It is one thing to compete night in and night out against some of the best junior prospects in Canada, but quite another to do so against some of the best NHL hopefuls across the world.
Fortunately for five Lightning prospects, they’ll get the chance to do just that.
Forward Cedric Paquette, defenseman Slater Koekkoek and goaltender Andrei Vasilevski – all selected by the Lightning in this past summer’s NHL Entry Draft – as well as defensemen Nikita Nesterov and Artem Sergeev will play in the 2012 Subway Super Series between Canada and Russia, which kicks off November 5 and runs through November 15.
The Subway Super Series features regional teams of CHL All-Stars competing against the Russian National Junior Team in a six-game event serving as an integral part of the identification process for Team Canada prior to the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
For this year’s tournament, Koekkoek will represent the OHL, while Paquette will suit up for the QMJHL. Vasilevski, Nesterov and Sergeev, meanwhile, will all represent Russia.
Selected by a pair of general managers from each of the Canadian junior leagues, as well as an executive from Hockey Canada, each of the Lightning prospects was highly regarded, and for good reason.
As of Monday, Koekkoek had recorded two goals and 11 points in 14 games, while Paquette had registered seven goals and 17 points in 15 games played. Sergeev, meanwhile, had three goals and 12 points to his name through 15 games, and in Russia, Vasilevski bumped his record in goal to 14-5-0-1 with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. Nesterov had not recorded any points, but nevertheless was a plus-4 through 15 games.
Each will now get his chance sooner rather than later to shine on the international stage, as the OHL hosts the middle leg of the six-game series with the first two games hosted by the QMJHL, and the final two games played in the WHL.
Last season the CHL prevailed with their eighth series win in nine years of this event earning a 10-8 victory in points which included three regulation wins, two losses, and one defeat by shootout.