For the fourth straight year, Boston College won the annual Beanpot tournament, contested by the city’s four NCAA squads, with a 6-3 win over Northeastern. Elsewhere in the region, Quinnipiac earned the No. 1 rank in college hockey for the first time ever, so congratulations go to the ECAC’s Bobcats. The other big tournament, the Five Nations, wrapped up in Sweden with Russia taking the crown. Here’s a look at the players who made an impact there and everywhere else in the prospect world.
Jacob De La Rose, LW – Leksand (Swe.)
There’s a poetry to De La Rose’s name; you can practically hear a hometown announcer relishing the chance to yell it whenever the big young winger scores in a game. But it isn’t very Swedish, now is it?
“It's actually from France,” De La Rose said. “On my dad's side it's like his grandma's grandma was from there.”
But a De La Rose by any other name would still be sweet, given the way the 6-foot-2, 183-pounder barrels through opponents to create both havoc and offense. At the Five Nations, he notched four points in four games to rank second among Swedes, but it’s his work back in Sweden’s Allsvenskan (the circuit below the Elite League) that has impressed this season. One of his teammates is 2012 Washington first-rounder Filip Forsberg and it’s nice to have another teen on the men’s team.
“We're a pretty young team and Filip and I are really good friends,” he said. “We can talk about things like the journey he went through last season. If there's something I'm interested in, he has answers for me. He's been a big role model.”
Last season, Leksand came close to winning promotion up to the Elite League, but ultimately fell short. This year, De La Rose is on board to help finish the mission.
“It's been some years now since Leksand was in the Eliteserien and it's a big dream of ours because Leksand is big in Sweden,” he said. “We have fans all over the country even though it's a small town.”
With his bang-and-crash game, De La Rose is going to have some big fans in the NHL, too. Draft eligible in 2013.
Valery Nichushkin, C – Traktor Chelyabinsk (Rus.)
The leading scorer at the Five Nations with 11 points in four games, Nichushkin once again proved why he’s the best Russian player available for the draft this year. Will his recent contract extension with Traktor hurt his value, or is his combination of size, smarts and skill just too good to risk losing at this point? That will be a big question on draft day. Draft eligible in 2013.
Brendan Leipsic, C – Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Small but skilled, the centerman now has bragging rights for the season over similarly crafted linemate Nic Petan as Leipsic became the first player in major junior to hit the 100-point mark this season. Petan would catch up later in the game. Add in Ty Rattie and you have one talented trio with a Western League title in mind. Drafted 89th overall by Nashville in 2012.
Johnny Gaudreau, LW – Boston College Eagles (Hockey East)
Sick of ‘Johnny Hockey’ yet? Too bad. Once again it was the Smurf-sized scoring king doing the damage with two goals and three points as the Eagles won their fourth-straight Beanpot tournament in front of a sell-out crowd in Boston. That’s two Beanpots, one WJC gold, one NCAA championship and one United States League title so far for Gaudreau. Drafted 104th overall by Calgary in 2011.
Jimmy Lodge, C – Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Lodge is a smart player who works best when he keeps his game simple. Lately, he’s been right on track, cashing in on numerous scoring chances and putting up 14 points in his past six games for the suddenly hot Spirit. Draft eligible in 2013.
Juuse Saros, G – HPK (Fin.)
The Finnish crease at the Five Nations featured two draft eligible kids and Saros carried the water while teammate Ville Husso got ventilated against the Russians. Saros, a smaller netminder at 5-foot-10, put up a 2.35 goals-against average and .928 save percentage at the tourney, ranking second in both categories. He uses quickness and poise to get the job done. Draft eligible in 2013.
Eddie Ellis, LW – Phillips-Andover Big Blue (Mass. HS)
The captain of the Big Blue helped Andover to a big upset of top-ranked Kimball Union (a rare prep squad featuring an NHL draft pick; the Isles’ Doyle Somerby) by tallying in overtime last week. The Harvard commit is a smart player who competes in all three zones and boasts both vision and great hands. Draft eligible in 2013.
Marc-Olivier Roy, RW – Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)
A responsible two-way forward, Roy has also been an offensive dynamo for a very good Armada team. Just as the team lost Stefan Matteau to the New Jersey Devils, Roy was pumping up his own stats and has 11 points in his past eight games. He now sits third in team scoring. Draft eligible in 2013.
Rinat Valiev, D – Indiana Ice (USHL)
A sturdy defenseman back in the United States League, Valiev was an offensive engine from the back end for Russia at the Five Nations. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder led all blueliners in scoring at the tourney with five points in four games as the Russians won it all in convincing fashion. Draft eligible in 2013.
Hunter Fejes, LW – Colorado College Tigers (WCHA)
Fejes, a big-bodied power forward who won a national championship with Shattuck-St. Mary’s last season, has really started to turn it on in his freshman campaign with the Tigers. He notched two goals, including the OT winner with 10 seconds left, to beat rival Denver on the weekend and has half of his 10 points on the season in the past six games. Drafted 178th overall by Phoenix in 2012.
The Hot List, a roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday on thehockeynews.com. A player is eligible for The Hot List until they play their first NHL game.
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