After what was a great tournament that featured many highly skilled players and future NHL players the final day has come upon the Ivan Hlinka memorial tournament. Let’s recap what was the days efforts.
The first game of the day was the Bronze medal game between Russia and Finland where Russia went into the 3rd period down 3-1 but Finland collapsed in a major way. 2 goals from Nikita Popugaev and another from Artur Kayumov gifted Russia the Bronze.
The final most important game remaining was between Sweden and Canada. All it too was 4 goals in 17 minutes to sink the Swedes. Canada won the game 7-3 in what was their 8th straight gold medal at this tournament and 20th win in 25 years of the tournament.
If you’re interested in watching the game, I’ve included it at the bottom of the post for your viewing pleasure.
With all that in the books the final standings for the 2015 Ivan Hlinka memorial were as followed:
- Czech Republic (host)
- Slovakia (co-host)
After some very impressive showings throughout all of the Hlinka Memorial here are the players who stood out to me today:
Nikita Popugaev (Russia): Another skilled forward to add to a Russia empire filled with them. Nikita recently noted that he will not be showing up to the Moose Jaw Warriors training camp effectively ending any chances of him playing in the WHL this season. With all that aside Popugaev is a skilled forward who possesses a blistering shot and soft hands that all add up into to make a helluva pure goal scorer. Popugaev finished the tournament tied for 3rd in points with 6 in 5 games (3 goals 3 assists).
An aspect that Nikita showed today that caught my eye was his ability to make tape to tape passes through defenders with ease. As a 2016 NHL draft eligible he is going to have a lot of eyes on him and will most likely have a lot of controversy as the Russian factor still exists and he is small in stature.
In my opinion I would slot Popugaev somewhere in the first 2 rounds which may be high, but he played exceptional through the whole tournament and has potential to be a WJC threat in years to come ala Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Alexander Nylander (Sweden): He was crucial in today’s gold medal game as he was always on the ice, and scored the second goal for Sweden off of a wicked shot over the shoulder of Dylan Wells. He finished the tournament with 6 point in 5 games and was finished tied for 3rd and was one of the top European players.
Since he was drafted 12th overall in the CHL import draft in 2015, the Mississauga Steelheads are hopeful to see him suit up with them the coming season and play alongside Gold medal game opponent Michael McLeod. Talk about a 1-2 punch!
As the brother of former top 10 draft pick William Nylander, you could go on and say he is a mirror image of his elder brother when it comes to playing style. He brings along a very creative player who always finds a way to get the puck on his stick. Although he may not go as high as his brother did, he will still be a top prospect to any team he goes to. Depending on where in the draft he goes, he could be a steal.
Pierre-Luc Dubois (Canada): The current Cape Breton Screaming Eagle finished off an amazing tournament with a solid 3 point effort and was awarded player of the game in a 7-3 win over Sweden.
Pierre is a slick and shifty forward who can be a force on any power play unit. His skating stance is quite wide but he still able to avoid hits and uses that stance to protect the puck exceptionally well.
A couple of items I liked about his game was how he was chirpy at times and how he liked to get under the skin of opponents after the whistle. The other side I liked was his ability to pick pocket players before quickly turning up the ice.
Another potential top 20 pick who is someone to look for the coming season. I expect him to be paired on a line with Detroit Red Wing’s first round pick Evgeni Svechnikov this upcoming season.
Samuel Girard (Canada): The 5’10 defenseman who currently plays for Shawinigan in the QMJHL had a great tournament as he put up 3 points in 5 games to lead the Canadian defense in points.
A small two way defender who has a lot of offensive upside but doesn’t get enough credit for the defensive side of his game. He’s a very reliable defenseman who works hard defensively and uses his stick very well to break up the passing lanes and to separate the opponents from the puck.
He recently put up 43 points in 64 games, and was given QMJHL rookie of the year amongst defensemen. Going into his draft year I expect Samuel to try and bulk up as he only weighs 161lbs, he should also work towards being more physical. Personally I thought he was one of the top 2 defenseman on Team Canada.
Now that the tournament has wrapped up and all the medals have been handed out, I have to say THANK YOU! to everyone who read my work the past 5 days. I have tried my best to scout all players and to bring the ones that popped out to me. Tomorrow will be my last post on the tournament as I will be sharing my tournament MVP, best defenceman, etc.
Huge thanks to Beer League Heroes for having me guest write for him and I look forward to helping out again in the future. For any questions or if you want NHL draft news and rankings you can follow me @sullydraftgeek or you can find my scouting services at draftgeek.ca .