I was on hand for the Top Prospects Game in Vancouver this week, chatting with a couple prospects, watching the game and drinking upwards of three beers after the game. I spoke with Ty Ronning, Vancouver Giants’ forward, son of Cliff and filling in for the injured Tyler Benson on Team Cherry.
Benson and Ronning are having polar opposite seasons. Ronning’s climbing the NHL Central Scouting Rankings every week and Benson continues to fall, projecting to go late in the 1st round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Ronning is cruising with 26 goals and playing a completely fearless game like his similar shorter counterparts in the game. All while Tyler Benson’s been injured multiple times, pre-season surgery and possibly feeling the pressure of being a “Franchise” player at 17 years old.
I spoke to him after the morning skate with Team Cherry, chatting about his late addition to the roster, playing with a chip on his shoulder and the impact his old man had on his development.
Speaking of kids with famous NHL dads, I also chatted with Team Orr captain Matthew Tkachuk, son of Keith, proud London Knights forward and a player ranked 1st overall by NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm rankings and 3rd by our pal Craig Button at TSN. He chatted as well, about having a famous old man, the NHL’er factory in London and just what type of player ol Matty Tkachuk is… a lot of on the west coast know very little about the second generation kid other than what he did in the world juniors for team USA
The game itself was a bit of a snoozer. Ty Ronning scored a goal early in the first and got the loudest reaction of the night. A definite home town bias for Team Cherry. Ronning was arguably the hardest worker on Team Cherry, and rightfully so. He was an injury replacement for a teammate and if Vancouver wasn’t the host city, he’d probably be watching at home. But that didn’t happen. He showed up and impressed a lot of people.
If you want my opinion, the most impressive players in this game were the goalies. In particular Evan Fitzpatrick of the Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL) and Dylan Wells of the Peterborough Petes (OHL). They stood on their head and were both incredibly structurally sound like those boring Cory Schneider-like goalies are.