Each year since 1975, a Canadian Hockey League player has earned the coveted title of CHL Player of the Year. And one person won this award twice: Sidney Crosby of the Rimouski Oceanic took it home in 2004 and 2005.

The winner of this prize comes from a list of three finalists, the most valuable player of the Ontario Hockey League, the MVP of the Western Hockey League and the MVP of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Those three leagues, of course, make up the Canadian Hockey League.

Many athletes have a good chance at the 2018 CHL Player of the Year distinction. In fact, according to NHL Central Scouting, 108 of them are “players to watch.” Even so, a few of them seem to be skating on the inside track.

Offensive forward Filip Zadina of the Halifax Mooseheads, a native of the Czech Republic, is an exceptionally fast and intense player. He’s adept at coming up with offensive and defensive maneuvers on the fly. Here’s a video of Filip in action.

When it comes to shooting and skating, it’s hard to top Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs. He’s a natural at throwing his opponents off-balance. He might be playing on the offense and then, lightning-quick, switch to an impressive defensive tactic. Ty seems to have a clear vision in his head of the entire rink and where he needs to be to make the big plays. This video shows Ty at his best.

Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts hails from Russia and always displays tremendous speed and stick finesse. He can move the puck with such alacrity that few goalies stand a chance when facing him down. While he’s not exactly one to turn down a good shot, Andrei is generous during games and, with brilliant passes, gives his teammates many opportunities to score. In this video, Andrei demonstrates what makes him such a top prospect.

Maybe one of these wicked and wily players will be the 2018 CHL Player of the Year. Or perhaps another outstanding player will slip by them. That’s the beauty of hockey as played in Canada. It’s as exciting as a summer’s day on the Arctic Tundra is long.

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