The prospect news is coming fast and furious these days, so there's a lot to cover. The World Jr. A Challenge just kicked off in Alberta, providing a big spotlight for not only Canadian kids that are headed for college, but this year a couple of big Russians - Klim Kostin (2017) and Andrei Svechnikov (2018). The American roster features many prominent USHL players and that league just announced its participants for the USHL Top Prospects Game, which will take place in January after the world juniors. Speaking of which, national teams have begun their preparation for the grand ol' tournament with exhibition games. With all that in mind (and more), let's take a look at the kids making noise in the hockey world right now.
Marcus Davidsson, C �� Djurgarden (SHL): Though he didn't win an invite to Sweden's final world junior camp, Davidsson is one to watch for the 2017 draft. Playing on a kid line in Djurgarden with older brother Jonathan and Montreal pick Lukas Vejdemo, Davidsson is one of the top junior-aged scorers in the SHL with eight points in 25 games. The center (who also plays wing) got into one game with the big club last season and was happy to get the experience.
“It was very fun," he said. "A lot faster than in the junior league, but I got help from all the players, so it was great."
A big fan of Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog, Davidsson plays with an edge, just like his idol. He wants to get better at shooting the puck and for the record, scouts want to see the energetic kid put up some numbers. As for his strengths, he likes to bring a mixture of assets to the table.
“Some physical play and skating," Davidsson said. "A lot of speed, a little bit of playmaking and I'm strong in front of the net.”
Indeed, while playing for Sweden at Team USA's National Junior Evaluation Camp tourney in the summer, Davidsson caused havoc in front of the net and it's a good trait for someone with pro aspirations. Though brother Jonathan didn't get drafted his first two tries, Marcus is very intrigued by the possibilities in his own career.
“I'm very excited of course," he said. "Most of my friends have been drafted and I want to be a part of that. They told me about the experience and I want to join them.”
And if Davidsson can continue to blend grit and skill together, that dream will come true this summer when the draft comes to Chicago.
In the Pipeline
Pierre-Luc Dubois, C (Columbus): As reported by TVA’s Mikael Lalancette, Dubois will be traded from Cape Breton to Blainville-Boisbriand once the QMJHL trade window opens on Dec. 18. That’s huge for the Armada, who have no problem keeping the puck out of the net. For Dubois, he gets to bring his edgy two-way game to a much better squad. But first, Canada needs him at the world juniors.
Jack Roslovic, C (Winnipeg): In his first pro season, Roslovic has put up great numbers for a teenager. The speedy pivot leads the AHL's Manitoba Moose in scoring with 18 points in 23 games and he'll be a potent weapon for Team USA at the world juniors if he drives to the net.
Patrick Harper, LW (Nashville): One of the bigger surprises in the NCAA so far, the diminutive Harper has been a terror for Boston University, leading the Terriers in scoring with 19 points in 16 games. Fast and crafty, Harper earned himself a shot at Team USA's world junior squad.
Trent Frederic, C (Boston): Part of Wisconsin's rebuild, Frederic is a great two-way center who has found his game immediately as a freshman in Madison. Another Team USA hopeful, Frederic has 12 points in his first 10 games with the Badgers.
David Quenneville, D (NY Islanders): Get used to seeing smaller defensemen in the game, especially ones who can move the puck like Quenneville. The Medicine Hat rearguard is a master of the stretch pass and now has an incredible 38 points in 31 games for the WHL Tigers.
2017 Draft Stars
Cale Makar, D – Brooks Bandits (AJHL): Makar kicked off his second WJAC by setting a tournament record for defensemen by scoring five points in a 6-2 win over Switzerland. The UMass commit is an incredible puckhandler who makes hard, crisp passes and really runs the power play.
Morgan Frost, C – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL): The Hounds are hot and Frost is doing his part with two four-point games in his past three outings. Frost uses a great active stick to make plays at both ends, while his sweet hands and excellent patience lead to goals.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C – Spokane Chiefs (WHL): With eight points in his past four games, Anderson-Dolan is turning on the offense. A smart two-way center who is slick on faceoffs, the Chiefs pivot is also pretty strong for his mid-sized frame.
Michael DiPietro, G – Windsor Spitfires (OHL): Here’s a great stat from the OHL: DiPietro has ruined three straight Teddy Bear Toss games in the league by shutting out Barrie, Sudbury and North Bay on the road. ‘The Grinch’ as he will definitely be known in the short-term, doesn’t have NHL size, but he tracks the puck well and has great quickness.
Marc McLaughlin, C – Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL): It's been a harsh season in Cedar Rapids, where the RoughRiders have won just three of 24 games. It's especially not fun for McLaughlin in his draft year, but the Boston College commit will get a chance to shine at the USHL Top Prospects Game. That's where he can show off his physicality, NHL-worthy shot and speed.