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The USHL has seen a big uptick in interest from NHL scouts in its future junior players. These kids are getting better because of the opportunities for discovery ice time that make it into schools in these areas.
We’ll soon be two weeks into the NHL shutdown, with no end in sight and no guarantee we’ll see the resumption of the 2019-20 season. For our sanity, it’s best not to dream about it. What we can do to whet our hockey appetites, however, is think about the future. It just so happens The Hockey News’ Future Watch 2020 is available on newsstands now or, should you rather stay cozy and safe at home, for online purchase. (You can also buy a digital version of Future Watch 2020. Just download The Hockey News app in the Google Play or Apple app store. You can purchase digital copies of each issue in our app: https://apps.apple.com/ca/app/the-hockey-news/id1075503864)
Put simply, Zack Kassian is a boy in a man’s body. One of the most physically intimidating forwards in all of junior hockey, Kassian can really throw his weight around, but he is not a one-dimensional player. Kassian has erupted for 77 points (26 G, 51 A) this season for the Spitfire, proving once and for all that he can be a very productive offensive player, not just the big hitter that many thought he was (just ask Matt Kennedy). What is even more impressive is that Kassian has a +10 +/- rating this season, a big improvement over his miserable -17 from last season, which shows he has also dedicated himself to the defensive aspect of the game. (Source: bleacherreport.com)
As if the loaded Avs needed any additional top-end prospects. They just have the magic touch right now, and not just with their first- and second-rounders. They nabbed Annunen early in 2018’s third round, and he was an absolute monster in the Liiga this season, breaking its record for the longest shutout streak. That he was competing as a teenager and dominating one of the world’s best leagues as a goalie suggests he has true NHL star potential. He’s a big, stays deep in his net and waits for opponents to make their moves first.
In due course England Hockey would like clubs’ ‘Talent Centres’ and ‘Talent Academies’ (their language for what we are developing) to play fixtures alongside junior hockey. In 2021-22 junior hockey fixtures will still be played through our regular junior sides. However, there is likely to be match play within the Future Stars training programme and this might look like outdoor or indoor fixtures against top local schools or clubs. (Source: www.guildfordhc.com)