As May winds down, we are still in the midst of a hockey frenzy. The NHL is still mired in it's conference finals, but on another stage, the World Championships just wrapped up with Canada winning the gold medal, and possible Winnipeg Jet draftee and standout Patrik Laine becoming the tournament MVP. A great tourney, as I was able to sneak a peek at all the televised games over the past two weeks, thanks to my PVR and TSN's awesome coverage.
Scheifele started the tournament as the 4th line center, but quickly made his way up the line up as he seemed to become more confident as the games came along. In the end he developed great chemistry with Mark Stone, got some grit into his game highlighted by some monsterous hits, and finished up with 4 goals and 9 points in 9 games.
Burmistrov struggled to find his groove in the tournament, as he finished up with only 1 assist while playing a variety of roles in a heavily tiered Russian squad. The addition of a few NHL players and the surprise play of one of his counter parts (more on Telegin in a minute) maybe limited his ice time as the tournament dragged along. Burmi didn't even see the ice during the bronze medal game today, as he was scratched and finished up playing in 9 games.
Dano was interesting to watch, as the main return in the Andrew Ladd trade was a pest, to say the least. A presence in front of and around the net. Grit and tonnes of it. Dano played well, and wound up with 2 points (1 g, 1 a). He drew penalties, and took some himself. This showed me a side of Dano's game that the Jets can hopefully benefit from down the road.
Ehlers was great to see, burning up Denmark's top line. He too struggled early, but found his game and renewed freedom from the larger ice surface, and netted 4 goals and 2 assists in 8 games. Great to see!
Now the interesting parts of the tournament story for Chevy and the rest of the Jets brass. Kevin Cheveldayoff, along with Craig Heisinger and Larry Simmons and 2 scouts attended the tournament about half way through. What did they see?
Kyle Connor got his feet wet in international play while playing with players much older, larger and experienced than he. In the 5 games he played, Connor produced 2 assists, but seemed to be hampered by an injury as the tournement moved along. Whether being scratched was due to his injury or the addition of Brock Nelson from the Islanders after their NHL playoff elimination, we'll never know. But it was noted that he didn't look out of place. Connor built some good chemistry with Auston Matthews (Who? Just Kidding!). However, it has been suggested that some AHL time may be needed to solidify his play and help him grow physically.
The Dark Horse
Ivan Telegin began the tournament as the forgotten one, literally. So much so that the Winnipeg Jets writers didn't even begin to make mention of his scoring and play until half way through the tournament, eventually adding him to scoring spreadsheet on their IIHF WC page and highlighting his play. With that said, he suprised many. As a player who came off a season ending, possible career ending concussion, to being the player that gave value to the 4th line grinder role, Telegin played his role well. 4 goals and 2 assists in 10 games garnered my attention. It will be interesting to see if this fall's training camp comes about and if Telegin is extended an invitation, seeing as his KHL contract is up.
The 2nd Pick
For the sake of this article and of argument, let's just say that the second coming of Teemu Selanne, that being Patrik Laine, will be picked by the Winnipeg Jets in the second spot in this year's draft. Unless the Toronto Maple Leafs pull a rabbit out the hat at the draft podium, Laine will be our guy come the 24th of June. The WC MVP stole the show...7 goals, 5 assists, and demonstrated why he's considered our #1...a lightning quick release, and fantastic play making ability. Rubbing shoulders with Ovi has hopefully literally rubbed off, as Laine has to be bit more physical during play. At 6'4" and 205 lbs, he has the necessary tools. Now they need to be applied.
But, for safety sake, Auston Matthews is a great consolation prize if the Leafs take Laine first. Matthews had 6 goals and 3 assists for 9 points and played the first line, showcasing why he should be #1. The Jets will certainly put Laine and others through the paces at this year's Draft Combine, to be held in Buffalo starting May 30th.
Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments below. Cheers!