Sergei Tolchinsky is one of the series of ’95-born Russian players who crossed the pond last summer to have a better chance of being drafted into the NHL. Some of them didn’t have luck, like Vladimir Ionin, but others managed to win a spot on a team without standing out too much (think about players like Vladimir Bryukvin or Sam Babintsev), while others became impact players. Sergei Tolchinsky belongs to this latter category, with other players like Valentin Zykov and Nikita Zadorov.
The puck drops for the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup starting Friday evening at 6 PM CST. The host city’s Saskatoon Blades take on the Ontario Hockey League champion London Knights to kick off a tournament that features the CHL’s three top-ranked clubs (and the unranked hosts). In addition, several highly-ranked 2013 prospects plus many well-regarded NHL prospects will be taking part in this tournament.
There are those who wonder if the Ontario Hockey League is being too liberal with its application of Exceptional Player status. But for the now-17-year-old defenseman who was the second to burst through those now-open floodgates, the key to exceptional status is the ability to be a normal, functioning, part of a junior team.
While Team Canada seemingly rode the gifted talent of forward Connor McDavid to their gold medal win over the USA at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship, there were contributions right down the roster over the course of this tournament.