Photo Credit: Image: Jan Sukup / Ivan Hlinka

Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup: Day 1

The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup tournament can only mean one thing. It’s the beginning of the season for scouting the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. The annual tournament is the unofficial kickoff to the hockey season and is considered by most in the industry a starting point for evaluating the upcoming year’s draft eligible talent.

Obviously, teams have tracked and seen all of these players already, but the focus on them gets heightened.

Given the number of games in each day, it wouldn’t be possible to do a full game report on every single one, so for this tournament, I will focus on standouts of each day. Furthermore, I will not be including any pGPS data as we prepare some posts for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft in the coming weeks. It’s fair to assume that some of the names that stand out over the next week will make some appearances in those posts too.

Scores from today:

   6  1
   4    3  S/O
   6    2
   6    1

F Serron Noel (Canada)

The Oshawa Generals forward had a notable first day representing Canada. Already measuring in at 6’4″ and 195 lbs, the right winger played with pace, creating chances throughout the game against Russia by using his speed and size to create lanes. He never seemed to stop going, and if he continues to do so, he will be a handful.

Noel was in a depth role for the Generals in his D-1 season but should be relied upon more this season. He could see an uptick in production from his 21 points last season and see a rise in his draft stock.

F Joe Veleno (Canada)

A projected top 10 pick, Saint John Sea Dogs forward Joe Veleno is captaining Team Canada at Ivan Hlinka. He does just about everything for the team and is noticeable. He has good size at 6’0″ and 180 lbs, plays with speed and gets into everything. He was the ‘go-to’ player for the coaching staff and stood out every time he was on the ice.

Veleno had 40 points (13-27-40) in 45 QMJHL games last season and should be among the league leaders in scoring by years end this season. He won’t be able to pass Andrei Svechnikov or Rasmus Dahlin as the 1-2 punch in the 2018 draft, but he could force his way into a sure-fire top 5 pick.

D Adam Boqvist (Sweden)

The younger brother of Jesper Boqvist (who the New Jersey Devils spent a second round pick on at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft), Adam is an elusive puck moving defenceman who is forcing his way into top ten consideration.

Boqvist is on the smaller side at 5’11” and 170 lbs, but his skill-set is very intriguing. He skates well, smart with the puck, elusive under pressure and isn’t afraid to make something happen himself. As the NHL continues to trend towards those type of defencemen, players like Boqvist will continue to see their stock rise. Boqvist and Dahlin are two dynamic defencemen to come out of Sweden for the upcoming draft.

Boqvist was not awarded the goal that I’ve added in .gif form above; he ended today’s action with two assists.

F Kristian Tanus (Finland)

The diminutive forward was noticeable in Finland’s first game against Slovakia. The problem is that he is only 5’6″ and 175 lbs. But he made sure people noticed him today with a two assist performance.

He was relentless on the puck, creative when he had it, and used his teammates well.

Size will obviously be the biggest hurdle for him, but today he did everything he needed to overcome that issue and make plays. It will be interesting to see how he fares against the powerhouse teams like Canada in future games at the tournament.

There were a couple of other noticeable Finns today, but I will save them for another post.

F Jakub  Lauko (Czech Republic)

Ranked as the 14th best prospect in the 2018 Draft by Future Considerations, Lauko had a good start to the tournament with a two goal performance. One of his goals was really impressive:

The young Czech forward has been a productive forward on the international stage and spent the majority of the 2016-17 season in the Czech Extraliga. Both are good signs for future success and bode well for the forward. If he continues to trend upwards, he could be in consideration for a spot on the Czech Republic team for the U20 World Juniors in Buffalo in January.

Schedule for tomorrow

 Local Time  PT
     15:30  6:30 AM
     15:30  6:30 AM
     19:00  10:00 AM
     19:00  10:00 AM