The Canadian Hockey League in association with the host Guelph Storm Hockey Club, and title partner Sherwin-Williams, today announced the 40 players that will compete in the 2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Sleeman Centre on Thursday January 25, 2018.
40 players from across the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Western Hockey League will compete in the 23rd annual showcase of the CHL’s top prospects eligible for the NHL Draft. The 40 CHL players competing in the game were chosen by all 31 NHL clubs and were divided into teams by NHL Central Scouting.
“One of the highlights of the hockey season undoubtedly is the Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game which has been a fixture on the CHL event calendar since 1996,” said CHL President David Branch. “It’s a truly special experience for the players assembled from across the CHL who have the opportunity to showcase their skills before hundreds of NHL scouts and general managers in attendance in addition to the passionate hockey fans in Guelph and for a nationwide audience watching live on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.”
The rosters include all 16 CHL players who received ‘A’ ratings by NHL Central Scouting in their November ‘Players to Watch’ list which features eight projected first round forwards and eight top ranked defencemen.
WHL forwards invited to the game include the likes of Luka Burzan of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Riley Sutter of the Everett Silvertips. Four top-ranked defencemen from the WHL are also headed to the game, including Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs, Alexander Alexeyev of the Red Deer Rebels, plus Jett Woo of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. All nine WHL players invited to the game have been identified by NHL Central Scouting in their ‘Players to Watch’ lists since the beginning of the season.
“As the Official Paint of the CHL, Sherwin-Williams is proud to sponsor the 2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game,” said Lee Diamond, President and General Manager, Sherwin-Williams. “We take great pride in making a difference in the communities we serve and we look forward to celebrating this exciting event alongside these talented players, their families and the fans across Canada.”
28 of the CHL’s 60 member clubs are represented on the rosters led by 16 OHL players from 10 different teams, 15 QMJHL players from 10 teams, and nine WHL players from eight different teams. Moose Jaw is the lone WHL club sending a pair of players to the game while the Eastern Conference will send five players to the game compared to the four by the Western Conference.
“Best-on-best competition is a valuable way to evaluate talent and that’s exactly what the Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game provides,” said NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr. “NHL scouts and general managers will have the unique opportunity to see many of the top CHL players for the 2018 NHL Draft showcase their abilities in a competitive environment.”
All 14 CHL players chosen in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft competed in last year’s game played in Quebec including first overall pick Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads who captained Team Orr opposite Team Cherry who was led by captain Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings selected second overall in June. In 22 years, a total of 307 CHL players from this event have been chosen by NHL clubs in the first round of the NHL Draft representing close to 47% of all players selected.
Since the event was first introduced in 1996 the game has featured 14 players selected with the first overall pick in the NHL Draft including Hischier, Connor McDavid, Aaron Ekblad, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane, Marc-Andre Fleury, Rick Nash, Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Thornton, and Chris Phillips.
Team Cherry and Team Orr will be assigned at a later date with coaching staffs along with captains and alternates still to be announced.