We’re in the dog days of the NHL offseason and therefore hockey content is required to get through the long summer days without hockey.
The World Junior Summer Showcase that was held between July 26th and August 3rd gave scouts, team management and even fans a glimpse of what teams may look like come the major international junior tournament in late December.
There were a few Canadiens prospects invited to this summer tournament in Plymouth, Michigan like 2019 first-round pick Cole Caufield joined by 2018 third-round pick Jordan Harris who laced it up for Team USA. 2018 fourth-round pick Allan McShane donned the red and white colours of Team Canada while 2018 second-round pick Jacob Oloffson skated for Team Sweden. Only four teams compete in this mini-series, therefore a highly ranked prospect like Alexander Romanov was not present since the Russian team did not take part in this event.
The four players who participated in this event are relatively high ranked among the prospect depth chart, so a good performance was expected. Here are some notes from the summer showcase.
Allan McShane, C – Team Canada
McShane is coming off a good finish with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL and was hoping for that to continue going into 2019-2020. His first test was this tournament which unfortunately did not go as planned. McShane did not play a lot and when he was in the lineup, he played lower down instead of a top-six role which would have been asking for a lot looking at the talent on this Hockey Canada team.
Early prediction: He will be on the outside looking in and if he makes it, it will be as a specialist or supporting role.
Jacob Oloffson, C – Team Sweden
His 2018-2019 season in general was not as great as many had hoped. He did not play to his skill level and the production was not up to par. By having a good World Junior Summer Showcase for Team Sweden, it could help him to have a better start to the upcoming season in the Swedish Hockey League.
He was credited with one goal in this mini-tournament and it was a very nice one. Whether it crossed the line or not is up for debate. Oloffson looked pretty good for his team and showed that he has more to offer than what he showed last year.
He did center Raymond and Holtz a lot and that’s quite a bit of responsibility for Oloffson as those two wingers are very highly rated for the 2020 NHL Draft.
Early prediction: I see him having a good start in the Swedish Hockey League and see him transition that play to the World Juniors for Team Sweden.
Jordan Harris, D – Team USA
If you had told me that you did not notice Harris during this tournament, I would tell you that that was a good thing. Harris’ game is not spectacular and you won’t hear his name very often, but his game is not meant to be anything other than efficient and straight to the point. He made good plays and managed to get himself on the board for Team USA. He’ll have a lot of pressure to fill in Jeremy Davies’ skates at Northeastern and expect him to have a bit less when the World Juniors get underway.
Early predictions: Harris should be part of the defensemen heading to the World Junior Championship for Team USA. He will likely play third pair minutes, but could play higher up in the lineup if needed.
Cole Caufield, RW – Team USA
I could leave this blank or say he was himself and you’d know exactly how it played out. The hype around Caufield has been getting bigger since his selection by Montreal and he didn’t take it easy on anyone. He scored some real beauties during this tournament and shot a lot.
That’s what we expected from him. He also had some really nice feeds and got goalies to bite on his fake shot attempts to open up his linemates. If they use him right, he should be very useful to contribute offensively at the World Juniors.
Early predictions: He’s a lock and possibly top line lock.
Final thoughts: Nothing new, the players we expected to dominate this tournament did in fact do that and Cole Caufield was one of them. The rest of the guys still need to play well in order to make their teams, but Harris and Oloffson should be there while McShane will have to give it his all to get a look. Romanov was not there, but he should be a major player for the Russian squad at the World Juniors.