The Super Series between the CHL's top under-20 players and the Russian Selects ended with a tiebreak after the WHL won the final game Thursday night. This event has become steadily more important as an evaluation tool leading into the World Junior Championships and roster decisions. The series was mostly lopsided toward Canada in terms of skater performance, with Russia needing great goaltending to stay in the games.
I had talked to some NHL scouts who noted the Russian under-20s at the Four Nations tournament overseas a few weeks ago lacked depth, and the Russian squad that was sent to Canada for the Super Series -- without the top KHLers -- lacked star power. That made it tough on the players who were at the Super Series, as they were not ever able to generate even moderate puck possession.
Regardless, there were still many good prospects on display, including these notable names:
Jonathan Drouin, C, Tampa Bay Lightning
Drouin was, as expected among Junior-level players, simply dominant. The reviews from scouts in the building were ebullient, as Drouin displayed his elite offensive skills and top-end skating ability. What was most notable to me was that Drouin -- who had been moved over to center this season -- was making a lot more defensive plays than last season. That can only bode well for his NHL future, considering his offensive capabilities.