Four Toronto Maple Leafs prospects will play in the annual series that pits all-star teams from each of the CHL’s three leagues – the QMJHL, OHL and WHL – against a team of top Russian junior players. Each league’s respective squad will play the Russian team in two consecutive games.
The series opened October 18 in Gatineau, Quebec, where the QMJHL team beat the Russians by a score of 3-2. Frederik Gauthier, the Leafs’ first-round pick (21st overall) in the 2013 Draft, played in the first game and is expected to play in the second and final game for his team in Sherbrooke, Quebec tonight. The 6-foot-5, two-way centre has 19 points in 21 games this season for the Rimouski Oceanic, but he wasn’t able to find the score sheet Monday night.
Matt Finn (drafted in the second round in 2012), Connor Brown (drafted in the sixth round of the same year) and Carter Verhaeghe (third round, 2013) will all make appearances for the OHL team in the series. Finn will suit up in the game in Oshawa, Ontario tomorrow night, Verhaeghe will play in the second game on November 25 in Sudbury, Ontario, while Brown is expected to play in both games.
Brown leads all OHL scorers with 46 points in 23 games with the Erie Otters this season. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound right-winger fell in the Draft because of concerns over his size and speed, but he’s shown he has oodles of offensive ability in his two-plus seasons with the Otters. However, it’s a little unclear how much his gaudy offensive numbers are a result of playing alongside 16-year-old wunderkid Connor McDavid, who was also named to the OHL Super Series squad.
Verhaeghe is also making his mark in the OHL scoring race, as he sits fifth with 38 points in 23 games for the Niagara IceDogs. The 18-year-old centre has really stepped up this year to fill the offensive void left behind when Ryan Strome and Brett Ritchie made the jump to the AHL.
Finn, a two-way defenseman, battled a bout of mononucleosis last season, but is putting together a strong 2013-14 campaign for the Guelph Storm. He has 20 points in 21 games and plays all situations for the Storm, where he also serves as team captain. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Leafs yesterday afternoon.
You can see all four prospects live on Sportsnet in Canada and the NHL Network in the United States. All six games begin at 7 PM EST.