With the Oilers and Flames still yet to release their rosters (for a tournament that starts in three days), I decided to release this preview in two parts.
GAME 1, CALGARY VS WINNIPEG, SEPT. 16 @ 4:00 PM
GAME 2, VANCOUVER VS EDMONTON, SEPT. 16 @ 7:30 PM
GAME 3, CALGARY VS EDMONTON, SEPT. 17 @ 7:30 PM
GAME 4, VANCOUVER VS WINNIPEG, SEPT. 18 @ 2:00 PM
GAME 5, EDMONTON VS. WINNIPEG, SEPT. 19 @ 11:00 AM
GAME 6, VANCOUVER VS CALGARY, SEPT. 19 @ 3:00 PM
Team Roster Link: https://s15.postimg.org/v92kvzx3v/image.jpg
Strengths: The Winnipeg Jets have one of the strongest prospect pools in the NHL, and depth at all positions. That depth is represented by their Young Stars roster, especially up front. The Jets can ice three full lines of legitimate NHL prospects, which is more than anyone else can say.
Weaknesses: Although the Jets have some great goaltending prospects, like Connor Hellebuyck and Eric Comrie, neither will be at this tournament. Instead, two late draft picks will fill the crease. One, Jamie Phillips, is fresh out of college, and the other, Mikhail Berdin, is new to North America.
Kyle Connor- Connor had an unbelievable season in the NCAA, putting up 71 points in just 38 games, or nearly two points per game. Connor has become a top flight prospect, and should walk right onto the Jets’ roster.
Brendan Lemieux- The son of Claude comes with a similar disposition, which means that he’ll help make the tournament more interesting. Lemieux also brings a lot of skill, as he was well over a point per game at the OHL level and had a decent stint in Manitoba to end the year.
Logan Stanley- Logan Stanley was an immediately-criticized draft pick, but he does carry a unique 6’7” frame, which should really stand out at this tournament. His path towards proving himself begins now, and he’s sure to make a physical impression at the very least.
Jack Roslovic- Another forward prospect making their debut after an NCAA career. Roslovic doesn’t have anything like the offensive totals that Connor has, but is considered a solid NHL prospect. Roslovic could end up centering Connor and Lemieux.
Axel Blomqvist, Chase De Leo, Jiri Fronk, Antoine Waked- The Jets definitely have the most candidates for the All-Name Team. Jiri Fronk is my personal favourite.
Team Roster Link: http://canucks.nhl.com/v2/ext/Young%20Stars%20Roster%202016.pdf
Strengths: The Canucks might have the strongest goaltending in the tournament, with Thatcher Demko being backed up by Michael Garteig. This duo will be well protected by a deep defensive core that includes veterans like Jordan Subban, new arrivals such as Olli Juolevi and Troy Stecher, and other solid prospects like Guillaume Brisebois, Carl Neill, and Tate Olson.
Weaknesses: The Canucks are extremely weak up front, with six amateur invites and only eight players actually drafted or signed by the organization. There is not a single high-level forward prospect on the roster, and Cole Cassels is probably the best, which says a lot.
Thatcher Demko- The chance to see Demko’s debut in Canucks’ colours will be special, and it helps that he’ll be facing down some of the best offensive prospects in the game.
Olli Juolevi- The Canucks’ highest draft pick in awhile is probably headed back to junior, so this tournament might be fans’ best chance to see him this year.
Michael Carcone and Yan-Pavel Laplante- The two free agent forward prospects signed by the Canucks this summer bring very different games. Carcone is an undersized scorer that will try to step right into a top-6 role with the Comets. Laplante brings some scoring skill, too, but is more known for his physicality and fighting prowess.
Countless Invites- Players on amateur tryouts will be taking this tournament more seriously than others, as they have potential contracts on the line, and the Canucks are loaded with eight invites. This means that the effort and desperation levels should be high for this squad at all times. Alexis D’aoust looks like the most interesting of the group, after putting up 98 points in the QMJHL.