A Hot List stalwart graduated from eligibility Monday night, as goalie John Gibson made his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks, notching a shutout for good measure. Elsewhere, Radek Faksa headed to AHL Texas while Henri Ikonen headed to Syracuse. Most importantly, the world under-18s are coming up in Finland, so here’s a look at some of the names to know there and around the prospect galaxy.
Brayden Point, C – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Canada has been tremendous at the under-18 level, dominating the summer’s Ivan Hlinka tournament for years and even snagging gold at the worlds last season despite facing a favored American squad in the final. Why were the Americans favored? Because Canada’s roster is hampered by the ongoing major junior playoffs. Fortunately, this year’s edition will have a good amount of experience and Point is part of that cohort. He helped the Canucks win gold in the summer and he learned from playing in Europe. That’s important since the under-18s are in Finland next week.
“I learned how to play on the big ice and what works over there, rather than in the CHL” Point said. “You learn how the pace is.”
And the international duty is also fun because Point gets to play on all all-star team from across three different major junior circuits – not to mention view his competition for the NHL draft this summer.
“It’s cool to see,” he said. “It’s cool to see what they’re good at and the skills they bring. It’s good to see some of the guys I know here and meet some new guys.”
A smaller player who models his game after Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis, Point rang up an awesome 36 goals and 91 points for Moose Jaw this season. Incredibly, the next-highest producer on the Warriors had just 55 points.
“Personally I had a really good season, but obviously I would have liked a few more wins and more team success,” he said. “Hopefully next year we can get to the playoffs.”
But Moose Jaw’s loss is Canada’s gain and when Point is distributing the puck, it usually ends up in the back of the enemy’s net. Draft eligible in 2014.
Kasperi Kapanen, RW – KalPa (Fin.)
Scouts have been empathetic to Kapanen’s plight this season, as the teen was overburdened on a KalPa team that leaned heavily on him. Now the responsible winger will get a chance to spread his wings at the under-18s, where he can show off his dazzling two-way abilities and dominate his age class. Draft eligible in 2014.