11 Thoughts: Tournaments and the World Juniors

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Welcome back to 11 Thoughts! We’ll be talking about Hurricanes prospects, their performances throughout the week, and what I’m looking forward to this coming week. If you haven’t checked out my interview with Massimo Rizzo, be sure to read it here!

  1. After this weekend, Blake Murray has 17 points in 16 games. His ten assists puts him in a tie for third on the team in assists, behind Quinton Byfield and overage prospect David Levin. Murray using his hockey sense and vision more makes him a better player and makes me more certain that he has NHL potential.
  2. Anttoni Honka was excellent against Assat on Saturday. He’s looked more comfortable in the Liiga this season despite his defensive issues. He’s on pace to set a career high in points this season. Honka looks as if he’s focusing on the defensive side of his game a little more this season. He’s made small improvements so far.
  3. Lenni Killinen is out for another three to four weeks due to an injury. Killinen will miss the U20 4 Nations tournament in November that Finland will use to make some final decisions on their World Junior roster. I still expect Killinen to be on the team, but his injury issues could keep him off the final roster.
  4. Patrik Puistola and Anttoni Honka both made Finland’s roster for the U20 4 Nations tournament. Honka is pretty much a lock for the World Junior team, but Puistola is on the bubble. Finland has loads of talent this year and I could see him missing the cut if his tournament is underwhelming.
  5. Final note on Finnish prospects. Eetu Makiniemi is too good for Mestis. He’s been excellent for KooVee this season and currently leads the league in wins, with five wins in seven starts. Ilves already has two good goalies on their roster, so it’s not likely that we see Makiniemi play in the Liiga this season. I’m still happy that he’s getting playing time after an injury-riddled 2018-19 season.
  6. Jamieson Rees reminds me of Brad Marchand. He’s not as skilled of a player, but they have that same presence on the ice. Rees gets under your skin and will not hesitate to toe the line a little bit. Rees has a great shot and some great hands to go along with it, as seen with two of his three goals on Friday night. He’ll be that player that other teams will hate to play against, especially since he’s got a bit of an edge to his game.
  7. Eetu Luostarinen and Chase Priskie have been two of the most impressive players on Charlotte’s roster this season. Luostarinen plays well in all three zones and has shown that he can score goals in North America. I’m not sure when we’ll see him in the NHL, but his rookie campaign has been nothing short of impressive so far. Chase Priskie has looked phenomenal for the past few weeks. His skating and play in the offensive zone have stood out to me the most, and I’m starting to see him adjust to the challenges of playing defense in the AHL. It’s a significant step up from the NCAA, and Priskie has been up to the task so far. He’s also becoming more confident as a shooter, which should scare opposing teams. He has one of the best shots on Charlotte’s blue line and it can fool a goalie easily. Priskie could see NHL time this season if there’s a need for a defenseman.
  8. Jesper Sellgren is playing for Sweden’s national team at the Karjala Tournament. Sellgren appeared in this tournament last year and has been getting recognition from the national team ever since. He’s going to have a long NHL career.
  9. Jack Drury begins his season this week. I’m curious to see how Harvard will fare this season after losing their starting goalie, two top defensemen, and a handful of forwards. Drury will be expected to carry the majority of the workload in all situations. He’ll be used on the PK, the power play, and at even strength.
  10. Luke Martin won’t ever thrill you as a player, but he’s good in his own end. I was thinking that the Hurricanes would sign him after this season, but with how well Chase Priskie has done, I’m not as sure. That’ll be something to keep an eye on this season.
  11. Ryan Suzuki has looked great for a Barrie team that has two scoring lines and a hodgepodge of other players. He’s on pace for over 60 assists and will likely hit 20 goals yet again. Suzuki has found some chemistry with 2020 draft-eligible forward Tyson Foerster, who currently leads the Colts in points with 21. Suzuki’s playmaking abilities have been on display for over two years in the OHL, and I’d still like to see him shoot more. I see a more confident player and someone who is more willing to contribute offensively.

Other Notes

Luke Henman looked great against Baie-Comeau this weekend. He had three points and scored the game winning goal. Henman looks stronger on the puck this season and it’s leading to more offense for the young forward. He still needs to gain weight, but I’m happy with his progress.

Stelio Mattheos and Spencer Smallman have missed all of Charlotte’s games so far. They’ll be put into Charlotte’s lineup whenever they return, so that’ll be a big boost for the Checkers. I haven’t been thrilled with many of the guys on AHL deals so far.

What I’m Watching

Barrie vs. Hamilton, 7 PM October 30

Northeastern vs. UMass, 7 PM November 1

Charlotte at Cleveland, 7 PM November 1

Sarnia at Owen Sound, 7:30 PM November 2

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