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Craig Button

TSN Director of Scouting

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TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button checks in with the latest news and notes in the world of hockey prospect evaluation:

1. Jordan Kyrou is a centre with the Sarnia Sting in the Ontario Hockey League and a second-round selection by the St. Louis Blues (35th overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft. He’s fast with soft hands that can make deft passes and beat goalies with a very good shot. He currently sits second in league scoring with eight goals and 22 points in 11 games. He’s matured into a player capable of dominating so many areas of the game. Team Canada will certainly be looking to him be a leading player at the World Juniors.

2. Jack Hughes is a dynamic centre playing for the U.S. NTDP U17 Team. He would have been the first-overall pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Draft if he’d chosen the CHL route. Hughes played for the vaunted Toronto Marlies program and has the skill and the will to make significant contributions in the game. He’s an excellent skater with agility and an explosiveness that gets him through the holes and allows him to be dangerous. Here’s a highlight-reel goal from last weekend:

 

3. Joe Veleno, a 6-foot-1, 189-pound centre with Saint John Sea Dogs, is a player some thought could be in consideration for first overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft when he was granted exceptional player status in 2015. He scored his second goal of the season on Wednesday night and now has 12 points in 15 games. Veleno has 28 goals and 67 assists in the 122 games he’s played in the QMJHL. He’s clearly not a candidate to be the top pick next June, but he’s a solid prospect the scouts will be watching closely.

4. The Swift Current Broncos have the best line in the CHL. Tyler Steenbergen, a 2017 fifth-round pick (128th overall) of the Arizona Coyotes, Aleksi Heponiemi, a 2017 second-round pick (40th overall) of the Florida Panthers and Glenn Gawdin, a junior free agent who is sure to garner interest by NHL teams, are three of the top five scorers in the WHL. They have scored 37 of their team’s 52 goals this season. Heponiemi is sure to be a member of Finland’s World Junior team and Steenbergen has definitely put himself in the mix to be on Team Canada.

5. Team Canada’s Olympic management team is evaluating players for the 2018 Olympics and, as TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie reported, they’re looking at the possibility of having CHL players on their roster. Two players who would garner serious interest are Sam Steel and Kale Clague. Steel, a centre with the Regina Pats and 2016 first-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks, was the leading scorer in the WHL in 2016-17 with 50 goals and 131 points. An excellent skater with the ability to play in all areas of the game, Steel has 17 points in 12 games for the Pats this season. Clague, a defenceman with the Brandon Wheat Kings, was a second-round pick of the L.A. Kings in 2016. He has 10 goals and 24 points in 11 games this season and his command of the game from an offensive standpoint is impressive.

Scouts will want to see: Denver Pioneers @ Boston University Terriers on Friday, Oct. 27.

Brady Tkachuk gets a chance to test himself against the defending NCAA champions. Tkachuk has four assists in six games this season and is ranked in the top five on Craig’s List and Bob McKenzie’s pre-season ranking.  His combination of brains, skill and power is always welcomed by NHL teams.