The Habs pick and Northeastern starter continues his awesome freshman campaign. Learn about him and other sizzling future NHLers in our weekly wrap
Story time, folks: Back in 2015, I travelled to Boston to watch the final two games of The Beanpot, the legendary NCAA tourney featuring Harvard, Boston U., Boston College and Northeastern. Noah Hanifin was playing for B.C. and Jack Eichel was starring for B.U. In the final, Eichel’s B.U. squad was facing Northeastern, a school that hadn’t won the tournament since 1988. It was a tight game and it ended up going to overtime. During OT, Eichel was hooked by Matt Benning on a call that Northeastern fans did not like at all. Eichel’s Terriers ended up scoring on the ensuing power play to win the final.
At the post-game press conference, Huskies coach Jim Madigan was beside himself. A reporter asked him about the penalty in overtime and he nearly exploded with emotion, but managed not to say anything about the refs that would have gotten him in trouble. You had to feel for the guy. (update: apparently he did go too far)
This year, Northeastern and B.U. will meet in the final again. The Huskies still haven’t won since 1988, but have one of the most impressive rosters in the nation. The Terriers have a host of NHL prospects too, though top center Jordan Greenway will miss the final due to the Olympics. Will this finally be Northeastern’s year to hoist the mug? We’ll find out next week. In the meantime, let’s look at some of the movers and shakers in the prospect world.
Cayden Primeau, G, Northeastern Huskies (Hockey East) – Primeau has been one of the most impressive NCAA freshman stories this year. It’s amazing how much he has cleaned up his game since last year and the results speak for themselves. The big Montreal Canadiens draft pick got the shutout against Boston College in the Beanpot semifinal and is rocking a .925 save percentage on the season. NHL arrival: 2023-24
Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie Colts (OHL) – There’s a reason Svechnikov may be the second pick overall in 2018. The kid is an absolute beast and every time he drops his shoulder on the rush and swings in for a goal, it feels like déjà vu; he just can’t be stopped. Svechnikov is currently riding a five-game point streak, collecting 11 points during that span. NHL arrival: 2018-19
Trent Frederic, C, Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten) – Frederic hung six points on Michigan this weekend, giving him eight in the past four games. The two-way center leads the Badgers in scoring, but also wins his faceoffs and blocks shots. The Boston Bruins pick will be a great addition once he hits the pro ranks. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Maxime Comtois, LW, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL) – He showed well for Canada at the world juniors and now Comtois is back at it in the ‘Q’ with eight points in his past four games. With size, skill and smarts, the Anaheim Ducks prospect definitely has a pro future and could be a devastating third-liner thanks to his penalty-killing prowess. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Aleksi Heponiemi, LW, Swift Current Broncos (WHL) – At any point in this season, I could spotlight Heponiemi; he’s been that hot. Right now, he’s on a tear that has seen the slight Finn put up 22 points in 10 games. The Florida Panthers pick naturally needs to get stronger and his foot speed needs work, but the vision, skill and desire are unquestioned. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Petrus Palmu, LW, TPS (Fin.) – Another skinny Finn with a ton of skill, Palmu is a former OHLer now playing against the best pros back home. The Vancouver Canucks pick is making the gambit look like a winner, as he leads the Liiga in rookie scoring with 28 points in 49 games for TPS, one of the best teams in the league. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Travis Mitchell, D, Omaha Lancers (USHL) – Sleeper alert: there’s a lot of upside in Mitchell’s game. The 2018 draft prospect and Cornell commit was just named USHL defenseman of the week with three points in two games and his Lancers are now tied for first in the league. Mitchell’s calling cards including size, skating and work ethic. NHL arrival: 2021-22
Jacob Olofsson, C, Timra (Swe.) – One of the top-scoring juniors playing in the Allsvenskan, Olofsson is following in Elias Pettersson’s footsteps by playing for Timra. Olofsson, a 2018 draft prospect with first-round upside, is a smooth skater with a great skill package and good size. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Andreas Johnsson, LW, Toronto Marlies (AHL) – The reigning AHL player of the week, Johnsson has put up eight points in his past three games for the high-flying Marlies and if the Toronto Maple Leafs weren’t already holding youngsters out of their lineup, he might have seen NHL action already this season. The sturdy Swede has a great shot and also got a chance to shine at the AHL All-Star showdown recently. NHL arrival: 2018-19
Brandon Hickey, D, Boston University Terriers (Hockey East) – The senior blueliner had a great game against Harvard at The Beanpot, tallying three points in the 3-2 double-OT win. Hickey started off slow this season but now has six points during a four-game point streak. The mobile D-man is an Arizona prospect, originally drafted by Calgary. NHL arrival: 2019-20