Bulldogs and the 2016 Ivan Hlinka
Hamilton Bulldogs Mackenzie Entwistle and Matthew Strome have done what few young men can do at the age of 17 by claiming a roster spot on Hockey Canada’s U-18 summer team. Entwistle and Strome are joining a select crowd as they’ll suit up today in the first pre-tournament game of the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
OHL rookies points per game
Above is a list of OHL players who played in recent Ivan Hlinka tournaments for Canada, and their OHL rookie season statistics. Not every player who plays for Canada at the Ivan Hlinka goes on to play professional hockey in the NHL, but there is an impressive list of players who have shown they were able to make the jump. Entwistle and Strome find themselves in impressive company to say the least. You’ll notice that Entwistle’s inclusion in this group is a bit striking. Mackenzie Entwistle was an above average defensive player in the OHL last season, earning his place on the roster by out-preforming opposing energy lines night in and night out.
Combined with the experience he’ll gain with Hockey Canada, concentrated focus by Staios and Gruden on development of a skill game, fans should see his points per game average rise during the 2016-17 campaign. Making the team and having a strong showing while wearing the maple leaf is a fantastic place to begin his draft year.
Strome to step up
Matt Strome’s rookie season stands up very well in this grouping, and for the Bulldogs to be successful this upcoming year he’s going to need to elevate his game in his sophomore year like many of these young men were capable of doing. On many preliminary scouting lists Strome is currently pegged to be selected in the middle of the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft. Matt Strome explained to me back in March that his training goals this summer are to enhance his skating by focusing on lower body workouts. When asked how prepared he is for the media focus he’s going to receive because he’s the youngest Strome brother, it was clear he knows the reality that his game is going to be critiqued a bit. “I’m just trying not think about it, just focus on my game and training. My brothers have helped me out for sure, getting mentally ready for this year and next year. I’m just going to try and focus on winning and helping out our team.” His play on the ice last year showcased his ability to bear down, and he shouldn’t have a problem bringing his cerebral offense this week at the under-18s.