Players who made an impact during World Junior Hockey Championships' evaluation camps

Being that it only lasts one week, it’s dangerous to read too much into the development camps for next year’s World Junior Hockey Championships. Still, these evaluation sessions can be crucial for teams to make certain roster decisions, or at least put some players on their radar. It can also be an interesting sample for teams looking to gather a little more intel for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Gare Joyce ran a great blog regarding the camps for ESPN’s NHL section. The author of scouting book “Future Greats and Heartbreaks” provided a “stock watch” based largely on what he saw last week.

One of the biggest movers is Swedish winger Gabriel Landeskog, a player who apparently plays a more “North American style” game than most Swedes. Joyce wrote another story about Landeskog, comparing him to mold-breaking Detroit Red Wings scorers Tomas Holmstrom and Johan Franzen.

Adam Larsson

” … If you viewed Larsson more objectively, he’s probably coming in around a B-level after this week. If you’d never seen him before Lake Placid, however, you’d ask “Who is this guy?” People view him as the potential No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, though — not as a random top-10 guy — and that brings a certain set of expectations.

His “only OK” game still put him ahead of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, picked by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2009. And honestly, at this point Larrson’s ahead of Victor Hedman at the same age. In Buffalo, he’s going to be on the ice all the time for Sweden and will be seen in a variety of situations. His stock is unchanged right now, but it’s likely going to go up come December.”

Joyce brings up another Swedish forward – center Victor Rask – as someone who might be able to make waves since he’ll be given a nice opportunity during the tournament.

Iiro Pakarinen

The Finnish right wing stands about 6-foot-1 and weighs 205 pounds. He leveled Sweden’s Tim Erixon with a forecheck here and knocked the Swede out of the tournament. Pakarinen was born in 1991, plays for Kalpa in the Finnish league and had a few decent games with the under-19 Finland team in European tournament play. He has passed through a couple of drafts so far, though. He’s a low-risk longshot for a team with some loose change.

While the other players (Miihkali Teppo, Brandon Saad) didn’t see much of a change in their “stock,” American defenseman Adam Clendening‘s position might have improved even despite some struggles. Here is what Joyce said about Clendening.

He looked better in intrasquad games than he did in contests against Sweden and Finland. It might be that he looked good and had a comfort level playing beside Derek Forbort (a first-rounder of the Los Angeles Kings this June); he was less impressive and less effective when he moved beside Brian Dumoulin. One scout in Lake Placid said that Clendening “didn’t have much of a chance to show his shot and his offensive package,” but also said that he should get plenty of chances to do that in Buffalo. Cam Fowler, who was drafted in the first round by the Anaheim Ducks this year, didn’t attend camp but if the Ducks don’t keep him with the big club he can be safely pencilled in at the other PP point; this is a nice mix of left (Fowler) and right (Clendening) shots. Clendening’s stock is rising slightly; he’s a recommended buy.

So those are the movers and shakers in that short week of evaluations and scrimmages. The 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships should be great next year; expect some generous coverage here at PHT.

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    Oilers lament plenty of ‘individual miscues’ in loss to Ducks

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    The Anaheim Ducks are apparently heading out of town, reportedly flying a short distance west to Kelowna, B.C., and leaving behind the playoff-crazed city of Edmonton until the series resumes for Game 4.

    On the other hand, the Edmonton Oilers are left to contemplate what went wrong in a 6-3 loss to the Ducks on Sunday, as Anaheim got back in the series but still trails 2-1.

    From the 25-second mark of the first period, it seemed the Oilers were on a losing path in this one after Rickard Rakell opened the scoring.

    Edmonton did come back, but then quickly gave the game right back to the Ducks, who scored three unanswered goals and had completely taken the crowd in Edmonton out of it in the third period. They did a pretty good job of silencing the fans in Edmonton right away, with three goals before the game was 12 minutes old.

    “We worked our way back in, but it wasn’t our night,” said Oilers coach Todd McLellan. “We weren’t sharp enough. Individual miscues were plenty. They were all over the board. You couldn’t even shorten the bench to find two or three lines. There were that many who were erring on a consistent basis.”

    The Oilers were able to escape Game 2 with a victory — and Anaheim with a 2-0 series lead — thanks largely to the play of goalie Cam Talbot, but the Ducks solved him Sunday, scoring six times on just 28 shots.

    The Oilers may have sparked a brief comeback, but there was really no sugar-coating this one, especially after Anaheim regained the lead and then badly outplayed the hosts in the third period — when the Oilers needed to push for the equalizer.

     

    Ducks light up Cam Talbot to defeat Oilers

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    Chris Wagner‘s first career playoff goal was the turning point in Game 3 for the Anaheim Ducks, as they defeated the Edmonton Oilers 6-3 to get their first win of this series.

    Connor McDavid had just scored (another) spectacular goal, this one to get the Oilers back on even terms at three goals apiece after they fell behind 3-0 in the opening period. The orange crush at Rogers Place was, naturally, in a frenzy at the time.

    The tide of this game had suddenly turned in favor of the home team, which had a 2-0 series lead.

    As suddenly as the Oilers had come back to tie the game, the Ducks regained the lead. Wagner fired the puck from the side boards toward Cam Talbot, who misplayed the puck off his right arm and into the net.

    That was only one part of a difficult night for Talbot, who allowed six goals on 28 shots. Anaheim had built up a three-goal lead less than 12 minutes in and needed only six shots to do so.

    Talk about a quick turn of events. Talbot was sensational in Game 2, backstopping the Oilers to another road win with a 39-save performance.Edmonton’s troubles started early in Game 3. Rickard Rakell scored just 25 seconds in on a breakaway and the Ducks were rolling from there.

    Wagner’s goal came just 48 seconds after McDavid tied the game. Jakob Silfverberg and Ryan Kesler increased the Anaheim lead in the third period.

    This time, there was no inspired comeback from the Oilers.

    While the Ducks found their scoring touch, they also received a 24-save performance from John Gibson. He was at his best in the second period, making a couple of key saves, including a great shoulder stop off a three-on-one rush.

    Game 4 goes Wednesday in Edmonton.

    Video: Connor McDavid puts on a show with this spectacular goal

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    Connor McDavid has his first goal of this series against the Anaheim Ducks — and it was a beauty.

    (Another spectacular McDavid goal? Get out!)

    With one assist so far in this series, McDavid brought the crowd in Edmonton to its feet with a quick stop and cut back to his left against Sami Vatanen, followed immediately with a perfect wrist shot top corner on John Gibson.

    “McWow!” is right.

    The Oilers fell behind 3-0 in the first period, but that goal from McDavid tied the game before the midway point of the second period.

    The celebration didn’t last long.

    Just 48 seconds later, Chris Wagner‘s shot from the side boards, a rather harmless looking attempt, was misplayed by Cam Talbot to put Anaheim back in front by a score of 4-3. That’s the score heading into the third period.

    ‘We weren’t even competitive’ — Blues coach hints at lineup changes for Game 4

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    Lineup adjustments can be a common occurrence in the playoffs. Based on his comments Sunday, St. Louis Blues coach Mike Yeo is seriously looking to make some changes for Game 4.

    The Blues trail the Nashville Predators 2-1 in the series, following a disappointing 3-1 loss on Sunday.

    Nashville dominated puck possession for long stretches, putting this one away on a goal from Roman Josi after just such a shift — caused by a Blues turnover in the defensive end — late in the third period.

    Yeo praised the Predators for the way they checked the Blues, but was straight to the point with his assessment of his team’s performance.

    “I mean, we scored one goal tonight. Fact of the matter is, for a large part of the game, we weren’t even competitive,” he told reporters.

    “We obviously have to be way better. We have to make a couple of changes, personnel-wise, for the next game and look at the tape and see what we can do … a little bit better than tonight because it wasn’t good enough.”

    Despite getting outplayed, the Blues were, for much of the second half of the game, one shot away from the tying goal. But hopes of a possible comeback were nullified after a shift of about 1:10 of furious Nashville possession in the offensive zone capped off by the Josi blast.

    Blues defensemen Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko — who both had a miserable day in terms of puck possession — had been stuck on the ice for almost two minutes before Josi scored, per NHL.com.

    That’s one glaring example.

    “The way we played in our [defensive zone] matched the way that we executed, matched the way that we competed all over the ice,” said Yeo.

    “We were waiting to see what they were going to do. We were reacting to that. So we’ve got to initiate much better.”