When the final horn sounded on Team Canada’s 14-0 drubbing of Denmark, both LA Kings prospects present on the winning side had left their mark on the scoresheet.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan, a second-round pick in 2017, finished with one goal, two shots and a plus-six rating; Markus Phillips, a fourth-round draft pick from that same class, finished with a pair of assists, two shots and a plus-four rating.
With additional puck-luck, the pair might’ve added to their points totals on a shorthanded rush up the ice early in the second period and left an even larger set of fingerprints on the box score that holds account of the Canadian victory.
Wouldn’t that have been a nice glimpse of the Kings future?
“We’ve spent a lot of time together at camp, down in Los Angeles,” said Anderson-Dolan of the connection he and Phillips share. “When we first went to camp we were pretty much always hanging out together — a lot of the other guys were older — so we’re pretty great friends off the ice, and it helps on the ice as well.”
That bodes well for Anderson-Dolan and Phillips’ prospects as the tournament continues. Though they play different positions and aren’t likely to share the ice often, rushes like the one they put together near the start of the second period highlight the importance of cohesion wherever one can find it in tournaments like these.
For Anderson-Dolan, that’s just one component of the chemistry he sees throughout the Canadian roster.
“Everyone’s been gelling well since we got here and the [players] we have here are all smart players, so I think it was pretty easy to build that connection once we got to the ice.”
Easy is one way to put it. One usually expects scores like 14-0 in football games, but Anderson-Dolan and Phillips likely weren’t expecting it in their debut on one of hockey’s biggest international stages.
“It’s been a long buildup from selection camp,” Anderson-Dolan said. “So to get going here was good for us tonight.”
Both Anderson-Dolan and Phillips drew rave reviews from one scout in attendance, who suggested that their dedication to the process stood out in the one-sided shootout.
Such praise for Anderson-Dolan and Phillips should resonate in a game that featured two separate hat-tricks from Maxime Comtois and Morgan Front.
“Hunter was harping on us to stick to the details and what makes us a good team,” Anderson-Dolan noted. “We’ve got a big game coming up tomorrow so as the score got out of hand there we wanted to stick to the details and not create bad habits.”
Both Anderson-Dolan and Phillips play near the top of Canada’s lineup at their respective positions. Even if the scoresheet doesn’t reflect their importance in today’s game, the discipline that kept them within their team’s structure has the potential to pay-off as the competition mounts.
“They know that I know what they expect of me, and I expect that of myself as well,” Anderson-Dolan said, when I asked if any of the Kings hockey operations staff laid out expectations for him ahead of the tournament.
“Blake just wished me a Merry Christmas and good luck at the tournament by text.”
So far, Anderson-Dolan is rewarding their faith.
“It was just a turnover from [the Danes],” Anderson-Dolan said of his 8-0 goal late in the middle frame. “We did a good job of putting stress on them in the middle and then [the Danish defender] coughed it up in the middle… and I don’t know, I just had a clear chance to shoot it, and it happened to go in.”
The Canadians take on a Swiss team tomorrow that dragged a tough Czech Republic team to overtime mere hours before Anderson-Dolan and Phillips hit the ice for their country.
Additional prospect notes:
- Rasmus Kupari (Kings first-round pick, 2018) played on Team Finland’s first-line in their debut game against Team Sweden, a 2-1 loss. Though Kupari failed to find the back of the net, it wasn’t for lack of effort. According to TSN, Kupari finished the night with five shots on goal and also registered a scoring chance.
- Mikey Anderson (Kings fourth-round pick, 2017) captained Team USA to a 2-1 victory over the Slovakians in Victoria. The Americans used Anderson on their first unit power play, where he scored his first goal of the tournament to tie the game at 1-1 in the third period. Anderson also finished the night with an even rating.