The first step towards the 2012 NHL Entry Draft took place with Canada winning the annual Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
And with the NHL's Research and Development Camp set to take place, TSN Scout Craig Button looks at some of the young talent that are on the rise.
TOP 10 PLAYERS AT THE TOURNAMENT
1. Filip Forsberg
- Is a force of skill, size, power and will
2. Morgan Rielly
- Has the ability to control the game
3. Matt Dumba
- Was dynamic. Matched up vs. Grigorenko & Forsberg & made them non-factors
4. Oscar Dansk
- On a very good Sweden team, he was a key component
5. Andreas Athanasiou
- Had multiple scoring chances in each game & was consistently dangerous
6. Sebastien Collberg
- Dynamic, skilled winger who can fly
7. Jan Kostalek
- A 2013 draft. Has the skill & poise of top defensemen
8. Linus Arnesson
- A 2013 draft that misses 2012 by 6 days. Well rounded
9. Alex Galchenyuk
- Was the best player on the US. Will be an early pick in 2012
10. Derek Pouliot
- Along with Rielly & Dumba, was a key component in completely shutting down the opposition in the last 4 games
TOP 10 PLAYERS NOT AT THE TOURNAMENT
1. Nail Yakupov - Sarnia
2. Ryan Murray - Everett
3. Martin Frk - Halifax
4. Nick Ebert - Windsor
5. Jacob Trouba - USNDTP U 18
6. Olli Maatta - London
7. Anton Slepyshev - Penza 2 (Russia)
8. Cody Ceci - Ottawa
9. Matia Marcantuoni - Kitchener
- Hurt in first game at Ivan Hlinka but a very good prospect
10. Colton Sissons - Kelowna
PLAYERS WHO HELPED THEIR CAUSE
1. Filip Forsberg
- Along with Yakupov, the best players in the draft
2. Ludvig Bystrom
- A very smart & competitive defenseman
3. Teuvo Teravainen
- Very skilled & smart & can impact the game in a flash
4. Thomas Wilson
- Showed that he was willing & very capable
5. Jarrod Maidens
- Not a lot of flash but knows how to play
6. Scott Laughton
- The more challenging the situation the better he got
7. Adam Pelech
- Played with a confidence & physical component that kept opponents 'on guard'
8. Christoval Nieves
- Showed very well at a much higher level of competition than he has seen
TEAM CANADA SYNOPSIS
When a team wins a tournament, it is very difficult to find flaws. When a team dominates its opponents as Canada did after losing their first game, out scoring them 21-2, it speaks to a complete and coordinated team effort in all aspects. That was the case with these young men.
I must mention the coaching staff. After losing 5-1 to Sweden on day one, they worked tirelessly to help the players understand what they needed to do better to experience success. As the players grasped the system of team play the coaches instilled, the team became stronger and stronger with each passing period. In the semi-final and final, Team Canada was in such complete control, that they not only won, they did it by beating two very good teams in Russia and Sweden leaving no doubt as to who was the best team in the tournament.
I am not assessing these players based on points or such but on their ability to play to their strengths and help their team win. These players have all been very good players throughout their young careers. To be part of a successful team requires a lot of unselfish play, an understanding of what they can do to help the team win and a respect for the contributions of each and every player. I believe this group has earned an A+ in all categories.
After losing the 1st game 5-1, he only surrendered 2 goals in the next 4 games. While going through some long stretches of inactivity, he showed strong concentration when scoring chances came his way.
Played sparingly but did share in the shutout win vs. Switzerland
Really stepped up his game as the tourney progressed. Was a physical presence and he played a strong defensive game, always in the right position.
Not a lot of flash in his game but was competitive and really established a defensive intensity for the team.
If he made a mistake, I didn't see it. When he was on the ice, there was a higher sense of calm and he was able to control play in all areas and situations.
Looked a little hesitant at the outset but progressed along and was a strong force defensively, eliminating opponents and turning them aside at every turn.
Did not play a lot but when he did; he showed that he has the requisite skills to be a very good defenseman. Excellent skater who appears effortless and has very good sense.
Was a factor, offensively, defensively and physically and he went up against tow of the biggest and best forwards in the tourney, Grigorenko & Forsberg and not only fared well, he completely shut them down. The Captain played with confidence and showed the ability to forget his mistakes and get on to the next task.
Made excellent plays with the puck and was a real catalyst for jumping into the offensive zone and keeping the puck in the opposition end and thus helping wear down the opponents. Very poised and with his puck play, made the opposition chase the puck.
Has speed and quickness and he used it continuously to create scoring chances for himself. Took the puck to the scoring areas and really showed that he was capable of being dangerous.
Had a lot of jump and created sustained play in the offensive zone along with line mates, Smith & Rychel. Did not get rewarded with goals but had chances & played with purpose and determination.
As the games became more important, he got better. With his size, he made himself very difficult to play against & was a smart player without the puck & scored the backbreaking goal vs. Sweden in the final, forty seconds into the 3rd period.
He was another player who got better with each passing game. He was presence in the game without the puck because he was always in the right position and he used his skating to shut down any hint of an offensive foray by the opposition. Scored the Gold Medal winning goal.
A skilled player who brought the power play to life and made it very successful. Is smart and he finds a way to get & create scoring chances despite not being the biggest of players.
He used his skating very well to be the catalyst for a very effective fore-check, hurrying opponents & forcing mistakes. Had some scoring chances but most importantly he played with a desire and tenacity that makes him difficult for opponents.
Another player who brought a strong desire to make a difference physically. He got on top of the defense & really forced them to make plays quickly and forced mistakes that created chances. Had some excellent chances to score but was using his Father's sticks!
He was strong along the boards and with his skating, really shut down the amount of time opponents had to make a play or gain ice. In terms of sustained play in the offensive zone, his line with Shinkaruk and Rychel, were excellent.
Got hurt in the 1st game and was unable to participate the rest of the tourney.
Moved over to the wing and he played very strong in that position. When a player is accustomed to moving more freely, his attention to detail and willingness to do the things a winger must do, shows the excellent sense and awareness he has and the important quality of adaptability.
Regardless of the situation, he was able to make the necessary play. He is smart and really understands the game and he leaves himself in position to make plays either offensively or defensively.
He was a tireless worker throughout and battled along the boards and at the net and if had any 'give' to him, it never showed. Played a strong determined game on a consistent basis.
What looked like a little awkwardness early in the tourney, he continuously evolved into the main catalyst for the physical tone the team wanted to establish. He was strong in his efforts, and he knew exactly how to get his strengths into the game and made a significant impact when he was on the ice.