When it comes to good problems to have, trying to pick the top five performers at a top prospects game certainly fits the bill.
There was no shortage of talent on display this past Wednesday evening at the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, hosted this year in Red Deer, AB.
Comprised of players from the WHL, OHL and QMJHL, the event was an opportunity for many of the top prospects who will be entering the 2019 NHL Entry Draft to showcase their abilities in front of an audience rife with scouts and NHL front-office personnel.
While it would be a mistake to determine a player’s draft worthiness based solely on a single game (especially a special event where players are away from their usual coaches and teammates), for at least one chilly night in Red Deer the following five prospects stood out above the rest.
Samuel Bolduc, D, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)
Most prospects toned down the physical side of their games for this event, but not Bolduc, who eliminated multiple opposing players in his own end by knocking them off their feet. Beyond his stout one-on-one play he also showed off impressive puck rushes, carrying it through open ice and deep into enemy territory to set up offensive zone time.
Graeme Clarke, F, Team Orr, Ottawa (OHL)
The Player of the Game for Team Orr, Clarke was consistently dangerous throughout the contest. He buzzed around the offensive zone, winning pucks and then keeping them on a string as he scanned for opportunities. He scored a goal that way, too, making a steal, dancing between two defensemen and then undressing goalie Mads Sogaard.
Dylan Cozens, F, Team Cherry, Lethbridge (WHL)
The captain for Team Cherry was held off the score sheet in the game, but still displayed the same combination of size, powerful skating and confident puck control that will likely make him a high pick in the 2019 draft. He looked fantastic carving up the middle of the ice while carrying the puck in transition and was effective in all three zones.
Peyton Krebs, F, Team Cherry, Kootenay (WHL)
Alone on an island in Kootenay, Krebs got the rare opportunity to play with talent in this game and made the most of his situation. He was relentless around the puck, creating multiple chances, and finished off a play in the second period by depositing a cross-ice pass with a snazzy one-timer from a tough angle. Was named Player of the Game for Team Cherry.
Nick Robertson, F, Team Cherry, Peterborough (OHL)
Robertson helped kick off the night’s festivities by making a beautiful spin-o-rama backhand pass tape-to-tape to linemate Arthur Kaliyev for the game’s first goal less than a minute after puck drop. It wasn’t his only highlight-reel assist in the game either, using deceptive hands and an abundance of poise on the power play to set up Krebs’ goal in the second.