Chicago, IL –Yesterday the Canadian Hockey League’s Memorial Cup tournament got underway with a good match-up for Blackhawks fans. The game between the favorite St. John Sea Dogs and Windsor Spitfires featured three Hawks prospects.
For the Sea Dogs 1st line center Matthew Highmore who the Hawks recently signed as a free agent and third line center Nathan Noel were featured. On the opposing Spitfires side was 2015 2nd round draft pick Graham Knott.
I have to admit I really enjoyed this game. Thank you NHL Network for showing the Canadian Sportsnet feed. I wasn’t the only one enjoying the game in the house was Connor McDavid. McDavid the former Erie Otter seemed to enjoy the game.
This was the first time I actually got to see Highmore and Noel and let me just say I was impressed with these kids speed and two-way play. I can’t wait to see them live. Highmore controls the play well in the offensive zone but what really impressed me was he was very defensively responsible.
He had a glorious opportunity where he stole the puck from a defender in the offensive zone and took it to the net he just could not get it past the goalie. He also had another chance put couldn’t get the puck under control and missed a wide open net that would’ve tied the game.
Highmore went 13 or 24 in the face-off circle which anytime your over 50% you’re doing pretty well.
Nathan Noel oh my that boy is fierce he is a human fireball. He reminded me of Andrew Shaw how he battled along the boards and he has no regard for his body as he flings it into the boards and opposition.
This kid has speed to burn as well. He is fast and all over the ice. Like Highmore he is also a very good two-way player which coach Quenneville will be thrilled with. What the Blackhawks will like as well is Noel can play both sides of special teams penalty kill as well as power play.
He also scored a goal on the power play from about 25 ft. out. Noel is more of a set up man as you can tell his passing and on ice vision are very good for a young player.
Noel also did very well in the face-off circles he went a remarkable 10 for 13 or 73% Yeah alrighty kid you keep doing that I bet you will see ice-time in the NHL.
Now the host Windsor Spitfires pretty much dominated the game and ended up winning 3-2 as they survived the Sea Dogs late game heroics. Graham Knott gave me the best laugh of the game.
He snuck up on the Sea Dogs on ice huddle to hear what they were saying late in the game much to the displeasure of the Sea Dogs. Oh Graham you are special I see HA.
Seriously Graham Knott is a power forward in every sense of the words. He is big, strong and does skate with a powerful stride. He has a very long reach and uses his long reach well to dig out pucks in the boards.
He likes to get to the middle of the ice slot area, smart guy. He plays very physically and is like a one man wrecking ball. He has the type of size that again the Hawks are sorely lacking.
All in all I thought all of the Blackhawks prospects were very good and very involved in plays and noticeable on the ice. If you get a chance to tune into these games I would suggest doing so as this is the future of the Hawks.
Tomorrow I will have another recap on the Erie Otters game which is currently going on against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Alex DeBrincat already has a goal in the game. I will also finish up the IIHF Men’s Worlds with Artemi Panarin of Russia going for Bronze and Marcus Kruger of Sweden going for Gold.