With some of Finland’s top players in this age group playing all over the world — and four competing for the Finland U20 team that won a gold medal in Helsinki at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship — the 2015-16 season has been one of experimentation and mixing and matching for Finland U18 head coach Jussi Ahokas. Read more»
After a big silver medal win in Finland at the 2014 U18 IIHF World Championship, where players such as David Pastrnak and Jakub Vrana had the scouting community licking their chops, last spring’s Czech Republic squad proved to be competitive but bland despite featuring players such as Pavel Zacha and Jakub Zboril, both of whom ended up being first round draft picks. Despite making the playoffs rather handily, the team was stopped dead in its tracks by eventual gold medalist Team USA, getting spanked by a 7-2 score. Read more»
The Columbus Blue Jackets may have had a disappointing 2015-16 campaign, but there is plenty of organizational depth in the system in terms of prospects. It’s not as though the team is due for another few years of rebuilding either. General Manager Jarmo Kekäläinen is committed to building a winner and he showed that last summer by trading for budding star Brandon Saad. Read more»
Though many of the best prospects in the Detroit Red Wings system to start the 2015-16 season have graduated into the NHL, the franchise still has some quality prospects across the system. In particular, the team seems to have invested heavily in the European hockey scene. They have a half-dozen prospects playing abroad right now, led by names like Joren van Pottelberghe and Axel Holmstrom. Though the majority of their top prospects are CHL products, there are a few potential gems hidden across the pond. In addition to those prospects, the Red Wings have taken a chance on a few prospects who will develop at the collegiate level. No one on the list possesses the quality of one-time Michigan Wolverine Dylan Larkin, but there are a few late-round picks that have the talent to develop.