It's December now, which means you only have so much time to finish your Christmas shopping.
It also means we're less than a month from this year's World Junior Championships.
The annual U-20 tournament has become a huge deal in hockey circles, and it's always fun to follow for those who want to see the future of the game.
A year ago, four Blue Jackets prospects took part in the tournament, including current Blue Jackets forward Emil Bemstrom. Two of those players -- Russian forward Kirill Marchenko and Swiss defenseman Tim Berni -- could return, but another Blue Jackets prospect might be an attractive option as well.
2018 first-round pick Liam Foudy did not get through Team Canada's camp a year ago, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him don his native country's colors this time around. In the first step toward that, Foudy was on the team's camp roster announced Monday.
Foudy has again been one of the top players in the OHL this year, and the London Knights speedster has overcome an early-season injury to become one of the most red-hot players in the league. So far this year, he has 13 goals and 12 assists in 17 games after scoring the overtime winner Sunday in a victory over the Soo Greyhounds.
That ran Foudy's point streak to seven games -- in fact, he has a point in all but one game this year -- and in that span he has six goals and six assists.
As for Marchenko, the 19-year-old has stuck with SKA St. Petersburg and has his first multi-point game with the KHL squad last Monday when he had a goal and an assist in a win over Kunlun Red Star. The 2018 second-round pick has three goals and three assists in his last seven games for SKA.
In an interview with the team website, Marchenko said he's been excited to get on the board for the Russian power. When asked about his first career goal, scored last month, he replied, "She is now in my luggage. I plan to give it to my grandfather and grandmother. They already have my first pucks from the MHL and VHL. They collect all sorts of memorabilia, awards. I take this calmly -- you need to score even more."
Stenlund, MacInnis lead Monsters: The Cleveland Monsters, the top farm affiliate of the Blue Jackets, went 1-2 this past week, but two players are riding high at the moment.
Kevin Stenlund and Ryan MacInnis each ran their personal point streaks to five over the past week, with Stenlund on a 3-2-5 run in that time while MacInnis has six assists in that time frame.
Cleveland won the first game of the week, going to Charlotte and posting a 3-1 win over the Checkers on Tuesday night. It served as the first North American pro win for goalie Elvis Merzlikins, who was sent down from Columbus to Cleveland to make the start and stopped 28 of 29 shots against, one of them spectacularly.
Andrew Peeke's fifth goal of the year started the scoring against former Monsters goalie Anton Forsberg, then Marko Dano scored his first two goals of the season for Cleveland.
That was it for winning on the week, though, as the Checkers came back a night later to claim a 5-2 win. After Charlotte took a 2-0 lead, goals by Adam Clendening and Jakob Lilja tied the score, but the home side scored the last three goals of the game to ice it. Matiss Kivlenieks made 34 saves in the loss.
Cleveland also dropped a 3-2 final Saturday night at home against Rochester. Stenlund and Dillon Simpson each scored and Veini Vehvilainen made 24 saves, but Alex Oglevie's hat trick was the difference.
The Monsters now sit seventh in the stacked North Division of the AHL with an 11-9-1-1 record. They're on the road this week, with a game Wednesday at Laval before two at Belleville on Friday and Saturday.
Karlberg makes SHL debut: One Blue Jackets prospect also had quite an accomplishment this past week as 19-year-old Marcus Karlberg made his debut in Sweden. Karlberg, a third-round pick of the team in 2018, played his first two games with Leksands, finishing without a point.
It's been an up-and-down year for Karlberg, who actually began the season on loan with AIK of the Allsvenskan, the top minor league in Sweden. He's also played 13 games with Leksands' U-20 team, posting 13 points (7-6) in 13 games, before earning the call to the big club.
In addition, here's something we didn't know - apparently, while his name is Marcus, everyone knows him as Mackan.
"Everyone says Mackan, so I hardly respond if someone says something else," he told Leksands' website after making his debut. "Only Grandma says Marcus."