The Hlinka Gretzky Cup concluded tonight with Team Canada defeating Team Sweden 4-1 to take first place and the gold medal. As impressive as a gold medal is, saying just that wouldn’t begin to tell the entire story for Canada’s 2022 Hlinka Gretzky run. For one, the team was undefeated throughout the tournament, and in the process they outscored opponents by a jaw-dropping 34-3 score. In addition to the dominant performance, the Canadians were able to show their dominance on home ice, as the tournament was hosted in Red Deer, Alberta.
Denver Barkey of the London Knights was named the most outstanding player of the gold medal game, while Oshawa Generals forward Calum Ritchie led the tournament in scoring. In net, Canada’s Scott Ratzlaff had the best performance ever by a Canadian goalie in the tournament with three or more games played, as far as goals-against average and save-percentage are concerned, says Brock Otten of McKeens Hockey (link). Otten adds that while most of the top Canadian prospects in the 2005 class held their standard, Ethan Gauthier, Colby Barlow, and Caden Price were able to elevate their game, and thus their standing as prospects (link).
- SinBin Vegas’s Ken Boehlke discusses Keegan Kolesar’s new three-year, $1.5MM AAV contract he signed recently to avoid arbitration with the Vegas Golden Knights (link). In sum, Boehlke classifies the contract as a win-win for both sides, Vegas getting a cost-controlled fourth-liner and Kolesar getting $4.5MM guaranteed despite not scoring much at the NHL level. What is notable Boehlke says, is that Kolesar’s lack of scoring (just seven goals in 77 games last season) could correlate to his below-average 7.4% shooting percentage and if he can at the least improve his shooting percentage to league average, he could increase his goal total, making him worth a good bit more than the $1.5MM cap hit he currently holds. Even if not, Kolesar has proven himself to be a reliable grinder for the Golden Knights’ bottom-six and at $1.5MM still represents a good value deal for the normally cap-strapped organization.
- According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, it appears free agent forward Nazem Kadri’s asking price has not come down and the requested AAV still begins with at least a “9” (link). If that is indeed the case, it may provide a hint as to why Kadri remains unsigned, with many teams having spent up to or relatively close to the salary cap. Several teams have the room to sign Kadri, but if he is also looking to go to a team that has a real chance at a Stanley Cup, his options may be slim. Soon-to-be 32, if Kadri is able to regularly repeat his breakout 87 point performance from this season, a $9MM AAV contract would be worth it for the two-way star, but otherwise it could wind up a salary cap issue, even if he’s still a solid performer.