August 5-10, 2019
Breclav and Piestany, Czech Republic
The 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup featured several of the top prospects for the upcoming NHL draft. Although many players had a good showing, there were a few that raised their standing in scouts' eyes.
Cole Perfetti, C, Canada, 5-10, 185, DOB 1.1.2002
Cole Perfetti led this tournament in both points (12) and goals (8) in five games played. In the semi-final game versus Sweden he registered five goals, two in regulation time and three in the shootout.
His offensive performance overshadowed his solid defensive game. His lightning speed and pinpoint shot make him a dominant scoring threat every time he touches the puck. Add a shot that he can roof in tight on the goalie on either forehand or backhand and you have the makings of a nightmare for opposing tenders.
Perfetti has many weapons in his arsenal. He is both a skilled and cerebral player. He can take the puck coast to coast beating opponents with his speed or he can weave through high traffic areas with the puck glued to his stick until he sees an opening to snipe top shelf.
Cole Perfetti has added his name to consideration near the top of the 2020 NHL draft. Keep an eye on him this upcoming season with the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL as he will not disappoint.
Vasili Ponomaryov, C, Russia, 6-0, 176, DOB 3.12.2002
Ponomaryov has a complete game. He may have been the best two way player at Hlinka. Through the tournament he finished with six points (2G, 4A) in five contests.
His vision, IQ and playmaking ability make him a threat on the offensive end. A strong backcheck, hard work and skating strength are assets defensively.
Vasili does not usually catch you with gaudy play. He beats his opponents by being fundamentally sound in all areas of his game.
Ponomaryov will be climbing the lists for the upcoming NHL draft during this upcoming season. He will be playing for the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL.
Hendrix Lapierre, C, Canada, 6-0, 165, DOB 2.9.2002
Lapierre is a superior playmaker. He is able create offense in tight spaces with his puckhandling skills.
Lapierre had 11 points (3G, 8A) through five games in the Hlinka Cup. Hendrix may have been the most skilled participant in the tournament.
Lapierre has a good balance of puck handling skills with a powerful skating stride. In combination with his patience, he controls the game and finds his teammates with assists. Hendrix's game will be on display this season with Chicoutimi Saguenéens of the QMJHL.
Ben Schoen, C, USA, 5-7, 146, 5.18.2002
Schoen compensates for his physical size with his speed and elusiveness. His stick handling skills allow him to maintain possession until he can use his excellent vision to hit a teammate with a pass. He contributed three points (2G, 1A) in four games for the Americans.
Schoen's speed and scoring ability will continue draw attention. Watch for him to move up draft boards as his season progresses with the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL.