As always, international play is a time for players to shine. While plenty of NHL regulars (Johnny Gaudreau, Artemi Panarin) are lighting the lamp quite easily, there are a few names that should be interesting General Managers out there. Prospects and lesser knowns have a chance to really prove they can be difference makers at the top tier of hockey.
- Although no longer technically considered a prospect, offensive dynamo Vadim Shipachyov is looking like a brilliant pickup for the Vegas Golden Knights. Through 5 games he has already accumulated 10 points (2 G, 8 A) and is driving possession for his Russian squad. His skill with the puck on his stick and his vision to find teammates through traffic has been mightily impressive. He may be slotted down the lineup as Capital Evgeny Kuznetsov joins the fray, but he still has a reasonable shot at tournament MVP if he keeps this work up.
- France’s Stephane da Costa has been nothing short of incredible for the home team, currently tied for the tournament lead in goals (6) and third in points (9). Da Costa is 27 years-old and went to play in the KHL following his up-and-down experience with Ottawa. He played 47 games for the Senators over 4 seasons but spent the majority of his time in the AHL’s Binghamton. Da Costa has played shortened seasons for the CSKA Moscow over the past three years, but has not entirely fallen off the radar of North American teams. He was even rumored to be linked to the Golden Knights in February by Dans les Coulisses journalist Max Truman, although there has been nothing since. This sort of performance could put him back in teams’ considerations.
- Swedish goalie (and New York Ranger cornerstone) Henrik Lundqvist survived a scary hit to the head when an opposing Danish player crashed his crease at full speed. He eventually got up and continued to play in the game. Trainers say he is all right. His injury would be huge, both for the Swedish national team’s chances, and the Rangers franchise. Although he’s just turned 35 and is signed for four more seasons on an outrageously expensive contract, Lundqvist is still a top goaltender at the NHL level. The clip can be viewed here.