The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament is officially underway now in Slovakia and the Czech Republic and in other international news, teams are beginning to put together camps for the world juniors in December.
Once again, let’s delve into a box of players we can’t wait to see in the NHL some day.
1. Chris Kreider, C – Phillips-Andover Big Blue (Mass. prep): Every year there seems to be at least one mystery prospect who goes in the first round of the NHL draft and the hook is usually skating. Kreider, coming out of the Massachusetts prep ranks, was this year’s candidate and not only can the kid fly, but he works on it, too.
“Front squats certainly help and personally, I like slide-boarding,” Kreider said. “I like doing legs, one-leg squats and stuff; I think that translates well.”
So did both the New York Rangers and Boston College Eagles, both of which want Kreider in their colors in the near future. B.C., of course, gets the first crack, where Kreider will come in as a freshman alongside buddy Brian Dumoulin (Carolina, 51st overall) this season.
“He’s a tremendous guy,” Kreider said. “That was part of the reason I picked B.C., a lot of the players and kids are like him, just very genuine.”
Of course, Kreider couldn’t help poking a little fun at his out-of-state pal.
“He’s from Maine, so he’s a little different,” Kreider teased. “But we’re OK with that.”
As for Kreider, he knows what he can bring to an Eagles squad surely eager to get back to the top of Hockey East this season.
“I think I’m a good skater,” he said. “I’m good at even strength and effective on special teams. I think I’m coachable and I work hard.”
He may not have been the biggest name in the first round, but with his skills and attitude, Kreider will surely be heard from in the future. â€¨
Drafted 19th overall by the New York Rangers in 2009.
2. John McFarland, C – Sudbury Wolves (OHL): Named captain of Canada’s Ivan Hlinka team, McFarland ran roughshod over the competition in exhibition play, gathering six points in two games against Slovakia and the United States. Watch out for him in Sudbury this season. Draft eligible in 2010.
3. Tyler Toffoli, RW – Ottawa 67’s (OHL): Riding shotgun with McFarland and Plymouth’s Tyler Sequin, Toffoli has cashed in on his opportunities on what looks to be Canada’s top line at the Ivan Hlinka. The right winger had four points in two exhibition games. Draft eligible in 2010.
4. Adam Larsson, D – Skelleftea (Swe. Jr.): A name you’ll likely see on The Hot List for several years, Larsson is a big, young talent out of Sweden who is playing at the Ivan Hlinka right now. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound defenseman has strength and a solid stay-at-home game already, with the potential for an offensive side, too. Draft eligible in 2011.
5. Mike Parks, RW – St. Louis Selects (under-18 AAA): The U.S. doesn’t send the NTDP kids to the Ivan Hlinka, so the tourney is a great chance for others to make a name for themselves. Parks, who recently announced a verbal commitment to the University of North Dakota, is making the most of his spot, tallying three goals in two exhibition games. Draft eligible in 2010.
6. Gabriel Landeskog, RW – Djurgarden (Swe. Jr.): Landeskog was a hot commodity at the Canadian League import draft, going third overall to Plymouth before having his rights traded to Kitchener. A sniper who likes to bang on the boards, Landeskog will be a key offensive weapon for Sweden at the Ivan Hlinka and was the youngest player ever to play for Djurgarden’s Elite League squad. Draft eligible in 2011.
7. Cam Fowler, D – U.S. NTDP: The future Windsor Spitfire is the youngest skater still alive at Team USA’s world junior camp and based on his fluid play on the back end, there’s no counting him out right now, despite a number of other great puck movers in camp. Draft eligible in 2010.
8. Jack Campbell, G – U.S. NTDP: The youngest player left at Team USA’s world junior camp? That would be netminder Campbell, a couple weeks behind Fowler. Again, Campbell will have stiff competition for the job in net (most notably from Phoenix draft pick Mike Lee), but the young turk has been dynamite in international play, so you never know. Draft eligible in 2010.
9. Kevin Hayes, LW – Nobles Bulldogs (Mass. prep): Another new name for the Americans at the Ivan Hlinka, Hayes posted two goals for Team USA in the team’s 5-3 exhibition win over Slovakia. The Massachusetts native is already an impressive 6-foot-3, 201 pounds. Draft eligible in 2010.
10. Ryan Spooner, C – Peterborough Petes (OHL): Young Spooner had four points of his own in exhibition play and will be expected to play a larger role in Peterborough this season. His 58 points in 62 games was solid for a rookie, but he’ll want to up his minus-23 rating. Draft eligible in 2010.
The Hot List, a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday only on thehockeynews.com.
For more great prospect profiles and news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.