The U18 Four Nations may only have a handful of participating countries, but that doesn’t mean scouts aren’t about to flock to it to check out 2013 NHL Draft eligible talent.
Starting Tuesday and running through to November 9th, some of the top talent for 2013 will go head-to-head in a four team round robin tournament at the Ice Cube in Ann Arbor, MI with the Championship and consolation games will be held on Saturday the 10th.
Talent from Switzerland, Sweden, Finland and the U.S. will all take part with the NTDP’s U18 squad looking like the early favorite to come out on top.
Due to another four nations tournament being played in Sweden for the U20 age group, some of the top draft talent will not be participating at the tournament, such as top Finns Aleksander Barkov and Rasmus Ristolainen as well as Swedes Andre Burakovsky and Elias Lindholm.
Though missing some marquee names, there lies the opportunity for some others to step up and make a name for themselves and push their names up among the top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft.
The events underdog, the Swiss, consist of a somewhat over-matched roster that will need to gel together and play a staunch defensive trapping game to even compete.
Finland has some nice talent, including Ivan Hlinka hero Felix Westermarck on the roster. Westermarck is still looking to match his breakout efforts this season after his impressive August showing. Other names to keep a close eye on include Aleksi Mustonen, Oskari Siiki, Janne Puhakka, Eetu Koivistoinen and Juuse Saros.
Sweden, while not holding as much size and arguably the skill of the US squad, have a pretty balanced roster and could surprise. First round hopefuls Robert Hagg and Lucas Wallmark will lead the way for the young Swedes. The roster also included potential draftees Anton Cederholm, Wilhem Westlund, Tobias Liljendahl, Victor Crus Rydberg and William Nylander.
Bringing their U18 squad, the Americans will be hard pressed to be knocked off as they have the skill and chemistry edge over the other three entries.
Top round hopefuls such as big physical two-way defender Steven Santini and puck movers Will Butcher and Keaton Thompson will anchor the blueline, while big power forwards in-the-making Hudson Fasching and Mike McCarron will all hope to shine in front of talent hounds.
Balanced forward Connor Hurley, who is rocketing up Future Considerations’ rankings, is also on board as an injury replacement will get his chance to take center stage.
Unfortunately, top draft eligible forward JT Compher is injured and will not participate in the event.
Regardless of the talent not in attendance, these types of events are where much of the NHL Drafts depth is on display.