Monday, May 08, 2006

Kessel joins World Championship team

I missed this when it was announced last week, but Phil Kessel was added to Team USA's roster for the World Championships in Riga, Latvia. Here's Damien Cox over at The Spin:
An intriguing choice by Team USA for the world championships in Latvia was 18-year-old Phil Kessel of the University of Minnesota. Kessel was once the hands-down favourite to go first in the NHL draft this summer, but his stock has fallen and he could go as low as fifth. That didn't stop U.S. general manager Paul Holmgren from inviting him to Riga, which is either an indication that Holmgren believes Kessel is a star in waiting or was having a heck of a time convincing American NHLers to play in the tournament.
The answer could be 'a little of both,' as the Americans are fielding an interesting blend of underrated youngsters (Ryan Kesler, Fred Meyer the VXII, Ryan Malone, Dustin Brown), nondescript veterans (Tricky Dickie Park, Marty Reasoner) and players few have heard of (Craig Anderson from Chicago, Jim Slater from Atlanta). Still, I think most people in hockey outside of Central Scouting and ISS believe Kessel will be a star, and he won't slip past third in the draft.

Even from that spot, he's probably a steal.


At 2:35 p.m., May 08, 2006, Anonymous Ben said...

Some info on slater for those who haven't heard of him:

Slater is a fan favorite in Atlanta. He was a late first round pick (30th) out of Michigan state where he was captain in back-to-back seasons. He can skate, has good hands, and loves to hit. At this point in his career he's an energy player and forechecker that contributes (10 goals, 10 assists in 71 games as a rookie). He spent the last few weeks of the season playing with Bobby Holik and Scott Mellanby. Mellanby says Slater will be an NHL captain before his career is over.

At 2:14 a.m., May 09, 2006, Blogger Joe Pelletier said...

Was any consideration given to Erik Johnson, the other top ranked US player in the upcoming draft?

There's quite a few good US born prospects coming along. That under-18 program they have is impressive.

Joe Pelletier


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