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CHL Prospects Look to the Future

By Kristopher Bras on June 09, 2017

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds centre Morgan Frost, who is projected to go in the second round, landed in the top ten in six NHL Combine fitness tests and finished first in the Wingate Bike Test’s Mean Power Output. (Terry Wilson / OHL Images)    

A CHLer’s season is never really over. While NHL draft-eligibles tested their physical capacity this week at the NHL combine, young goaltenders are beginning the evaluation process for the upcoming year’s national junior teams. 

Meanwhile, a solid CHL contingent help win the first of three major North American professional hockey championships.

CHL at the NHL Combine
The 2017 NHL Scouting Combine was held last week in Buffalo, NY. The event brings together the top North American prospects that are eligible for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Of the 104 players attending, half came from the CHL. As usual, the sizeable CHL contingent dominated the physical testing events. 

Although all eyes were on Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier, the event didn’t settle any disputes about who should be taken first. While both players had solid outings, neither performed particularly better than the other.

Only one player managed to take home first place in more than one event. Stelio Mattheos of the Brandon Wheat Kings had the best finish in both Grip Strength and the difficult Wingate Fatigue Index.

Although he ‘only’ had one first-place finish, Spokane Chiefs forward Kailer Yamamoto may have had the best performance. A forward who should go in the mid-first round of the draft, Yamamoto finished in the top ten for seven different events, but more compellingly, in the top two for four events. He had a first-place performance in the Aerobic Fitness VO2Max Testing.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds centre Morgan Frost finished in the top ten in six separate exercises, finishing first at the Wingate Bike Test’s Mean Power Output. Frost is projected to be selected somewhere in the second round of the draft.

Morgan Geekie, a forward with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, finished in the top ten for seven different exercises.

Rounding out the event, CHL players finished first in several of the events, including Antoine Morand of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads (tied for Pull-Ups), and Nikita Popugaev of the Prince George Cougars (Grip Strength).

Program of Excellence
From June 9–11, Hockey Canada will host the 2017 Program of Excellence, an annual goaltending camp for elite Canadian goaltenders. This year, the event will be held at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. 

The goaltending camp will give players the chance to compete for spots in upcoming summer development camps from U17 up to U20. 

Notably, Memorial Cup Winner Michael DiPietro will attend the camp. You have to think that he is already a favourite to represent the club at next years U20 World Junior Championships. 

14 CHLers Win Kelly Cup
Over in the ECHL, the third-tier North American professional hockey league, fourteen CHL graduates helped the Colorado Eagle (Avalanche affiliate) win the Kelly Cup on Monday. They defeated the South Carolina Stingrays (Washington Capitals affiliate) by a score of 2-1, winning the finals in four-straight games. 

Notable players for the team include Val-d’Or Foreurs graduate Shawn St-Amant, who led the Eagles in scoring in the final series, and Rimouski Oceanic grad Alex Belzile. The team also included recent CHL grads Julien Nanten (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) and Sergei Boikov (Drummondville Voltigeurs).

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By Kristopher Bras| June 09, 2017
Categories:  Major Junior

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