It takes a lot of luck to make it to the Memorial Cup. There are so few spots, and it's a really long process to get there. The casualties are many, and even the best can fall along the way. You need to either luck into being the host city, or successfully play through four best-of-sevens.
Some teams are well-represented. The Calgary Flames, however, have but just one prospect: the Oshawa Generals' Hunter Smith, drafted 54th overall last year.
It was Smith's second time going through the draft, but the fact he was taken so high despite his 19-year-old year upcoming wasn't too bad. The draft's cutoff is if you have a September 15 birthday; Smith's is September 11. He's young for his draft class the same way Nathan MacKinnon, born September 1, was for his; it's just MacKinnon has significantly more talent, resulting in him going his first time around.
Smith's first draft year saw him put up just one assist over 30 OHL games. His second, and what got him drafted, had him score 16 goals and add 24 assists for 40 points over 64 games: not great, but not terrible.
That's not what got him drafted, though. What got him drafted was the fact that he's 6'6 and 210 lbs.
Smith wasn't even a primary scorer on his junior team. He definitely started putting up more points, but with just 23 goals and 49 points over 57 games in his 19-year-old season, isn't even yet a point-per-game player, and that's despite the age and size advantage he holds over his competitors. Smith was sixth in scoring on the Gens in the regular season.
His nine goals and 18 points over 21 playoff games at least elevated him to fourth on the Generals in playoff scoring, behind Michael Dal Colle (New York Islanders, fifth overall in 2014), Cole Cassels (Vancouver Canucks, 85th overall in 2013), and Tobias Lindberg (Ottawa Senators, 102nd overall in 2013). Smith is the second youngest of the group, ahead of just Dal Colle in age.
So basically: the Flames only have one prospect at the Memorial Cup, and he's a huge top-six winger for the OHL champions. Oshawa finished with 108 points over the regular season; the Kelowna Rockets, 112; Rimouski Oceanic, 99; and host Quebec Remparts, 83.
Here's the round robin schedule, with Smith's games bolded. All games will be viewable on Sportsnet.
|Fri., May 22||Kelowna||Quebec||5:30 MT|
|Sat., May 23||Rimouski||Oshawa||2:30 MT|
|Sun., May 24||Quebec||Oshawa||2:30 MT|
|Mon., May 25||Rimouski||Kelowna||5:30 MT|
|Tues., May 26||Oshawa||Kelowna||5:30 MT|
|Wed., May 27||Quebec||Rimouski||5:30 MT|