Players get one final chance to show off to scouts at Memorial Cup - InfoNews

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Players get one final chance to show off to scouts at Memorial Cup

London Knights goalie Tyler Parsons, right, stops a shot from Red Deer Rebels' Adam Musil, during first period CHL Memorial Cup hockey action in Red Deer, Friday, May 20, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
May 21, 2016 - 4:00 AM

RED DEER, Alta. - The spotlight is at its brightest when it's down to the final four at the Memorial Cup.

A player can take advantage of the situation, or they can let it come and go. Either way, the tournament gives the remaining junior players a final opportunity to leave an impression.

"The biggest thing is you're getting the last look from the scouts, you're the last thing on their mind (before the NHL draft) and you can raise your stock," said D.J. Smith, who coached at three Memorial Cups before taking an assistant coaching job with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015.

Smith added: "Maybe you go from unknown to signing (with an NHL team)."

The 2016 Memorial Cup features the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, London Knights, Brandon Wheat Kings and host Red Deer Rebels. There are 15 draft-eligible skaters listed on the NHL Central Scouting rankings between the four clubs, with London having the most with eight.

Smith saw firsthand what a standout performance can do for a player when he guided the Ontario Hockey League's Oshawa Generals to their fifth Memorial Cup in franchise history last year.

Goaltender Ken Appleby wasn't Oshawa's starter until his final season when he was 20 years old, spending two campaigns as the backup prior to the 2014-15 season. But he went 38-7-4 in 50 games with an OHL-best 2.04 goals-against average and .924 save percentage, won a league championship, and finally earned the attention of NHL teams after going undrafted the two previous seasons.

He was named the most outstanding goalie at the Memorial Cup, finishing with a 37-save performance in a 2-1 overtime victory against Kelowna to win the tournament.

Appleby was invited by St. Louis and New Jersey to attend prospect camps last summer, and eventually signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Devils as a free agent in October. He is currently part of their minor-league system.

"You're playing the best of the best and if you can go to that tourney and shine, it certainly shows what type of player you are," said Smith.

Another member of the Generals to make a statement at the 2015 Memorial Cup was forward Anthony Cirelli, who had to earn his way onto Oshawa at the beginning of the season as a walk on.

Expected to play Junior A at the beginning of the year, Cirelli wound up the Memorial Cup hero by scoring both goals against Kelowna.

Cirelli's efforts through the season, and an overtime winner for the national crown, helped him up to No. 67 on the NHL Central Scouting rankings heading into the 2015 draft. He was selected in the third round by the Tampa Bay Lightning and signed a three-year entry-level contract on Thursday.

"It's unbelievable to be a part of something like that. . .the whole country and junior hockey is watching, no more (other) juniors to scout," said Smith.

"It's special because you started in August and you know how hard you worked to get there."

London's eight draft-eligible players at the Memorial Cup are defencemen Brandon Crawley, Olli Juolevi, Nicolas Mattinen and Victor Mete, forwards Cliff Pu, Max Jones and Matthew Tkachuk and goaltender Tyler Parsons.

Rouyn-Noranda defenceman Jacob Neveau is eligible while Brandon has defenceman Kale Clague and forward Tanner Kaspick. The host Rebels have four eligible players, defenceman Colton Bobyk, forwards Jeffrey De Wit and Brandon Hagel and goalie Rylan Toth.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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