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3 Quick Thoughts about the USNTDP

So I’ve been watching a ton of USNTDP games over the past month and really dove into them over the past few weeks. It’s absolutely true that this team is full of some amazing talent and I think that half of the first 10 picks in this years draft will be from that team. There’s just a few things that have come up that I wanted to address quickly.

Jack Hughes

Well obviously the things that Kaapo Kakko is doing over the past few weeks is impressive but Jack Hughes is absolutely deserving of the number one pick. Kakko playing against NHL players is very impressive and being able to score as many goals as he did at the World Championships should narrow the gap between himself and Hughes

Hughes is elite as well though, the way that Hughes can make a defender whiff on him when he gives a small shoulder shake is elite. He wheels around the zone like a BCHL player playing against a kindergarten class, has a quick release and incredible vision to create opportunities for his linemates to bury plenty of tap-in goals. I am a big supporter of Kakko, I think he will make an immediate impact on an NHL team and I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he out plays Hughes in 2019-20 but Hughes will be a stud, he’s the type of player that would fit in between Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel if this was the 2015 NHL draft.

Cole Caufield

The kid is a goal scoring machine, always in the right position to score easy goals and has the hands and shot to bury them. At 5’7″ it is a little scary for a team to draft him as high as fifth overall but I can see the LA Kings making a splash and taking Caufield that high. This excites me as the Chicago Blackhawks have shown interest in Alex Turcotte and the Colorado Avalanche could pass on Byram, so if my theory works out that would leave Bowen Byram available with the sixth overall pick and I think the Red Wings are willing to move that pick with Steve Yzerman stepping in as the team’s new GM.

Could the Vancouver Canucks trade up to six for Bowen Byram?

Trevor Zegras is better than Alex Turcotte

Alex Turcotte is very highly ranked on a lot of scouts rankings and as I just mentioned the Blackhawks have a lot of rumours around them that they could be interested in drafting Turcotte with their third overall pick. So I’ve been watching this team a lot and I think Turcotte is a top 10 pick but Zegras is so involved in every game it makes me want to see what he does at the next level.

Turcotte has great skating ability and is solid defensively but Trevor Zegras has really impressed me with how good he is at faceoffs, he wins almost every board battle and is possibly the best playmaker on the team. There were games where I was keying in on Boldy and Caufield but I couldn’t help but notice Zegras. When I was keying in on other players I didn’t really notice Turcotte a lot, he had games where he scored a lot of goals but the USNTDP did win a lot of blowout games.

If Zegras is available at 10 for the Canucks I think he’s a no brainer pick and the Canucks won’t pass on him.

 

 

  • I think, unfortunately, if some strange set of circumstances occur and Byram falls to 6, Yzerman will run so fast to the podium to call Byram’s name, Benning won’t even have time to get out an um, or an er, let alone a trade offer.

  • League seems great for developing skill. Seems to attract a lot of undersized guys, sheltered minutes, small schedule.
    Playoff hockey requires the intangibles though…. I still think Junior prepares a player better for the NHL.

  • PITB recently did an article comparing height and weight of all the teams. No surprise that the three biggest teams in the league are L.A, Winnipeg and St Louis and the end result I see on the ice is that these three cannot be intimidated. L.A. is an exception as they suffer from being too old, bad management and too many fat contracts but both St Louis and Winnipeg appear to have solid futures after consciously targeting large players for development. As a general rule for every small player they want two large ones. Tampa is an example of a team that will be beefing up their lineup.

    As for the Canucks their forward group sits about the middle of the pack but their defense ranks 26th in height and 24th in weight so they really do need some large people to properly compete. Drafting small players like Zegas or Caufield will get them into the playoffs but will ultimately prove unsuccessful unless they can replace players like Granlund and Motte with some size.

    • The price may be too high for Myers, but I’m not against signing him if the deal is reasonable. I like having more size on the team, but especially in your top 4 defensemen. Those guys play a lot, and can be out with multiple forward lines in a protector role. Also, you need players who can withstand an aggressive recheck by a big team. I have nothing against smaller players with the skill to play, but you do need a mix to succeed.