Nathan MacKinnon scored 31 goals and 78 points in 58 games with the QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads last season. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Canada stomped Finland 4-0 to win its fifth straight Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in Slovakia last week, while Team USA’s non-NTDP roster came in seventh. Since the NTDP Americans dominate the spring’s world under-18s (when most of Canada’s best are still in the CHL playoffs), isn’t it time we figure out a way to get these two playing against each other somehow? Perhaps it’s just a dream. But international play isn’t finished – Sudbury (OHL) and Waterloo (USHL) are both over in Russia as part of the Junior Club World Cup, so there are plenty of prospects to cover off in the dead of August.
Lucas Wallmark, C – Skelleftea (Swe.)
The Swedes took bronze at the Ivan Hlinka and it was Wallmark driving the bus offensively the whole tourney. The gifted pivot led the team in scoring with four goals and seven points in five games, including the game-tying goal in the final victory over the Czechs. No surprise then that vision is one of his strengths, not to mention special teams.
“Power play is my biggest strength,” Wallmark said. “I can play on the penalty kill too, but the power play is my best; I’m a playmaker.”
Though Henrik Sedin is the youngster’s offensive model, a couple of defensemen who played for Skelleftea before him have helped Wallmark along the way, particularly when it comes to a future in the NHL.
“I have talked with Adam Larsson and David Rundblad,” he said. “They say it’s so cool to be here and that’s my goal, to play in the NHL one day.”
Like many Europeans, Wallmark noted how the smaller North American rinks will require an adjustment, but he’ll be playing for Skelleftea this year anyway, so that’s a future conversation. In the meantime, he’s gearing up for the Elite League after putting up a point-per-game at the under-20 level last season.
“It’s bigger guys, faster tempo,” Wallmark said. “I talked to Adam a lot. He said that you’re training all day. I must go up in weight.”
Luckily, pounds can be put on – the vision and skill he possesses don’t come around so often. Draft eligible in 2013.
Nathan MacKinnon, C – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
A hat trick in the gold medal game? Yeah, I guess that’s pretty clutch. MacKinnon led the way for Canada (and the tourney) with six goals and 11 points in five games, thus kicking off his campaign to be taken first overall in 2013 in style. The next question is whether Hockey Canada tabs him for the world juniors, as well. Draft eligible in 2013.
Adam Erne, LW – Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Team USA was a bit of a mish-mash at the Ivan Hlinka, but Erne proved once again that he’s an elite talent to be reckoned with. The Remparts star rang up five goals and six points in four games for the Stars and Stripes and will bring his power forward game to Buffalo in September for the All-American Prospects Game. Draft eligible in 2013.
Robert Hagg, D – Modo (Swe.)
It was already established that Hagg is not a lot of fun to play against – and his 35 PIM including a match penalty at the Ivan Hlinka back that up. But the big, 6-foot-2 defenseman also showed some offensive pop, tallying five points in four games. That ranked him tops on the Tre Kroner’s blueline. Draft eligible in 2013.
Felix Westermarck, RW – Espoo Blues (Fin.)
With four goals in five games, Westermarck was a big part of Finland’s silver medal engine at the Ivan Hlinka. The right winger’s not afraid to shoot the puck and can get it off quick. His converted steal in the semis against archrival Sweden sent the Finns into the final. Draft eligible in 2013.
Josh Morrissey, D – Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
Morrissey was an ace on the power play for Canada at the Ivan Hlinka, putting up five of his nine points on the man advantage. A high pick in the Western League’s bantam draft, Morrissey has always dazzled with his offensive acumen and has even chatted with Washington’s Mike Green about that particular blueline role, so the kid’s doing his research. Draft eligible in 2013.
Eamon McAdam, G – Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
A Penn State commit who will also be in net at the first-ever All-American Prospects Game, McAdam got his summer off to a great start with a 27-save shutout against HC Energie of the Czech Republic at the Junior Club World Cup. The 6-foot-2 keeper won his last four starts in 2011-12 and will look to make an even bigger impression this time around. Draft eligible in 2013.
Sergei Tolchinsky, RW – CSKA (Rus.)
The Russians didn’t have a great Ivan Hlinka, sinking to fifth after the Czechs knocked them out of medal contention, but Tolchinsky once again shined on the international stage with four points in four games. Small but dynamic, the right winger was selected by the Soo Greyhounds in the CHL Import Draft. Draft eligible in 2013.
Charlie Pelnik, D – Shattuck St. Mary’s Sabres (Minn. HS)
Easily the most talked-about prospect ever from North Carolina, Pelnik will suit up for the USHL’s Fargo Force this season after a great run with Shattucks. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound blueliner from the Jr. Hurricanes system is committed to the University of North Dakota, where he’ll bring a Pronger-esque nasty streak – though Plymouth owns his OHL rights. Draft eligible in 2013.
Tyler Hill, RW – Hotchkiss Bearcats (Conn. HS)
A beast of a young man at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds already, Hill brings excellent athleticism along with his frame. Though both Ottawa (OHL) and Muskegon (USHL) wanted him this year, the bruising power forward will remain at Hotchkiss for 2012-13. Spurning the 67’s naturally keeps his NCAA aspirations alive, too. Draft eligible in 2013.
The Hot List, a roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday only on thehockeynews.com. A player is eligible for The Hot List until they play their first NHL game.
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