With a 6-3 stomping of the Guelph Storm, the Edmonton Oil Kings cemented their names in history as winners of the 2014 Memorial Cup. And while a game is won by a team and not individuals, there were many players throughout the tournament that did themselves a world of good with their play at the showdown. Here’s a look at 10 players who helped their own cause in London.
Edgars Kulda, LW – Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Winner of the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as tournament MVP, the Latvian left winger put a cap on a remarkable sophomore year in Edmonton. The import jumped from 17 points to 60 points during the regular season and scored more than a point per game in the playoffs. Talented, determined and confident with the puck, Kulda was a force in London and a favorite of both fans and media. He went undrafted last year, but the late 1994 birthday seems like a lock to go the second time around now.
Robby Fabbri, C – Guelph Storm (OHL)
His goal one minute into the final was pure poetry; a perfect give-and-go with linemate Kerby Rychel. Fabbri has proven all year long that his 5-foot-10, 170-pound frame won’t stop him from mixing it up with bigger foes or prevent him from lacing the scoresheet. Count on him going in the first round of the draft this summer.
Griffin Reinhart, D – Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
There was little doubt heading into this season that 2014-15 would find Reinhart in a New York Islanders jersey, but his performance in London rubber-stamped it. The fourth overall pick in 2012 played insane minutes for the Oil Kings, took on the other team’s top forwards and even found time to join the rush himself when the chance came up.
Antoine Bibeau, G – Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect kicked off the tournament with a 51-save shutout of the host London Knights and repelled Edmonton in a double-overtime win in the round robin, when Val-d’Or was badly outshot. The big butterfly goaltender is confident in his technique and challenges shooters when he needs to.
Dysin Mayo, D – Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
The Oil Kings essentially played four ‘D’ in the final game against Guelph and Mayo was trusted with big minutes. He and partner Cody Corbett (a Colorado signing) both played very well and Reinhart sees a bit of Mark Pysyk in the young Mayo. A potential second-rounder for the draft this summer, Mayo has offensive skills, but also proved himself in his own end time and again.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel, RW – Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
Everybody knows about the Foreurs’ No. 1 right winger, Anthony Mantha, but Aube-Kubel was pretty special too. Even though he didn’t register a point in four games, Aube-Kubel showed dogged determination, chasing down pucks and making some great runs into the offensive zone. Look for him in the first two or three rounds at the draft.
Tristan Jarry, G – Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
He held down the fort for Edmonton against a dangerous Guelph squad and proved himself to be an elite netminding prospect. Jarry is a great stickhandling goalie, which is a nice pro attribute, but he’s also a fierce competitor. He’s always had to prove himself, having been a backup to Laurent Brossoit and never being a favorite for Canada internationally, but the Pittsburgh prospect staked a claim in London.
Scott Kosmachuk, RW – Guelph Storm (OHL)
Part of Guelph’s potent top line with Brock McGinn and Jason Dickinson, Kosmachuk was playing in his final year of junior and really produced. The talented right winger also brought a nasty edge to the table and that will help him as he shoots for a role on the Winnipeg Jets next season (or failing that, their American League squad).
Christian Dvorak, LW – London Knights (OHL)
Let’s face it: None of the Knights had a good tournament and their 0-3 record reflected that. But it was important for Dvorak to get in some games, as he hadn’t played since Dec. 14 due to a knee injury. Up for the draft this summer, the Illinois native brings a nice offensive toolkit to the ice and played in all three contests for the Knights. Scouts will get another assessment of Dvorak at the draft combine this week.
Henrik Samuelsson, C – Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Can’t leave out the leading scorer in the tournament. Samuelsson is a Phoenix Coyotes prospect and with his combination of size and skill, he should get a long look from the Dogs in the fall. Ulf’s kid was a force in the final against Guelph and also led the Oil Kings in scoring during the Western League playoffs.