The opportunity will be there for some Canadian members of the 2018 NHL Draft class.
It’ll be up to them to seize it with a strong performance at the 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series.
With limited players actually playing in the series, here are the five names to keep an eye on as the annual international showcase between the Canadian Hockey League and some of Russia’s top juniors takes place from Nov. 6-16.
Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL), 6-1, 194, 3-27-2000
McIsaac, fifth in the Future Considerations preliminary ranking for the 2018 draft, will be among the most interesting names to watch when Team QMJHL hosts Team Russia on Nov. 14 & 16. McIsaac, a big bodied, two-way defender at 6-foot-1 and 194 pounds, has six assists in 15 games with the Halifax Mooseheads this season. With great size and skill to fit an NHL game, McIsaac has the awareness and ability to get the puck out of his zone and help his team move off the defensive and onto the attack.
Benoit-Olivier Groulx, F, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL), 6-1, 190, 2-6-2000
Groulx, teammates with McIsaac in Halifax, has eight goals and six assists for 14 points in 16 games with the Mooseheads this season. The production is a step up from last year for the 13th ranked 17-year-old, who pieced together 31 points in 62 games a season ago.
Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL), 6-3, 179, 1-7-2000
Dobson, ranked 62nd, is off to a great start with Acadie-Bathurst. The Titan assistant captain has 15 assists and 16 points in 17 games. His size and skill will certainly be closely watched as one of the few draft eligible skaters for Team QMJHL in the showcase.
Evan Bouchard, D, London Knights (OHL), 6-2, 181, 10-20-1999
Bouchard has three goals and 12 points in his first 15 games with the London Knights this season, and will be one to keep an eye on when Team OHL hosts Russia on Oct. 9 & 13. “He’s a smooth skating offensively minded blueliner capable of jumping up on the forecheck and assisting his forwards with some offence,” scout Dylan Galloway said. “He provides good puck movement from the back end with smart outlet passes and maintains good a good gap and excellent defensive positioning giving opponents little time to make decisions.”
Jacob Ingham, G, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL), 6-3, 181, 6-10-2000
Ingham, ranked 39th, will be joining Bouchard on Team OHL. The goaltender has suited up in nine games for the Mississauga Steelheads this season, posting a 3-6-0 record with a 3.74 goals against average and an .877 save percentage.