The Subway Super Series is getting closer every day and like I did with the QMJHL on Tuesday, today I'm revealing 'Team World' that, if I were King, would play the Canadians in the OHL leg of the 6-game event.
Our "buddy" Neate Sager from Yahoo! Sports Canada offered up his own version of the OHL's World Team today. Stealing much of my thunder (I'll make him pay at some later point), check out his write up HERE.
Much of my list is the same but because of the plethora of European and American talent in the OHL these days, you could make a strong case for probably 10 players who didn't make my cut.
Jack Campbell (WSR) - The Dallas Stars 1st rounder in 2011 has been a bit hot and cold this year but gets top billing here as the guy with the best résumé. He won pretty much everything there was to win over the last couple of seasons including a pair of WJC and U18 gold. His slightly better than .500 record should improve as he and the Spitfires progress and develop together this year. (Photo: Aaron Bell OHL Images)
Philipp Grubauer (KNG) - Add the guy that Campbell replaced in Windsor and you have a pretty strong tandem. The German was chosen by Washington in the 4th round (like the Caps really need more goalie prospects??) and is keeping his head above water with a Jekyll and Hyde Kingston squad.
Igor Bobkov (LDN) - The big Russian gets the third spot from me. He's only appeared in 3 games and his stats aren't anything he'd want publicized (4.26 GAA, .859 SV%) but the Anaheim 3rd rounder is still considered a top prospect and has played internationally for Russia before.
Brandon Archibald (SSM) - The big banger from Michigan had 33 points and 88 PIM for the Greyhounds last year. Columbus grabbed him in the 4th round (94th overall). This season the 6'3 rearguard has 6 points in 15 games. (Photo: Aaron Bell OHL Images)
Joe Rogalski (SAR) - A 6th round pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins in June, Rogalski had 29 points for the Sting last year. He's now in his fourth season with the team and as you'd expeect, the 6'2 rearguard is on pace for a career year.
Nick Ebert (WSR) - The rookie Spitfires defenceman hails from New Jersey and already has a considerable amount of hype building up for him at the 2012 NHL Draft. This year he's managed 10 points for Windsor through 15 games and is second only to Ryan Ellis in scoring for blueliners on his team - but he's got a +4 rating.
Jarred Tinordi (LDN) - Notre Dame's loss was London's gain and the Montreal Canadiens' 1st round pick in 2010 has come as advertised to the OHL. Listed anywhere from 6'4 to 6'7, there's no question that Tinordi's size is one of his biggest assets. He's not an offensive guy by any stretch but he produces bone crushing hits at will.
David Shields (ERI) - A 6th round pick in 2009 by St. Louis, Shields (great name for a defenceman) is in his fourth OHL season, all with Erie. The New York product had 19 points last year for the Otters but isn't relied on for his production.
Austin Levi (PLY) - Another big bodied blueliner, Levi checks in at about 6'3 and 190 lbs which is one of the reasons Carolina chose him in the 3rd round in 2010. Levi is another example of the Peter Karmanos Connection between the NHL Hurricanes and the OHL Plymouth Whalers, two teams at different levels but both that he owns.
Alex Lepkowski (SAG) - Lastly, I'm adding a 2011 prospect to the mix in Saginaw's 2nd year defender. Another guy that seems to be allergic to offensive stats, he'll get looks based on his frame which is already NHL sized at 6'4 and approximately 215 lbs.
LW – Shane Prince (OTT) - A late '92 birthdate means that the diminutive scorer is eligible for the NHL this June for the first time. He's a leading scorer with 26 points but you know he'll have his detractors who will concentrate on other numbers: 5'9 and 165 lbs. (or 5'11 and 185 lb according to his team's site). Still, the Ottawa 67's forward has turned heads early this year.
LW – Saad Brandon (SAG) - Wondering if he'll be drafted isn't something this Saginaw forward will be spending much time doing this year. Brandon Saad might be the first OHL player selected in June and that's enough of a reason to include him in an event like the Super Series. The Pennsylvania product has 18 points in 15 games for the Spirit.
C – Austin Watson (PBO) - Nashivlle took Watson in the 1st round last year, later than I expected he'd go and I'm sure they're pretty happy that he slipped to the 18th spot. He isn't producing anywhere close to his pace with the Petes last year but no one argues his value to Peterborough.
C – Ivan Telegin (SAG) - I know people who thought the 6'3 Russian pivot would go in the first two rounds so I was a bit surprised to see him still available for Atlanta in the 4th. He scored 26 goals and 44 points in 51 games last year and is on a similar pace this season.
C – Vincent Trocheck (SAG) - Another Pennsylvanian playing for Saginaw that is eligible for the 2011 draft... Trocheck doesn't have Saad's size but they lead the team in scoring with just a single point separating them from each other. Unlike Saad, this is Trocheck's second go around with Saginaw as he had 43 points for the Spirit last year.
C – Alex Galchenyuk (SAR) - He might be just 16 but he was the 1st overall pick in the OHL Priority Selection and is fourth in OHL rookie scoring with 18 points. I can't think of a good enough reason not to include him in the event.
C – Tom Kuhnhackl (WSR) - The German was taken by Pittsburgh in the 4th round and comes with some hype as the son of arguably the best German hockey player of all time. We first heard about Kuhnhackl at the 2008 WJAC in Camrose when asking German officials about up and coming prospects.
C - Alexander Khokhlachev (WSR) - One of the Russian rookies lighting up the league, the Windsor has worked his way into 1st round contention for the 2011 NHL Draft thanks to a red-hot start to the year.
RW - Nicklas Jensen (OSH) - I always seem to have a soft spot for the Danes, I don't know why that is, but this 2011 one is off to a strong start in Oshawa and is raising his draft stock in the process. What's not to like about a 6'3 scoring forward?
RW - Richard Panik (BEL) - The Tampa Bay 2nd rounder is shooting out the lights in Belleville this year with 21 points in 16 games, even more impressive than his post-trade pace from last year. The big center might be one of the oldest players on my team.
RW – Tobias Rieder (KIT) - The small German has 21 points and forms half of a really impressive 1-2 import punch for the Rangers. The 17-year-old is second in team scoring behind Ryan Murphy.
RW- Gabriel Landeskog (KIT) - Rieder's import running mate in Kitchener also happens to wear the 'C' and is getting more and more attention from mainstream media as the year goes on. It probably doesn't hurt that his English is better than most Canadians but he's also been special on the ice too.
RW- Vladimir Namestnikov (LDN) - London's other Russian is having more of an impact that Bobkov in net as Namestnikov has racked up 19 points in 13 games. Another late '92, he'll be available for the first time at the NHL Draft this coming June.
RW – Jared Knight (LDN) - Boston's 2nd round pick in 2010, Knight is now in his third season with the Knights. He hovered just below a point-per-game last year and is on the same pace this season.
RW – Alain Berger (OSH) - The young Swedish sophomore is following up his 33-point debut with a similar scoring touch. The 6'4 winger has the size that scouts will love and if he continues to put up points he'll be hard to ignore on draft day. (Photo: Oshawa Generals)
RW – Nail Yakupov (SAR) - He just turned 17 last month but this dynamic Russian leads the OHL in scoring (tied) with 27 points. He's not big but his skill was tough for Prince George to pass on when they had the #1 overall pick in the CHL Import Draft this past summer. An early favorite to go #1 overall in 2012.
RW – Kenny Ryan (WSR) - Last but not least, the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect who had a 35-point rookie campaign is back and has 11 points so far after 15 games. He was nabbed in the second round by Toronto.
There were A LOT of players who deserved consideration and probably some who should have gotten a spot here but didn't. Just for the sake of argument, he're a list of guys I looked at:
G – Dennis Saikkonen (BRA)
G - Ramis Sadikov (ERI)
G – Garret Sparks (GUE)
G – Michael Houser (LDN)
G – Petr Mrazek (OTT)
D – Dylan Blujus (BRA)
D - Tyler Hostetter (ERI)
D - Sam Lofquist (GUE)
D – Andrey Pedan (GUE)
D - Michal Cajkovsky (KNG)
D – Jesse Young (KIT)
D – Simon Gronvaldt (NIA)
D – Adam Sedlak (OTT)
D – Beau Schmitz (PLY)
D – Dario Trutmann (PLY)
LW – Conor Stokes (KNG)
LW – Mika Partanen (MSM)
C- John Padulo (BAR)
C - Vojtech Butor (BEL)
C - Jonathan Johansson (BRA)
C - Andrew Yogan (BRA)
RW – Petr Beranek (BAR)
RW - Jan Kaminsky (BEL)
RW - Philip Lane (BRA)
RW - Mac McDonnell (ERI)
RW - Shawn Szydlowski (ERI)
RW – Stefan Noesen (PLY)
RW – Robbie Czarnik (PLY)
RW – Rickard Rakell (PLY)