The midway point of the junior season is always exciting because of a major tournament, the CHL trade deadline and the CHL Top Prospect Game. December features the start of the U20 World Junior Championship and so obviously the camps of each nation beforehand as well. The event in Buffalo was the showcase for a few key players available in the draft later this month.
January 10th is the deadline for trades in both the OHL and the WHL and there were some huge moves this year. Plus, the Top Prospects game may have been the turning point for more than one player when it comes to their draft stock.
Here's what we had on the agenda in those two months.
Liam Liston - The Brandon netminder that was named to the Top Prospects Game. He finished the year on the shelf but he was still rated as the top goalie in the WHL when we spoke with him.
Sam Cosentino - Remember back when the talk was that it was a 3-horse race to be #1 overall this year? Our CHL insider blew that up back in very early December when he got the hype machine going for Gabriel Landeskog.
Sven Bartschi - The Portland Winterhawks rookie sensation from Switzerland joined us to talk about following in the footsteps of Nino Niederreiter. He'd eventually go on to be a WHL Rookie of the Year candidate. (Photo: Matt Manor / IIHF Images)
Brandon Saad - The Pennsylvania product playing for Saginaw joined us in mid-December to talk about the draft, the rankings and the upcoming WJC... ooops.
Victor Hedman - The Tampa Bay 1st rounder from two years ago gave us his insight into both Gabriel Landeskog and Adam Larsson (below). (Photo: Matt Manor / IIHF Images)
Tomas Jurco - The Saint John human hi-light reel hadn't pulled off his trickery at the Top Prospects Game when he joined is in mid-December. His library on YouTube was well known though.
Marek Hrbas - The Czech defenceman from the Edmonton Oil Kings talked about hoping to play in the WJC.
Mitch Topping - Chilliwack defenceman talks about his draft year with the Bruins in the WHL.
Kevin Prendergast - Hockey Canada's head scout on the make up of his U20 team including Sean Couturier.
Peter Loubardias - The voice of the Memorial Cup on Sportsnet previews the European clubs in the 2011 WJC including some guys eligible for the 2011 Draft.
E.J. McGuire - In his final appearance on The Pipeline Show, the Director of Central Scouting graded the players from the 2011 WJC who are eligible for the draft and also the CHL Top Prospects Game.
Michael St. Croix - The Oil Kings forward in conversation after not getting the invite to the Top Prospects Game.
Myles Bell - Ill-fated defenceman of the Regina Pats who talked about the difficulties of the club during the middle portion of the season and about the draft.
Laurent Brossoit - Goaltender of the Edmonton Oil Kings talks about not playing much in his draft year but trying to make the most of his starts.
Tobias Rieder - German forward of the Kitchener Rangers looks back at a positive WJC for his country and ahead to the draft. (Photo: Matt Manor / IIHF Images)
Sam Cosentino - The Top Prospect game was on Sportsnet and Sam was on the broadcast so he has plenty of insight into this preview of the showcase event.
Zack Phillips - He was a bit under the radar at the point in the season when we talked to him but this Saint John forward was outstanding at the Memorial Cup and is a sure-fire 1st rounder.
Scott Mayfield - USHL based defenceman of the Youngstown Phantoms, Mayfield impressed us with his interview, almost as much as he's impressed on the ice.
Shane Prince - A late addition to the Top Prospects Game, the Ottawa 67s forward talked about the experience at the marquee event.
Sam Cosentino - A detailed recap of the Top Prospects Game.
Vincent Trochek - The Saginaw forward talks about choosing the CHL, growing up playing hockey in Pennsylvania and more about the draft and Top Prospects experience. (Photo: Aaron Bell / CHL Images)
Dan Elliot - The voice of the Vancouver Giants gave us insight into David Musil and Andrej Stastny.
The drive to the CHL playoffs and more next when we break down February and March.