A fantastic Under-18s tournament ended last week and the final was…well, less than fantastic from a competitive standpoint. Canada eviscerated Russia 8-0 in a game that was over before the first period ended. Doubly good for the Canadians was the fact several draft-eligible players used the game and tourney as a great personal showcase.
1. Jake Allen, G – St. John’s Fog Devils (QMJHL): What did I tell you? What did I tell you fine folks? Allen is shaping up to be the classic out-of-nowhere goaltender who sets pulses racing on draft day. The Fog Devils backup finished the Under-18 tourney with a .948 save percentage, 1.43 goals-against average and two shutouts in seven games. Draft eligible in 2008.
2. Jordan Eberle, C – Regina Pats (WHL): Eberle is being touted as a solid all-round hockey player, but in the final against Russia, he also showed off some sick offensive moves in a two-goal, three-point performance. Draft eligible in 2008.
3. Jeremy Morin, C – U.S. NTDP (NAHL): Leading Team USA in scoring at the U-18s is pretty impressive for an underager, but Morin, who posted eight points in seven tournament games, has been awesome all year long. Draft eligible in 2009.
4. Beau Schmitz, D – Plymouth Whalers (OHL): This is the first time Schmitz can be referred to as a Whaler, as the highly touted blueliner just signed with the team. Originally an early commit to Ferris State, Schmitz withdrew from the Bulldogs program in March. He had been with the U.S. NTDP. Draft eligible in 2009.
5. Erik Karlsson, D – Frolunda Indians (Swe.): At 5-foot-8, 156 pounds, Karlsson isn’t the biggest cat, but he led the Under-18s in scoring by a defenseman with seven points (all assists) in six games. He even played seven games in the Swedish Elite League this year, where he was plus-2 with a goal. Draft eligible in 2008.
6. Josh Tordjman, G – San Antonio Rampage (AHL): Tordjman was the junior goalie for Moncton whom Patrick Roy tried to rattle in the Memorial Cup in 2006, but obviously it had no long-term effect. Tordjman pitched a Game 6 shutout of the Toronto Marlies to force a final showdown in Game 7, but couldn’t get his team over the hump as they fell 2-1 on a late third period goal. Signed by Phoenix as a free agent in 2006.
7. Drayson Bowman, LW – Spokane Chiefs (WHL): Bowman was foiled by Tri-City goalie Chet Pickard on an overtime penalty shot in Game 5 of the Dub’s West final, but it was the Chief who had the last laugh, as his team took the game in the second extra frame. Bowman had two goals on the night. Drafted 72nd overall by Carolina in 2007.
8. Robbie Czarnik, RW – U.S. NTDP (NAHL): The University of Michigan recruit was a plus-7 at the Under-18s, but more importantly had a hat trick and an assist in Team USA’s bronze medal win over Sweden. Draft eligible in 2008.
9. Andrew Conboy, LW – Omaha Lancers (USHL): Conboy’s numbers actually went down in the regular season this year compared to last, but it’s in the playoffs where he stepped up. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder has a point a game through seven as the Lancers joust with Lincoln for a berth in the final. Drafted 142nd overall by Montreal in 2007.
10. Mitch Fadden, C – Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL): The Hurricanes continued their romp through the Dub’s Eastern bracket with a sweep over the Calgary Hitmen and Fadden is now the team leader in playoff points with 20 in 15 games. Drafted 107th overall by Tampa Bay in 2007.
11. Matt Duchene, C – Brampton Battalion (OHL): Another Canadian young’un with a Taylor Hall-like upside, Duchene carried his weight at the Under-18s, notching eight points and a plus-6 rating in seven games. Draft eligible in 2009.
12. John Curry, G – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL): The Baby Pens are flying high after a first round upset of Hershey and Curry has been a big part of the success. The rookie pro boasts a 1.97 GAA and .931 save percentage in the playoffs. Signed as free agent by Pittsburgh in 2007.
13. Colton Yellow Horn, LW – Tri-City Americans (WHL): At 5-foot-8, Yellow Horn doesn’t have the prototypical NHL size, but his speed and scoring ability this year has to attract some interest in the off-season. His 20 points in 15 playoff games leads the Ams. Eligible for free agency.
14. Nikita Filatov, LW – CSKA 2 (Rus.): Between his butt-end ejection against Canada and his team-leading nine points in six games, Filatov certainly didn’t shy away from the spotlight at the Under-18s. Draft eligible in 2008.
15. Hugo Carpentier, C – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL): Talk about a model of consistency. Carpentier has registered a point in 12 straight playoff games for the Huskies, who take on Gatineau in the Q final. Drafted 118th overall by Calgary in 2006.
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.
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