The NHL Prospect Hot List: Gustav Olofsson helping Colorado through tough season

Ryan Kennedy
Gustav Olofsson

The big prospect news of the week is Boston’s Beanpot tournament, where the four schools from the city compete for one coveted trophy. Harvard, Northeastern, Boston U. and Boston College take this very seriously and with the semifinals finished, Boston College and Northeastern will meet to win the prize. Boston College has won the past four Beanpots. Here’s a look at some of the key players from there and all around the world of prospects.

Gustav Olofsson, D – Colorado College Tigers (NCHC)
Swedish born, but having spent many of his past few years living in Colorado, Olofsson had a unique take on this year’s world juniors in Malmo, where he helped the hosts to a silver medal.

“Off the ice it was really nice, just the food and stuff,” he said. “Chocolate, ice cream…just so much to choose from. Maribou chocolate.”

Hopefully the smart, puck-moving defenseman stocked up, because back in Colorado his Tigers have gone through a tough season, where they’ve been pushed around in the first year of NCHC conference play, winning just three games out of 24 in regulation.

“It’s been up and down,” Olofsson said. “Individually it’s been good, but for the team we’ve struggled. But we’re getting on track and all the guys are nice and I’m developing well.”

Just a freshman, Olofsson will be a big part of the CC blueline from here on out, with fellow NHL picks Jaccob Slavin (Carolina) and Teemu Kivihalme (Nashville), the latter of whom comes in next year. In the meantime, the Swede is already getting the full college experience, taking a Bollywood dance class to ease up his course load.

“It was a little ‘fill’ class, just get my mind off school,” he said. “I started out with American history and a lot of writing, so dancing was a nice change. It helped with co-ordination. It was something fun to do, have a laugh at the guys – there were a couple of us from the team in the class.”

And bonding on a team is never a bad thing, especially when brighter days are still in the future. Drafted 46th overall by Minnesota in 2013.

Anthony Duclair, LW – Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Creeping up on Anthony Mantha of Val-d’Or in the Quebec League scoring race, Duclair hung seven points on Halifax Saturday, then followed it up with three more in a loss to Blainville-Boisbriand. Skilled and creative, Duclair has been a frequent QMJHL star of the week. Drafted 80th overall by the New York Rangers in 2013.

Thatcher Demko, G – Boston College Eagles (Hockey East)
The freshman had a great start to his Beanpot career, turning aside 27 of 28 Boston University shots as his Eagles flew by their hated rivals 3-1. A big netminder who looks to be Team USA’s goalie at the next world juniors, Demko hasn’t lost a game since late November and rocks a 1.90 goals-against average. Draft eligible in 2014.

Robby Fabbri, C – Guelph Storm (OHL)
Quick, skilled and creative, Fabbri has a bit of jam to his game and has been lighting it up for the Storm this season. The slight pivot just hit the 30-goal mark and has 57 points overall through 40 games. Draft eligible in 2014.

Adrian Kempe, RW – Modo (Swe.)
A big kid with a goal-scorer’s touch, Kempe is working his way up Modo’s depth chart and potted two in a recent win over HV 71. The teen is actually so valued by his club team that he won’t be participating in an upcoming international under-18 tourney. Draft eligible in 2014.

Kevin Roy, LW – Northeastern University Huskies (Hockey East)
The Huskies wiped out Harvard 6-0 and as usual, Roy was in the thick of it all. The gifted scorer had a goal and a helper and continues to make beautiful music with freshman center Mike Szmatula. If Northeastern is going to upset Boston College in the final, Roy will be the key. Drafted 97th overall by Anaheim in 2012.

Matt Murray, G – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
An athletic goaltender with a great 6-foot-5 frame, Murray has led the Hounds to an early playoff spot, clinching with 16 games to go. One of the top netminders in the league, Murray sports a 2.44 GAA and six shutouts to go with his 27-8-1 record. Drafted 83rd overall by Pittsburgh in 2012.

Vladislav Kamenev, C – Stalnye Lisy (Rus.)
Big, talented and not afraid to throw his weight around, Kamenev has three points in his past two games for Stalnye Lisy. The 6-foot-2 pivot has split his time between the Russian junior club team and the KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk this season, getting in 16 games with the big squad. Draft eligible in 2014.

Julien Nantel, C – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
Though he didn’t make the team, Nantel reportedly impressed Canada’s Ivan Hlinka tournament coaches over the summer and scouts love his high energy, straight-ahead game. He’s a good skater who can kill penalties and on a deep Huskies team, he has four points in his past five games. Draft eligible in 2014.

Dmitry Sinitsyn, D – Regina Pats (WHL)
Playing in his first Western League campaign after a season with UMass-Lowell (he red-shirted before that), the Russian blueliner is coming into his own, with five points in his past four games, not to mention a fight where he more than held his own. A big kid with some great offensive pieces to his game, Sinitsyn is helping the Pats get hot. Drafted 183rd overall by Dallas in 2012.