As we put together for the world juniors, let’s not overlook that the prospect world is huge and ever-changing. For instance, Buffalo lately despatched Casey Mittelstadt all the way down to the AHL’s Rochester Individuals for the primary time, after the proficient heart spent his whole 2018-19 rookie marketing campaign within the NHL. However Sabres coach Ralph Krueger instructed me it’s not a nasty factor for Mittelstadt’s profession.
“For Casey, some reps within the AHL will do him properly,” Krueger stated. “His ice time might be excessive, he can get some energy play and offensive time that he wasn’t in a position to get right here recently. It’s all about reps for a 21-year-old that can solely do him properly. His angle, his work ethic, the best way he went by way of final summer season was excellent. That is nothing however a constructive step for him, insofar as we’re doing what’s finest for Casey Mittelstadt.”
A part of the battle for Mittelstadt has been the very fact he’s a middle, which brings extra duty than a winger has to deal with. Krueger likened the scenario to a younger defenseman coming into the NHL.
“There’s a lot pace within the league proper now,” the coach stated. “It is rather tough to play defensively with out the puck on a constant foundation for a younger participant. We’d like him to proceed to develop that facet of his recreation. Earlier than he got here to the NHL he had the puck the entire recreation, so he didn’t must play with out it. We’re going to be performing some actually good work with him down there.”
Hopefully, Mittelstadt dominates in Rochester and re-joins the Sabres, who’ve been scorching recently and might luckily afford to verify considered one of their key children will get again on observe within the minors. Now let’s check out a prospect from all 31 groups within the NHL.
ANA: Whereas Benoit-Olivier Groulx is staking his declare to a spot on Canada’s world junior group, the tenacious two-way heart can be making headlines at house. He’ll be traded from Halifax to Moncton as soon as the WJC is completed, the place the Wildcats are going for a QMJHL title.
ARI: The highest-scoring rookie in Finland’s Liiga is left winger Matias Macelli. Coming again house from USHL Dubuque, the child has 25 factors in 26 video games for Ilves, which additionally makes him the group’s second-leading scorer.
BOS: Middle Curtis Corridor is within the combine for Crew USA’s world junior squad and if the Yale sophomore goes to earn a ultimate spot, he’ll achieve this on the defensive facet of the puck. Corridor has nice measurement, attain and penalty-killing acumen.
BUF: Talking of AHL Rochester, rookie blueliner Jacob Bryson is choosing up steam with factors in three of his previous 4 video games. Bryson is a superb puckmover out of Windfall School.
CGY: Crew USA’s goalie scenario is fairly black-and-white this yr: Spencer Knight is the man. However Dustin Wolf has an opportunity to make his case because the backup and primarily based on his numbers with WHL Everett, don’t depend him out. Wolf leads the ‘Dub’ with a .941 save share and 5 shutouts.
CAR: The success of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting this season will be intimately linked to heart Jamieson Rees. Nasty and expert, Rees has 45 factors in 24 video games. Sarnia misplaced all six video games after Rees was suspended for a head shot within the season opener vs. Hamilton. As soon as he returned, they received 5 straight.
CHI: The primary yr of professional will be powerful for a teen, however heart Philipp Kurashev is discovering his stride with AHL Rockford. The Swiss nationwide has eight factors in his previous eight video games after totalling simply 5 in his first 16.
COL: Right here’s Bowen Byram on Alex Newhook, the latter of whom was a controversial lower from Canada’s WJC group: “He’s an lively man, all the time buzzing round on the market. He’s received an excellent ability set, too. We have been collectively at a few camps in the summertime and he’s a enjoyable man to be round. Hopefully we’ll see extra of one another sooner or later.”
CBJ: Swiss D-man Tim Berni has been carrying the ‘C’ for the under-20 squad because the world juniors strategy and he’ll be essential for the group this yr. Berni is taking part in within the Swiss League for Zurich, the place he ranks second on the group in blueline scoring with eight factors in 27 video games.
DAL: High goalie prospect Jake Oettinger is discovering his footing within the AHL with Texas. The rookie professional has received three of his previous 4 begins, giving up a complete of simply eight targets in that span.
DET: Defenseman Jared McIsaac might be a key returnee for Canada on the world juniors, however he needed to stand up to hurry rapidly. The QMJHL Halifax star performed solely three video games for the Mooseheads earlier than leaving for camp resulting from low season shoulder surgical procedure. McIsaac stayed in Detroit for his rehab, below the watchful eye of Purple Wings brass. McIsaac might be traded to Moncton after the world juniors.
EDM: Right here’s NCAA Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold on freshman Skyler Brind’Amour: “Skyler is off to an amazing begin. He does a variety of little issues properly, from faceoffs to penalty-killing to being considered one of our higher defensive facilities. Nice work ethic on and off the ice and he’s an excellent teammate. He appears to be like like a coach’s son.” That, in fact, could be Rod Brind’Amour.
FLA: I requested WHL Seattle proprietor/VP of hockey ops. Russ Farwell about heart Matthew Wedman, who was traded to Kelowna simply days later: “We’ve a extremely younger group and ‘Weds’ has actually been a frontrunner. He performs 25 minutes an evening and he performs onerous. He’s darn close to an assistant coach when it comes to the stature he has on our group.”
LA: You like to see it: after lacking a lot time resulting from a lingering again damage, highly-touted heart Gabe Vilardi has returned to AHL Ontario and made a direct impression with the Reign. The massive pivot has eight factors in his first 9 video games and has labored properly on the facility play.
MIN: The Wild had excessive hopes for left winger Adam Beckman this yr and the Spokane Chiefs sophomore is paying again that confidence. Beckman was simply named WHL participant of the week on the energy of 9 factors in three video games. The Saskatoon native has 49 factors by way of 30 video games, utilizing nice instincts and smooth arms.
MTL: Defenseman Gianni Fairbrother was seen as a possible sleeper choose within the 2019 draft and the Habs snapped him up within the third spherical. Now, we’re seeing why scouts have been intrigued: the two-way defenseman has 21 factors in 28 video games for WHL Everett and the Silvertips are top-of-the-line groups in all the CHL.
NSH: Goalie Ethan Haider put his stamp on the World Jr. A Problem with a 37-save efficiency within the bronze medal recreation for Crew USA. The one objective that received previous him in a 2-1 additional time victory over the Czechs? A shot that went in off D-man Mike Koster’s hand.
NJ: Right here’s Ottawa 67’s coach Andre Tourigny on defenseman Kevin Bahl: “He didn’t have an amazing begin to the season, however since then he’s been rock-solid. His pace is underrated. Individuals are him – 6-foot-7, 240 kilos – straight away they’ve a query mark. However I’ve an opportunity to see him each night time and his skating is admittedly good.”
NYI: Enormous add for Crew USA with the Isles loaning proper winger Oliver Wahlstrom for the world juniors. “Wahlstrom provides veteran expertise getting back from final yr’s silver medal-winning group,” stated Crew USA GM John Vanbiesbrouck. “We sit up for seeing how the group comes along with the group of gamers we at present have in (camp).”
NYR: This can be a drastic understatement, however Igor Shesterkin’s first marketing campaign in North America goes fairly properly. The rookie netminder leads the AHL with a 1.81 goals-against common, whereas his .936 save share with Hartford isn’t too shabby, both.
OTT: Not solely has Jacob Bernard-Docker made the ultimate stage for Canada’s world junior group, however he has additionally helped the College of North Dakota rise to No. 1 within the nationwide school rankings. JBD is a superb two-way defenseman who has 14 factors in 17 video games as a sophomore.
PHI: Your NCHC rookie of the week is none apart from Denver freshman Bobby Brink, who was key within the Pioneers’ sweep of in-state rival Colorado School. Brink arrange the game-winner in Sport 1 and scored the one objective in Sport 2.
PIT: Will probably be fascinating to see what sort of utilization Calen Addison will get with Canada on the world juniors. Although the Canadians have a variety of cell puckmovers, Addison is a proper shot, one thing the group doesn’t have an abundance of. He’s been almost a point-per-gamer with WHL Lethbridge.
STL: Russia is bringing Nikita Alexandrov to the world juniors, the place the QMJHL Charlottetown star will convey smarts and playmaking down the center. This summer season, Blues assistant GM Invoice Armstrong instructed me that Alexandrov reminded him of present St. Louis stalwart Tyler Bozak.
SJ: The Chicoutimi Sagueneens are top-of-the-line groups within the QMJHL proper now and Artemi Kniazev has been their best defenseman. Kniazev is on tempo to smash his rookie mark of 34 factors – he already has 21 by way of 24 video games.
TB: Proper winger Nolan Foote has been nice on the ice for Crew Canada, however in accordance with prime draft prospect Quinton Byfield, that extends away from the rink, too: “He’s an amazing man,” Byfield stated. “He’s an older man, so he’s been guiding me by way of this course of. It’s actually good to have him off the ice.”
TOR: Right here’s lately called-up Timothy Liljegren on AHL Marlies defenseman Rasmus Sandin: “He performed fairly properly with the Leafs at the beginning of the season and he introduced that confidence again to the Marlies. It’s his poise with the puck; he’s actually calm on the market. And most of the time, he makes the best play. He’s fairly mature that manner.”
VAN: Northeastern sophomore Tyler Madden has not been shy with regards to offense this yr. The Huskies heart (taking part in on a line with fellow Canucks choose Aidan McDonough) leads the convention in pictures with 79 and is tied for tops in targets with 13 by way of 18 video games.
VGK: Right here’s NCAA Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold on defenseman Peter DiLiberatore: “Peter has a lot expertise. His essential energy may very well be his confidence; he’s fearless. He’ll make performs with guys draped on his again, he’ll make performs in additional time – the following step for him is choosing his spots extra fastidiously.”
WSH: An enormous a part of Connor McMichael’s success with OHL London this yr? Elevated ice time, certain – but in addition the boldness he picked up from being at camp with Washington in the summertime. McMichael watched facilities like Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller, whereas a sure Norris favourite defenseman was there for him. “I talked to John Carlson quite a bit,” McMichael stated. “He performed for London and I’m there now.”
WPG: Whereas Ville Heinola hasn’t been lighting up the scoreboard in Finland, he was getting one thing simply as vital in preparation for the world juniors: ice time. The sensible, puckmoving defenseman has been on Lukko Rauma’s second pairing, averaging 18:37 of ice time within the Liiga.
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Tags: prospect have to knowConnect: Concerning the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect professional at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all known as his home. He lives in Toronto together with his spouse and youngsters the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.