Tonight Team Canada announced their final roster for the 2013 World Junior Championship that will commence in Russia later this month. The WJC are a showcase for the world’s best U20 players and among the players making the cut for Canada are two Islanders first round picks, Ryan Strome and Griffin Reinhart. 2012 third round pick Adam Pelech was also invited to training camp but was cut yesterday.
Ryan Strome, who might have gotten a long look on LI this year (or still may depending on how things go), is tearing up the OHL this season. It’s his fourth year in the OHL and he’s on pace to beat all of his career highs that made him a top draft pick in 2011. Through 30 games, Strome leads the entire league in points by a wide margin. He’s got 59 points (20-39-59) with London’s Seth Griffin nine points behind in second place.
As a tune up for the World Junior Championships, the Subway Super Series pits junior players from the CHL against their Russian counterparts. The Russians do a six-game tour of Canada, playing two games each against top players from the QMJHL, OHL and WHL.
Isles top prospect Ryan Strome is among the Canadian junior players named to the OHL squad, and he scored the first goal in last night’s matchup in Sarnia, Ontario. Strome also assisted on the OHL’s second goal, which is all they would need winning the game 2-1. Kids, this is why your coach tells you to follow the play.
VIDEO — Local Profile of Defender Brenden Kichton
Kevin Schultz , Islanders Point Blank:
One of the players who would have been an interesting invitee had this year’s training camp actually happened is Spokane’s Brenden Kichton. The defender is now in his 5th year in the WHL and was drafted by the Islanders in 2011. The Islanders have to sign Kichton in the coming year and if they don’t the 20-year old can re-enter the draft.
In the following video he talks about that very subject at the 1:40 mark:
“In the back of my mind, I’m always wondering what’s gonna happen next; if the Islanders are going to sign me, if I’m going to go back in the draft or what the deal is.”
Kichton is an interesting case, having been passed over in the 2010 draft after a 19 point season in his sophomore stint in Spokane. After being passed up he headed back to Spokane and broke out in 2010-11 with 81 points in 64 games and put up another 74 in 71 during 2011-12. All of that’s got to be taken with knowledge that many of those points came on the power play and that he’s a year older than the rest of his draft class. Nonetheless, Kichton is an intriguing prospect in what is a deep Islanders defensive pool.
As LHH notes, Islanders prospect Anders Lee is moving back to center and has been named captain of the Notre Dame hockey team.
While it’s notable that Lee has earned this honor — the former high school star quarterback always seemed headed that way, and he joins Griffin Reinhart [edit: and Brenden Kichton] as Islanders prospects recently named captains of their squad — the truly interesting adventure this season will be how he handles the move to the pivot.
The Islanders have drafted several centers in recent years who might ultimately end up as wingers (David Ullstrom is one. Brock Nelson swung to wing in college but is debuting in Bridgeport as a center).
On Tuesday, the Edmonton Oil Kings coaching staff named Griffin Reinhart as captain.
So, the ‘Big Cat’ will be wearing the Big C.
No surprise to most, really. To Reinhart, maybe a little.
“I wouldn’t say I was surprised,” said the 6-foot-4, 205-pound blueliner. “And I wouldn’t say I expected it, either.
He just couldn’t say anything until Tuesday.
“I found out yesterday, but I had to keep it quiet. We had a team dinner (Monday) night and it was a lot of fun.
“The coaches were pretty short and sweet. They said, ‘Congratulations.’ They said they expect the leadership out of me and I’m going to do my best to show them that I deserve it,” said the easy-going, easy-humoured 18-year-old. (And at ease with microhones and cameras in his grille, after being a deer in the headlights during his rookie season.
“It was a staff decision,” said head coach Derek Laxdal on Tuesday, including, as he always does, the opinion of assistant Steve Hamilton. “Obviously there were some good candidates in our group, like Travis Ewanyk, like Keegan Lowe and Griffin was part of that. We’ve got some great leadership amongst these guys.
IPB Q&A With Matt Donovan on Growing Up in Oklahoma, Twitter and Making the Team
Kevin Schultz , Islanders Point Blank:
Earlier today, the Islanders’ Oklahoman defender Matt Donovan took a few minutes to discuss a wide range of topics. Donovan, 22, is one of a group of young defense prospects that made his NHL debut last year for the Islanders and is hoping to turn that into a regular gig at the Coliseum this fall. He is also active on Twitter @squatchdonovan and was honored in Oklahoma City earlier this summer on Matt Donovan Day.
In April, you played your first few NHL games; how did that feel?
Matt Donovan: It was unbelievable. As a kid coming from Oklahoma you don’t see that at all — I was the first born and raised kid from Oklahoma to make it to the NHL — and that was a pretty cool feeling. As any kid knows growing up playing hockey anywhere it’s your dream to play in the NHL and I finally made that dream a reality. It was very cool to play in the NHL a couple games and hopefully many more to come. To read more of this story, click here