The Russians won the Subway Super Series with the Canadian League for the first time, sweeping both the Western and Quebec Leagues and only losing to the Ontario League. What does it all mean? Hard to say. Most of the Russian team was comprised of undrafted 19-year-olds, which does little for The Hot List, but bodes well for the nation’s world junior chances. With an eye on the future as always, here’s a look at some of the players we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.
Phillip Danault, LW – Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)
With 28 points in 25 games, the six-foot, 170-pound Danault has seen his stock rise noticeably as this season has progressed. A fill-in for Louis Leblanc at the Super Series, the Victoriaville native proved his worth against the Russians by using his best assets.
“I think I have good speed,” Danault said, “and I can bring energy to the team, emotion.”
He certainly did that with his penalty-killing prowess in the first game for Team QMJHL and he’s been doing it all season for the Tigres, usually in bunches. A streaky scorer, Danault already has seven multi-point games for Victoriaville, a squad that’s in tough in a competitive East Division.
“We work all over the place,” Danault said. “All the work will make the difference.”
The speedy winger also got a chance to represent his country when he helped Canada win gold at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament over the summer. He was one of the few ‘Q’ players on the squad, but Danault noted the competition was stiff.
“We were only four,” he said. “There were 20 from the OHL and WHL, but they were all very good players, too. It was an honor to win the gold and I will keep it all my life.” Draft eligible in 2011.
Linden Vey, RW – Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
One of the hottest players in major junior right now, Vey has 12 points in his past four games, propelling him to third in the Dub scoring race with 38 points in 21 games. The gritty winger is making most of his hay through his playmaking. Drafted 96th overall by Los Angeles in 2009.
Matt Morris, G – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
With two shutouts in his past four appearances, it’s no surprise why Morris finds himself atop the goalie pile in the United States League. The sturdy New Jersey native boasts a 1.28 goals-against average, a .949 save percentage and he hasn’t lost in regulation through eight decisions. Draft eligible in 2011.
Alexander Khokhlachev, C – Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
To say ‘Koko’ is on fire is almost an insult to his hot streak. He’s practically on a magma streak. The last time Khokhlachev did not score for the Spitfires was on Oct. 11 against Sarnia. Since then, the swift and skillful Russian has 21 points in 13 games and is stalking fellow countryman Nail Yakupov for the rookie scoring title in the OHL. Draft eligible in 2011.
Martin Frk, RW – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
It’s been a dreary season in Halifax, but top import pick Frk has been lightning. The evolving power forward leads all ‘Q’ rookies with 29 points in 26 games and has somehow managed a plus-1 rating on a team that has given up 19 more goals than it has scored. The question now is: will we see him at the world juniors with the Czechs? Draft eligible in 2012.
Christian Thomas, RW – Oshawa Generals (OHL)
The newly crowned OHL player of the week, Thomas had an ironclad case by putting up 10 points in two games. One of the key pieces in the John Tavares trade two years ago, the undersized sniper is nearly at a goal-per-game pace with 17 markers and 33 points through 20 games. Drafted 40th overall by the New York Rangers in 2010.
Jason Zucker, LW – Denver Pioneers (WCHA)
Originally pegged as a shutdown forward thanks to his speed and forechecking abilities, Zucker has instead helped carry the load for the Pios on offense. While sophomore Drew Shore leads Denver in scoring with 16 points, freshman Zucker is just three behind and heads the Pios with nine goals in 14 games. Drafted 59th overall by Minnesota in 2010.
Matt Killian, D – Delbarton Green Wave (NJ HS)
The only ‘A’ rated Central Scouting prospect in the New Jersey high school ranks, the 6-foot-1, 191-pound Killian has a future commitment to Yale, so he’s no dumb jock. He’s already played some games for Team USA this season and was named to the New Jersey all-state team last year thanks to his solid blueline work on a squad that nearly went undefeated. Draft eligible in 2011.
Reid Boucher, C – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
Boucher, whose Sept. 8 birthday makes him one of the youngest players available for this year’s draft, is on a tear of late, putting up offense at the Four Nations Cup for the gold-medal Americans, then continuing on in USHL play. He has sniped seven goals and nine points in eight games for the NTDP, including four in two games since returning from Sweden. Draft eligible in 2011.
Spencer Abraham, D – Brampton Battalion (OHL)
At 5-foot-11 and 177 pounds, Abraham is a mid-sized defender who can do damage on the power play, usually with his passing. The Brampton rookie made an impression early on this season, posting four assists in just his second OHL game. Overall, he has 14 helpers and 17 points in 21 games to lead all rookie blueliners. Draft eligible in 2011.
The Hot List, a 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. A player is eligible for The Hot List until they play in their first NHL game.
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