After returning home with a silver medal last year, Team Russia will make another strong push at a medal this year in Helsinki, Finland at the 2016 World Junior Championship. Head Coach Valeri Bragin will have only three returnees from last year’s tournament, but the Russians are nevertheless expected to be in the group of gold medal contenders, especially due to excellent goaltending options and great offensive depth. Read more»
The Kings have a fairly large group of CHL representatives this year, many coming out of the 2014 and 2015 NHL Entry drafts. While they have a large numbers of players, they have few upper-round picks representing the team. They also are strictly limited to just two leagues of the CHL: the WHL and the OHL. With eleven players currently playing in the CHL, only two are from the first three rounds of the draft. The Kings are going to need some late rounders to blossom (and they have a few on their way) to really make the best out of a group full of outliers and depth players.
Two of the biggest names in the OHL collide this weekend, as Mitch Marner guides the London Knights into Mississauga, where he will go head-to-head against Sean Day. In the WHL, two top defensemen clash, while two high-end import selections face off in the QMJHL. The CHL Canada Russia Series comes to a conclusion, where one hulking forward hopes to help the CHL take a clean sweep, but a talented Russian playmaker is hoping to write a different story. Finally, two of college hockey’s finest teams go one-on-one as a first-round NHL talent will try to shut down one of the best freshmen in the NCAA. Read more»
Can anyone beat Vancouver Canucks prospect Thatcher Demko? Mackenzie MacEachern and the Michigan State Spartans are going to try to break Demko’s second long shutout streak of the season. The CHL Canada Russia Series continues this week, as Ottawa 67’s captain Travis Konecny is hoping to stay hot. Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Cody Donaghey will try to slow down Conor Garland’s assault on the scoresheet, while Brendan Guhle will attempt to do the same against Jayce Hawryluk. In the SHL, two of the league’s youngest players go head-to-head in a matchup of a late-round pick versus a 2016 draft-eligible. Read more»
It really can be hard to nail down whether or not the Kings system took a step back or forward over the course of a year. The team has traded away tons of picks and prospects in order to go into a win-now mode. That has significantly lessened the top end prospect quality that the franchise has currently. Moving potentially high level players like Colin Miller (BOS) – and to a lesser degree Roland McKeown (CAR) – has been costly for the system. However, the Kings have continued to thrive and make up a lot of the void in smart player development.