There still is plenty of shine to the Canadian Hockey League’s Top Prospect Game, but it’s hard to argue that the event hasn’t lost some of its lustre.
The event, which boasts 40 of the best draft eligible talent from the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, is missing most of its top-end talent.
Headlined by the absence of Nail Yakupov, the event is missing most of its marquee talent. Including Yakupov, the Kelowna affair is missing five of the top 10 players slotted in Future Considerations’ January Ranking for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Joining Yakupov on the sidelines is teammate Alex Galchenyuk, who has been absent all season after suffering an MCL injury in preseason action. Defensemen Morgan Rielly of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Slater Koekkoek of the Peterborough Petes are expected to be out the remainder of the season, while Cody Ceci‘s injury isn’t as severe.
Malcolm Subban, Olli Maatta, Matia Marcantuoni and Jarred Maidens will also miss the event. Charles Hudon, who has flirted with first round status all season, is also missing the event.
That’s not to say the game is starved for talent. Ryan Murray and Mikhail Grigorenko, who both represented their respective nations at the 2012 World Junior Championship, will be in attendance. Both are expected to challenge Yakupov’s status as the best in 2012. Mathew Dumba, who could find himself as the first defenseman taken in the draft, will also skate.
And while the event will still be interesting with Dumba, Murray and Grigorenko, it’s hard to disagree that the injury bug hasn’t dimmed the bright lights of the CHL Top Prospects Game.