The U17 is a great tournament to follow to see who just might make an impact in future World Junior Championships. Team Ontario allowed the fewest goals in the tournament's round robin rounds with 7 GA in 5GP. Clearly, they played a strong team system and had good goaltending from their starter Daniel Altshuller.
Ontario's G - Daniel Altshuller started every game for Team Ontario and posted a VERY IMPRESSIVE .947SV%, 1.39 GAA and 2 SO in 5 GP. Keep an eye on this kid. Altshuller struggled with a few USA goals that seemed to beat him high blocker. He will need to work on this area as it was clear that Team USA was targeting his blocker.
Other general observations:
Ontario's D - Alex Gudbranson - Alex is the brother of 2010 Florida's 3rd overall draft pick Erik Gudbranson. He looks like a solid shutdown defender but doesn't have the offensive upside that his elder brother "could" possess. He plays the game hard and finishes every check. Gudbrason finished with 1 assist in 6GP
Projection: Shutdown Dman
Ontario's F - Kerby Rychel - Kerby is the son of former NHLer and current Windsor Spit's GM Warren Rychel. Kerby had a strong U17 tournament as he finished 2nd in Team Ontario scoring with 3G, 4A, 7P in 6GP. Kerby Rychel was named Team Ontario's player of the game last night as he notched 3 point's in Ontario's gold medal win. At only 16, Rychel already stands at 6'0" and 200lbs so if he can hone his on-ice skills he could turn out to be a solid player. Kerby will join his father in Windsor following this tournament after being traded from Missausaga today.
Projection: Power Forward
Ontario's F - Brendan Gaunce - The second overall pick in the 2010 OHL Priority Draft is the younger brother of Cameron Gauce (Colorado Defensive Prospect). He plays for Belleville of the OHL and is touted to go in the early rounds of the 2012 NHL Draft. Gaunce is a very well rounded hockey player with above average hockey IQ. Gaunce spends a lot of time on special teams and rarely makes mistakes - GMs will love this. Brendan tallied 3G, 1A and 18PIM in the tournament
Projection: 2-Way Forward
Ontario's D - Adam Pelech - Adam is the younger brother of Calgary Flames' draft pick Matt Pelech (first Round Draft Pick, 2005) and Mike Pelech (LAK Draft Pick. The Pelech brothers are also the nephews of Canucks GM Mike Gillis so their bloodlines run deep in hockey. Adam Pelech is already a big boy (6'2", 210 lbs) and some have already compared his style to Chris Pronger. Clearly, Adam has a long way to go to warrant any Pronger comparisons but Adam is already projected as a shutdown dman who possesses above average offensive capabilities.
Pelech currently plays for the Erie Otters of the OHL and was their 2nd Round selection (22nd overall) in the 2010 OHL Priority Selection Draft. Pelech had one assist in the tournament but played a key shutdown role throughout their run.
Projection: Shutdown Defenseman with Offensive Abilities
USA's F - Henrik Samuelsson - Henrik is one of Ulf Samuelsson's two sons. I was quite impressed with Henrik's puck skills and aggressive attack throughout the game. Henrik finished third in tournament round robin scoring with 6G, 4A, 10P in 6GP. He also contributed 10 PIM and I believe he could be a very highly touted 2012 NHL Draft Pick. In my opinion, Samuelsson was the one forward (on both teams) that created several scoring chances all by himself.
Projection: Top Line Forward
USA's F - Quentin Shore - Quentin is the brother of WJC player Drew Shore. Quentin scored a beautiful goal of a wicked shot from the top of the circle last night. Shore created chances throughout the entire game and he was one of Team USA's top players. Quentin currently plays with his older brother Drew at Denver University. Quentin had three assists in the U17 tournament.
Projection: 2 Way Forward
USA's D - Seth Jones - As a defenseman, I was very very very impressed with Jone's gameplay. Seth is a great skater and was creating chances for Team USA all game long. Seth was the USA player of the game last night. Jones is a tall, lanky kid (6'4", 180 lbs). Once he fills out that large frame, he will be a force to be reckoned with, especially since he's a great skater. Jones displayed elite puck skills, great decision making and a hard accurate shot. If he continues on this development he will surely become a defenseman to own. Seth Jones was drafted by the WHL's Everett Silvertips back in the 2009 Bantam Draft. Everett took a chance with one of their two first round picks but Jones later decided to play for the National Team Development Program. Huge loss for Everett.
Seth is eligible for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft so he still has lots of time to develop. He's going to be a thorn in Canada's side during international play.
Projection: Elite Offensive Defenseman capable of logging large minutes.
Ontario's F - Sean Monahan - Sean had a three point night last night versus the USA and was buzzing all night long. He was playing with Rychel and they showed good chemistry. In the round robin rounds, Monahan led Team Ontario in scoring with 5G, 2A and 7P in 5GP. This speedy center appears to play a strong north-south game (kind of like Eric Staal). Monahan stands at 6'1" and weighs 180 lbs so he has the potential to become a powerful NHLer as he grows into his body. Sean showed that his skating is polished and welcomes the opportunity to use his puck handling to take on an opponent. Monahan is DEFINITELY a kid to watch for future Team Canada Rosters and as his draft year approaches (2013) we will be hearing a lot about this kid.
Projection: Top Line Finesse Center
Pacific's D - Matt Dumba - Unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch any live action from this 1st Round, 4th overall Red Deer Rebels draft pick of the WHL. Dumba led the U17 tournament in scoring as a defenseman with 12 assists in 6GP. He seems to have good size for a 16 year old defenseman (6'0, 200lbs). Matt Dumba is on my radar now and I look forward to learning more about him
Projection: Offensive Defenseman