Top performers at WJC Camp
We recently had a look at the top prospects for Team USA at the Lake Placid World Junior Championship evaluation tournament, so we'll continue on that same theme here, this time focusing on the players at the event representing Canada, Sweden and Finland.
This year's evaluation camp had fewer big names than usual, with top prospects like Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Morgan Rielly, Griffin Reinhart, Aleksander Barkov, Rasmus Ristolainen, Jacob Trouba, Seth Jones, Filip Forsberg and Elias Lindholm not attending. Then again, Team Canada being in attendance for the first time helped to counterbalance this somewhat.
Despite all those absent big names, there were still several impressive top prospects to go along with good performances from draft-eligible players. Here are some notes from my observations attending the camp on the most impressive performers.
With Chicago GM Stan Bowman in attendance, Teravainen had a fantastic week and led all players in scoring. "He's been great here," said Finland head coach Karri Kivi. "I think he was the best player at the tournament." He had scouts buzzing about how dangerous he was every shift with one of the more memorable performances at this under-20 camp in the past few years. Teravainen's great speed, puck skills, vision and shooting skill are what made him so dangerous.
He was able to split defenders and push the pace, while also controlling the play with the man advantage and setting up many scoring chances. What was interesting was not only what Teravainen did on offense, but also on defense. He played a lot of tough defensive minutes, logging penalty-killing time, and even killing off a 5-on-3. When asked about how he felt in a penalty-killing role, Teravainen said, "It was my first time [in International play.]"
Connor McDavid, C, 2015 draft eligible (Erie-OHL)
The hype machine for McDavid over the past 18 months has been off the charts, but a lot of it is warranted. If he continues to develop on his current path, he has a chance to be a generational talent. McDavid led the under-18 championship in goals and points, and was named MVP as a double-underage forward, which is simply unheard of. As a triple-underage player at the under-20 camp, he did not look out of place, and threatened offensively.
McDavid's hockey sense is as good as it gets, especially for a player of his age. He's also an elite puck handler and skater who, despite being undersized, works very hard in the physical game and will throw hits. Whether it's from my conversations with those who scouted him in Minor Midget, the OHL, the under-18s or watching him at this camp, the consensus opinion is that he's a special player.
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