If there was a theme to the season in Liiga in 2015-16 it can best be described by the old adage, “Youth shall be served.”
Much of the attention focused on 17-year-olds Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi — who barring any major surprises will be among the top three players picked in the 2016 NHL Draft. In terms of drafted forward prospects, three of their teammates on the gold medal champion U20 team also had big seasons and could be signing NHL contracts in the near future. Read more»
Liiga has steadily seen some of the top young forward prospects in Finland head elsewhere rather than pursuing careers in the nation’s top domestic pro league. That happened once again in 2014-15 as two of the heroes from the 2014 World Juniors — KalPa Kuopio left wing Artturi Lehkonen (Montreal) and Teuvo Teravainen (Chicago), Liiga’s sixth-leading scorer skating for Jokerit in 2013-14 — are no longer playing in Finland. Read more»
The learning curve can come in various cycles throughout a player’s career. While some players are at a low, others are at a high. For the Ducks, they have a full range of NCAA and European prospects experiencing different points of the curve currently. Some are struggling while others are excelling. Changing teams, changing roles, and the pressure to perform all have an effect. How the player copes with this and grows from it is an important step in any young player’s career. Let us take a look at how each of the Ducks prospects of the NCAA and Europe have performed this season.
As a new face emerges as the number one overall prospect with the Ducks, it is hard not to notice the strong group of defensemen and wingers Anaheim currently boasts. A staggering 17 of the 20 listed players on the spring list play either wing or defense. If the goal is to build from the back out, the Ducks have a blossoming mixture of talented defensemen and one of the best young goaltenders in the world to achieve that goal. Up front they also have a nice blend of size, skill, and speed to complement their NHL center depth. While the logjam may end up hurting some of these players’ chances, it currently is a big boost to the organization in terms of depth and quality.