In partnership with Kubota Canada, the Canadian Hockey League is unveiling an 11-part series recounting past CHL/NHL Top Prospects Games, reminiscing about the most memorable moments and highlighting those players who went on to successful NHL careers. The Top Prospects Memories series also features the rebroadcast of showcase games from 2010-20 streaming here between September 10 and October 5.
With top ranked Nail Yakupov and a host of other projected early selections like Alex Galchenyuk and Morgan Rielly on the sidelines due to injury, the 2012 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game was an opportunity to shine a light on some other highly touted up-and-comers.
Played before a packed crowd in Kelowna, where British Columbia hockey heroes and CHL graduates in Mark Recchi and Pat Quinn served as guest coaches, the two sides played to a tightly knit affair that ultimately culminated in a 2-1 final for Team Orr.
Leading the scoring charge for the winning side was Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings) and Branden Troock (Seattle Thunderbirds), with the latter earning Player of the Game recognition for Team Orr, while Dillon Fournier (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) picked up the lone goal for the opposition.
Also of note from the early February contest was the performance of Soo Greyhounds netminder Matt Murray, who turned aside 17 of 18 shots in nearly 30 minutes of action and was later presented with the Player of the Game Award for Team Cherry. Only months later, Murray was selected in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins and later became the first goaltender in NHL history to twice win the Stanley Cup while still holding rookie eligibility.
In all, 37 participants from the 2012 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game heard their name called on draft day, including 10 players in the opening round led by budding blue-liner Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips who went second overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets after captaining Team Cherry at the prospects showdown.
2012 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Picks:
2. Ryan Murray (Everett Silvertips) – Columbus Blue Jackets*
4. Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings) – New York Islanders*
7. Mathew Dumba (Red Deer Rebels) – Minnesota Wild*
8. Derrick Pouliot (Portland Winterhawks) – Pittsburgh Penguins*
12. Mikhail Grigorenko (Quebec Remparts) – Buffalo Sabres*
13. Radek Faksa (Kitchener Rangers) – Dallas Stars*
16. Thomas Wilson (Plymouth Whalers) – Washington Capitals*
20. Scott Laughton (Oshawa Generals) – Philadelphia Flyers*
26. Brendan Gaunce (Belleville Bulls) – Vancouver Canucks*
30. Tanner Pearson (Barrie Colts) – Los Angeles Kings*
35. Matt Finn (Guelph Storm) – Toronto Maple Leafs
39. Lukas Sutter (Saskatoon Blades) – Winnipeg Jets
46. Raphael Bussieres (Baie-Comeau Drakkar) – Minnesota Wild
48. Dillon Fournier (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) – Chicago Blackhawks
49. Martin Frk (Halifax Mooseheads) – Detroit Red Wings*
50. Colton Sissons (Kelowna Rockets) – Nashville Predators*
51. Dalton Thrower (Saskatoon Blades) – Montreal Canadiens
54. Mike Winther (Prince Albert Raiders) – Dallas Stars
60. Damon Severson (Kelowna Rockets) – New Jersey Devils*
64. Tim Bozon (Kamloops Blazers) – Montreal Canadiens
65. Adam Pelech (Erie Otters) – New York Islanders*
70. Scott Kosmachuk (Guelph Storm) – Winnipeg Jets*
76. Chris Driedger (Calgary Hitmen) – Ottawa Senators*
77. Chandler Stephenson (Regina Pats) – Washington Capitals*
83. Matthew Murray (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Pittsburgh Penguins*
91. Daniil Zharkov (Belleville Bulls) – Edmonton Oilers
104. Gemel Smith (Owen Sound Attack) – Dallas Stars*
105. Brett Kulak (Vancouver Giants) – Calgary Flames*
110. Andreas Athanasiou (London Knights) – Detroit Red Wings*
134. Branden Troock (Seattle Thunderbirds) – Dallas Stars
146. Francois Tremblay (Val-d’Or Foreurs) – St. Louis Blues
165. Coda Gordon (Swift Current Broncos) – Calgary Flames
171. Tomas Hyka (Gatineau Olympiques) – Los Angeles Kings*
174. Francis Beauvillier (Rimouski Oceanic) – Florida Panthers
182. Gianluca Curcuruto (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Columbus Blue Jackets
191. Brandon Whitney (Victoriaville Tigres) – Chicago Blackhawks
211. Nick Ebert (Windsor Spitfires) – Los Angeles Kings
Seven players originally invited to compete in Kelowna missed the game due to injury but were still selected in the first round including first overall pick Nail Yakupov (Sarnia Sting), third overall pick Alex Galchenyuk (Sarnia Sting), fifth overall pick Morgan Rielly (Moose Jaw Warriors), 10th overall pick Slater Koekkoek (Peterborough Petes), 15th overall pick Cody Ceci (Ottawa 67’s), 22nd overall pick Olli Maatta (London Knights), and 24th overall pick Malcolm Subban (Belleville Bulls).