Memorial Cup Final: Hunter Smith Goes For The Cup (5pm MT, SN West)

The junior hockey season ends tonight, as the Memorial Cup Final goes in Quebec City at 5pm MT on the Sportsnet national feed.

The OHL Champion Oshawa Generals, undefeated in this tournament, will face off against the WHL Champion Kelowna Rockets for junior hockey’s richest prize. Flames second round pick Hunter Smith is expected to play a key role in this game, likely put into a shut-down spot against Oilers prospect Leon Draisiatl.

As the home team, Oshawa has last change. Smith’s line was effective enough in shutting down future Oilers draft pick Connor McDavid in the OHL Championship series that they managed to qualify for this tournament, so it could easily happen again.

Looking at recent history, Flames prospects have been more successful in their pro careers when they lose in the Memorial Cup Final:

  • Tyler Wotherspoon’s Portland Winterhawks lost in the 2013 Final to Halifax.
  • Greg Nemisz’s Windsor Spitfires beat Brandon 9-1 in the 2010 Final.
  • Greg Nemisz’s Windsor Spitfires beat Mikael Backlund’s (and Ryley Grantham’s) Kelowna Rockets 4-1 in the 2009 Final.

The list of Memorial Cup Final losers (Wotherspoon, Backlund, Grantham, J.D. Watt) is more impressive than the winners (Nemisz, Mitch Wahl, Matt Keetley, Gord Baldwin), at least in terms of pro aspirations. Lance Bouma was on the 2007 Vancouver team that won, but he wasn’t a Flames pick yet at that point.

  • beloch

    This is an absolutely ideal situation for the Flames. Smith’s stock will never be higher, use this opportunity to flip him for another pick or D prospect.

    • redhot1

      Why would you trade a player who is about to show what he can do at the next level? Let alone after you drafted him not long ago, and with a second round pick?

      I didn’t love the pick, but let’s not give up on him before he’s even shown what he can be.

      • The GREAT Walter White

        The answer to that is in my OP, second sentence.

        Moving an asset at its peak for another asset you believe to be better, either in ability or position, is smart asset management. But I’m in the camp that doesn’t think he’ll be an impactful NHL ‘er.

        Which isn’t to rain on his parade. Congrats to Hunter and his team. Great job, but I still think this is the highest his value will ever be.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      Sure. If the return is right anyone can and should be traded….( is there any player on our team who you would not trade for one of the top 2 overall picks this year?).

      Hunter Smith for Madison Bowey….. They were drafted almost at the same spot (53/54) albeit a year apart.
      They are about the same age.

      WW

    • The Last Big Bear

      Not watching the game too closely? He led a couple of 3/2 rushes with Dal Colle and a D and I can’t remember a single time where his speed was an issue. I agree with analysts that he’s vastly improved this year(best in the OHL) and I’m thinking he’s looking pretty good.

  • beloch

    Smith is just too damned tall. Despite choking up on his stick all the way to the blade, his goal was still from over the crossbar and was waved off.

    The Generals still won it though. Congratulations to them and Hunter Smith!

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Is there any way the Flames can put together a package for second overall pick?
    Buffalo does not seem too keen on Jack Eichel after the lottery debacle …always had their eye on McDavid.

    Let’s assume the package starts with Gaudreau.
    Let’s throw Brodie in there as well.
    16th overall pick…
    What else?

    Are we getting somewhere or still worlds apart?

    Would they rather have Gio now that they have declared their rebuild over ?

    It would be the ultimate F-you to the Oilers if we can swing this and Jack turns out to be the better player.

    WW

    • Rockmorton65

      Both Gaudreau and Brodie are going to be equilavent players to Eichel, c’mon. I don’t mind moving up but just because teams vastly overvalue high picks draft day doesn’t mean we have to be stupid as well.

    • Avalain

      Honestly, the price for Eichel will simply be too high for anyone. He’s set to be the face of the franchise for Buffalo and throwing him away before he even puts on the jersey will probably cause a lynch mob in Buffalo. So, in order to compensate for the hype we would need to make a massive overpay.

  • MonsterPod

    What makes it seem like Buffalo doesn’t want Eichel?

    Not happy with #2? Sure, they lost McDavid in a lottery… to the Oilers. I wouldn’t be happy either, but this doesn’t mean they don’t want Eichel.

    Eichel is a center, so hypothetically that trade would start with either Monahan or Bennett, and I don’t want to see that happen.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Hunter Smith could surpass Joe Colborne at Joe’s age of 25, which is 5 years down the road!

    Why draft a player high and then trade him before he even has a game at pro level? Dumb-dumb!

    • The GREAT Walter White

      Great asset management. Compound one draft bust (albeit not ours) with another one and let simmer for 5 years with fingers firmly crossed. No thanks!

      • The GREAT Walter White

        Do you like Michael Ferland? He played in the Memorial Cup as s 21 year old and looked pretty slow in that tournament. His regular season numbers were similar to Smith who just played as a 19 year old. Let him mature and develop. If it takes until he is 22-23, what’s the matter with that? Doesn’t Detroit do that with most of their players?

      • The GREAT Walter White

        Oilers may as well trade Leon Draisaitl NOW because he may be a declining asset too…coming off as MVP at the Mem Cup this weekend may just be the only highlight of his career, considering he was a complete DUD with he Oilers in the NHL!!!

        This would be good asset management according to you!! but I doubt that the Oilers would follow your advise….

        • Joe Flames

          Is it just me or is draisaitl not a good skater? I haven’t seen him play very much and don’t doubt that he can score, but every time I have seen him skate he seems awfully slow.
          Is this something that could prevent him from having success at the NHL level?

          I’m not asking this just to take a shot at him just because he is oiler property, I live in the east and haven’t seen him play much. Do those of you who have watched him regularly think he is a good skater? Just curious to hear your opinions.

          Also, as for Eichel, I live close to Buffalo, so get their news and broadcasts regularly. They are very excited to get him, there is no way they trade the pick. They have put up with tanking too long to not get him now. They would lose 90% of their fans if they trade that pick.

          • Joe Flames

            Re: Draisatl – He is slow, but not not so much that his other skills can’t compensate. He’ll have a long NHL career, it just remains to be seen at what level.

            Also a poor compassion by Jake. Draisatl was a 3rd overall pick, not an overage second rounder.