All Eyes on the CHL Top Prospects Game


    Thanks to the lack of high end technology (No PVR damnit!) at home, I was faced with a tough decision tonight: CHL Top Prospects Skills Competition or Leafs vs. Preds. Sadly, I chose the Leaf game. Pretty much a low chance, slow pace snoozer from the get-go so I eventually started flipping back and forth to catch glimpses of the NHL’s next crop of exciting young stars showing off their various talents. Little metaphor there I suppose? Anyways, Iaught bits of the 3 on 3 game which I felt was quite entertaining as it reminded me a lot of your local pickup game filled with breakaways and attempts at fancy moves. It was a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere mostly targetted towards some of the younger audience members in attendance. Goaltender Nathan Lieuwen, a virtual unknown on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings, was fantastic tonight making a number of highlight reel saves.

    But that’s enough of that. Tomorrow, it’s all business for these youngsters as they get ready to suit up for tomorrow night’s CHL Top Prospects game on Sportsnet at 7pm ET. If you’re not particularly busy and want to get a preview of some of the guys who may be donning Leaf jerseys at this year’s entry draft in Montreal, you might wanna tune in. Unlike the NHL All-star game which has predominantly become a joke, a mere political affair if anything, the CHL Top Prospects game is a rather intense and competitive event. With over 100 scouts expected from all 30 NHL clubs, this is the chance for elite prospects to solidy their draft standings, sleeper prospects to rise up the rankings, and for non-prospects to get on the radar.

    The big Canadian names such as Duchene, Tavares, Kane, Schenn, Ellis, Cowen, Kulikov, Roy, Kassian and Kivisto will all be there.

    Team Orr will feature Tavares, Schenn and Glennie up front. Cowen and Ellis will make a formidable two-way duo as the top defensive pairing, and the much hyped Olivier Roy will get the start. Kivisto is another interesting name to look out for as one of the most polished two-way defenders in the draft.

    Team Cherry will rely on Duchene, Kane and Kadri to anchor the forwards. Kulikov and Depres will form another impressive two-way pairing on defense, with Nathan Lieuwen between the pipes. Power forward Zach Kassian is sure to draw plenty of intrigue from scouts as well.

    Unlike last season where a disastrous season basically snuck up on all of us, Leafs Nation was forewarned by Wilson and Fletcher in the offseason that this season could potentially be a long and arduous one. Like the donkey with a carrot on a stick, we continue to stumble onwards hoping to eventually get rewarded with a young, franchise player at the end of the season. Well, tomorrow night’s the first chance to sneak in a taste.

    Below are the full rosters for tomorrow night’s game:

    Team Orr (Red)
    Forward (12)Teams
    Ryan O’ReillyErie Otters (OHL)
    Brayden SchennBrandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
    Peter HollandGuelph Storm (OHL)
    Scott GlennieBrandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
    Michael LattaGuelph Storm (OHL)
    Taylor BeckGuelph Storm (OHL)
    Cody EakinSwift Current Broncos (WHL)
    Marcus FolignoSudbury Wolves(OHL)
    Levko KoperSpokane Chiefs (WHL)
    David GilbertQuebec Remparts (QMJHL)
    Philippe ParadisShawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
    John TavaresLondon Knights (OHL)
    Defencemen (6)Team
    Jared CowenSpokane Chiefs (WHL)
    Brayden McNabbKootenay Ice (WHL)
    Tommi KivistoRed Deer Rebels (WHL)
    Ryan EllisWindsor Spitfires (OHL)
    Charles-Olivier RousselShawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
    Calvin de HaanOshawa Generals (OHL)
    Goaltenders (2)Team
    Oliver RoyCape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
    Scott StajcerOwen Sound Attack (OHL)
    Head Coach : Bobby Orr
    Assistant Coach : Chris DePiero (Oshawa Generals)
    Trainer : Ivan Bokanovic (Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors)
    Trainer : Bryan Boyes (Oshawa Generals)
    Team Cherry (White)
    Forward (12)Teams
    Matt DucheneBrampton Battalion (OHL)
    Alex HutchingsBarrie Colts (OHL)
    Andrej NestrasilVictoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)
    Landon FerraroRed Deer Rebels (WHL)
    Zack KassianPeterborough Petes (OHL)
    Carter AshtonLethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
    Evander KaneVancouver Giants (WHL)
    Jimmy BubnickKamloops Blazers (WHL)
    Ethan WerekKingston Frontenacs (OHL)
    Jordan CaronRimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
    Michal HlinkaChicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)
    Nazem KadriLondon Knights (OHL)
    Defencemen (6)Teams
    Taylor DohertyKingston Frontenacs (OHL)
    Stefan ElliottSaskatoon Blades (WHL)
    Tyson BarrieKelowna Rockets (WHL)
    Dmitry KulikovDrummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)
    Éric GélinasLewsiton MAINEiacs (QMJHL)
    Simon DesprésSaint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
    Goaltenders (2)Teams
    Nathan LieuwenKootenay Ice (WHL)
    Edward PasqualeSaginaw Spirit (OHL)
    Head Coach : Don Cherry
    Assistant Coach : Brian Kilrea (Ottawa 67’s)
    Assistant Coach : Bert O’Brien (Ottawa 67’s)
    Trainer : Brian Miller (Peterborough Petes)
    Trainer :Russ Hammond (Guelph Storm)

    Always a pleasure,

    Alex Tran

    [email protected]

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    Alex has been a part of the original MLHS team since way back in 2008. He has contributed to the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals with a special interest in junior hockey and player development.