The Package: Ready for the NHL? | Hockey | CBC Sports

NHLThe Package: Ready for the NHL?

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013 | 11:05 AM

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Canadian teams in the NHL will have much pondering to do about some of their young stars, and whether they crack the lineup in the shortened season. (Getty Images/CBCSports.ca) Canadian teams in the NHL will have much pondering to do about some of their young stars, and whether they crack the lineup in the shortened season. (Getty Images/CBCSports.ca)

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As NHL training camps open up, we check in with some young stars on Canadian clubs and predict what we can expect from them; whether they will crack an NHL roster, or remain with their current team to develop their game in the AHL or junior hockey ranks.
As the NHL labour mess has finally come to a conclusion, many young players in the ranks of the once-inactive franchises could soon step up and grab a spot in their lineup.

Since we've been profiling a young member of each Canadian NHL club since the beginning of the hockey season, we now take a look at their progress and predict what we can expect from them; whether they will crack an NHL roster, or remain with their current team to develop in the AHL or junior hockey ranks.


Vancouver Canucks: Zack Kassian

Age/ Birthplace: 21, Windsor, Ont.
Position: RW
NHL club/draft position: Vancouver Canucks, drafted 13th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 2009
NHL GP: 44 (17 with the Canucks)
Junior team: Peterborough Petes/Windsor Spitfires
Current team: Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Stats on current team: 28GP, 7G, 13A, 61 PIM, 2 PPG

If the Canucks were looking for grit by dealing Cody Hodgson for Kassian, the burly winger's numbers in the AHL prove they've got it in spades. With over 60 minutes in penalties, Kassian's rough style of play should help Vancouver grind out wins.

Calgary Flames: Sven Baertschi

Age/ Birthplace: 20, Bern, Switzerland
Position: LW
NHL club/draft position: Calgary selected him 13th overall in 2011
NHL GP: 5
Current team: Abbotsford Heat (AHL)
Stats on current team: 21GP, 6G, 12A, 14 PIM, 1 PPG

The Swiss star has been/was out of the lineup for the Heat with a head/neck injury, which makes his inclusion with the parent club Flames doubtful as he gets back into game shape.


Edmonton Oilers: Nail Yakupov

Age/ Birthplace: 19, Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan, Russia
Position: RW
NHL club/draft position: Drafted 1st overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2012
NHL GP: 0
Junior team: Sarnia Sting
World Junior stats: 7GP, 3G, 5A, 0 PIM, 2 PPG

The No. 1 pick helped his host Russian junior team capture a bronze medal by beating Canada, and his new Oilers teammate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Edmonton fans hope there's no bad blood between the two as they try and help their NHL club emerge from the basement of the Northwest Division.


Winnipeg Jets: Mark Scheifele

Age/ Birthplace: 19, Kitchener, Ont.
Position: C
NHL club/draft position: Drafted 7th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in 2011
NHL GP:  7
Junior team: Barrie Colts
Current team: Barrie Colts (OHL)
Stats: 30GP, 22G, 27A, 13 PIM, 8 PPG
World Junior stats: 6GP, 5G, 3A, 2 PIM, 2 PPG

While Canada's finish out of the medals was disappointing, you can't say the same thing about the performance of the Jets' top prospect. Scheifele finished tied for 10th overall in scoring during the tourney, and also played on the wing - proving his skills also include versatility.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Nazem Kadri

Age/ Birthplace: 22, London, Ont.
Position:  C
NHL club/draft position: Toronto selected him 7th overall in 2009
NHL GP: 51
Current team: Toronto Marlies (AHL)
Stats: 27GP, 8G, 18A, 26 PIM, 2 PPG

After appearing sporadically in the Maple Leafs lineup the past couple of seasons, is it time for Kadri to get his shot at a regular roster spot? On one hand, it doesn't appear he'd be included amongst the top-six forward group; on the other, he's played half a season in the AHL and has averaged just under a point per-game, giving him a possible edge on the other candidates in the mix for the Leafs' bottom six.

Ottawa Senators: Mika Zibanejad


Age/ Birthplace: 19, Huddinge, Sweden
Position: C/LW
NHL club/draft position: Drafted 6th overall by the Ottawa in the 2011 NHL entry draft
NHL GP:  9
Current team: Binghamton Senators (AHL)
Stats on current team: 16GP, 1G, 6A, 4 PIM, 0 PPG

Zibanejad hasn't played hockey since Nov. 24 after he was struck by a myriad of illnesses, (wisdom teeth removal, strep throat, stomach flu), which also kept him off the ice for Sweden at the world junior hockey championship. While many were upset that the Senators were keeping last year's gold medal OT hero from playing for his country, he didn't even take the ice for Binghamton. That's a shame since it seems like he'll still need time to play with the Baby Sens to continue his development.

Montreal Canadiens: Jarred Tinordi

Age/ Birthplace: 20, Millersville, MD, USA
Position: D
NHL club/draft position: Montreal, 22nd overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft
NHL GP: 0
Current team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)
Stats on current team: 36GP, 1G, 4A, -6, 39 PIM

The rugged stay-at-home defenceman continues to develop with the Bulldogs, but is he ready for NHL duty as a third pair defenceman? It seems like a safe bet that Tinordi remains with the Bulldogs for more ice time, barring an injury bug bites the Habs' defensive corps.

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