Today Brayden Sullivan (@sullydraftgeek) blesses us with his 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament Awards for MVP, Best Forward, Best Defenceman, Best Goaltender, and Best 2017 Draft Eligible!
MVP: Tyler Benson
(Runners up: Michael McLeod, Jacob Cederholm)
The current Vancouver Giant was a beast throughout the tournament for Canada. He finished
the tournament tied for 3rd in scoring with 6 points in 5 games (2 Goals, 4 Assists) and with the game winning goal in the gold medal game. He beats out his team mate Michael McLeod for this award because he was much more consistent then McLeod was and much more utilized/relied on.Another part that helped him was that he didn’t take a single penalty the whole tournament and drew a few penalties that helped his team win.
The thing he brought most to Canada was his playmaking abilities while still being somewhat physical, as he was a player who won a lot of his battles in the corner and always found the open man. As a 2016 draft eligible, Tyler is ranked very high as he currently sits ranked at 7th overall by Future Considerations and 14th by DraftGeek. It will be interesting to see how Tyler plays this year in Vancouver, under a new coach, and how he will be able to maintain his draft stock on a weaker team in the WHL.
Top Forward: Alexander Nylander
(Runner up: Sam Steel, Nikita Popugaev)
Alexander Nylander’s current CHL rights are owned by the Mississauga Steelheads, as they took him 12th overall in the 2015 CHL import draft. His USHL rights are owned by Dubuque Fighting Saints. I predict that he will commit to Mississauga and have a great year playing alongside Canadian, Michael McLeod.
Going into the tournament Nylander was a player that everyone had their eyes on and was someone who everyone knew would play a lot for Sweden. He always seemed to be on the ice for Sweden and was easily one of the most skilled players in this tournament. He was a very quick and creative player throughout the tournament and he always showed that he wanted the puck on his stick. As the tournament progressed his skill did not decline but his shot started to become more of a weapon and he ended his tournament by scoring a great goal on a shot in slot that went over the shoulder of the Canadian goalie in the gold medal game.
Going into his draft year I hope that Nylander chooses the right team to commit to and gets the attention throughout the year that he deserves.
Top Defenseman: Jacob Cederholm
(Runner Up: Kale Clague, Libor Hajek, Markus Niemelainen)
The 6’3 Swedish defenseman was a wall for his national team, he was heavily relied upon and was by far the top defenseman in this tournament.
Cederholm is a big strong two way defenseman who is very good defensively but also brings high end puck moving skills. He possesses a very long stride which allows him to get to pucks first before using his body. He was someone who played crucial minutes for the Swedish side. He also came on as a leader through the tournament and took on the responsibility of captain. Jacob Cederholm beats out 3 high scoring blueliners to this award because of the way that he was relied upon and how he always rose to the occasion.
For the 2016 draft eligible the giant Swede is ranked 17th on DraftGeek’s new draft rankings, he should suit up this season with HV71 in the SHL but if not he will be a dominant force on their J20 team.
Top Goalie: Severi Isokangas
(Runner Up: Vladislav Sukhachev, Filip Gustavsson)
The reason Isokangas beats out all goalies to this award is because how he makes himself look big in his net and how calm he looked at all times.
He finished the tournament with a 1.77 GAA and a .920 SVG % through 4 games and put himself 4th in goalie statistics. He’s a 6’1 goalie who is currently committed to Karpat in the Finnish league and will most likely play with their U20 team once again. Although Finland did not take home a medal in this tournament he was the true reason why they finished on top of group B and the reason why they made it to those semi-final games.
Isokangas is currently ranked 2nd amongst all goalies going into the 2016 draft by DraftGeek, right behind Sweden’s goaltender Filip Gustavsson. Through the 2015-2016 year it will be fun to see Severi playing up and down the Karpat junior system, looking for every starting opportunity he can get with the team as a 17 year old.
Best 2017 Draft Eligible: Nico Hischier
(Runner Up: Nolan Patrick, Kailer Yamamoto)
The final award goes to Nico Hischier as the top 2017 draft eligible through this tournament. As one of only a few 1999’s in this tournament, Hischier surpassed all expectations set and was by far the best player for a 7th place Switzerland side.
He finished the tournament tied for 3rd in scoring with 6 points in 4 games (3 goals; 3 assists), and was far and away one of the best forwards in this tournament. A strong playmaker who also possess some two way in his game, as he is always the deepest forward in his own zone. His skating was much better than anyone else’s on his team and playmaking abilities were heavily utilized by the Swiss. He was the most played player on his team and was always on the ice in the last 5 minutes, regardless of the score.
He beats out two of the top 5 2017 draft eligible, Canadian Nolan Patrick and American Kailer Yamamoto because of how he dominant he was on a 7th place team and how he always stood out in the games he played in. It will be good to see if Nico makes the switch over to NA hockey in the coming years and if he can push to be a top pick in the 2017 draft.
I wonder if any of these guys will be wearing an Edmonton Oilers jersey someday? Benson is a local boy but I’d be more than disappointed if Edmonton was in a position to draft him next summer.
Big thanks to Brayden Sulluvan for working his ass off to bring us coverage from the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. It’s been a real pleasure working with him and reading his posts! So I urge you to head over to DraftGeek.ca for all your NHL draft information. I know Brennen and Brayden and they are top guys who know their stuff when it comes to the draft! Follow them on Twitter too @draftgeekDOTca and @sullydraftgeek.
And don’t forget to check out Jack Gruninger‘s Season Primer series. He’s up to Colorardo now and all we’ve gotten is rave reviews regarding the team previews! You don’t want to skip these ones! Check out his latest here!
Thanks for reading everyone! Have a good day!
– BLH (@beerleagueheroe)