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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fallout from Five Nations: What we're hearing

Every year, players rise and fall based on the 5 Nations Cup in February.

It's the one major under-18 tourney that showcases many draft eligibles from hockey powers USA, Russia, Sweden, Finland and Czech Republic before the April under-18 championship series.

One player not available for scouts this time around was Czech power forward Dmitri Jaskin, who is still recovering from knee surgery and was held out of the tournament. A shame because folks really wanted to get a look at him. He'll have a shot to elevate his stock when he returns to action and in the April under-18s, but this one would have been a good showcase.

Exchanged an email with a strong scouting source today, and got a few general observations about the 5 Nations that will post here for some thought.

Also, as mentioned previously, American Rocco Grimaldi did a lot for his own stock, scoring five goals in the first two games and showing the skill and moxie that should offset his lack of size. He's been the U.S. Under-18 team's top scorer all season, and he looked like it, even though he finished second in the tourney to teammate Reid Boucher (10 points) who led the way offensively.

Another player who raised his stock was Swedish offensive defenseman Oscar Klefbom, who missed time due to flu, but stood out in his limited chance to impress according to reports. A very good skater and puck mover who can advance the puck on his own, he's also got very nice size at 6-3, 200 pounds with room to grow.

A pair of Swedes who did not help themselves a great deal reportedly were Victor Rask, who continues to struggle after immense expectations coming into the season, and defenseman Jonas Brodin.

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