The Olympic Men’s Hockey didn’t begin the way Peter Cehlarik and his Slovakian teammates had hoped. Slovakia lost its opening game on Thursday morning 6-2 against the Finns. Cehlarik finished a minus-2 in the contest with no points. It’s no surprise though that he led all forwards in time on ice with 18:49.
On Thursday Slovakia lost 4-1, this time to the Swedes. Cehlarik had the same stat line as the previous night and once again led all Slovakian forwards in ice time with 21:14 TOI. It’s not difficult to see who the Slovakian coaching staff has the faith in.
On Sunday, Cehlarik scored to put Slovakia up 2-1 in the round robin finale and the Slovaks never looked back on route to a 5-2 victory. Cehlarik finished the contest with 18:01 TOI, second among forwards. He also led his team with 6 shots on goal, twice as many as his closest teammate.
Yours truly spent some quality time talking to people in the hockey circle this weekend. One particular conversation revolved around John Beecher and I was told his intention to turn pro at the end of the NCAA Hockey Season. So, what are the options?
Beecher would have to inform the NHL that he is no longer a bona-fide student and then he is free to sign a contract. That could come in the form of an AHL contract to finish out the season with the Providence Bruins. It would be the same deal the Bruins signed Charlie McAvoy too when he decided to turn pro.
Beecher could also sign his Entry Level Contract and still finish out the season in Providence and play a game with the big club to burn a year off his ELC. But that is something teams do to lure free agent college players. I don’t see that as an option here. The McAvoy situation was different because the Bruins had a depleted blueline and needed his services in the playoffs.
We all know Beecher is a world class skater with great size and that those type of players don’t grow on trees. There is a term some NHL team development staff use that the regular hockey fan doesn’t hear about and that is speed differential. That is comparing one player’s speed to another in all aspects, be it first step, top speed, separation and so on. One may think that it is not quantifiable, but in today’s game, it is.
In the NCAA Beecher’s speed differential is among the best in the country and when size is taken into consideration he is at the top of the list. But there is no way to quantify how that will translate to the NHL where the game is faster and the players are bigger. However, all indications are that there should be absolutely no issues there.
The Bruins selected Beecher with the 30th pick at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. He has never been a major point producer and at this point he will be hard pressed to match his career best 16 points in 31 games with the University of Michigan in the Big-10. That has some Bruins questioning the pick “because there were better options available.”
I know fans focus more on the negative because that burns their butts. At this point, we should be focusing on the positives and hoping that those aspects are further developed and then the Bruins can work with him in areas that need improving.
Beecher’s size, speed and engine all point to him having a long career in the NHL even if only on the third or fourth lines, on the wing or in the middle. Every team needs that type of player who can cause havoc on the forecheck, transition with speed, create opportunities with that speed, drive the net or be a huge net front guy, kill penalties and so on. The Bruins appear to have one here.
Beecher has and never been known to be a massive point producer and I think to expect that to all of a sudden be a part of his game isn’t doing anyone any favors. I think he lacks the skill set and vision to be a big point producer – but that’s just me.
That said, the Bruins player development staff of Jammie Langenbrunner, Adam McQuaid and skills and skating coach Kim Brandvold will have an opportunity to work with Beecher regularly whereas that opportunity doesn’t really exist when he’s playing NCAA Hockey. (BTW when you have time, I urge you to listen to this podcast with Brandvold. There is a lot to learn there.) That should benefit Beecher in the short term and long term.
I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops in the next phase of his journey.
Providence Bruins Player Stats
Providence Bruins Goalie Stats
Maine Mariners Stats
Coming up this week:
This week we will see a head-to-head matchup between Mason Lohrei and John Beecher twice as Ohio State visits Michigan on Friday and Saturday.
Cehlarik and Slovakia play Germany tonight (Monday) in the qualification round. The winner gets to meet Team USA in the Quarterfinals.
|ARNESSON||At Vax||At LIN|
|MANTYKIVI||At SPO||At JUK|
|JELLVIK||At MOR||Vs ORE||Vs VAS|
|GASSEAU||Vs S C||Vs S C|
|LANGENBRUNNER||Vs S C||Vs S C|
|KUNTAR||At HAR||At N E||Vs N E|
|BEECHER||Vs O S||Vs O S|
|LOHREI||At MI||At MI|
|SCHMALTZ||At M-D||At M-D|
|DURAN||At M-L||Vs M-L|
|OLSON||Vs N D||Vs N D|
|MCFAUL||At CGT||At COR|
|GALLAGHER||Vs N E|
|HARRISON||At HAM||Vs NIA||At BAR|
|MAST||At KIT||Vs KIT||At SAG|
|LYSELL||Vs VIC||Vs KAM|
|SVEDEBACK||Vs MAD||Vs USA|
AROUND THE GLOBE
Fabian Lysell ended a 3-game pointless streak and scored in back-to-back games last week with the first one being the game winner. Somewhat surprisingly, the Vancouver Giants used Lysell on his off wing last week and he even spent some time in the middle and took some key faceoffs going 7 for 18 on the dot. Until last week, he averaged less than one faceoff per game for Vancouver. It’s becoming increasingly evident that as Lysell goes, so do the Giants. Vancouver is 12-5-1 when Lysell registers a point and 6-18-1 when he doesn’t or is not in the lineup.
Oskar Jellvik has a modest two game point streak with 2 goals and 3 assists. That gives him 7 goals and 7 assists in 9 games in the J20 Top-10 and puts him 4th in league scoring while helping his team to sop spot in the standings. This is the player I am looking forward to the most next season to see what he can do in the NCAA.
Brett Harrison had two assists Sunday and setting a career high in assists and points in the OHL surpassing the totals he set two seasons ago as a rookie. Last season he played in Europe with the cancelled OHL season. He needs 4 goals to surpass his career high in goals. He has points in 7 of his last 8 games on 2 goals and 6 assists.
After missing time with injuries and coming back with a 4-game losing streak, Philip Svedeback has won back-to-back games and is 2-0-1 in his last 3 games. He has stopped 44 of 50 shots in recording wins over De Moines and Waterloo last week.
Quinn Olson has a 3-game point streak going on a goal and 2 assists and has points in 7 of his last 9 games with 3 goals and 5 assists. The Minnesota-Duluth Junior has 6 goals and 15 assists in 29 games on the season and is just 1 point back for the scoring lead for the Bulldogs. Olson is one of my favorite prospects. Don’t mistake that as me thinking he is one of the best, I just really enjoy watching him play the game.
Riley Duran is on a 4-game pointless streak after going on a bit of a tear in his previous 9 games where he had 5 goals and 5 assists. I’m not worried about the Freshman because he is bouncing up and down the lineup and not always getting the best offensive opportunities. He’s developing just fine in his first year.
Ryan Mast has missed his eighth consecutive game with a lower body injury and is labeled as week-to-week by the Sarnia Sting. Sarnia is 3-5-0 in his absence. They’ve dropped outside of the playoff picture and miss his services in key defensive situations, the powerplay and the penalty kill.
Linus Arnesson is pointless in 14 games for the last place Djurgardens IF in the Swedish Hockey League and are heading for relegation. The Bruins rights to Arnesson expire on June 30, 2022. I don’t see the 60th overall pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft joining the Bruins.