No matter how much hype may be surrounding Connor McDavid as the June draft grows closer, one thing remains the same and that’s McDavid’s focus on taking his Erie Otters to the Memorial Cup and getting there as OHL champions. To do so, the “underdog” Otters will have to get by the Oshawa Generals.
McDavid, the Otters captain and OHL’s leading post-season scorer, acknowledged in a conference call Wednesday that this could very well be the first and only chance he and his teammates have at winning the Robertson Cup as OHL champions.
“Last year was a good experience for a lot of our guys,” McDavid said. “A couple years earlier we weren’t very good at all, not even making the playoffs…But you usually don’t get two chances at this. We’re fortunate to get through the last round and we’re excited to play the Generals and compete for the trophy.” Read more
The final matchups in major junior have been set: Quebec takes on Rimouski in the Quebec League; Brandon will duke it out with Kelowna in the West and Erie gets Oshawa in the OHL. Whatever the results, it’s going to be a power-packed Memorial Cup. Meanwhile, the USHL draft is taking place, with Minnesota high school standout Ryan Poehling going first to Lincoln in Phase One (for 1999 birthdays) and some interesting pickups elsewhere in Phase Two (older players). Let’s take a whirl around the prospect planet to see what’s up.
Scott Conway, who led the NCAA’s Penn State Nittany Lions in scoring by a freshman and was named to the Big Ten’s all-freshman team, has been booted from the team, announced coach Guy Gadowsky.
In a release from Penn State’s men’s hockey program, it was revealed that Conway was dismissed from the club for a violation of team rules, but no further information was given. In the statement, the team wrote that, “Gadowsky and the program consider this matter concluded and will have no further comment.” Read more
One of the most vexing problems regarding the Memorial Cup is that the host teams haven’t been earning their spots lately. London, Shawinigan and Saskatoon all “backed in” to the CHL classic after bombing out early in their respective league playoffs.
So here’s a shout-out to the Quebec League, which already has its two bids sewn up this year thanks to a couple of elite teams who did what they were supposed to do.
There aren’t many players who get the chance to suit up with their home country’s men’s national club before they’ve even reached the age of draft eligibility. Matter of fact, not even Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, the 2015 draft’s consensus first and second overall picks, had that honor.
For Auston Matthews, the 2016 draft’s top prospect, he’ll get his chance at showcasing his ability among the best in the world Tuesday afternoon when he skates with the U.S. men’s national team for an exhibition contest against Austria. Read more
Once again, Team USA has won the world under-18s thanks to a roster made up almost entirely of NTDP kids. Though one interesting takeaway from the tourney was goaltending. The Americans went with underager Evan Sarthou of WHL Tri-City, while Canada had a tandem of underagers in Moose Jaw’s Zach Sawchenko and Saginaw’s Evan Cormier. Sure, 2015 looks like a thin goalie draft, but this was a pretty interesting trend. With that point behind us, let’s look at some of the other prospects making noise in the hockey world right now.
If Vancouver’s first-round series loss to underdog Calgary proved anything, it’s that the Canucks have some work to do if they hope to return to the upper echelons of the Western Conference. As is stands now, the franchise is in a bit of limbo, since the Canucks have a nice development pipeline going, but a lot of contracts already spoken for as well. So how fast can they re-tool?
At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, 22-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Viktor Loov is no small man. And with his sizeable frame, he’s no stranger to throwing around the body. Unfortunately for Loov, he might also become no stranger to watching from the sidelines following a blindside headshot to Detroit Red Wings prospect Zach Nastasiuk in the second game of the first-round AHL tilt between the Toronto Marlies and Grand Rapids Griffins.
Nastasiuk received a pass in the neutral zone and put his head down to collect the puck off of the boards. Before he could even lift his head to take a look, Loov had come across the ice and delivered a massive blow that popped Nastasiuk’s helmet clean off and left the 20-year-old winger laying on the ice: Read more