Prospects News & Rumors: Chlapík, Toropchenko, USA Hockey & More

The Ottawa Senators loan a former second-round pick to the Czech Extraliga, the St. Louis Blues loan another Russian prospect to the KHL, and USA Hockey announces their 2021 National Junior Team Evaluation Camp roster.

Senators Loan Chlapík To Czech Republic

The Senators have loaned Czech forward Filip Chlapík to HC Sparta Praha in the Czech Extraliga. Drafted 48th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, he split the 2019-20 season between the NHL and the American Hockey League. He amassed 10 goals and 22 points in 37 games played with the Belleville Senators, and three goals and six points in 31 games in the NHL with Ottawa.

Chlapík is a pending restricted free agent, so he’ll be using this opportunity to earn a qualifying offer once they’re due next week. It’s expected that the Senators will extend him an offer once eligible. He is currently paying his own way to play in the Czech Republic for the next month and is doing so at his own risk.

“I’m a little against [Ottawa’s] wishes. We agreed that, if I don’t have a contract, I go to the Czech Republic at my own risk. This clarified the whole situation.”

from ‘Another Senators prospect will play overseas as Filip Chlapik signs to play in Prague’ Ottawa Sun, 09/29/2020)

It’ll be a familiar destination for Chlapík considering he played for HC Sparta Praha’s U18 and U20 teams during the 2013-14 season. Once he signs a new contract with the Senators he is expected to return to the team and challenge for a roster spot during the 2020-21 season.

Blues Loan Toropchenko To KHL

After loaning Klim Kostin to the KHL last week, the St. Louis Blues have opted to send another one of their prospects to Russia. Alexei Toropchenko has been assigned to HC Kunlun Red Star for the start of their 2020-21 season. Drafted 113th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, he played his first season of professional hockey during the 2019-20 season with the San Antonio Rampage in the AHL. He managed to amass five goals and nine points in 59 games played. Toropchenko heads back to Russia for the first time since the 2016-17 season when he was playing for HK MVD Balashikha in Russia’s junior hockey league the MHL.

He’ll get some valuable playing time to prepare for his second professional season in 2020-21. He’s got a long way to go to make his NHL debut, but starting off in arguably the second-best league in the world doesn’t hurt his development. He will be able to return for training camp and will be eligible to play in the NHL in the 2020-21 season.

USA Hockey Announces 2021 Evaluation Camp Roster

On Tuesday, USA Hockey released their 2021 National Junior Team Evaluation Camp roster for the 2021 World Junior Championship. They will host the camp immediately following the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and will run from Oct. 8-13. As expected, it will not be open to fans or members of the media. The roster notably omits the likes of Trevor Zegras and Alex Turcotte, likely because they’ve signed their NHL contracts and the risk isn’t worth it currently for them to attend.

We’re excited to bring together our top players as we prepare for the upcoming World Junior Championship. We’ve worked with our medical professionals to put protocols in place to help in successfully running our camp and I know our players are excited about the chance to overcome all of the obstacles and challenge for a gold medal.

John Vanbiesbrouck – General manager of the U.S. National Junior Team

The roster features many of the top Americans eligible for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, including Jake Sanderson, Brendan Brisson, Thomas Bordeleau and Sam Colangelo, among others. Montreal Canadians prospect Cole Caufield and Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight highlight the returning crop from the 2020 World Junior Championship. 2021 draft-eligible prospect Matthew Beniers is attracting a lot of attention heading into the camp.

Prospect of the Day – Luke Tuch

For today’s prospect, take a look at one of those 39 players who were invited to USA Hockey’s Evaluation Camp, Luke Tuch. NHL Central Scouting has Tuch ranked 40th among North American skaters. In his final rankings, THW’s Larry Fisher ranked him 53rd among all players.

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The upstate New York native played for the U.S. National U18 Team during the 2019-20 season. He amassed 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points in 47 games played. He also represented the USNTDP Juniors in the USHL where he posted eight goals and 14 points in 19 games played. He finished fourth in team scoring, trailing only Thomas Bordeleau, Brett Berard, and Beniers.

The younger brother of Vegas Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch, Luke plays a similar style to his sibling. At 6-foot-2 and 203 pounds, he has all the makings to be an effective power forward. He’s got good speed for his size and has exceptional balance which helps when protecting the puck and engaging in board battles. He’s a well-rounded player with a good shot, smart first pass and a sound defensive game.

Luke Tuch USNTDP
Luke Tuch, USA NTDP (Credit: Rena Laverty)

Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting had this to say about Tuch’s game.

[Luke Tuch] plays a physical power-forward game with smarts, skills and competitiveness. He plays a similar style as older brother Alex in that they both get results by playing the game the correct way and don’t take any short cuts. They give all they have when on the ice.

Tuch is committed to Boston University for the 2020-21 season, and if he can actually get some playing time in the NCAA than it will be good for his development. I would like to see how his offense translates to the college level, but I still think he can be, at the very least, an effective middle-six contributor in the NHL. His size, well-rounded game, and skating ability all make him a safe option come draft day. Look for him to go somewhere in the second or third round.

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