Over the past few seasons the Kings have been blessed with stellar performances from several of their prospects playing junior hockey.
Andrei Loktionov won a Memorial Cup in 2009, Thomas Hickey captained Team Canada at the World Junior Championships, Brandon Kozun was the CHL’s Top Scorer and Martin Jones the WHL’s Top Goaltender – just to name a few.
This year, the club has already had a representative on all three medal winning teams at the World Junior Championships (Maxim Kitsyn/Russia gold, Brayden Schenn/Canada silver and Derek Forbort/USA bronze).
And things are heating up in all three of the CHL circuits, the WHL, OHL and QMJHL.
In fact, it’s not inconceivable that the Kings will have representatives on all four teams that make the Memorial Cup Tournament (comprised of the three league champions and the host city).
Kitsyn is now playing for the OHL’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors. They’re hosting the tournament, so he’s in.
Here’s an update on three of the other leading candidates:
* Brayden Schenn – by far, the most talked about junior player on any team this season, he was working his magic again on Wednesday night. Playing fellow Kings prospect Linden Vey and the Medicine Hat Tigers, Schenn scored the game-winning-goal in overtime. That’s 13 games for him in Saskatoon since being traded their just over a month ago. He’s scored 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points. The Blades remain the top team in the WHL and will be heavy favorites come playoff time.
* Linden Vey – he assisted on an Emerson Etem (Ducks prospect) goal to tie the aforementioned game with less than two minutes to play in the third period. It was his third helper of the night. Although Schenn went on to steal the spotlight in overtime, Vey is currently sitting atop the WHL leaderboard with 96 points (39g, 57a). The Tigers are in fourth place in the WHL. However, they’ve already clinched a playoff spot. They also have a rematch with Schenn and the Blades this Sunday.
* Tyler Toffoli – like Vey in the WHL, Toffoli is a leader in the OHL. He has 48 goals, tops in the league, and his 92 points are just two off the overall lead. His Ottawa 67′s are second in their conference (behind Kitsyn’s Mississauga team). They’ve been getting better as the season wears on and could be peaking at the perfect time. As for Toffoli, the 6’1″ center/right wing continues to look like what some scouts called him immediately following last summer’s NHL draft – a second round steal.
This year’s Memorial Cup doesn’t begin until May 20th. So, there’s plenty of time for more hockey.