Finland’s Kristian Vesalainen was named the MVP of the 2017 U18 IIHF Ice Hockey World Champions today despite the team’s 4-2 loss to Team USA in the gold medal game today . The 17-year-old forward is considered to be a first-round target in the upcoming 2017 NHL Draft and his stock could be rising after he scored six goals and 13 points in the tournament. NHL.com has him rated the seventh-ranked European skater in the draft.
Versalainen was also named the Best Forward in the Directorate Awards along with fellow countryman Miro Heiskanen for Best Defenseman and Russia’s Maxim Zhukov as the Best Goaltender. The United States had three players voted to the Media All-Star team, including goalie lan St. Cyr, defenseman Maxwell Gidon and forward Sean Dhooghe. Vesalainen, Heiskanen and Russian forward Ivan Chekhovich rounded out the voting.
- The Anaheim Ducks announced they have signed 2016 fourth-round pick Jack Kopacka to a three-year entry-level contract today. The 19-year-old wing led his team, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League with 30 goals this year. He also added 19 assists for 49 points. The 93rd overall pick in this past draft finished with 50 goals in two plus seasons with his OHL team. Kopacka is the second player from his team to sign an NHL deal today as Tampa Bay signed his teammate Boris Katchouk earlier today.
- Detroit Red Wings Tomas Nosek continues his success in the AHL this year and, according to Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James, is beginning to show that he belongs in the Red Wings lineup next season. The 24-year-old forward scored the overtime goal in the Grand Rapids Griffins Game 1 playoff series against the Milwaukee Admirals and has taken his game up a level from a year ago. Nosek played 11 games for the Red Wings this season, scoring one goal, but since this is his third season in the AHL, he will no longer by waiver exempt, so Detroit may have to look at him more closely.