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Recapping the CIBC Canada-Russia Series

A look at how the Flyers’ prospects and 2018 draft options performed in the tournament.

Sweden v Canada: Semifinal - 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

After the two sides split the first six games, Maxime Comtois (an Anaheim Ducks’ prospect) scored the only goal in the series-deciding shootout to let Team Canada edge out a 10-9 win over Team Russia in this year’s CIBC Canada Russia Series. Left winger Alexey Polodyan led the series with six points for Team Russia and finished in a tie for first with three goals. Andrey Altybarmakyan (Chicago Blackhawks) also had three goals for Team Russia in the tournament and was one of two players (along with Calgary Flames’ prospect Dillon Dube) who produced five points in the series.

Carter Hart posted a 20-save shutout in Game 1 of the series, as Team WHL put Team Canada ahead 1-0 in the series with a 7-0 win. Kole Lind (Vancouver Canucks) provided two goals and an assist in the win, while Kale Clague (Los Angeles Kings) had three helpers and Michael Rasmussen (Detroit Red Wings) had two assists.

Team Russia responded with a 4-3 win in Game 2 to break even against Team WHL and tie the tournament at 1-1. Dube provided a goal in a three-point performance and Sam Steel (Anaheim Ducks) had a trio of assists for Team WHL in the loss.

Team Russia experienced their first lead in the series thanks to a 5-2 win over Team OHL in Game 3. Polodyan and Artyom Manukyan (105 points in 60 MHL games in 2016-17) each scored two goals while Alexei Lipanov (Tampa Bay Lightning) had a pair of assists for Team Russia in the win. Taylor Raddysh (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Adam Mascherin (Florida Panthers) each scored for Team OHL in the loss.

Team OHL won Game 4 by a score of 4-2 to even the series 2-2 before Team Russia took on Team QMJHL in Games 5 and 6. Thanks to Nick Suzuki’s (Vegas Golden Knights) second goal of the night and Kevin Bahl’s (2018 Draft eligible) only goal of the series coming 39 seconds apart early in the third period, Team OHL was able to put the game away.

Following a 3-1 win by Team QMJHL in Game 5 and a 2-1 win by Team Russia in Game 6, the series found its way to the decisive shootout.

A pair of games in this series were impacted heavily by Flyers’ prospects. Along with Hart’s shutout in Game 1, Game 6 saw Pascal Laberge score Team QMJHL’s only goal in the loss and German Rubtsov provide the primary assist on Vitali Abramov’s (Columbus Blue Jackets) game-winning goal.

While in the slot halfway through the first period, Laberge managed to redirect a Jocktan Chainey (New Jersey Devils) shot from the point past Team Russia goalie Alexey Melnichuk. Rubtsov partnered with Abramov for a 2-on-1 rush late in the game and received a pass from the Blue Jackets’ prospect in the slot before making a move on Team QMJHL’s goalie Samuel Harvey. After Rubtsov completed his move in the crease, he dealt it back to Abramov for the game-winner.

Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe each played in Game 4 of the series, but neither really impacted the contest. In terms of statistics, here’s how each of the Flyers’ prospects did in the tournament:

Carter Hart (Team WHL): 1 game (Game 1), 1 win, 1 shutout, 20/20 saves/shots
Morgan Frost (Team OHL): 1 game (Game 4), 2 shots on goal, 2 PIMs, minus-1
Isaac Ratcliffe (Team OHL): 1 game (Game 4), 1 shot on goal
German Rubtsov (Team Russia): 2 games (Games 5 and 6), 1 assist, 4 shots on goal (3 in Game 6), 4 PIMs, 37.5 faceoff percentage (9/24)
Pascal Laberge (Team QMJHL): 2 games (Games 5 and 6), 1 goal, 6 shots on goal (4 in Game 6), 4 PIMs

Along with a handful of Flyers’ prospects, several players who are eligible to be drafted in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft took part in the exhibition series. Below are the draft rankings from a few scouting services, the stats in this tournament, the season stats, and a short scouting blurb on these possible future NHLers (and Flyers).

Alexander Alexeyev, left-handed defenseman
Rankings: 23, ISS Hockey: 22, Future Considerations: 55
Series (Team Russia): 2 games (Game 1 and 2), 5 shots on goal (4 in Game 2), 6 PIMs
Current Season: 1 goal, 11 assists, 28 shots on goal, and 14 PIMs in 15 games in his second year with the Red Deer Rebels (WHL)

”Red Deer Rebels defenseman Alexander Alexeyev was sidelined for a good portion of the season this year, but in the games that he did play, he was able to acquire the honor of Defenseman of the Year and Rookie of the Year for the team.

Alexeyev is a big-bodied, smooth skating defenseman that can set up plays off of the rush as well as his ability to protect the slot. There is a lot to like about Alexeyev.

Although his lower-body injury is of concern to his stride, his play until that point was stupendous. Alexeyev quickly became the go-to defender for the Rebels as a 16-going-on-17-year-old. His heads up play on the back end was a large contribution to the Rebels success. His first pass started the rush and playmaking in the offensive zone finished it.” -Max Marko, Last Word On Hockey

Kevin Bahl, left-handed defenseman
Rankings: Future Considerations: 60
Series (Team OHL): 1 game (Game 4), 1 goal (Shot from left point beat Vladislav Sukhachev thanks to screen from Jonah Gadjovich), 2 shots on goal, plus-1
Current Season: 1 goal, 9 assists, 18 shots on goal, and 44 PIMs in 23 games in his second year with the Ottawa 67’s

“Bahl is now in the early stages of his second OHL season and has emerged as a shutdown defender who’s eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft.

Given his hulking stature, he didn’t have much difficulty adjusting to the physicality of the OHL, but the quickness of the game took some time to get used to.” – Iain Colpitts,

Evan Bouchard, right-handed defenseman
Rankings: ISS Hockey: 16, Future Considerations: 16
Series (Team OHL): 2 games (Games 3 and 4), 2 PIMs, plus-1
Current Season: 6 goals, 19 assists, 81 shots on goal, and 12 PIMs in 22 games in his third season with the London Knights

“A highly intelligent all-around defenceman that plays with poise and can shift the pace of play in a multitude of ways. Showcases smooth four-way skating ability and loves to get involved in all situations - especially when that situation happens to be an up-ice rush. Has a polished offensive skill-set which includes well-timed passes and a sneaky, erratic shot. Goes with the high percentage play and makes smart decisions. Could work on strength behind his shot. Defensively active, cutting off lanes and always staying in excellent positioning. Reads cues well in all three zones and seems to stay a step ahead. All-in-all, a well-rounded defender with great hockey sense and work ethic.” - Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects

Noah Dobson, right-handed defenseman
Rankings: 16, ISS Hockey: 31, Future Considerations: 23, McKeen’s Hockey: 20
Series (Team QMJHL): 2 games (Games 5 and 6), 4 shots on goal (3 in Game 6)
Current Season: 1 goal, 19 assists, 95 shots on goal, and 20 PIMs in 24 games as an alternate captain in his second season with Acadie-Bathurst Titan

“A game-altering player with strong puck skills and pro-level size, Dobson leads all first-year QMJHL draft eligible defensemen with 12 points in 14 games. He’s got quick feet and uses a variety of fakes and cut-backs to fend off pressure, and his hard, accurate stretch passes create multiple odd-man chances.” – Hayden Soboleski (on October 23rd), Dobber Prospects

Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Center
Rankings: ISS Hockey: 19, Future Considerations: 15, McKeen’s Hockey: 19
Series (Team QMJHL): 2 games (Games 5 and 6), 2 shots on goal, minus-1, 1-of-7 faceoffs Current Season: 12 goals, 7 assists, 55 shots, and 26 PIMs in 23 games in his second season with the Halifax Mooseheads

“Groulx is a strong, well-rounded, two-way center…good, but not great, skater…needs to improve his first step…high motor, always keeps his feet moving…rarely caught out of position…provides a lot of grit, determination and skill…excellent ability to maintain puck control in high traffic areas…uses his strength, skilled hands and agility to be very difficult to defend…a threat to drive the net but can also go stretches of playing on the perimeter too much, being content to just dish the puck from the outside…he thinks the game at a high level, and can put on a show with his nifty stick work and creativity…shoots the puck hard, and accurately…owns a deceptively quick release and isn’t shy to show it off when available…strong awareness of when to support his defenders in loose puck battles and where to go… adept at tracking down pucks out of scrums…provides good pressure on the backcheck…displays a strong effort in his own zone as well as his ability to create scoring chances…a solid prospect that could be the complete package with high upside at the NHL level.” – Future Considerations

Jacob Ingham, Goalie
Rankings: Future Considerations: 48
Series (Team OHL): 1 game (Game 3), didn’t play
Current Season: 6-7-0, .885 save percentage, and 3.39 GAA in 14 games in his second season with the Mississauga Steelheads

“In addition to his competitive nature, Ingham boasts incredible reflexes and excellent physical abilities. Never truly out of a play and capable of making incredible desperation saves, Ingham consistently puts his body on the line in order to make high-lite reel saves. Now, this isn’t to say that Ingham finds himself out of position frequently, as his willingness to challenge shooters and read plays as they develop has become second to none in the OHL.

Perhaps the most impressive ability within Ingham’s arsenal is his lightning-quick glove. While shooters seem to target the top-right corner of the net more often than not, Ingham is equal to the task and can snare pucks out of the air with ease. What’s more is Ingham’s lower-body strength, as he can kick out pad saves with a startling frequency as well as move laterally from post to post to deny plays devised by the opposition during odd-man rushes.” – Brett Slawson, The Hockey Writers

Jared McIsaac, left-handed defenseman
Rankings: 19, ISS Hockey: 15, Future Considerations: 10, McKeen’s Hockey: 9
Series (Team QMJHL): 2 games (Games 5 and 6), 2 shots on goal, plus-1
Current Season: 2 goals, 11 assists, 48 shots on goal, and 34 PIMs in 22 games in his second season with the Halifax Moosehads

“Heady Maritimer who controls the flow of the game and can be entrusted with the most difficult tasks, McIsaac was critical to Canada’s win at the Ivan Hlinka. He’s an effortless skater who knows when to attack and can stickhandle his way out of any jam.” - Hayden Soboleski, Dobber Prospects

Ryan McLeod, Center
Rankings: 25, ISS Hockey: 9, Future Considerations: 14, McKeen’s Hockey: 13
Series (Team OHL): 1 game (Game 3), 1 shot on goal, minus-1
Current Season: 7 goals, 19 assists, 57 shots on goal, and 6 PIMs in 22 games as an alternate captain in his third season with the Mississauga Steelheads
Scouting: Here’s Marc-Antoine Michaud’s scouting report for HockeyTP

Joe Veleno, Center
Rankings: 21, ISS Hockey: 7, Future Considerations: 7, McKeen’s Hockey: 8 Series (Team QMJHL): 2 games (Games 5 and 6), 1 assist (Secondary assist on Drake Batherson’s power-play goal in Game 5), 7-of-12 faceoffs
Current Season: 4 goals, 19 assists, 76 shots on goal, and 14 PIMs in 24 games as captain in third season with the Saint John Sea Dogs
Scouting: Here’s how Steve Kournianos (The Draft Analyst) views Veleno

The next time we’ll get a good look at these prospects is at the 2018 World Junior Championship, which will start on December 26th in Buffalo, New York.