Memorial Cup: Leon Draisaitl finally part of a winner

Leon Draisaitl (Melissa Baecker/Getty Images)

QUEBEC CITY – There has never been a German prospect as highly touted as Leon Draisaitl and it was no surprise that he was snapped up with the third overall pick by Edmonton in the 2014 NHL draft. But throughout all the points and all the minutes he logged since coming over to North America in 2012-13, the big center had never experienced team success – until now.

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OT hero Nikita Kucherov proved himself early in North America

Nikita Kucherov (middle) celebrates his OT winner (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

As part of Tampa Bay’s deadly “Triplets” line with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat, right winger Nikita Kucherov has enjoyed a breakout season. But some pretty impressive perseverance went into making the young Russian the player he is today, one capable of fooling Henrik Lundqvist on this game-winning shot:

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Prospect Hot List: Swede future for Isles in net?

Linus Soderstrom (photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

The CHL playoffs are getting intense already, with Cape Breton pushing the Memorial host Quebec Remparts to a seventh game in the first round, thanks to an overtime victory in Game 6. Some fantastic individual performances have already been logged and with the Frozen Four this week and the world under-18s on the horizon, things will only get crazier. So let’s take a look at some of the prospects we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.

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David Pastrnak has been way ahead of schedule for the Bruins

David Pastrnak celebrates his OT winner (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins need some heroes right now. Tenuously holding on to the final wild card slot in the East, there is little margin of error for the B’s, which is why David Pastrnak’s overtime goal against lowly Carolina was so crucial Sunday night.

That tally, plus an Ottawa loss, gave Boston a bit of breathing room, but it also illustrated just how great the Bruins did in plucking Pastrnak 25th overall this past summer in the draft.

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CHL playoffs: The most intriguing first-round matchups

Quebec's Anthony Duclair  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

The CHL playoffs begin tonight and it’s going to be a lot of fun. Connor McDavid has one last chance to win it all with the Erie Otters in the Ontario League, but the powerfully-built Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds have designs of their own. Out in the Western League, Kelowna and Brandon seem to be on a collision course for the final, while the Quebec League has the added wrinkle of sending two teams to the Memorial Cup – one being the host Quebec Remparts, who won’t want to crawl in through the back door.

Here’s a look at all the first-round matchups in the CHL, with a bit more info on one series per league that has me riveted from the get-go.

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Auston Matthews or Jesse Puljujarvi – who’s No. 1 in 2016?

Auston Matthews (Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

During one of the off-days at the World Junior Championship, the way the camera lights were pointed, Auston Matthews of Team USA was literally standing in the shadow of Jack Eichel.

Don’t count on that lasting much longer. The Great American NHL Draft Hope of 2015™ (Eichel) and The Great American NHL Draft Hope of 2016™ (Matthews) were roommates at the WJC, a tournament that began what those at USA Hockey hope will be a long, championship-filled relationship. Read more