Norsemen Prospects Updateby Matt MacInnis | December 22, 2017, 2:09 PM ET
A quick look at how a few Norsemen prospects are doing as we near the Christmas break.
Alex Formenton, LW (2nd round, 51st overall, 2017)
The club’s first pick at the famed #Summ17 after trading their first rounder the day before, Formenton has immediately exceeded expectations. He has already made his debut in ‘the other league’ before returning to junior hockey where he’s been a key cog for the SICHL factory that is the London Knights. Formenton currently has 21 points in 20 games, and will spend his holidays representing Team Canada at the World Juniors.
Mathew Barzal, C (1st round, 12th overall, 2015)
It’s not complicated, Barzal will be an SICHLer next season. After getting dangled as potential trade bait to bolster last year’s Continental Cup run, fortunately for the Norsemen nobody stepped up with a real offer as it’s become apparent that Barzal is a star. A wizard with the puck, Barzal is an exceptional playmaker whose developing more of a scoring knack. The BC-native appears poised for a long career with British Columbia’s top SICHL franchise.
Victor Oloffson, RW (6th round, 147th overall, 2014)
An unheralded pick late in the 2014 draft, the undersized winger is having a breakout season in the SHL, where he’s the second leading goal-scorer. Oloffson has some parts of his game that still need development, but there’s no question that his shooting ability will give him a real shot of being a meaningful contributor at the SICHL level. He could conceivably arrive as soon as the 2019-20 season.
Kale Clague, D (2nd round, 38th overall, 2016)
He’s killing it. With 28 games played for the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), Clague has 47 points and is plus-31. As a defenceman. His ability to impact all aspects of the game has really come through this season, as it’s become apparent he has outgrown junior hockey. Clague will be a key part of Canada’s World Junior team in the upcoming tournament.
Vladislav Gavrikov, D (5th round, 124th overall, 2015)
The Norsemen have not had good luck drafting Russians, to put it very, very mildly. With great reluctance the team used a 5th rounder on a promising two-way defender, not knowing what they’d get, if anything. Two years later, the same questions remain. Gavrikov is good – really good. He’s one of the best defencemen in the KHL, and would be on the Russian Olympic team, pending resolution to the Russia ban of the 2018 Games. The big question is whether he will ever come to North America.
Luke Opilka, G (7th round, 180th overall, 2015)
The only goaltender selected by the Norsemen in the last four entry drafts, Opilka’s career has not went as planned since being drafted. He spent the 2016-17 season battling injuries, and has had a pair of hip surgeries that threaten to keep him out of action for the entire 17-18 hockey season. The club hopes he’s able to get back on the ice next season.