The Western Hockey League is expected to house some of the top talent for the 2013 NHL Draft.
The Russians will put that to the test.
Four top prospects for the draft are set to headline for Team WHL at the upcoming Subway Super Series. Forwards Hunter Shinkaruk and Curtis Lazar will be joined by defensemen Ryan Pulock and goaltender Eric Comrie for the series that pits the three CHL leagues against Russian juniors in a six-game exhibition set.
Shinkaruk, who had four goals and eight points representing Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial this summer, has been impressive for the Medicine Hat Tigers this season. Though he’s off his goal-scoring pace from last season, Shinkaruk has impressed scoring six goals and 13 points in 14 games.
Lazar, who will serve as Shinkaruk’s main competition for the first WHL forward taken this summer in New Jersey, has been dynamic for the Edmonton Oil Kings. With eight goals and 11 points through 13 games, Lazar’s play has picked up right where he left off from the Ivan Hlinka. Skating on a line with Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, Lazar had three goals in five games.
Brandon Wheat Kings stalwart Ryan Pulock is the only draft eligible blueliner selected to play, but will no doubt hold his own considering he’s second in league scoring among defensemen with seven goals and 18 points this season. Equally impressive is Pulock in his own end with a sparkling plus-10 rating.
Pulock will be playing in front of Comrie. The Tri-City Americans netminder has started off the season scorching hot with a 2.26 goals against average and .925% save percentage. Accompanying his 9-3-1 record is two shutouts. Like Lazar and Shinkaruk, Comrie also represented Canada at the Ivan Hlinka, serving as the team’s backup to fellow draft eligible Zach Fucale.