One thing's for sure, there was certainly plenty of excitement in Kitchener this weekend.
First there was the news of two-time Team USA World Junior Championship participant Jerry D'Amigo, who last Thursday was assigned by the Toronto Maple Leafs back to Kitchener, the team that chose him in the 12th round of the 2007 OHL Priority Selection. D'Amigo had signed a three-year entry level contract with the Leafs in August, 2010, after being selected by the team in the sixth round (No. 158 overall) in 2009.
On Friday, Kitchener coach Steve Spott confirmed that Rangers' captain Gabriel Landeskog, the No. 1-rated North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting's mid-term report on Jan. 10, would make his triumphant return to the lineup against the Plymouth Whalers following a 15-game absence due to a severe ankle sprain.
D'Amigo and Landeskog played on a line together in a 6-3 victory over Plymouth on Friday. D'Amigo notched a goal and one assist and Landeskog chipped in with one assist in his first game back. In Sunday's 4-2 victory over Sault Ste. Marie, D'Amigo was named the game's first star after collecting a goal and one assist once again.
While Landeskog is back in the lineup, another top-tier 2011 draft-eligible prospect, Adam Larsson of the Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League, will likely remain sidelined for precautionary measures until Feb. 17. Larsson, No. 1-ranked player on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term list of the top draft-eligible European players, is suffering from a groin injury that has apparently hampered Larsson all season. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound blue liner has been out of the lineup since the completion of the World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., on Jan. 5.
The top draft-eligible Russian available in the upcoming Draft might just be Vladislav Namestnikov of the London Knights (OHL). Namestnkiov, whose father, Evgeny, and uncle, Slava Kozlov, were former NHLers, has every intention of perfecting his game in North America. Read his story here.
In case you missed it, NHL.com's Adam Kimelman featured goalie Liam Liston of the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) on Friday. Liston, the only goalie to stop every shot faced (18) in the Top Prospects Game at Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Jan. 19, is ranked No. 4 among domestic goalies by Central Scouting.