Canada held their first scrimmage at the U-18 Team Selection Camp last night in Calgary [game recap & boxscore here]. This is a great chance to see most of the top 2012 NHL draft eligible Canadians compete against each other as they fight for a spot on the team that will compete in this summer's Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. I wasn't able to make it out last night but will be checking out the second scrimmage tonight. The guys I'm most excited to see are actually a few of the 2013 eligibles... Hunter Shinkaruk, Connor Rankin, Kerby Rychel & Sean Monahan. Here is ISS Head Scout Ross MacLean with some pre-camp thoughts on players to keep an eye on... written words from THN & spoken words from The Pipeline Show.
Derek Zona puts the rookie season of Magnus Paajarvi into the context of other recent Swedes (& Kopitar) who made the jump from the SEL to the NHL at 19. MPS fares pretty well versus the comps when everything was normalized but the Sedin's were a bit of a unique case as they were dynamite in the SEL and then were brought along & developed slowly at the NHL level. I'm a big fan of MPS and think his career numbers so far indicate that he'll be a very good NHLer but I slot him in below the level of guys like Forsberg & the Sedin's.
Here is the latest from the Penguins on Evgeni Malkin's offseason workouts... the team seems pretty intent on letting everyone know that he's working out harder than ever. Great news if you're a Malkin owner, I guess, but he has to if he's going to rehab from a serious knee injury and even if he gets back to where his body was before the injury he's still coming off two straight disappointing seasons. Now maybe he'll come back and play like his hair is on fire but due to the unbelievable shape he'll be in but I'm taking a wait-and-see approach.
Maxim Noreau, who I thought could be a deep sleeper pick this year, has reportedly signed to play in Switzerland this coming season. He was traded from Minny to NJ this summer after being a First Team AHL All-Star dman last year but couldn't come to terms with NJ.