For the 1999-born Kristian Vesalainen, the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament was an opportunity to show the international scouting community just how far he has come in his development. Already measuring in at a huge 6’3” and 203 pounds as a 16 year old, Vesalainen took a regular shift on the strong Finnish side’s second line. Read more »
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As an underager who will first be talked about once the 2017 NHL Draft rolls around, young Nico Hischier was recently Switzerland’s most outstanding player at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Pivoting the first line, the 5’11”, 163-pound forward often wowed the crowd with some spectacular goals and strong overall play in a very creative capacity. Having finished the tournament with three goals and six points for the seventh place Swiss entry, Hischier clearly displayed that he will be the most closely watched Swiss prospect over the next two winters. Read more »
After several Slovak goalies were taken in the most recent NHL Draft, it’s clear that Slovak goaltenders are rightfully getting a good amount of attention from the scouting community. Jan Koziak is widely considered one of the top Slovak goalies heading into next summer’s draft. He played the 2014-15 season with HC Slovan Bratislava’s U18 and U20 teams. Read more »
Defenseman Tarmo Reunanen was a lynchpin as a top four defenseman for a surprisingly good Finnish club at this year’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Never shying away from opposition shots or physical play, Reunanen consistently battled in the corners, came away with pucks, and headily moved them up to his forward teammates. He finished the tournament with one assist along with six penalty minutes in five games. Read more »
Defense wins championships and that is what Patrick Roy returned to Denver to accomplish. Despite his team taking a step back in his sophomore season behind an NHL bench, Roy is confident the lessons learned will only help the team going forward. In addition to his role as head coach, Roy holds a second title as Vice President of Hockey Operations, giving him a voice in all player personnel decisions. The new philosophy as to how the team will be constructed both now and in the future is trending towards an emphasis on size, character, and skills. Roy has also shown he is open to drafting and signing free agents from Europe’s top leagues, something that occurred less frequently in the years prior to his return.
With the addition of former Mestis club KooKoo, Finland’s Liiga in 2015-16 will feature 15 teams for the first time in league history. But, while the Kouvola-based squad should enjoy an intense rivalry with neighboring SaiPa Lappeenranta in southeastern Finland, things aren’t likely to change at the top of the league standings. Read more »
Movement abounds in the newest Dallas Stars Top 20 list. The acquisitions of Mattias Backman, Mattias Janmark and, most recently, Stephen Johns all make their respective impacts while two 2015 draft picks make the list as well. Meanwhile, three defensemen graduate the prospects list for regular NHL duty: John Klingberg, Jamie Oleksiak and Jyrki Jokipakka. The Stars also bid adieu to Ludwig Karlsson and 2009 top ten pick Scott Glennie, neither of whom received a qualifying offer.
Drafting and developing have not been strong suits for the Vancouver Canucks over the last few years. With Jim Benning and Trevor Linden in charge there seems to be efforts being made to rectify years of poor drafting and developing of their own players, though certain moves have not come without controversy.