Young Stars Classic loaded with Canucks prospect talent this year

Aug 27 2018, 9:13 pm

There once was a time when fans could focus in on one or two Canucks prospects at the annual Young Stars Classic. After that, it was slim pickens.

Not this year.

Elias Pettersson headlines an impressive group of Canucks youngsters at the Penticton event which begins in under two weeks. Other names fans will recognize include Olli Juolevi, Jonathan Dahlen, and Adam Gaudette.

Any one of those four players have a realistic shot to make the Canucks’ opening night roster.

Kole Lind, Jonah Gadjovich, Lukas Jasek, Petrus Palmu, Jett Woo, and Michael DiPietro might have been enough to get top billing in years’ past, but not in 2018.

A pair of Vancouver Giants have also been invited by the Canucks this year, in forward Owen Hardy and defenceman Kaleb Bulych.

See also

Forwards

Apart from the players already mentioned, keep an eye on Nando Eggenberger, an undrafted free agent with potential. Ranked 50th by TSN’s Bob McKenzie heading into last June’s draft, all 31 teams took a pass on the 6-foot-2 Swiss winger despite having already played games in the top Swiss pro league.

A strong prospects camp could turn into a main camp invite, and potentially a contract.

Player Age 2017-18 team G-A-PTS
Jonathan Dahlen 20 Timra IK (Swe-1) 23-21-44
Utica (AHL) 1-1-2
Nando Eggenberger 18 Davos HC (Swiss-A) 3-2-5
Jonah Gadjovich 19 Owen Sound (OHL) 25-23-48
Reid Gardiner 22 Wheeling (ECHL) 30-27-57
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) 1-2-3
Adam Gaudette 21 Northeastern U. (NCAA) 30-30-60
Vancouver (NHL) 0-0-0
Owen Hardy 19 Vancouver (WHL) 11-12-23
Lukas Jasek 21 Liberec Bili Tygri HC (Czech) 8-10-18
Utica (AHL) 3-4-7
Kole Lind 19 Kelowna (WHL) 39-56-95
Utica (AHL) 0-1-1
Zack MacEwen 22 Utica (AHL) 10-23-33
Tanner MacMaster 22 Quinnipiac U. (NCAA) 13-20-33
Utica (AHL) 2-5-7
Isaac Nurse 19 Hamilton (OHL) 17-13-30
Petrus Palmu 21 TPS Turku (SM-liiga) 17-19-36
Elias Pettersson 19 Vaxjo HC (SweHL) 24-32-56
Anthony Salinitri 20 Sarnia (OHL) 27-31-58

Defencemen

Juolevi will be expected to dominate against his peers this year, as he prepares for main camp. The fifth overall pick from the 2016 draft is recovering from off-season back surgery though, so that’s no sure thing.

Player Age 2017-18 team G-A-PTS
Jakob Brahaney 19 Kingston (OHL) 5-25-30
Guillaume Brisebois 21 Utica (AHL) 3-15-18
Kaleb Bulych 18 Vancouver (WHL) 1-8-2009
Jalen Chatfield 22 Utica (AHL) 2-5-7
Jagger Dirk 25 St. Francis Xavier U. (AUS) 6-22-28
Binghamton (AHL) 0-1-1
Olli Juolevi 20 TPS Turku (SM-liiga) 7-12-19
Garrett McFadden 21 Guelph (OHL) 6-38-44
Laval (AHL) 0-1-1
Jett Woo 18 Moose Jaw (WHL) 9-16-25

Goaltenders

Expected to be Canada’s starting goaltender at the World Juniors in Vancouver this December, all eyes will be on DiPietro as he makes his second Young Stars appearance.

Player Age 2017-18 team W-L-T/OT
Michael DiPietro 19 Windsor (OHL) 29-21-1
Ivan Kulbakov 22 Quad City (ECHL) 11-11-0
Cleveland (AHL) 0-5-0

Notably absent

Not every top prospect is available for selection, which helps explain a few notable absents.

Due to NCAA rules, 2018 first-rounder Quinn Hughes isn’t allowed to play at Young Stars. Same goes for other college players like Tyler Madden (2018 third-round pick) and Jack Rathbone (2017 fourth-round pick), and Will Lockwood (2016 third-round pick).

Schedule

Unfortunately for fans in the Okanagan, they’ll only get to see the Canucks prospects play twice, as Young Stars includes just two NHL teams this year. After the Flames and Oilers declined their invitations, the UBC Thunderbirds and Alberta Golden Bears will fill in the rest of the ice time.

Teams Date Time
UBC vs University of Alberta Sep 7 4:00 PM
Vancouver vs. Winnipeg Sep 7 7:30 PM
UBC vs University of Alberta Sep 8 6:00 PM
Vancouver vs. Winnipeg Sep 8 2:00 PM