Some of the next generation of NHL stars will be on display over the coming two weeks during the Canadian Hockey League's Subway Super Series games.
The six-game series features the best junior-age players from Team Russia facing all-star teams from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. Beside national pride, players also will be competing for spots on the Canadian and Russian teams that will play in the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Team Russia's two games against Team QMJHL will be shown live starting at 7 p.m. ET on the NHL Network in the United States and Sportsnet in Canada.
The series starts Monday with Team Russia facing Team QMJHL in Blainville, Quebec. Among those skating for Team QMJHL is Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon, believed by some scouts to be the best player available in the 2013 NHL Draft class.
SUBWAY SUPER SERIES SCHEDULE
- Game 1 -- Nov. 5 at Blainville-Boisbriand, Que.
- Game 2 -- Nov. 7 at Val-d’Or, Que.
- Game 3 -- Nov. 8 at Guelph, Ont.
- Game 4 -- Nov. 12 at Sarnia, Ont.
- Game 5 -- Nov. 14 at Vancouver, B.C.
- Game 6 -- Nov. 15 at Victoria, B.C.
A 6-foot, 182-pound center, MacKinnon is tied for the QMJHL lead with 18 goals, and his 30 points place him sixth.
"His skill level with the quickness with which he can execute, read and react -- there aren't many players who can do that," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said.
MacKinnon is one of a number of high-end draft prospects skating for Team QMJHL in games that will be played Monday in Blainville and Wednesday in Val-d'Or, Quebec. Two other players who received A ratings in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of players to watch for this year's draft will be playing in the games: Val-d'Or Foreurs left wing Anthony Mantha and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles center William Carrier. Mantha is fourth in the QMJHL with 17 goals, while Carrier has 28 points in 18 games.
Two other A-rated players were scheduled to play but are unlikely to be active. Halifax forward Jonathan Drouin has been ruled out due to a foot injury, and goalie and Mooseheads teammate Zachary Fucale won't play Monday but could get into Wednesday's game in Val-d'Or.
For Team Russia, the marquee names are forwards Nail Yakupov, the first pick of the 2012 draft (Edmonton Oilers), and Mikhail Grigorenko, the 12th pick (Buffalo Sabres). Grigorenko also skates in the QMJHL for the Quebec Remparts.
Among 2013 draft candidates, Valentin Zykov also will be a recognizable name; he plays in the QMJHL for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. He leads all first-year QMJHL players with 11 goals and is second with 20 points.