2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

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Don Cherry meeting post game with media following a 3-2 loss to Team Orr at the Pacific Coliseum.

I was on hand for the Top Prospects Game in Vancouver this week, chatting with a couple prospects, watching the game and drinking upwards of three beers after the game. I spoke with Ty Ronning, Vancouver Giants’ forward, son of Cliff, and filling in for the injured Tyler Benson on Team Cherry.

Benson and Ronning are having antithetical seasons. Ronning is climbing the NHL Central Scouting Rankings every week, and Benson continues to fall, now projected to go late in the 1st round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Ronning is cruising with 26 goals and playing a completely fearless game that similarly shorter counterparts, like Gaudreau or Gallagher, have proven necessary. All while Tyler Benson’s been injured multiple times, preseason surgery, and possibly feeling the pressure of being a “Franchise” player at 17-years-old.

I spoke to Ronning after the morning skate with Team Cherry, chatting about his late addition to the roster, playing with a chip on his shoulder and the impact his old man had on his development.

Speaking of kids with famous NHL dads, I also chatted with Team Orr captain Matthew Tkachuk, son of Keith, proud London Knights forward. He is currently ranked 1st overall by NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings and 3rd by our pal Craig Button at TSN. He chatted about having a famous old man as well, the NHL’er factory in London and just what type of player ol’ Matty Tkachuk is looking to be. Many on the west coast know very little about the second generation kid other than what he did in the world juniors for Team USA.

The game itself was a snoozer. Ty Ronning scored a goal early in the first and got the loudest reaction of the night. There was a definite hometown bias for Team Cherry, and Ronning was arguably the hardest worker, and rightfully so. He was an injury replacement for a teammate, and if Vancouver weren’t the host city, he’d probably be watching at home. But he showed up and impressed a lot of people.

A LOT.

If you want my opinion, the most impressive players in this game were the goalies. In particular Evan Fitzpatrick of the Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL) and Dylan Wells of the Peterborough Petes (OHL). They both stood on their head and were structurally sound like those boring Cory Schneider-esque goalies are.

Jordan Kyrou, right wing for the Sarnia Sting (OHL), was a fancy-pants player that really stood out for me too. He set up the Ty Ronning goal and made some nice plays, including one whilst falling on his ass.

Kyrou, Fitzpatrick, and Wells. Three lesser-known names to remember come the 2016 Entry Draft.

All the best!
-Ryan PON

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