2014 NHL Entry Draft: Memorial Cup Review
In our final look at the CHL playoffs, and the top prospects playing to impress scouts and move up draft boards, we review those who were in action for the four teams that played in the Memorial Cup.
Here at LBC, we've been following the CHL playoffs through every round, and checking in on prospects as they try to raise their draft stock before draft day. To see how everyone has fared, check the pre-playoff preview, the first round summary, the second round update, the third round analysis, the look at the championship rounds, and our summary of the IIHF u18 World Championships.
Memorial Cup Review
The Edmonton Oil Kings upset the Guelph Storm 6-3 to win the Memorial Cup, after Guelph went 3-0 and outscored their opponents 18-7 through round robin play. The big story (or stories) of the tournament would have to be the two games played between the Edmonton Oil Kings and Val-D'Or Foreurs. In round robin play, Val-D'Or defeated Edmonton 4-3 in double overtime. In the semifinal, it was Edmonton who would prove victorious with a 4-3 win over Val-D'Or in triple overtime, the longest game in the history of the Memorial Cup tournament. As expected, the host team, the London Knights, were outmatched and went 0-3 during the tournament. Val-D'Or went 2-1 through round robin play.
RW Nicolas Aube-Kubel - GP 4 G 0 A 0 PIM 2 (+/-) 0
Aube-Kubel may not have shown up on the score sheet, but he seemed to be a positive player on the ice. He used his speed and his quickness to his advantage, drawing defenders to him and finding space for his linemates, and skated his own way out of a pressure situation. He was also consistent in the defensive zone and managed his position well. Aube-Kubel may not have scored, but he played a solid game and was consistent throughout the tournament. He won't jump into the 1st round of the draft, but will go before the conclusion of the 3rd round.
LW Louick Marcotte - GP 4 G 0 A 1 P 1 PIM 2 (+/-) -4
Marcotte was very unproductive for a player who plays on the same line as sniper Anthony Mantha, and wasn't as impressive as Aube-Kubel. Marcotte put up numbers throughout the regular season and playoffs, but didn't necessarily wow with his play. Though he was consistently in position, he seemed to be a half step behind the action and sometimes couldn't keep up. His solid regular season and QMJHL postseason, however, will still see a team draft him somewhere in the late rounds, anywhere from the 5th to the 7th, depending on whether or not teams see potential with him.
C Robby Fabbri - GP 4 G 2 A 4 P 6 PIM 4 (+/-) +2
Fabbri had a solid tournament, averaging 1.5 points per game for the Storm. Fabbri helped spark the Guelph offense throughout most of the tournament, as the team averaged 5.25 a game and consistently dominanted the opposition. Fabbri continued the solid play that he had been demonstrating throughout the OHL postseason, and exhibited the compete level and non-stop movement on the ice that has him rising up draft boards. His position as a 1st round selection is all but guaranteed at this point.
D Phil Baltisberger - GP 4 G 0 A 0 P 0 PIM 0 (+/-) 0
Baltisberger provided a solid presence from the back end for Guelph, though there was nothing overly impressive about his play. If anything, he seemed to be a bit of a detriment to the team, as he was sometimes too slow to keep up with opposing forwards, or he was caught out of position and his partner had to cover for him. This can be seen somewhat in his plus/minus rating. Even though Guelph outscored their opponents heavily, Baltisberger was a neutral player. Though he hasn't cemented himself onto the draft board just yet, he'll most likely be taken in either the 6th or 7th round.
C Brett Pollock - GP 5 G 0 A 2 P 2 PIM 4 (+/-) 0
Pollock had been soaring up the draft boards with his play during the second half of the season, and continued it throughout most of the WHL postseason. In the Memorial Cup, Pollock continued his solid positional and defensive work and chipped in offensively. He wasn't as flashy or explosive as some of the other players, but that isn't his type of game. Pollock continued to play consistently for the Oil Kings and may not have been a huge factor on the score sheet, but was enough of a factor to make a difference. Though its hard to see Pollock going in the 1st round, he should be gone by the conclusion of the 2nd, and it would be mildly shocking if he fell to the 3rd round.
D Dysin Mayo - GP 5 G 0 A 1 P 1 PIM 0 (+/-) +1
Mayo had been a force in the WHL playoffs, as his speed and ability to carry the puck up from the defensive end added a different factor to Edmonton's game. Mayo's offensive production just wasn't there in the tournament, but he was an effective enough defensive player for the Oil Kings. Though it wasn't an impressive showing for the speedy defenseman, his play throughout the season should be enough to land him a spot in the 3rd or 4th round.
D Aaron Irving - GP 5 G 0 A 0 P 0 PIM 2 (+/-) -4
Irving had been a sturdy defensive player for Edmonton throughout most of their season, but certainly fell short in the Memorial Cup. He seemed to be too slow to keep up with opposing forwards, and on occasion his team payed for it. This is shown in his dismal plus/minus rating, which was second worst on the Oil Kings' roster. Though he had a solid season, the Memorial Cup may have exposed some deficiencies in his game, and he may fall in the draft to the 5th round, though its still likely he'll be taken in the 3rd or 4th round.
LW Edgars Kulda - GP 5 G 4 A 3 P 7 PIM 4 (+/-) +3
Kulda had a very impressive tournament, as he showcased his offensive talents by taking over games. He won the Stafford Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the tournament, and was dominant for long stretches of play. In the championship game against Guelph, he and Henrik Samuelsson took control and combined for 8 points to help the Oil Kings pull off the upset. Though there is doubt over whether or not Kulda's production is a result of him playing with a talented Edmonton roster, and not of his own merit, he's still put up very solid numbers and has the tools needed to be a solid offensive player at the NHL level. He has good patience with the puck, quick feet, and the ability to move the puck through traffic to an open teammate. Contrary to his NHL Central Scouting rank (145), it wouldn't be surprising if Kulda has played his way into the 2nd round, though he could drop to as late as the 5th.
Play in the CHL has concluded; now the chaos that is Draft Day for the NHL can start to rear it's head in it's entirety.