Prospect Need to Know: Sabres pick Will Borgen proud of his Spud roots

Will Borgen (photo courtesy of St. Cloud State)

I’m back from Finland and things are not slowing down. The home team took gold at the world juniors in one of the best games I’ve ever seen live and the talent overall was incredible in Helsinki. But a whole slew of trades have gone down in the CHL since we last gathered, while the USHL Top Prospects Game runs tonight in Omaha. Names to watch in Nebraska include Cam Morrison (Notre Dame commit), William Knierim (Miami) and Matt Filipe (Northeastern). As for everything else prospect, let’s get to the list.


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North Dakota’s Caggiula throws hat in the ring for goal of the year with video-game tally

Jared Clinton
Drake Caggiula (via UND Athletics/YouTube)

University of North Dakota’s Drake Caggiula is on a tear this season. Through 21 games, the 21-year-old winger has 14 goals and 29 points and is on pace for a career year. Caggiula hasn’t been drafted yet, but he’s certainly going to be garnering some attention after the incredible goal he scored this past weekend.

Saturday night in a contest against Alabama Huntsville, the puck was down in the North Dakota zone when defenseman Troy Stecher backhanded the puck out of harm’s way and into the neutral zone. The puck skipped its way past center ice, where Caggiula was waiting and pivoted up ice. Caggiula was one-on-one with Alabama Huntsville blueliner Cody Champagne and turned him inside out before finishing it off with a beautiful goal: Read more

Zach Werenski has been Captain America at the world juniors

Ryan Kennedy
Zach Werenski  (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

HELSINKI, FINLAND – While the Americans have put up some of the best offensive numbers of the world juniors so far, let’s not forget about the defense that has surrendered just five goals in four round robin games. Leading the charge on the blueline is Columbus Blue Jackets first-rounder Zach Werenski, a standout sophomore with the University of Michigan Wolverines and the captain of Team USA. He may not be Steve Rogers or Sam Wilson, but Werenski wears the title of Captain America with pride.

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Prospect Need to Know: Tyson Jost is a Canadian hero

Tyson Jost (photo courtesy Tim Bates/OJHL Images)

This will be the final Prospect NTK for at least a week or two, as the holidays and my travelling to Finland for the world juniors conspire. Expect a lot of world junior stuff on the web site in the meantime, so with that in mind I’ll concentrate more on the World Jr. A Challenge right now, since that tourney is done. There was some nice talent there once again, culminating in a Canada West gold medal.

Elsewhere in the prospect world, trades and other movements are heating up in the Quebec League, one of which I cover off below. Let’s get to our weekly wrap.

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Prospect Need to Know: Team Canada’s Mason McDonald feeling the heat

Mason McDonald  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Canada is off to Finland now in preparation for the world juniors and a couple big names will not be making the trip. Yes, there are always surprising cuts and this year was no exception with Islanders pick Michael Dal Colle and top 2016 defense prospect Jakob Chychrun getting axed early. Having seen the team’s exhibition game on Saturday, I can understand what happened. Dal Colle was given plenty of ice time but never really seemed to get in gear. He’s an offensive player but didn’t look too dangerous. Cold at the wrong time, I suppose. Chychrun, being the youngest potential blueliner, had to stand out and in my mind, the key to his roster spot was in physicality: Canada has plenty of puckmovers already. The big kid didn’t rattle many cages on Saturday however, and perhaps that’s why he will return to Sarnia. But hey, it’s a really tough team to make – and a lot of great players never got to play for Team Canada in the past. Let’s take a look at some other names in the news right now:

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What would Canada’s world junior team look like without CHL players?

Ryan Kennedy
Calgary pick Brandon Hickey (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

Canada’s world junior team has traditionally been dominated by major junior players – in fact, in many years, the entire roster comes from the CHL. But what if Canada didn’t have major junior kids at its disposal? I thought it would be an interesting experiment to put together a roster comprised of eligible players from Jr. A, USHL, NAHL and NCAA teams. It wasn’t easy, but here’s my squad that would head to Finland (with current team and draft status included):

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Blunder over women’s game at Winter Classic has NHL scrambling

Hilary Knight of Boston (left) battles Elana Orlando of New York (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Sources tell that the NHL is scrambling to find a way to the solve a potential debacle that has materialized over a women’s hockey showcase game at the Winter Classic in Boston.

As was reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN earlier this week, part of the Winter Classic festivities were to include a game between the Montreal Canadiennes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the Boston Pride of the first-year National Women’s Hockey League. The game was to be comprised of two 15-minute periods and was to be played prior to the game between the Canadiens and Bruins alumni teams on Dec. 31, the day before the Canadiens and Bruins face off in the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxoborough, Mass.

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Prospect Need to Know: Brady Skjei is the future for the Rangers

Brady Skjei (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Hey, is anything controversial going on in the prospect world right now? Oh right, the Team USA world junior apocalypse. Here’s the thing: there will always be talented players left off camp rosters and second-guessing if the team doesn’t win. In the case of Minnesota first-rounder Alex Tuch, he hadn’t impressed as a sophomore at Boston College this year. With Toronto pick Jeremy Bracco, USA Hockey views him as an offense-only player – whether you agree with that assessment or not, it’s the mark he was given. But instead of dwelling on the negative, let’s get to the positives, shall we?

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