Top Prospects arrive in St. Catharines
On what’s been a full day of travel and anticipation for Thursday’s big game, 40 of the CHL’s top draft eligible prospects have arrived in St. Catharines to prepare for the 2015 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Coinciding with the release of the NHL Central Scouting Service’s Midterm Draft Rankings, players undoubtedly had a lot to take in on Tuesday, fielding questions from members of the media prior to an evening skate with their newly acquainted teammates.
With each player still processing their standing in the newly released scouting rankings, several young prospects looked forward to Thursday’s opportunity to showcase their skills. “I’m here and I’m ready to go,” said Team Cherry captain Anthony Beauvillier who was recently named the CHL Player of the Week. The Shawinigan Cataractes centreman brimmed with excitement in discussions with the media, displaying a smile that lit up the room. “It’s a real honour to be able to wear the ‘C’ for this team,” he continued. “I just want to make the most of this opportunity and have a lot of fun while I’m here.”
Beauvillier’s Team Cherry teammate Dylan Strome still has Tuesday’s unveiling of his fifth overall North American rank in the NHL Central Scouting Midterms fresh on his mind, but is more focused on the week ahead. “Obviously it’s a real honour to be in that position in the rankings, but rankings are rankings and everyone has them. Come draft day the only thing that matters is what one team thinks of you when they call your name and that’s what we’re all here for this week.”
Strome, the younger brother of former Niagara IceDogs star Ryan Strome who now skates with the NHL’s Eastern Conference leading New York Islanders, says he has something to prove in St. Catharines. “Well I’ve lost twice in this building this year,” he said with a chuckle. “I’ll have to bring my best stuff and show the fans here in Niagara that the talent runs in the family.”
Across the ice, Strome’s Erie Otters teammate and good friend Connor McDavid is keeping a level head going into Thursday’s game. “A lot of big names have competed in this game,” said McDavid, who was ranked as the top draft eligible North American skater in Tuesday’s midterm rankings. “This is another step in the evaluation process leading into the draft – the best going up against the best.”
McDavid will be joined on Team Orr by Halifax Mooseheads winger Timo Meier, a sophomore with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads who is enjoying a breakout season as a 17 year-old with 25 goals and 31 assists in 37 games. The Swiss winger was pleasantly surprised to be ranked 12th in the midterm rankings. “This is another part of the process and my goal this season is to take care of the process and trust that the result will be there at the end. I’m going to use Thursday as an opportunity to show the scouts and fans how I play the game and be good at the things I do well.”
Meier is one of 14 QMJHL players suiting up in the game that also includes 13 OHL players and 13 WHL participants. 19 of the top 30 ranked North American skaters in Tuesday’s NHL CSS Midterm Rankings will compete in the 2015 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Both teams will undergo on and off-ice testing on Wednesday along with interviews with participating media before Thursday’s big game that gets underway at 7:00pm ET. The game can be seen on Sportsnet East, Ontario, West, Pacific, TVA Sports, and can be heard on Sportsnet Radio.
For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, visit www.bmotopprospects.ca.
By Josh Sweetland/CHL