Habs prospects at the National Juniors Evaluation Camp

Jacob De La Rose hugs his goaltender following Sweden's only loss of the tournament. - Bruce Bennett

The National Juniors Evaluation Camp is over, so it's time to give some final evaluations on the Habs' prospects that were in attendance.

Artturi Lehkonen

Lehkonen was the big eye-catcher of the NJEC, scoring five goals and adding an assist in five games played. He scored two more goals than any other player in the tournament, and developed instantaneous chemistry with Chicago's Teuvo Teravainen, who was the tournament point leader and the best player in attendance according to attendees. Lehkonen's six points put him at second in the tournament, and the electrifying Finn got Canadiens fans excited about his future.

Sebastian Collberg

Collberg really can't catch a break. He barely gets ice time for two years in the SHL, then as the most dominant player on the Swedish team, he gets injured in his second and can't strut his stuff like he's able to. Collberg may have actually been the Habs' most impressive player in the tournament as not only did he wrack up four points in two games (one and a half actually), but he also played a versatile role for Sweden, including shorthanded minutes. Collberg's injury wasn't serious, but because he's a lock for the team he was given the remaining games off as to not aggravate the injury.

Jacob De La Rose

Not talked about much in our reports throughout the tournament, but we probably should have. De La Rose drew rave reviews from scouts at the tournament for his two-way play, his physicality, his leadership, and his playmaking. With two goals and two assists in five games, De La Rose finished tied for 4th in the tournament in scoring, which is pretty impressive considering the hesitancy of many scouts to project him as an offensive contributor. De La Rose played heavy minutes on the penalty kill, and was relied on in every situation. It was a very impressive showing from the young Swede who can play anywhere in the top-9 when asked.

Zachary Fucale

It's tough to put too much emphasis on Fucale because he did play just a single game, but in that game he was impressive. His .927 save percentage on 41 shots faced is impressive on the face of it, but he also did it against the tournament's best team in Sweden, handing them their only loss. He tied for first in save percentage in the tournament. He was Canada's best starter, narrowly edging out Eric Comrie and decimating Jake Paterson.

Michael McCarron

McCarron had an up and down tournament for the USA, drawing a fair amount of criticism in his first game on the offensive side of the puck, then being hailed as the player of the game in his second appearance after a two-point effort (a goal and assist) and dominating puck battles all game long. In his third game he went pointless again, but seemed to be in the middle of the pack and even get some kudos for his solid play away from the puck. It's not clear if he's going to make Team USA for the World Juniors so far, he's the only one in this group that doesn't seem like a lock.

Charles Hudon

Tough to judge Hudon really as he's still suffering from a lingering back injury that occurred during the pre-tournament games in December of 2012. He relinquished his spot on Team Canada to help them have a healthy roster for the tournament last year, but continued to play for Chicoutimi after a short rest. Hudon drew into just one game and seemed to play okay, but he didn't flash the high-end skill that we're used to seeing. For Hudon, getting healthy is going to be priority number one. If he's still bothered by this injury when the World Juniors come around, don't be surprised if he isn't named to the team.


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