I just got an email from a NHL scout who was at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
With John Tavares and Victor Hedman the two names that have dominated the headlines for sometime now. The question coming into the season was would anyone make push to crack the top two? Matt Duchene was very good and he thinks highly of Duchene. He had a goal and four assists. The scout said it's still Tavares and Hedman leading the way.
Brayden Schenn was also very solid according to the scout, as Schenn had two goal and four assists.
The other player that was very impressive was Jared Cowen. From this tournament he has become a potential top five pick come June. I am not surprised by this because he was very solid at the Memorial Cup. That was the only time I have seen him and he looked like a veteran out there at 16. If there was no Victor Hedman this year, all the hype would be around him as the defenseman of this draft. Don't get me wrong people talk about Cowan but the hype would be stronger.
The guy that had dominated this tournament was Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi who had three goals and six assists. I guess his performance was speechless because the scout didn't say anything about him.
The big surprise of this tournament was Richard Panik skipping the tournament to make his club team. My personal opinion, this would of been a great chance to show the scouts what he can do against players in his age group. At the same time he's trying to make his club team and will have the World Junior Championships and the Under 18 to show the scouts. He also had a very good Under 18's last year so, they (the scouts) know what he can do at his age level.
Speaking of underagers, Kirill Kabanov of Russia and Mikael Granlund of Finland both had three goals for six points. Both are 2010 eligible and what surprises me is Kabanov making Russia. Russia is always deep in talent and to lead the team to scoring is very impressive. I am not going to say he's the next Ovechkin or Malkin but he's someone to watch out for. Granlund is apart of the Finnish invasion in the next few years. Toni Rajala is the top Finnish player for this year. Granlund will be joined by Teemu Pulkkinen for 2010. Pulkkinen didn't play in this tournament because of an injury.
That's My Take
(Nathan also is a writer for MVN.com. He's the writer for the Asylum which covers the Lewiston Maineiacs of the QMJHL. He's also a regular contributor to the NHL Source also at MVN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)