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Byfield among players to watch at 2019 CIBC Canada Russia Series

Forward projected to be top-five pick in 2020 NHL Draft, reminds scouts of Matthews, Scheifele

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

Quinton Byfield, expected to be a top-five pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, is one of seven players to receive A ratings in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list who will play in the 2019 CIBC Canada Russia Series.

The six-game series features two games each between Russia and teams representing the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League, and is part of the selection process for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Byfield, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound center, is third in the OHL with 33 points (12 goals, 21 assists) in 18 games with Sudbury. 

Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr compared Byfield's skill and maturity to Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews.

"He's got all the qualities, he's got a good head on his shoulders, he's grounded," Marr said. "He earns his ice time like everybody else. … He definitely is one of those players, he's worth the price of admission."

Byfield will play for the OHL at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium in Kitchener, Ontario on Nov. 7 and Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario on Nov. 11.

Other top draft prospects who will play for the OHL are Erie defenseman Jamie Drysdale and Saginaw forward Cole Perfetti.

Alexis Lafreniere, projected to be the No. 1 pick of the 2020 Draft, will miss the two games for the QMJHL because of a lower-body injury. The games will be played at TD Station in Saint John, New Brunswick on Monday and Avenir Centre in Moncton, New Brunswick on Tuesday.

Chicoutimi forward Hendrix Lapierre, another A-rated player, also will not play in the two QMJHL games because of injury.

Top 2020 Draft prospects to watch in the QMJHL games are Saint John defenseman Jeremie Poirier and Halifax defenseman Justin Barron.

Brandon defenseman Braden Schneider will play for the WHL in games at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Nov. 13 and Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on Nov. 14. 

Among the top prospects for Russia is left wing Rodion Amirov, who has three points (one goal, two assists) in three games for Ufa in Russia's junior league.

The games also will feature 13 players selected in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft, including top-10 selections in forward Kirby Dach (No. 3, Chicago Blackhawks), defenseman Bowen Byram (No. 4, Colorado Avalanche) and forward Dylan Cozens (No. 7, Buffalo Sabres), each of whom will play for the WHL, and forward Vasily Podkolzin (No. 10, Vancouver Canucks) who will play for Russia.


GOALTENDERS: Alexis Gravel, Halifax (Chicago Blackhawks); Olivier Rodrigue, Moncton (Edmonton Oilers)

DEFENSEMEN: Justin Barron, Halifax (2020 draft eligible); Justin Bergeron, Rouyn-Noranda (2020 draft eligible); Samuel Bolduc, Blainville-Boisbriand (New York Islanders); Xavier Bouchard, Baie-Comeau (Vegas Golden Knights); *Lukas Cormier, Charlottetown (2020 draft eligible); Maxence Guenette, Val-d'Or (Ottawa Senators); *Jared McIsaac, Halifax (Detroit Red Wings); Christopher Merisier-Ortiz, Baie-Comeau (2020 draft eligible); Jeremie Poirier, Saint John (2020 draft eligible); Jordan Spence, Moncton (Los Angeles Kings)

FORWARDS: Alex Beaucage, Rouyn-Noranda (Colorado Avalanche); Mavrik Bourque, Shawinigan (2020 draft eligible); Shawn Element, Acadie-Bathurst (2020 draft eligible); Gabriel Fortier, Baie-Comeau (Tampa Bay Lightning); Ryan Francis, Cape Breton (2020 draft eligible); Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Halifax (Anaheim Ducks); Samuel Houde, Chicoutimi (Montreal Canadiens); *Mathias Laferriere, Cape Breton (St. Louis Blues); *Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski (2020 draft eligible); *Hendrix Lapierre, Chicoutimi (2020 draft eligible); Raphael Lavoie, Halifax (Edmonton Oilers); Nathan Legare, Baie-Comeau (Pittsburgh Penguins); Dawson Mercer, Drummondville (2020 draft eligible); Jakob Pelletier, Moncton (Calgary Flames); Samuel Poulin, Sherbrooke (Pittsburgh Penguins); Xavier Simoneau, Drummondville (2020 draft eligible)

*- injured, will not participate


GOALTENDERS: ^Cedrick Andree, Ottawa (2020 draft eligible); ^Nicolas Daws, Guelph (2020 draft eligible); *Jacob Ingham, Kitchener (Los Angeles Kings); ^^Hunter Jones, Peterborough (Minnesota Wild); ^^Jordan Kooy, Sarnia (Vegas Golden Knights)

DEFENSEMEN: Kevin Bahl, Ottawa (Arizona Coyotes); ^^Declan Chisholm, Peterborough (Winnipeg Jets); Jamie Drysdale, Erie (2020 draft eligible); Thomas Harley, Mississauga (Dallas Stars); Ryan Merkley, London (San Jose Sharks); ^Ryan O'Rourke, Sault Ste. Marie (2020 draft eligible); Tyler Tucker, Barrie (St. Louis Blues)

FORWARDS: Quinton Byfield, Sudbury (2020 draft eligible); *Graeme Clarke, Ottawa (New Jersey Devils); ^Riley Damiani, Kitchener (Dallas Stars); Ty Dellandrea, Flint (Dallas Stars); Aidan Dudas, Owen Sound (Los Angeles Kings); Liam Foudy, London (Columbus Blue Jackets); ^Damien Giroux, Saginaw (Minnesota Wild); Cameron Hillis, Guelph (Montreal Canadiens); Connor McMichael, London (Washington Capitals); ^^Allan McShane, Oshawa (Montreal Canadiens); Serron Noel, Oshawa (Florida Panthers); Cole Perfetti, Saginaw (2020 draft eligible); ^^Jamieson Rees, Sarnia (Carolina Hurricanes); *Ryan Suzuki, Barrie (Carolina Hurricanes); Akil Thomas, Niagara (Los Angeles Kings); Philip Tomasino, Niagara (Nashville Predators)

*- injured, will not participate
^-Kitchener game only
^^-London game only


GOALTENDERS: Joel Hofer, Portland (St. Louis Blues); Nolan Maier, Saskatoon (2020 draft eligible)

DEFENSEMEN: Calen Addison, Lethbridge (Pittsburgh Penguins); Bowen Byram, Vancouver (Colorado Avalanche); Kaedan Korczak, Kelowna (Vegas Golden Knights); Braden Schneider, Brandon (2020 draft eligible); Ty Smith, Spokane (New Jersey Devils); Jett Woo, Calgary (Vancouver Canucks)

FORWARDS: Adam Beckman, Spokane (Minnesota Wild); Luka Burzan, Brandon (Colorado Avalanche); Ryan Chyzowski, Medicine Hat (2020 draft eligible); Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge (Buffalo Sabres); Kirby Dach, Saskatoon (Chicago Blackhawks); Carson Focht, Calgary (Vancouver Canucks); Cole Fonstad, Everett (Montreal Canadiens); Nolan Foote, Kelowna (Tampa Bay Lightning); Dillon Hamaliuk, Kelowna (San Jose Sharks); Peyton Krebs, Winnipeg (Vegas Golden Knights); Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw (Anaheim Ducks); Connor Zary, Kamloops (2020 draft eligible)


GOALTENDERS: Daniil Isayev, Yaroslavl, RUS (2020 draft eligible); Amir Miftakhov Bars Kazan, RUS-2 (2020 draft eligible); Gleb Nosov, Magnitogorsk 2, RUS-JR (2020 draft eligible)

DEFENSEMEN: Gleb Babintsev, Magnitogorsk 2, RUS-JR (2020 draft eligible); Anton Malyshev, Yaroslavl 2, RUS-JR (2020 draft eligible); Stepan Ostrovsky, Vladivostok, RUS (2020 draft eligible); Daniil Pylenkov, Podolsk, RUS (2020 draft eligible); Sergei Telegin, Khanty-Mansiysk 2, RUS-JR (2020 draft eligible); Mikhail Gordeyev, Sochi, RUS (2020 draft eligible); ++Nikita Okhotyuk, Ottawa, OHL (New Jersey Devils); Daniil Valitov, Yekaterinburg, RUS (2020 draft eligible); +++Egor Zamula, Calgary, WHL (Philadelphia Flyers); Nikita Zorkin, SKA St. Petersburg 2, RUS-JR (2020 draft eligible)

FORWARDS: ++Egor Afanasyev, Windsor, OHL (Nashville Predators); +Nikita Alexandrov, Charlottetown, QMJHL (St. Louis Blues); Rodion Amirov, Ufa, RUS (2020 draft eligible); Maxim Groshev, Nizhnekamsk, RUS (2020 draft eligible); +Alexander Khovanov, Moncton, QMJHL (Minnesota Wild); Lev Komissarov, Chekhov, RUS-2 (2020 draft eligible); Ilya Kruglov, Dynamo Moscow 2, RUS-JR (2020 draft eligible); Vladislav Mikhailov, Dynamo Moscow 2, RUS-JR (2020 draft eligible); Ivan Morozov, Neva St. Petersburg, RUS-2 (Vegas Golden Knights); Vasily Podkolzin, St. Petersburg, RUS (Vancouver Canucks); Pavel Rotenberg, Dynamo St. Petersburg, RUS-2 (2020 draft eligible); Nikita Rtishchev, CSKA, RUS (2020 draft eligible); Danil Savunov, Neva St. Petersburg, RUS-2 (Arizona Coyotes); Zakhar Shablovsky, Voskresensk, RUS-2 (2020 draft eligible); +Egor Sokolov, Cape Breton, QMJHL (2020 draft eligible); Maxim Sorkin, Chekov, RUS-2 (2020 draft eligible); Yegor Stepanov, Chelmet, RUS-2 (2020 draft eligible); +Dmitry Zavgorodniy, Rimouski, QMJHL (Calgary Flames)

+- QMJHL games only
++- OHL games only
+++- WHL games only


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