Draft season is officially upon us even as the calendar suggests summer is still going strong. The start of eleven months of scouting, watching and analyzing begins now long before draft day in Vancouver.
The first event for the 2019 draft cycle begins on Monday, August 6th. That would be the newly reimagined Hlinka Gretzky Cup, formerly known as the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. The Hlinka Gretzky Cup moves to North America for the first time in its history as Edmonton and Red Deer in Alberta split hosting duties for this year’s event. Eight nations of Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, Slovakia, Switzerland and the United States will compete over a week. The schedule, results and rosters can be found HERE.
Although the Hlinka Gretzky Cup is not an IIHF sponsored event, it is considered one of the premiere international tournaments for the Under-18 age group. This competition will serve as a barometer to see who begins their draft year strong and for others to emerge onto watch lists moving forward. International tournaments carry a lot of weight for NHL scouts who get to see many of the top prospects in one place against each other in high level competition. Most of the Avalanche’s draft picks such as Martin Kaut, Justus Annunen and Danila Zhuravlyov just to name a few can be traced back to an impressive performance at an international event.
In preparation for the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the start of the 2019 draft season, we here at Burgundy Rainbow launched our Draft Center with an already extensive collection of shift by shift videos with many more to come thanks to Rudo3. Many of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup participants are already included so check out those linked below. The Draft Center will also serve as our archive of draft related materials including coverage of international tournaments, prospect profiles, draft rankings and other draft related content which will be continuously updated.
Who to Watch
Many of the top players at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup are already in our Draft Center with more to be added soon. If watching the tournament on TSN or NHL Network, keep an eye on:
CANADA: Alexis Lafreniere (F) 2020, Jakob Pelletier (F), Sasha Mutala (F), Josh Williams (F), Ryan Suzuki (F), Kirby Dach (F), Peyton Krebs (F), Samuel Poulin (F), Dylan Cozens (F), Matthew Robertson (D), Bowen Byram (D), Michael Vukojevic (D), Kaeden Korczak (D), Nolan Maier (G)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Matej Toman (F), Pavel Novak (F) 2020, Nick Malik (G) 2020
SLOVAKIA: Maxim Cajkovic (F)
SWITZERLAND: A thin group especially with Valentin Nussbaumer (F) no longer eligible
USA: Arthur Kaliyev (F), Luke Reid (D), Nicholas Robertson (F), Luke Toporowski (F), Dustin Wolf (G)
Special thanks to @ncchapman15 for help providing the watch list