With this year’s unusual August World Juniors, it’s not a surprise to see some of the biggest prospects skip the tournament in order to prepare for upcoming NHL training camps, and potentially NHL seasons. Still, not all have done that and a few players who are likely to play in the league next year, have opted to represent their country in the tournament. Among them are Mason McTavish, Kent Johnsonand Simon Edvinsson. The sixth-overall selection in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft to the Detroit Red Wings, Edvinsson has hopes, and a real chance, to make Detroit’s opening night roster after signing his entry-level contract back in April.
Considering the likelihood that Edvinsson will not only be at Red Wings training camp in a few short weeks but also be expected to play a full season, his first, in Hockey Town, it’s interesting to see him join Sweden at the tournament. However, as Edvinsson told Steven Ellis of The Hockey News, “I talked to Detroit about it, we had a conversation, and everything went good. I’m focused on this tournament now and after that, I’ll go back to Detroit…I’m hungry for (training camp), but right now we need to win this.” It’s not surprising to learn Edvinsson consulted the Red Wings about his decision to play, but the defenseman’s winning attitude, sacrificing himself and elongating a very important season for the sake of winning is surely encouraging to Detroit, who are hoping to develop a top pairing defenseman in Edvinsson alongside Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider.
- Larry Brooks of the New York Post wonders if the New York Rangers could make one more move by bringing in a low-cost left defenseman for the team’s third pair. Brooks quotes Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant‘s preference for size, especially among defenseman, and the current projection of Zachary Jones and Libor Hajek splitting time in that spot. Jones, listed at 5’11 and 185 pounds, doesn’t possess much in the way of size, though he is a talented young player who could see more ice time now as part of his development, having averaged just 15:05 of time -on-ice in 22 career regular season games. At 6’2 and 203 pounds, Hajek possesses some of that size, but as a healthy scratch for a whopping 60 games last season, seeing him jump to a full-time or even platoon role next year for a Rangers team looking for a Stanley Cup might be a bit of a question mark. The team has just over $1MM in available cap space with players like Danny DeKeyser, Ryan Murrayand especially the 6’6 Ben Harpur representing players that fit the bill: inexpensive left-defensemen with size.
- One of the newest members of the Florida Panthers organization, defenseman Nathan Staios told NHL.com’s Alain Poupart that he’s going to do his best to try to make the Panthers out of training camp, but understands the likely trajectory of his development. “Wherever they want me, I’m good,” Staios said. “I’m gonna work my hardest to make the big team, but a couple years of development in the AHL, I’m totally good with that. And I’m really looking forward to that as well,” Staios added. Trusting the process with his development will be necessary for the Ontario native, just as it is any prospect, but after a slow yet steady rise in his value as a prospect, his eagerness to continue this way will be an essential part of the 21- year-old’s success. Having been undrafted by an NHL team, Staios continued to work on his game in the OHL, breaking out after a trade from the Windsor Spitfires to the Hamilton Bulldogs prior to the 2019-20 season. This season, though, vaulted Staios to legitimate prospect status, as he tallied 15 goals and 51 assists in 59 games from the blueline for a talented Hamilton squad.