemently denying rumors he’s on the verge of re-upping with the Detroit Red Wings as the highest-paid coach in the NHL and GM Ken Holland isn’t saying much of anything one way or the other. So where does that leave us? Well, your trusty correspondent is inclined to believe that before long, Babcock will sign in Detroit and continue his outstanding coaching career in Detroit.

From what I’ve been told, the one factor more than anything that was important to Babcock was whether or not the Red Wings have an opportunity to be a contending team for the long-term. During the Red Wings prospect tournament in Traverse City, I had a long talk with Holland after we picked the Red Wings to miss the playoffs and even he acknowledged the fans were beginning to ask questions.

“Has he lost his touch?” Holland asked rhetorically. “Is he a doofus?” Read more

Behemoth 2015 prospect Jordan Greenway leads off The Hot List

Jordan Greenway (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

World junior camps are approaching and some teams are getting excellent news already. Most recently, Canada found out that New York Rangers rookie Anthony Duclair will be loaned out, giving the host nation another speedy and dangerous offensive weapon in its arsenal. Finland must be happy that Dallas gave its blessing for Julius Honka to return, while Washington’s Andre Burakovsky is still a wait-and-see for Sweden. In the meantime, here are some of the other top prospects making noise in the hockey world.

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Jack Eichel headlines USA world junior selection camp roster

Jack Eichel (No. 9) makes Team USA an instant contender at the 2015 world juniors.(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

It was no surprise when Connor McDavid cracked Canada’s World Junior Championship selection camp roster, announced yesterday. It was even less surprising when Jack Eichel made the U.S. camp roster. Both are viewed as neck-and-neck to go first overall in the 2015 NHL draft, and if McDavid could make his nation’s squad with a broken hand, a healthy Eichel was a lock. Especially with the way he’s torn up the NCAA ranks as a freshman with Boston University.

Fuelled by the U.S. National Team Development Program’s perpetual harvest of great prospects, the Yankees are borderline co-favorites in this year’s tournament. Their 30-man camp roster includes 24 players drafted to NHL teams. The complete list:

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Brace yourself for arguably the most bizarre hockey jumbotron video you’ll ever see

Adam Proteau
Alaska Nanooks' polar bear (Image via Nanooks' promotional video from 2009-10)

If you’re looking for a Jumbotron hockey video that includes a soundtrack featuring Kenny Loggins, Laura Branigan and a plotline starring a polar bear capable of flying a fighter jet, have we got a link for you.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks commissioned this video for the Alaska Nanooks‘ 2009-10 team, and calling it off the wall is an understatement. It begins, appropriately enough, in the Arctic Circle – but that’s where things start to get weird: an icebreaker makes its way through the frozen waters, apparently electrifying a polar bear that somehow had been frozen beneath the surface and enlarging it to Godzilla size (that point is also the point at which someone thought Branigan’s “Self Control” was a smart musical choice); Bearzilla proceeds to fashion a Fox-on-NHL-style glowing stick out of thin air, uses it to destroy the boat and everyone on board in a fairly serious overreaction, then makes his way onto the aforementioned jet to go full Maverick-from-Top-Gun.

From there, Bearzilla and a group of bear-pilots proceed to attack multiple places of higher learning before dropping a bomb into a volcano (something vaguely Scientology-ish there) and blowing the entire earth to smithereens. You’d think the bear wouldn’t have much to do after having destroyed the planet and all the innocent life forms that once lived upon it, but you’d be wrong – he still has enough juice in the plane to fly it, Interstellar-style, through a wormhole and intro an alternate universe where hockey is played on a giant brownie.

What, you think I made these past two paragraphs up? Go ahead, see for yourself: Read more