Anyone who's ever heard Pierre McGuire call a Minnesota Wild game knows that the Wild's own Jared Spurgeon won the Memorial Cup with the Spokane Chiefs in 2008. The Memorial Cup is the biggest achievement in Canadian Junior hockey, and the winners are the champions of champions. Other winners include Zack Phillips, Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Milan Lucic, Corey Perry, Brian Campbell, Justin Falk, and a seventeen year old Nathan MacKinnon, just to name a few. This year, the round-robin tournament takes place in London, Ontario and is hosted by the London Knights. They are joined by the OHL champion Guelph Storm, the WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings and the QMJHL champion Val d'Or Foreurs. The best teams in the CHL generally have their rosters stuffed with NHL drafted players because these teams get to be the best by having future NHL talent. The following players will be playing against the Wild in the future, so the Memorial Cup tournament is a great opportunity to get to know your future enemies.
Height:196 cm / 6'5" Weight:103 kg / 227 lbs Shoots:L Roster Number: 65
Name sound familiar? He is the player the Sabres took with the first round pick (16th overall) that the Wild traded in the Pominville deal. Even though there is little chance that the Wild would have taken him considering how rarely the Wild draft Russians, it is still fun to think about what might have been. He's a big defenseman with a powerful shot, and he's not a liability of the defensive side of the puck. He can also hit. In this video, a brutal hit leads to dropping the gloves.
Horvat is another player who was selected with a traded pick. The 9th pick overall in 2013 was traded as part of the Schneider deal that kept Luongo in Vancouver temporarily. He is a big kid, who fits the profile that Vancouver seems to be following of getting bigger with more grit. In fact, he's compared to Ryan Kesler, so perhaps he will take over that role if Vancouver trades Kesler.
Drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes 12th overall in 2013, Max Domi is a left shot center. Former NHLer, Tie Domi, is his dad, but his famous father isn't the reason he was a first round pick. He's fast and good at manipulating the puck and sees the ice well, so he can make plays for himself and teammates. He is a skill player.
Taken by the Winnipeg Jets in the third round in 2012 (70th overall), Kosmachuk is a right winger, and it is thought that he has skills to be a top-nine forward. As such, he can play both ends of the ice. He is not overly skilled, but he is a hard worker.
Last year, the Dallas Stars took Dickinson in the first round (29th overall) with a pick that they got from Boston in the Tyler Seguin blockbuster trade. He looks big and powerful on the ice, and is a great skater and a deft puck-handler. He is thought to be a risky player but frequently that risk pays off. He projects to be a top-six forward in the NHL if he stays on track with his development.
Mitchell is not a future enemy; the Wild signed him to a free agent contract this spring. He's a big right winger, and ended the regular season fifth on the Storm in total points with 83. Because he was passed over in the draft several times, he was probably signed to play in Iowa and may never see time with the big club. But it's always possible with free agent entry-level deals that a player will turn out like Justin Fontaine, so keep an eye on number 23.
The Phoenix Coyotes selected Samuelsson with the 27th pick of the 2012 draft. The son of former NHL defenseman Ulf Samuelsson, Henrik plays center. He's a smart player with good hands, a deadly combination. He led the Oil Kings in points both during the regular season and the playoffs.
Height:191 cm / 6'3"
Weight:97 kg / 214 lbs
Roster Number: 29
Moroz was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the 2012 draft (32nd overall). He's good around the net and ruthless at getting into scoring areas. He's a gritty kind of goal scorer who is not afraid of doing some work. With the many young first and second line players the Oilers have, he may end up playing a third or fourth line role, but he has the talent that he could play more skilled minutes.
The large defenseman was taken by the Islanders with the 4th pick in the 2012. They actually made the rare right decision to send him back to junior rather than letting him lose confidence at the NHL level. This has paid off as he was the MVP of the WHL final this year. He's tremendous defensively and a great physical talent. He looks big and dominating on the ice. Although the WHL doesn't track ice-time, it's clear that he is relied on to play a ton of minutes.
The Red Wings drafted Mantha 20th overall in last year's draft. Even though he's a first rounder, Detroit likes to baby their prospects, so it may be a while before he's seen wearing the winged-wheel. He's more well known for being smart, for thinking the game well, than for any puck handling skills or speed--although he does accelerate well.
Scouting the future
The following players are draft eligible for 2014. Check them out and see if you think any of them would look good in Iron Range Red.
Edmonton Oil Kings
Val d'Or Foreurs
Take a look at these guys when the Memorial Cup plays in the US on the NHL network. All times are listed in CST. Games that do not air live have the air time in parenthesis. The whole tournament is also available streaming.
May 16: Val-d'Or vs. London, 6 p.m. (NHLN-US)
May 17: Guelph vs. Edmonton, 3 p.m. (6:30 p.m., NHLN-US)
May 18: London vs. Edmonton, 6 p.m. (NHLN-US)
May 19: Guelph vs. Val-d'Or, 6 p.m. (May 20, 1 p.m., NHLN-US)
May 20: Edmonton vs. Val-d'Or, 6 p.m. (May 21, 1 p.m., NHLN-US)
May 21: London vs. Guelph, 6 p.m. (May 22, 1 p.m., NHLN-US)
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