Another Russia-Canada showdown is in the books and though the 9-2 thumping the Canucks laid on their archrivals at the Ivan Hlinka tourney was one-sided, the game and tournament still featured a lot of top talent across the board. With another international focus, here’s a look at some players we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.
1. Jeremy Morin, LW – U.S. NTDP: It’s funny how cyclical junior hockey is. The Ontario League’s Kitchener Rangers went from the Memorial Cup final in 2008 to irrelevant in ’09. This season, expect them to be back on top thanks to a couple of American imports in defenseman John Moore and sniper Jeremy Morin.
“I think I’m the kind of guy who creates offense night in and night out,” Morin said. “I like to score goals and create offense anyway I can.”
The stats certainly bear that out. Morin popped in 26 goals and 48 points in 46 games for the NTDP last season and was regarded as one of the purest shooters in this summer’s draft. He has been lauded for his instincts around the net and will be welcomed on a Rangers squad that didn’t feature a 30-goal scorer last year. For his part, Morin is happy to be on board.
“I thought it was a great place to play,” Morin said. “There’s a great coaching staff, it’s a great city to play hockey in and obviously major junior was what I was looking to do.”
And assuming Morin finds the net as much in Kitchener as he did in Ann Arbor, he can help the Rangers take another run at the Memorial Cup. â€¨
Drafted 45th overall by Atlanta in 2009.
2. Jeffrey Skinner, C – Kitchener Rangers (OHL): Skinner played the sniper on Team Canada in Slovakia, racking up six goals in four games, including two against the Russians in the final. After a solid rookie campaign with the Rangers in ’08-09, look for Skinner to boost his totals even further this year. Draft eligible in 2010.
3. Lukas Cingel, RW – Garmin Zilina (Svk. Jr.): Cingel has scored consistently in international play and continued the trend on home ice, leading the Slovaks with six points in four games. While the Czechs and Slovaks haven’t fared well in recent years prospect-wise, it seems like things are starting to turn around. Draft eligible in 2010.
4. Patrik Nemeth, D – AIK (Swe. Jr.): At nearly 6-foot-3 and 207 pounds, Nemeth was a big, nasty customer on the Swedish blueline at the Ivan Hlinka, as evidenced by his charging major against Team USA. Nemeth also had a goal in that game, however, giving him two points in four contests overall. Draft eligible in 2010.
5. Adam Larsson, D – Skelleftea (Swe. Jr.): The kid has to go back on The List. Larsson tallied seven points in four games from the Swedish back end, living up to the hype already disseminating about the 6-foot-2, 200-pound teenager. Draft eligible in 2011.
6. Kirill Kabanov, LW – Salavat Ufa (KHL): With points on both Russian goals against Canada, Kabanov at least put up a fight in the final, giving him a very solid seven points in four games at the Ivan Hlinka. It’s been a busy summer for the youngster, who also had his rights traded to Ufa from Spartak, but seeing the dynamic winger in Moncton with the Q’s Wildcats is also a possibility. Draft eligible in 2010.
7. Louis Domingue, G – Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL): True to form, Canada got great goaltending at the Ivan Hlinka. Calvin Pickard got the first two wins, then Domingue established himself by shutting out the Czechs before shutting down the Russians. Expect him to step up in Moncton this year, too. Draft eligible in 2010.
8. Jaden Schwartz, C – Notre Dame Hounds (Sask. Midget): In a sea of major junior Canadians, Schwartz more than held his own in Slovakia, tallying four points in four games, including two in the final against Russia. At 5-foot-9, 160 pounds, he’ll need to put some weight on, as he’ll suit up for Tri-City in the Dub this season. Draft eligible in 2010.
9. Sam Warning, LW – St. Louis Selects (under-18 AAA): Coached by the Cavallini brothers, Paul and Gino, Warning and fellow Selects star Mike Parks had great showings at the Ivan Hlinka for the United States. Warning tied for the team lead with four points in four games and will head to Cedar Rapids of the United States League this season. Draft eligible in 2011.
10. Adam Janosik, D – Liberec Bili Tygri (Svk. Jr.): Despite playing for a Slovakian team that won just one game at the Ivan Hlinka, Janosik boasted a plus-3 rating for the week and chipped in four assists in four games. He’s not big (5-foot-8, 160 pounds), but Janosik has time to grow and he’s already got the skills. 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.
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