University of Denver defenseman Ian Mitchell has outgrown the World Junior ranks, but he still plans to take part in an upcoming international competition. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Hockey Canada is close to finalizing its roster for the Spengler Cup, an invitational tournament held in Davos, Switzerland every December, and he lists Mitchell as the team’s standout amatuer participant. The Chicago prospect has been considered pro-ready for a couple of years now and the Blackhawks have tried unsuccessfully to convince him to leave school. Now a junior at Denver, it seems likely that Mitchell will finally end his NCAA career after this season and a competition against mature adult talent will be telling as to how he may perform for Chicago next year. Mitchell is expected to join a Team Canada roster with considerable NHL experience, another developmental benefit for Mitchell. Dreger lists Kris Versteeg, Scottie Upshall, Daniel Winnik, Eric Fehr, and Paul Postma as other participants.
- A young defenseman hoping to follow in the footsteps of a top collegiate prospect like Mitchell is just beginning the process. 16-year-old Ty Gallagher has made his own college commitment, announcing that he will play at the University of Notre Dame. Gallagher is currently playing for the U-17 team for the US. National Team Development Program, leading the program’s defensemen with nine goals, and is already catching the eye of NHL scouts. The 2021 prospect is expected to be highly sought-after by the time his draft roles around, although he will have to compete against his own teammates like Luke Hughes (Michigan), Aidan Hreschuk (Boston College), and Sean Behrens (Denver) for the billing of top American defenseman in the class.
- A 2020 prospect who has drawn interest from NHL teams is also drawing interest from his QMJHL competitors. Winger Dawson Mercer of the Drummondville Voltigeurs, expected to be a first-round pick (at the very least) in June, finds himself having an excellent season with 42 points in 26 games. However, Mercer is arguably the lone standout on a Drummondville team without much star power. The Voltigeurs are holding their own in the QMJHL standings, but are extremely lacking in top young assets. As such, Mercer has been linked to not one but two different trade rumors in the past week. In one hypothetical move, which would see Mercer head to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, Drummondville would be getting back another forward, two first-round picks, and two second-round picks, which would certainly help the Voltigeurs rebuild. It seems that a Mercer trade is a question of when and to whom rather than if, followed by the issue of whether the change in scenery affects his production ahead of the draft.