It’s a busy time in the prospect world with several events wrapping up and others just beginning. In this week’s Prospect Need to Know wrap, I’ll shed the spotlight on players from the World Under-17 Challenge, the Five Nations under-18 tourney and Four Nations under-20 showdown. So we’re getting into all the age brackets today. Also, the CHL-Russia Super Series kicked off, with the WHL taking Game 1 for the major junior side. That’s a series to watch for the next 10 days, as Canada’s world junior scouts will be grading carefully.
Chad Krys, D – U.S. NTDP (USHL): The Americans blew away Switzerland 7-0 to clinch the European country’s Five Nations tourney and Krys was his usual active self with two assists in the final game. The Boston University commit had five points in four tournament games and sits fourth overall in NTDP scoring with 13 points in 10 matches.
Krys is an excellent skater who defends with his stick and plays in a lot of situations. He’s not huge at 5-foot-11 and 184 pounds, but he gets the job done. And dealing with chaos on the ice is no problem for a kid who comes from an athletic Connecticut family.
“I have a younger brother and sister and they’re always up to something,” Krys said. “My dad played college hockey and a bit of pro, my mom played college lacrosse and now she does yoga and personal training, so growing up that was a huge advantage for me; non-stop action around the house. It was awesome.”
The fact Krys’ mom is a nutritionist also really helped his growth, particularly since he needed to put on some weight, but in a healthy way. Needless to say, the teen’s tastes aren’t just about burgers and fries.
“Definitely quinoa,” he said. “And I’m a big fan of avocado in the morning. This summer I went on a no-carb diet, did a lot of sweet potatoes…it was different, it was a hard jump.”
Heading to the NCAA will be a good jump next season, too. Krys, who has been a highly-touted player for years already, took his time before deciding on which school to commit to, but ultimately he is satisfied in the timeline that led him to put his lot in with the Terriers for 2016-17.
“Going into the season it was something I wanted to finalize,” he said. “At the same time, it was the best decision for me, to wait it out and see how things went.”
Thanks to his array of skills, Krys will be one to watch for the 2016 NHL draft and he already has one world under-18 gold medal from last year, when he was called up from the NTDP’s under-17 squad.
“We’re hoping to do it again this year,” he said with a smile.
In the Pipeline
Joe Hicketts, D (Detroit): With two assists and some hearty physical play that causes more havoc than his 5-foot-8 frame would imply, Hicketts was a force in Game 1 of the WHL-Russia series, won 7-3 by the home side. The Victoria Royals defenseman will be one of a handful of returning players to Canada’s defending world juniors gold squad this year.
Josh Ho-Sang, RW (NY Islanders): The Niagara IceDogs were supposed to be very good this season but struggled early. Keeping pucks out was a problem, but putting them in has been easy thanks to Ho-Sang’s 26 points in 17 games. The nifty playmaker is on an eight-game points streak and now the goaltending is coming through, lifting Niagara up the standings.
Thatcher Demko, G (Vancouver): I know, I featured Demko in this spot not too long ago, but the Boston College goalie now has six shutouts in his past seven outings. The Canucks second-rounder is playing out of his mind. For a bit of variety, shout-out to Eagles freshman center Colin White – the Ottawa first-rounder has three multi-point games in a row going.
Matt Murray, G (Pittsburgh): What a shock, Murray is once again dominating the AHL. The Wilkes-Barre Scranton star is putting up sick numbers, with six wins in a row and a .946 save percentage for the Baby Pens, thanks to his size and positioning.
Dmytro Timashov, LW (Toronto): If anyone has footage of the Timashov-Nathan Noel fight, please Tweet it to me. Otherwise, let’s just praise the shifty and talented Quebec Remparts winger and Maple Leafs fifth-rounder for the 13 points he put up in the past five games.
2016 Draft Stars
Patrik Laine, LW – Tappara (Fin.): Helping Finland’s under-20s win a Four Nations tournament over archrival Sweden, Laine once again proved why he is one to watch for the draft this summer. Gifted with slick hands, a generous frame and great anticipation, Laine was one of Suomi’s leading lights.
Luke Kunin, C – University of Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten): The Badgers stunned No. 1 North Dakota on the weekend, beating the soon-to-be Fighting Hawks 3-1. Kunin, who had been in the OHL rumor mill, defiantly knocked in a goal in the victory and now has seven points through 10 games. The freshman’s release and quickness make him dangerous.
2017 Draft Stars
Owen Tippett, RW – Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): Playing for Canada White at the World Under-17 Challenge, Tippett helped his squad win gold by netting a hat trick in the final game, a 6-2 romp over Russia. Speed and goal-scoring prowess are his hallmarks.
Timothy Liljegren, D – Rogle (Swe.): An excellent offensive defenseman who skates well, handles the puck with authority and can really finish with his shot, Liljegren earned tournament all-star honors at the under-17 challenge thanks to his five points in six games for the bronze medallists from Sweden.
Scott Reedy, C – U.S. NTDP (USHL): The top scorer for the Americans at the under-17s, Reedy notched nine points in five games, just one shy of tourney leader Eeli Tolvanen. The University of Minnesota commit is a smart and explosive producer.