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2023 NHL Entry Draft

The 3 Stars from Day 3 of the 2022 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup

RED DEER, Alberta -- The Hlinka-Gretzky Cup may not mark the return of hockey for all or even most of the sport's fans, but its status as the unofficial start of the scouting season isn't up for debate. You pick up that first lineup sheet, and it's like you're turning the first page on a brand new draft.

It's not like most of these players are new to the scouts and executives in attendance. They trace their work on these players back two, sometimes three years. But it is the first opportunity to see where they stand going into the most critical year of hockey to that point in their careers. Now the games really start to matter.

What I'm saying is that this tournament is kind of a big deal. And given the weight of this tournament, my colleague Mitch Brown and I have set up shop at the Peavey Mart Centrium in Red Deer, Alberta, ready to take in all of the week's action. We'll be filing scouting reports for the Elite Prospects 2023 NHL Draft Guide and even offering coverage on EP Rinkside.

A big part of our day-to-day coverage will be a three stars article for each day of the tournament, looking at the three best performances from the day's action at the 2022 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. To make things interesting, we're going to find one player from each game to include in this exercise, and we'll even add in some write-ins for stuff that we find interesting or want to riff on or whatever. Let's have some fun with this.

That last edict -- the bit about having fun -- proved to be an especially challenging exercise today. Sweden absolutely throttled Switzerland in the opening game, building a three-goal lead less than nine minutes into the first period before cruising to a 9-3 final. Finland and Germany played a game so uneventful that one can't help but wonder if they shared in a gentlemen's agreement about keeping the tempo to a minimum; Finland ultimately walked away with a 4-1 win. Lastly, the host Canadians handily dispatched of the Slovaks to the tune of a 9-1 final.

They can't all be instant classics, I suppose. This is especially true in an international tournament where the strength of each roster swings wildly from one team to the next.

Here's the thing about hockey, though. It's kind of like pizza; even bad pizza is still good just by virtue of being pizza, and so on. And so, let's indulge in what turned out to be a no-name brand frozen pizza's level of hockey and look at the three stars to emerge from this slate of action. {

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This article is about:
2023 NHL Entry Draft Canada U18 (all) Finland U18 (all) Germany U18 (all) Slovakia U18 (all) Sweden U18 (all) Switzerland U18 (all) Hlinka Gretzky Cup Jesse Kiiskinen Theo Lindstein Brayden Yager
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