The World Junior Summer Showcase wrapped up yesterday with a pair of rivalry games, as the USA and Canada did battle before Sweden and Finland took to the ice in Kamloops. The USA-Canada game ended as chippy as contests between the two countries often do, with the final few seconds not even being played. At the final draw, 89 penalty minutes were handed out between several players when a melee broke out in the Canadian zone. In the middle of it was none other than Brady Tkachuk, who is already following in his brother’s footsteps as a player capable of getting under his opponent’s skin. He was given a 10 minute misconduct and a match penalty for intent to injure, though it wasn’t clear exactly what he did.
Tkachuk now has to decide whether to return to Boston University or sign with the Ottawa Senators and turn pro, a decision that was supposed to be at least partially based on his performance at this tournament if reports are to believed. Tkachuk can obviously compete physically with any player his age, but was held to just two assists in the tournament while recording several minor penalties throughout the tournament. It is quite clear that he’ll have an NHL career before long, but could still use some refinement in the offensive zone.
- One of the real stories in the tournament was supposed to be the play of potential 2019 first-overall pick Jack Hughes, but while the 17-year old was quite good his brother may have stolen the show. Quinn Hughes, selected seventh-overall by the Vancouver Canucks, was all over the ice for Team USA and showed off his wizardry with the puck in the offensive zone. The elder Hughes is headed back for another year at the University of Michigan, where he should be considered a real threat for the Hobey Baker if his scoring numbers take another step forward. For those who are still worried about his size and physicality, it should be noted that both Hughes brothers were involved in the final scrum and each received roughing penalties and game misconducts.
- While Hughes will have to wait for his chance at the NHL, one of the players from the Canadian squad might be ready to take the next step. Alex Formenton scored a brilliant goal against the Swedes earlier in the tournament when he used his blazing speed to drive wide, and head coach Tim Hunter believes he’s obviously “NHL caliber.” Formenton played one game for the Ottawa Senators at the beginning of last season and suited up twice in the AHL at the end of the year. While the London Knights are a great development option for him if he goes back to junior, the Senators might feel as though he can make an impact at the highest level right away.