Taylor Raddysh was drafted 58th overall this summer by the Tampa Bay Lightning and already looks like an absolute steal of a draft pick. Coincidentally, the last player the Lightning drafted at 58th overall was Nikita Kucherov in 2011 - and everyone would agree that worked out pretty well.
Raddysh was not invited to Team Canada’s summer camp, but earned an invitation to the official World Junior Championship selection camp with his stellar play in the Ontario Hockey League. In just 28 games for the Erie Otters, he put up 61 points (23 goals, 38 assists).
Once Raddysh got his foot in the door of selection camp, he played his way onto the team. He is a constant threat on the ice, playing on Canada’s most dynamic line alongside Mathew Barzal and fellow Lightning prospect Mathieu Joseph.
Perhaps Raddysh’s most important role is on special teams. Canada’s power play has been lethal, converting on 8 of 14 opportunities with the man advantage - that’s an efficiency of 57%, good for first among all teams in the tournament.
In last night’s game against Latvia, Canada scored ten goals and Raddysh was personally responsible for putting four of them in the net. He scored a natural hattrick for goals 3, 4, and 5 along with the 9th goal of the game.
After Raddysh’s first three goals, hats rained down on the ice at Air Canada Centre in Toronto - with one notable exception.
Raddysh noticed his dad Dwayne didn't throw hat after 3rd goal, but Taylor understands: "Yeah, he doesn't have much hair up there (laughs)"— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 30, 2016
Canada would go on to rout Latvia with a decisive 10-2 victory. To no one’s surprise, Raddysh was named the Canadian player of the game.
Raddysh becomes only the fourth player to score four goals in a single game while wearing a Team Canada jersey at the World Junior Championships. He joins the likes of Mario Lemieux, Simon Gagne, and Brayden Schenn.
Raddysh was humble in describing his accomplishment and explained the importance of sharing this moment with his family. [TSN]
Things were just going my way. I just got kind of lucky on a couple, but you got to take those and enjoy it for the moment and just get ready for the next game. My parents were probably more happy than I was. Honestly, my dad and mom are my biggest fans. My brother [fellow Erie Otters player Darren Raddysh] is probably watching down in Erie. My billets are there too, so it’s pretty cool for all of us to be here and watch that. It was a fun night and we got to enjoy it.
Head coach Dominique Ducharme was asked what player has been the most delightful surprise. Without hesitation, he named Raddysh. [TSN]
Obviously seeing Raddysh tonight with four goals. And the way he scores - his goals are different ways. He can shoot it, two tips, and finding ways - rebounds. It’s good to see him having that confidence.
Both Team Canada and Team USA are 3-0 so far in this tournament and are set to meet on New Year’s Eve in front of a sold-out crowd in Montreal for what promises to be a memorable match.