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Players to Watch 2009 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge
WU17.006.08
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December 28, 2008
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ATLANTIC

GARRETT CLARKE
very mobile … offensively skilled … likes to play physical … gaining more confidence as he matures … smooth skater … moves well with the puck … possesses a cannon shot from the point … protects his net well … loves to get involved physically … 6th overall pick in the 2008 QMJHL Entry Draft

SEAN COUTURIER
will carry much of the offensive load … very skilled … creative … excellent playmaker … sees the ice extremely well … hard to knock off the puck … very strong near the boards … can play any forward position … has potential to improve … 2nd overall pick in the 2008 QMJHL Entry Draft

BEN DUFFY
highly skilled … playmaking centre … an offensive leader … should be mainstay on top line and first powerplay unit … naturally skilled … A+ vision … magic hands … very smart player … makes things happen with his hockey sense … finds open space … 5th overall pick in the 2008 QMJHL Entry Draft

BRANDON GORMLEY
will anchor the blueline … will see significant time on special teams … thinks the game extremely well … very calm on the ice … makes smart decisions, especially with the puck … makes plays under pressure … makes difficult passes … plays with poise … 1st overall pick in the 2008 QMJHL Entry Draft

BRANDON HYNES
sniper … pure goal scorer … cannon of a shot … should play on top line and first powerplay unit … consistently scores goals … sees the ice well … very dangerous from the blueline in … uses his body to protect the puck … 3rd overall pick in the 2008 QMJHL Entry Draft

FINLAND

MIKAEL GRANLUND
fantastic offensive instincts … jaw-dropping move set … an offensive leader … mainstay on first line and top power play unit … quick hands … great shot … quick release … sees the ice remarkably well … tremendous skater … excelling against older players … uses his linemates well … has seen time with U20 team

PETTERI HALINEN
dymanic, two-way player … strong leader … can play the shutdown game … consistently puts up points … will be relied upon in crucial situations, both offensively and defensively … very responsible … makes quick line changes … very determined in all three zones … uses size well in corners and in front of the net

MIRO HOVINEN
strong … reliable defenceman … good leadership qualities … plays a strong, physical game … will jump into the play and create offence … confident … smarts are evident when he is on the ice … very good mobility … sees the ice very well … makes quick and smart decisions at high speed

TOMI ISO-MUSTAJARVI
exciting player … shifty forward … driven … frustrating to play against … has a flair for the dramatic … draws penalties … strong on the power play … excellent offensive ability … excels when jumping into open lanes … excellent puck skills … makes plays at top speed … deadly wrist shot

TEEMU PULKKINEN
plays a Canadian-style game … extremely intense … passionate … combination of fire and unparalleled skill … will carry offensive load … can turn heads on every shift … played at U17 tournament in London in 2008 … likes to by physical … strong on his skates, particularly in the corners … good shot

GERMANY

KONRAD ABELTSHAUSER
big … mobile … quick … puck-moving defenceman … very strong at identifying plays … turns the puck up ice to start the rush well … will anchor the blueline … will play against other teams’ top forwards … will see significant minutes on special teams … strong skater … uses his size to his advantage

YASIN EHLIZ
ability to bring his game to a higher level … technically solid … can be effective in a multitude of situations … lack of size not a hinderance … strong skater … quick … good shot … used to playing with older players … strong on his skates in the corners … sees the ice well

SEBASTIEN KINADER
technically solid goaltender … moves side-to-side very well … looks comfortable in goal … good rebound control … plays his angles well … good balance … handles the puck well … good glove … recovers quickly … positioning is solid … very athletic and very focused … will come out and challenge the shooter

TOM KUHNHACKL
big, strong centre … strong along the boards … aggressive … good read on forecheck … sees the ice well … makes good passes in full stride … heavy shot … great vision … an offensive leader … uses size to his advantage … can handle the puck at full speed … incredibly quick release

THOMAS MERL
sees the ice well … nice skater … will throw the body … not afraid to be physical … solid skater … strong, accurate shot … reads the play well … good puck control … will see time on top line and first power play unit … works hard every shift … good hands

ONTARIO

ERIK GUDBRANSON
slick, puck-moving defenceman … good size … smooth skater … skating has really improved … uses his size well … plays physical when needed … good point shot … should play on top pairing … will see significant minutes on special teams … has great potential … 4th overall pick in 2008 OHL Priority Selection

JOHN MCFARLAND
handles the puck at pull speed … incredibly quick release … good crossover speed … explosive acceleration … offensive leader … will be a main stay on the top line and first power play unit … forces opposing players onto their heels … great pro potential … 1st overall pick in the 2008 OHL Priority Selection

GREG MCKEGG
good size … great puck protection skills … can shoot the puck quickly and accurately … smart at both ends of the ice … works hard every shift … strong on face-offs … uses his size to create offence … controls the play along the wall … 2nd overall pick in the 2008 OHL Priority Selection

RYAN SPOONER
shifty centre … hard to hit … great lateral movement … dangerous from the blueline in … reads the play well … excellent skater … tremendous puck control … loves to have the puck on his stick … excellent puck skills … can make plays at top speed … 5th overall pick in 2008 OHL Priority Selection

TYLER TOFFOLI
solid skater … good pass … strong shot … inate hockey sense … has leadership talents … a finisher … consistently scores goals … sees the ice well … dangerous from the blueline in … good hands … always finds a way onto the scoresheet … 7th overall pick in the 2008 OHL Priority Selection

PACIFIC

BRETT CONNOLLY
power forward type … very offensive minded … great puck control … uses his teammates well … good ability to find open ice … good acceleration with the puck … creates space in the corners using motion … doesn’t hesitate in going to the net … 10th overall pick in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft

MARK PYSYK
tremendous combination of size and skill … makes good decisions with the puck … poised beyond his years on the ice … can control the game from the back end … has leadership qualities … steps up when needed … will anchor the blueline … 3rd overall pick in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft

BRAD ROSS
offensively gifted … has an extra gear to separate himself from opponents … difficult to catch when he gets a step … very good anticipation … creates turnovers … nose for the net … punishes with the body … great shot with a quick release … 5th overall pick in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft

KEVIN SUNDHER
shifty centre … slick passing skills … uses his linemates well … a playmaker … great speed, and moves to go with it … tremendous athletic ability … nice combination of size and skill … an elite skater … does everything at top speed … 7th overall pick in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft

JORDAN WEAL
driven to be a good player … works out hard … wants to do things the right way … thinks the game quickly … makes smart plays … goes to the right areas … will carry much of the offensive load … should play on top line … 79th overall pick in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft

QUEBEC

GUILLAUME ASSELIN
has a willingness to go through the wall to win games … loves to compete … shows grit coaches love … an offensive leader … will be a mainstay on the top line and first powerplay unit … very few players compete with his drive … 8th overall pick in the 2008 QMJHL Entry Draft

MATTHEW BISSONNETTE
tall, lanky centre … very good puck skills … good mobility for size … finesse player … good playmaker … sees the ice well … makes good tape-to-tape passes … creates plays at high speed … good puckhandling skills … an offensive leader … 20th overall pick in the 2008 QMJHL Entry Draft

MATHIEU BRISSON
tremendous skater … equally effective jumping into or leading the rush … good puckhandling skills … good passing skills … good skater with mobility … solid positioning in defensive zone … does not give forwards a lot of room … closes the gap well … 23rd overall pick in the 2008 QMJHL Entry Draft

SAMUEL CARRIER
solid two-way defenceman … almost never beaten one-on-one … makes a good first pass … uses his partner well … strong in front of the net … can play physical when needed … uses long reach to his advantage … effective on the penalty kill … 10th overall pick in the 2008 QMJHL Entry Draft

CÉDRICK HENLEY
big, rangy winger … good shot … nice touch around the net … goes to the net hard … difficult for defenders to contain … gets in on the forecheck well … looks to finish his check … very effective on the cycle … 4th overall pick in the 2008 QMJHL Entry Draft

RUSSIA

DANIIL APALKOV
a sniper ... quick release ... good skater ... quick feet ... excellent offensive instincts ... plays responsibility in the defensive zone ... decent size ... strong on the puck ... positionally responsible ... finds open lanes ... patient with the puck ... sees the ice very well ... works hard every shift

ALEKSANDER GOGOLEV
very dynamic ... a treat to watch ... an offensive threat every time he is on the ice ... an offensive leader ... explosive skater ... forces opponents onto their heels ... can do things with the puck that few can ... thinks the game well ... knows where the puck is going to go

SERGEI ILMINSKY
offensive defenceman ... hard, accurate shot ... mainstay on the first powerplay unit ... very smart ... smooth skating ... confident ... very good mobility ... sees the ice very well ... makes quick, smart decisions at high speed ... provides plenty of offence from back end ... solid in his own end

EVGENY KUZNETSOV
an offensive leader ... very smooth hands ... great toe drag ... great inside-out move ... dangerous off the rush ... hard to contain one-on-one ... dangerous on the penalty kill ... very active ... always wants the puck ... wants to win ... can make plays and score goals ... tremendous upside

VITALY ZOTOV
mobile defenceman ... solid two-way game ... good puck skills ... will anchor the blueline ... will see significant powerplay time ... good offensive instincts ... finds the open man and gets the puck to him ... forces play to the outside in defensive zone ... light on his feet for someone on his size

SLOVAKIA

VILIAM DARAS
smooth skater … good size … very good hands … knows where his teammates are … not selfish … uses his linemates well … nose for the net … good wrist shot … good vision … makes sound decisions with the puck … plays a high-tempo game … good hockey sense … is always in the play

ADAM JANOSIK
very talented … offensive-minded defenceman … moved the puck well … great in transition … confident … smarts are evident when he is on the ice … very good mobility … sees the ice very well … makes smart decision at high speed … will get better as he gets bigger … good point shot

MARTIN MARINCIN
offensive defenceman … plays a high-risk, high-reward type of game … moves the puck up ice very well … plays heads-up hockey … is always in the game … huge upside … very aware defensively … almost moving and anticipating … loves to be involved offensively … makes smart decisions in all three zones

MICHAL MURCEK
an offensive leader … quick release … loves to come in off the wing … moves the puck with good zip … excellent offensive ability … excels when jumping into open lanes … excellent puck skills … ability to make plays at top speed … good hands … good hockey sense … consistently puts up points

DOMINIK SIMCAK
two-way centre … comes to play every shift … smart with and without the puck … good size … strong on the puck … positionally responsible … finds open lanes … patient with the puck … not afraid to play physical … plays with passion … wins key face-offs … blocks shots … chips in offensively

UNITED STATES

STEPHEN JOHNS
intimidating size and reach … very good skater for his size … plays hard all the time … makes very smart decisions with the puck … tough and physical … good sense of all zones … doesn’t often throw the puck away … very accurate shot from the point … lots of potential

JONATHAN MERRILL
special breed of defenceman … blends size, speed and skill with outstanding awareness and vision … has ability to control the game … skates himself out of trouble … excellent leadership skills … bright and enthusiastic … has ability to play at both ends of the ice … could be an elite defender

LUKE MOFFATT
very talented … strong on his feet … a sniper … mentally and physically tough … wants to learn … steps up play in big games … good hands … good shot … great vision … willing to play physical … protects the puck well … shows a hunger to have the puck

MATTHEW NIETO
smart, unselfish player … makes his linemates better … an offensive leader … will see time on top line and first power play unit … sees the ice extremely well … reacts very quickly … plays tough around the puck … makes good decisions … shoots quick … follows his shot to the net

JASON ZUCKER
hard-working player … doesn’t give up on the play … plays a lot bigger than his size … quick stick …good shot … hunger to score … creative and poised with the puck … can play in all situations … good all-around player … strong offensive skills … will carry some of the offensive load

WEST

QUINTON HOWDEN
highly-skilled power forward … handles the puck well … creates plays at high speed off the rush … uses his size and strength to drive hard to the net … an offensive leader … has all the tools to become a tremendous player … 1st overall pick in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft

CHARLES INGLIS
very good offensive abilities … can make tape-to-tape passes … good shot … not afraid to go one-on-one to create offence … very shifty … good lateral movement off the wall … keeps defencemen honest … has ability to find open ice … hard working player … 4th overall pick in 2007 WHL Bantam Draft

CALVIN PICKARD
size and positioning help him cover a lot of net … follows the puck well … makes the first save … consistent rebound control, allows very few second chances … solid technical skills … good lateral movement … uses his size to his advantage … 38th overall pick in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft

MICHAEL ST. CROIX
intense competitor … explosive acceleration … makes moves in tight spaces … quick hands … quick with the puck … excellent stickhandler … sees the ice extremely well … hard to knock off the puck … drives the net well … quick, accurate shot … 4th overall pick in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft

JADEN SCHWARTZ
speed makes him dangerous … a threat to score whenever he is on the ice … an offensive leader … excellent offensive ability … excels when jumping into open lanes … smart passer … excellent set-up man from perimeter … utilizes the ice well … 173rd overall pick in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft


For more information:

Francis Dupont
Manager, Media Relations/Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4564
fdupont@hockeycanada.ca

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