So the 2010 edition of the Annual CHL vs Russia Series, known these days as the Subway Super Series, has actually been competitive this year thanks to an older entry from the visitors. Russia swept the QMJHL portion of the 6-game event but dropped the next two against the OHL. Against the OHL, Russia was outshot 90-47 overall and were held to just 5 shots in the second half on Monday's meeting.
I've previously explain at length why I would prefer to see the Canadians taking on an opponent made up of American and Europeans playing in the CHL. Recently I revealed what that team would look like in the QMJHL and then again for the OHL. With the scene now shifting to Kamloops and Prince George, it's time for my World team for the WHL.
Adam Brown (KEL) - The California native is in his third WHL season which has seen a trip to the Memorial Cup in Rimouski back in 2009. He has never had a sub-.900 save percentage during his WHL career and last season he had a 31-18-5 record with a 2.80 GAA. At 5'10, Brown doesn't have the size that teams have been drafting lately and that's probably the biggest reason that he's going to be a free agent.
Mac Carruth (PORT) - The first of a few Winterhawks that will be on this team, Carruth has continued to out up terrific numbers behind one of the CHL's top teams. His .938 SV% this year is accompanied by a minuscule 2.16 GAA keeping Carruth near the top of the goalie charts in the WHL. Drafted by Chicago in the 7th round of the 2010 NHL Draft.
Brendan Jensen (VAN) - Another native Californian and potentially the top 2011 eligible goalie out of the WHL this year, Jensen has looked very strong in his sophomore year. Listed at 6'1 and 185 lbs, Jensen was taken in the 6th round of the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft but he was projected by some as a top 3 goalie in his draft class.
Corey Fienhage (KAM) - The big blueliner from Minnesota that left North Dakota to get big minutes in the WHL this year has comes as advertised. He's not going to blow you away offensively but at 6'4, 220 lbs, the Buffalo Sabres prospect knows his role as a stay at home guy.
Matt Konan (MHT) - Now in his fourth season, the veteran is a mainstay on the back end for the Tigers. Another Californian, Konan checks in at 6'3 and 185 lbs and had 20 points last year although he's not looked to for offensive production.
Sebastien Owuya (MHT) - The Swedish import was a 6th round pick of the Atlanta Thrashers last June. At 6'4, he's a monster on the WHL ice and he's managed 5 points after 17 games with the Tigers. He played in 11 SEL games with Timra last year.
Martin Marincin (PG) - No question, the 2nd round pick of the Edmonton Oilers and 1st overall selection in the 2010 CHL Import Draft is having one heck of a start to the season. Marincin is currently second in league scoring among defencemen with 23 points in 21 games. No question a guy who is up for Rookie of the Year at this point. (Photo: Gary Peterson Photography)
Collin Bowman (MJ) - The younger brother of Drayson Bowman (CAR), Collin is now in his fourth WHL season which has been spent mostly in Kelowna. The Colorado native isn't a star in the league, wasn't drafted, but has a decent reputation as a guy who can provide second pairing depth.
Taylor Aronson (PORT) - 30 points last year as a rookie help Aronson get selected in the 3rd round by Nashville. This season he's part of an extremely potent Portland lineup and already has 11 points after 21 games. The 6'1, 200 lb rearguard also hails from California.
Dave Sutter (SEA) - A familiar name in WHL circles but not one of the legendary Sutter-ite colony from Viking, AB. This Sutter hails from Switzerland and now plies his trade with the Seattle Thunderbirds. The 6'5 blueliner is obviously a force to be reckoned with in front of his net. He was undrafted in 2010.
David Musil (VAN) - Arguably the top WHL defenceman available for the 2011 NHL Draft. The son of a former NHLer, Musil is yet another massive body on the backend in a league known for producing tough defencemen. Not fleet of foot but able to cover a lot of ice because of his size.
LW Tyler Maxwell (EVT) - He's undersized but puts up consistent offensive numbers every year. This is his third year in the WHL and after a 69-point campaign he's on pace to beat that this year. The 5'9 Californian is undrafted but will get pro invites when his junior tenure is done.
LW Nino Niederreiter (PORT) - He's already got NHL, World Championship and World Junior experience and with the way the Hawks are playing this season, Memorial Cup experience might be in his future. The Swiss forward was taken 5th overall last June and has 6 points in 8 games since returning to the league. (Photo: Soobum Images)
LW Sven Bartschi (PORT) - He's like Niederreiter's "Mini-Me" - the unknown Swiss player who has captured a ton of attention thanks to an early barrage of points. The 5'10 Swiss forward has 16 goals and 31 points already this season. Can Bartschi make it back-to-back Top 10 NHL draft picks for Switzerland?
LW Andrej Kudrna (RD) - From Slovakia to Vancouver to Red Deer, this undrafted sniper might be a late blooming gem. Or, he might just be living off of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Kudrna has 13 goals and 27 points this year for the Rebels and at 6'2 and near 200 lbs, he has pro size to go with his scoring numbers.
C Sebastian Svendsen (PA) - Started his WHL career in vancouver, ended last season in Edmonton and was dealt in the summer to Prince Albert. Now with the Raiders, the Dane has found the offensive touch that he was originally drafted for. He had 20 points last year and he's already matched that total after two months this year.
C Marek Viedensky (STN) - Viedensky leads the Blades in scoring with 29 points which includes 12 goals. the San Jose Sharks drafted the native of Slovakia in the 7th round back in 2009 and that's a pick that is looking better and better every year. At 6'4 and 185 lbs, he has size and obviously has an offensive touch as well.
C Colin Jacobs (SEA) - There are a handful of Texas in the WHL trying to follow Tyler Meyer's footsteps to the NHL. Jacobs is the best of the bunch and is eligible for the 2011 NHL Draft. So far this year he has 18 points in 19 games after a rookie season where he recorded 26 in 72 games. He's 6'2 and just over 200 lbs... one to watch for in June. (Photo: Seattle Seahawks)
C Tyler Pitlick (MHT) - The former NCAA forward was seemingly lost in the shuffle at Mankato but has made some noise with Medicine Hat. He's still not lived up to expectations after a really impressive camp with the Oilers (2nd round, 2010) but he should have a pretty strong year with a good Tigers club.
C Emerson Etem (MHT) - Having a similar offensive season as last year, Etem is second on the Tigers scoring race but well back of Linden Vey in top spot. Yet another Californian on this team, Etem was taken late in the 1st round last June by the Anaheim Ducks.
C Tyler Johnson (SPK) - He's now without Mitch Wahl and Drayson Bowman but it hasn't slowed the Spokane native as he skates for his hometown WHL team. Johnson has 25 points for the Chiefs and is on pace for a career year. The undrafted forward is listed at 5'9 and 175 lbs.
RW Shane McColgan (KEL) - He's small but offensively gifted and while he struggled early, most chalk that up to illness. McColgan falls into the Jordan Schroeder category; a guy who won't be drafted as high as his skill set deserves but because he's 5'10 and 160 lbs he'll slide and whoever gets him will be happier than hell. He's bound to go in round 1 at the 2011 draft.
RW Robin Soudek (CWK) - Another former Oil King import that is having a break out year with his new team. Soudek had 13 and 24 point seasons in Edmonton but already has 19 in Chilliwack, is that because he's older and more mature or because he's getting a better opportunity? Undrafted.
RW Josh Birkholz (EVT) - The Minnesota product makes this team almost more for political reasons than for what he's done on the ice. He had a 5-point game recently but only has 10 total on the season. No, I think he'd be on the team because of where he's coming from; the NCAA's Minnesota Golden Gophers to the WHL. (Photo: Everett Silvertips)
RW Igor Revenko (PA) - The overager is a point-per-game player after 20 games and that's on the heels of a 27-goal campaign with the Raiders last season. He's of average size and is undrafted but the Belorussian might get a look if he continues to produce at such a pace.
RW Stepan Novotny (SC) - The undrafted Czech product might be one fo the guys that a lot of NHL teams are following closely this year. If he can show some year-long consistency, like the 23 points in 23 games he has currently, clubs are bound to give him contract offers. He's 6'2, 200lbs, can fly and dangle and snipe...