It’s getting down to crunch time in the prospect world, as the most wonderful time of year is upon us. College hockey has already entered the conference playoff stage while major junior is down to jockeying for berths in the post-season. The high schoolers in Minnesota are already finished and the story of the winners is pretty compelling. Meet the captain of that squad, plus nine other NHL prospects making noise in our weekly round-up.
Though a lot of draft choices were moved at the NHL trade deadline, not a lot of prospects changed addresses. Dallas got a couple mid-table guys from Detroit in the Erik Cole deal, but the big prize was Maxim Letunov. The smart and skilled Russian went from St. Louis to Arizona, though he’ll hit up Boston University first. Here’s a look at some of the other players making noise in the prospect world.
From a goaltending perspective, Gatineau Olympiques netminder Francois Brassard hasn’t been having the best season of his career. On the stat sheet, however, he’s setting records.
The 21-year-old goaltender scored his second goal – yes, you’re reading that right – of the season Saturday night against the Saint John Sea Dogs. His first came back on Dec. 13 against the Quebec Remparts while Brassard was a member of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Check out the goal below, courtesy of Buzzing The Net’s Neate Sager: Read more
Heading into action Wednesday night against Guelph, Connor McDavid scored had 92 points. He scored his 93rd point – a power play goal – less than seven minutes into the contest with the storm. But it’s his 94th point, a spectacular individual effort, which is going to stand up as one of his best.
Little more than two minutes after his first tally of the evening, McDavid scooped the puck up behind the Erie net and skated up ice with a head of steam. He slipped past one check with relative ease, embarrassed a second defender and finished the goal off in style. It’s a must-see goal from the sure-fire top two pick in the upcoming draft. Read more
He’ll be taking a bus to the game instead of a charter flight, his sweater will have a big ‘K’ on the front instead of a ‘C’ and he’ll be playing with teenagers instead of men, but when you go 145 days between games the way Sam Bennett has, it’s impossible not to be excited.
Bennett draws into the Kingston Frontenacs lineup tonight in Belleville for his Ontario League season debut tonight – and his home debut against the Sudbury Wolves Friday night – 4 ½ months after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder while in training camp with the Calgary Flames. And if the fourth overall pick is harboring any bitterness about not having a chance to play in the NHL this season, he’s doing a very good job of hiding it. Read more
Saturday afternoon’s QMJHL game between the Baie-Comeau Drakkar and Sherbrooke Phoenix turned ugly in a hurry in the second period.
Fifteen seconds into the second period, with Baie-Comeau leading 2-0 on the strength of goals by Luca Ciampini and Maxime St-Cyr, Drakkar winger Simon Desbiens came barreling in on Phoenix defenseman Jeremy Roy as he went back to retrieve a puck behind the Sherbrooke goal. Desbiens boarded Roy viciously from behind, to which Roy took exception, slashing Desbiens repeatedly in the ankle. The entire scene is ugly. (Video via Jerome Berube) Read more
While testifying before a senate labor committee in Washington last week, Everett Silvertips president Gary Gelinas warned lawmakers that if the four Western League teams in the state were forced to pay their players minimum wage, “We would have to evaluate whether or not we would continue to stay in the state of Washington.”
Silvertips GM Garry Davidson was clearly singing from the same songbook when he told legislators if the state did not exempt the teams from minimum wage laws, “it could negatively impact our ability to operate and would force us to move or not operate in the state.” Read more
Weather permitting, Boston’s NCAA Beanpot tournament will end next week and hopefully I’ll be there. In the meantime, some more important dates were established when the CHL announced the hosts of next year’s Super Series with Russia: Kamloops, Kelowna, Owen Sound, Windsor, Rouyn-Noranda and Halifax. With that out of the way, let’s take a trip around the world of prospects.