The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge pits two countrymen against each other as the tournament comes to a conclusion this week. There is also a pair of international talents going one-on-one for the first time in their careers in the OHL, while another strong European is leading the way for his squad against one of the most feared forwards in the QMJHL. In the WHL, two of the league’s top defenseman are a big part of their respective team’s success, while a pair of college forwards who once scored in bunches try to re-ignite their games in this week’s Prospect Faceoff. Read more»
As the 2015-16 season commences, one cannot help but notice the top-heaviness of the Edmonton Oilers’ prospect talent at the professional level. The team’s new farm club in Bakersfield, California is stacked with noteworthy names like Darnell Nurse, Leon Draisaitl, Tyler Pitlick and more, and the number of legitimate prospects fighting for an opportunity to earn a look at the NHL level is much higher than it has been in recent memory. The fact that the Oilers are now deep enough at the top level to afford to let prospects like the ones mentioned earlier spend some time in the minors developing is a sign of systemic improvement, which bodes well for a club that is trying to establish itself as a legitimate playoff contender after years of poor performance.
The Kelowna Rockets and Portland Winterhawks have been the class of the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference for the past few seasons, but there is some strength building in the U.S. Division. The Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds appear poised to challenge the Winterhawks and Rockets. Read more»
Despite yet another gold medal at the U18 World Championship, this time around in Zug, Switzerland, the U.S. NTDP saw relatively few players taken at the 2015 NHL Draft. To a degree that can be accredited to having a number of key players on the team who will first be eligible for the 2016 draft, including no less than captain Luke Kunin, top scorer Auston Matthews, Matt Tkachuk, Clayton Keller, Chad Krys, and Jamie McAvoy. As many as three of these players are looking like surefire first round picks for next summer’s draft. Read more»