5 things learned from 2023 CHL

    5 things learned from 2023 CHL

    LANGLEY, British Columbia — Carson Rehkopf, No. 31 on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm ranking of North American skaters presented by BioSteel, had a goal and an assist for Team White in a 4-2 win against Team Red in the 2023 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Langley Events Centre on Wednesday.

    Rehkopf (6-foot-2, 193 pounds), a left wing with Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League, was named player of the game for White. He’s a projected second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and considered a two-way player with power-forward upside.

    “It’s unbelievable,” Rehkopf said. “This is a game you have marked on your calendar. It was awesome to be a part of. We have a great group of guys, so it was really enjoyable.

    “It’s nice [to win player of the game]. You come here to win but you have a nice game yourself, so that’s pretty nice too.”

    Calum Ritchie (No. 17) had a goal and an assist, and Colby Barlow (No. 10) and Luca Pinelli (No. 49) each scored for White. Scott Ratzlaff (No. 6 North American goalies) allowed one goal on 25 shots, and Jackson Unger (No. 17 North American goalies) allowed one goal on 22 shots for White.

    Riley Heidt (No. 26) had an assist and five shots on goal and was named player of the game for Red. Zach Benson (No. 7) and Mathieu Cataford (No. 27) scored.

    Carson Bjarnason (No. 1 North American goalies) allowed one goal on 17 shots, and Charlie Robertson (No. 12 North American goalies) allowed two goals on 13 shots for Red.

    Here are 5 things learned from the 2023 Top Prospects Game:

    Bedard set for stretch run

    Connor Bedard, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft, had six shots on goal and went 9-for-11 (50 percent) on face-offs for Red.

    Ratzlaff made four saves against Bedard, including a left-pad stop off a one-timer from the slot late in the second period.

    “They talk about [Bedard] a lot,” Ratzlaff said. “He’s got a great release, he can shoot from anywhere and he’s very dynamic, so I think keeping him off the scoreboard, that was kind of a team goal, or just making sure he’s always covered, making sure we’ve got eyes on him.”

    Bedard (5-10, 185) with Regina of the Western Hockey League didn’t have a point but had two hits and did complete a pass from between his legs for a scoring chance midway through the second period.

    “It’s hockey, it’s competitive and you’re allowed to hit so you’ve always got to expect that, and obviously it was good for the fans and everything,” Bedard said. “It’s a contact sport and you’re going to get hit and you’re going to give hits. That’s part of it, and it was good.”

    Bedard will look to extend his 32-game point streak (81 points; 39 goals, 42 assists) when Regina plays Medicine Hat on Jan. 29.


    Matteo Mann (6-5, 222; No. 53) has quite a support team surrounding him in his draft-eligible season as the son of Ottawa Senators assistant general manager, Trent Mann, and nephew of an American Hockey League coach, Troy Mann.

    The right-shot defenseman, who points to his ability to defend as his greatest asset, has five assists and 27 shots on goal in 25 games in his third season with Chicoutimi of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

    “I think it’s a great resource to have guys that work at that level in the game,” Mann said. “My dad obviously is involved with players all the time, so he knows the details that he’s looking for. So, if I have questions, I can ask him, and he’s able to give me things that I can work on in my own kind of way away from the team.

    “My uncle is a coach at the pro level (Belleville of the AHL) and that’s where I want to be as fast as possible, so I’m kind of able to ask him the things that he’s looking for from his players and what he wants from guys.”

    Interestingly, Trent Mann has never filed a scouting report on his son in preparation for the 2023 draft.

    “He won’t do that,” Matteo said. “I think it’s for the benefit of both of us. He doesn’t want to effect or get in-between anything with me for his benefit or for my benefit.”

    Raising Arizona

    Two forwards in the game were born in Arizona.

    Right wing Ethan Gauthier (5-11, 176; No. 14), who turns 18 Thursday, was born in Phoenix. The highest-ranked participant from the QMJHL has 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists) and 15 power-play points (five goals) in 43 games with Sherbrooke.

    Center Jaden Lipinski (6-4, 208; No. 38) was born in Scottsdale. The 18-year-old has 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) and a 50.8 face-off winning percentage (304-for-599) in 43 games with Vancouver (WHL). He also is 3-for-4 in shootout attempts.

    Lipinski was also raised in Scottsdale, where he lived for 15 years before joining Vancouver.

    “I think having the Arizona Coyotes down there is doing wonders,” Lipinski said. “You’re seeing a lot of prospects coming out of there, and you’re going to see more over the next few years. There’s not a lot of rinks, but the Ice Den in Scottsdale, which is popular to most people, is producing a lot of good talent.”

    Forward Auston Matthews, chosen No. 1 by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 NHL Draft, was born in San Ramon, California, but moved with his family to Scottsdale when he was 2 months old.

    “I was fortunate to skate with [Matthews] a little bit over the summer and just seeing what he’s been able to do, coming out of Arizona and when he did it, it was even smaller than it is now, is pretty impressive,” Lipinski said.

    Lardis aces on-ice tests

    Nick Lardis (5-10, 165; No. 96) finished among the top five in seven of 10 on-ice categories which allowed players the opportunity to showcase their individual strengths while gauging their fitness and skill levels among their peers for NHL management and scouts.

    The left wing for Hamilton (Ontario Hockey League), who was Central Scouting’s lowest-ranked skater in the game, placed first in weave agility with puck and reaction, and second in transition ability with puck.

    “I’ve worked a little bit on the stuff over the summer and trained in these specific areas a lot too,” Lardis said. “In my home club too in Peterborough I did this testing and I did really good, so I was hoping to get a really good score.”

    Defenseman Hunter Brzustewicz (5-11, 188; No. 33) finished second in the on-ice testing, Erie center Carey Terrance (6-0, 175; No. 50) was third and Guelph defenseman Cameron Allen (6-0, 194; No. 29) was fourth.

    Bedard’s only top-five finish was in transition ability with puck.

    Lind-Bedard jersey swap

    How much would you bid on a game jersey that Bedard autographed when he was 9 years old?

    Kalan Lind (6-0, 158; No. 23) of Red Deer (WHL) won’t ever have to after participating in a jersey exchange with Bedard following a hockey tournament in Edmonton that each player participated, the Brick International, in July 2015.

    “I have a nickname, ‘Kaco’, and when me and Connor switched jerseys, I actually just signed my nickname. I didn’t sign it ‘Kalen’ or ‘Kalen Lind.’ So, Connor went up to my mom and asked her if I could at least write my number on there so he would remember who it was. I was No. 13, he was No. 98 … numbers we both still have.

    “And yes, I’ve still got the jersey hanging up downstairs at my house. When you see where he is now … he’s a great player and he’s going to probably have great things come his way in the future.”

    Bedard said he still has the jersey.

    “It’s funny because he was wearing a [Saskatchewan Junior] Pats jersey. I think it’s in my closet back home,” Bedard said.

    Would Lind every consider selling the jersey at some point?

    “We’ll have to see what happens,” he said with a wide grin. “It can be worth a lot of money one day. That’s what I’m thinking.”

    NHL.com deputy managing editor Adam Kimelman and independent correspondent Kevin Woodley contributed to this report

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