When it comes to the evaluation of junior hockey talent, TSN’s Craig Button is one of, if not the most respected voice in the business. Button has taken in games in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek throughout the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and will be a part of TSN’s coverage of the semifinal from Dawson Creek, and the bronze and gold medal games tomorrow.
Button had nothing but good things to say about the event and its history, saying that it gives hockey fans their first look at the next crop of elite level hockey players.
“I’ve been watching this tournament for 30 years. It’s a glimpse into the future and the future is extremely talented, extremely skilled, high, high end players that in four or five years time you’re going to be watching them on NHL screens. This to me is an unbelievable best on best tournament,” he said.
As for who’s stood out so far, Button is a big fan of Swedish defender Timothy Liljegren and believes the potential is there for him to be the top selection in the 2017 NHL draft.
“I mean he’s unbelievable. I don’t know what else to say. He just controls the game in every single regard. You watch a dynamic young defenceman like that that can play that well, I can pretty much say with assurance he’s going early in the draft in 2017 and he may very well end up going number one,” he said.
Being in Fort St. John for Tuesday’s game between Canada red and Russia, Button couldn’t help but notice the work red’s top producing line of Joel Teasdale, Antoine Morand, and Maxime Comtois.
“You look at Canada red, the line of Joel Teasdale, Antoine Morand, and Maxime Comtois, they’ve been unbelievable. You talk about a line that’s dangerous, fast, and skilled and can really contribute offensively and be dangerous all the time, those are three players,” he said.
He also gave props to American players Josh Norris, Scott Reedy, Brady Tkachuk, son of former NHLer Keith Tkachuk.