In the last post I looked at how Tyson Barrie will do at the World Junior Hockey tournament. For this one we’ll head south of the border to see how Mitchell Callahan will do with the USA.

Callahan, like Barrie, plays for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. A gritty forward, Callahan scores in bunches.

And while he does have skills many of his goals come from being at the right place at the right, rebounds off the end boards and deflections.

That’s one thing he does seem to have is good hands. Watch for him to continue to have success at this tournament as he continues to be able to bang in rebounds and redirect shots from the point.

But that will depend on how the Americans use him.

You see for the first couple of years as a Kelowna Rocket Callahan played as a hard-hitting forward, scoring the occasional greasy goal and dropping the mits from time to time.

Then last year the Detroit Red Wings signed their prospect. And he goes to their rookie camp and is returned to the Rockets.

But he had a slow start and wasn’t contributing as he had in the past. After a while though he started playing the annoying, pestering role he does so well and then got on track. At one point he had 12 or 13 points in a week and was named WHL player of the week.

Some were suggesting the Wings brass told him to tone down the shenanigans and focus on continuing to develop as a junior player. Whether this is true or not the truth is you could see a difference in his style of play.

When he went back to his old ways and what the Wings saw in him that caused them to draft him he started to have success.

That’s where this year’s World Junior Championship gets interesting.

How well the US make use of Callahan?

He’ll be a new addition to this team that returns 10 players from last year’s gold medal winning team. And the remainder come primarily from the US college system. Other than Callahan the US has three other players from the CHL.

Contrast this to the Canadian team where the majority of the players come from the CHL. How will this factor in to how Callahan plays and the US use him? Will the style of play and demands of the CHL work to his benefit or detriment?

There’s no doubt the CHL more closely matches the NHL with its schedule, number of games, rules and style of play.

But this tourny has nothing to do with the NHL. In fact, sometimes players used to an aggressive style of play may be penalized due to the differences in international reffing.

The answers to these questions may help determine how Callahan and the US fare. Does he play the style that has led to the success he has had with the Rockets? Will the US recognize his talents in spite of leaning heavily on the US college players they have selected? And does the CHL style serve as a benefit of hindrance to Callahan in Buffalo?

We’ll know pretty soon as the USA prepares to take on Finland tonight.


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