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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    Lonnie Cameron, hockey-tough linesman, shakes off puck to head (Video)

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    Talking about hockey toughness is pretty much a trope at this point, yet there are still moments that impress even the cynical among us.

    Linesman Lonnie Cameron accomplished that for many on Tuesday, as he returned to the Nashville Predators – Vancouver Canucks game despite taking a puck to the head in a scary moment.

    Judging by the Twitter feed of Brooks Bratten from the Predators’ website, Cameron missed mere minutes of time.

    So, yeah, it seems like Cameron qualifies as “hockey tough.”

    As far as the game itself went, the Canucks beat the Predators 1-0 thanks to Henrik Sedin‘s goal (his 999th point) and Ryan Miller‘s 30-save shutout.

    Is this more than just a slump for Henrik Lundqvist?

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    People have been wondering for years if Henrik Lundqvist would finally fall off track and, you know, look human. After the New York Rangers’ zany 7-6 loss to the Dallas Stars, those rumblings are probably getting a little louder.

    Don’t expect the Rangers to throw their star goalie under the bus, though, especially after a wide-open game like Tuesday’s goal-filled game at Madison Square Garden.

    In fact, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault is already penciling Lundqvist in for Thursday’s game against the rising Toronto Maple Leafs.

    “He’s going to play, he’s going to try real hard, and we’re going to try to play better in front of him,” Vigneault said, according to the New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis. “This is a team.”

    Lundqvist, meanwhile, said about what you’d expect:

    Naturally, Lundqvist and plenty of other Rangers threw the word embarrassing around quite a bit to describe this game, or at least the first 40 minutes. It’s just that no one’s really raking Lundqvist over the coals.

    Is this time different?

    Again, Lundqvist is no stranger to struggles, even if he struggles less often than just about any franchise goalie in recent memory.

    Still, the sample size is getting large enough for this stretch to be a concern for the 34-year-old netminder.

    While goal support and stretches of good play open the door for a respectable 18-12-1 record, Lundqvist’s allowing almost three goals per game (2.89 GAA) and has a backup-level .902 save percentage this season. And that’s over 32 games.

    Things get even uglier if you focus on more recent events.

    He’s allowed 20 goals in his past four starts, including allowing 12 tallies over four periods during the past two games. Lundqvist has a putrid .841 save percentage in January after producing great work in November (.925 save percenate in 11 games) and nice numbers in December (.915 in eight games).

    Lundqvist has given up four goals or more on nine different occasions since Nov. 23.

    In other words, there are a lot of different ways in which he’s struggling:

    Is this a matter of Lundqvist regaining his focus or is “The King” finally abdicating his throne?

    The Rangers are going to let him try to work through this. Otherwise, they might just need to hope that this is an off-year and *gulp* at least consider how far (an eventually healthy?) Antti Raanta could take them.

    Supporting cast rallies Blackhawks in win against Avalanche

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    For much of the season, the Colorado Avalanche’s biggest names have let them down while many believe that the Chicago Blackhawks are getting it done despite a mediocre supporting cast.

    On Tuesday, the script was essentially flipped. The Avs’ stars were productive, yet so were lesser-known Chicago forwards like Tanner Kero and Vinne Hinostroza.

    The most important narrative stayed the same, however, as the Blackhawks found a way to get by the Avalanche in a 6-4 decision.

    The Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead into the second period, but the Avs put together one of their best stretches of this lousy season. Blake Comeau tied it up, Matt Nieto scored his first goal with Colorado and then Matt Duchene answered Chicago’s only goal of the second period (by Kero) to give the Avalanche a 4-3 edge.

    The Avalanche doubled Chicago’s shots on goal in the second period, generating an 8-4 edge. It felt like a rare moment where Colorado’s talent actually flexed its collective muscles.

    Then the Blackhawks turned it on in the third, generating a 12-5 shot edge of their own and finding a way to win.

    Hinostroza ended up making the biggest difference, scoring the tying and game-winning goals before Kero iced it with an empty-netter thanks to an unselfish pass by Jonathan Toews.

    (It’s not to say that Chicago’s big names outright slept through this game, either. Toews got that assist and Marian Hossa made a bunch of plays to help make life easier for Hinostroza and Kero.)

    This wasn’t always pretty, but the Blackhawks are doing enough to get points night after night. On some nights, that’s the real difference between a contender like Chicago and a languishing squad like Colorado.

    Blue Jackets move back to first in Metro, NHL after beating Hurricanes

    COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 7:  Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Columbus Blue Jackets warms up prior to the start of the game against the New York Rangers on January 7, 2017 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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    After stumbling for a bit, Tuesday was a reassuring night for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    With a 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus moved back to the top of the Metropolitan Division (and thus, the NHL) because they now match the Washington Capitals’ 64 points but have more wins (30 to 29) and hold a game in hand.

    Also comforting for Columbus: Sergei Bobrovsky returned to the Blue Jackets net, allowing one goal on 25 shots.

    They were probably also happy to see Brandon Dubinsky enjoy a strong night (two goals) and Boone Jenner collect an assist and this absolute beauty of a goal:

    The Hurricanes actually did hold a 1-0 lead in this game, but it lasted all of 11 seconds, as that Jenner goal erased that advantage.

    The Blue Jackets face the Senators in Columbus on Thursday and then host the Hurricanes once again on Saturday. They follow that up with five straight road games and six of seven away from home beginning on Jan. 22. Columbus will pass another big test if they can stick with the Capitals and the rest of the NHL’s best through that stretch.