Tyson Jost (photo courtesy Tim Bates/OJHL Images)
The University of North Dakota commit has been laying waste to the BCHL in his draft year and now has a World Jr. A Challenge gold to go with his Ivan Hlinka title. Not a bad year and there's more to come. Meet Jost and the other prospects making noise this week in our weekly wrap.
This will be the final Prospect NTK for at least a week or two, as the holidays and my travelling to Finland for the world juniors conspire. Expect a lot of world junior stuff on the web site in the meantime, so with that in mind I’ll concentrate more on the World Jr. A Challenge right now, since that tourney is done. There was some nice talent there once again, culminating in a Canada West gold medal.
Elsewhere in the prospect world, trades and other movements are heating up in the Quebec League, one of which I cover off below. Let’s get to our weekly wrap.
Tyson Jost, C – Penticton Vees (BCHL): Very few players can claim the amount of success that Jost has experienced this year. He and Vees teammate Dante Fabbro both won gold at the Ivan Hlinka summer tourney and just won gold with Canada West at the World Jr. A Challenge. They're also part of a juggernaut Penticton squad that has run up a 31-4-1 record in the B.C. League, which included an eye-popping win streak.
“It’s pretty special when you go 23 games without a loss,” Jost said. “It’s nice to experience all those wins, but you just have to focus and try to keep getting better.”
Well, how about getting yourself named MVP of the WJAC? Because that’s what Jost did, racking up nine points in four games to lead the tournament in scoring. A smart, strong player with excellent vision and a great shot, Jost was called “the real deal” by one NHL scout I spoke to and he’ll definitely be a first-rounder this summer when the draft hits Buffalo. Committed to North Dakota, Jost will be fun to watch with the Fighting Hawks next season.
“North Dakota is such a great hockey program,” he said. “When you look at their rink and the facilities – it’s pretty special when you go into ‘The Ralph’ and see how nice the rink is and all the stuff that can help you develop into an NHL player. I see so much growth and improvement for me at North Dakota.”
In the meantime, Jost will continue to tear it up in Penticton, where he is one of three players in the league to be scoring at a rate of two points per game (he has 61 in 30). And with the world juniors coming up, it’s hard not to think he will be one of those rare NCAA players with a shot at playing for Canada as soon as next year – President Tom Renney even joked he was “subliminally scouting” Jost and Fabbro at the WJAC.
“You see some of your buddies there and think hopefully one day I can represent my country there,” Jost said. “It’s a special tournament and a prestigious tournament and we’ll cross that bridge when it comes.”
In the Pipeline
Mitchell Stephens, C (Tampa Bay): Stephens may not be as well-known as some of the other Canadian juniors, but the OHL Saginaw star brings a lot of speed and compete level to the table. He was a revelation at the world under-18s and also has a great nickname.
Sonny Milano, LW (Columbus): Team USA is counting on Milano to play big at the world juniors and even feels like that responsibility will elevate his game. The skilled left winger had three points in the team’s exhibition win over UMass and he brings important experience as an AHLer with Lake Erie.
Karlis Cukste, D (San Jose): Latvia will return to the top rung of the world juniors next year thanks to a tournament win in Division 1A on the weekend. Cukste, a solid blueliner with some offense to his game, was named Best Defenseman by the IIHF directorate and will also be a part of next year’s team. He currently plays for the USHL’s Chicago Steel.
A.J. Greer, LW (Colorado): It was a bit drawn-out, but Greer has officially left Boston University and joined the QMJHL’s high-flying Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. A nasty power forward still finding his scoring touch, Greer has a lot of potential and will likely put up more numbers against younger competition in the ‘Q.’
2016 Draft Stars
German Rubtsov, C – Russia J18 (Rus.): Do not give this guy more than a split-second with the puck, because he will bury you. Rubtsov had five points in two medal-round games at the WJAC, using his smarts and puck poise to do damage. Russia was represented by its new NTDP-style Junior-18 squad and Rubtsov is one of the team’s leading scorers back home.
Max Zimmer, LW – Chicago Steel (USHL): Fast and surprisingly strong on the puck, Zimmer is a University of Wisconsin commit who made a big impact at the WJAC, putting up five goals and eight points in five games for the U.S. Second only to Jost in scoring, Zimmer was named a tournament all-star.
Andrew Peeke, D – Green Bay Gamblers (USHL): A sturdy-sized defenseman who actually has some pretty nice offensive numbers with the Gamblers (14 points in 22 games), Peeke impressed me with his patience and physicality at the WJAC. He’s a Notre Dame commit.
Dante Fabbro, D – Penticton Vees (BCHL): Jost and Fabbro will get mentioned together a lot this year and both are enticing prospects. Fabbro is a smart, confident blueliner who controlled the puck more than most forwards in the WJAC game I attended and locally, he is killin’ it with the Vees to the tune of 38 points in 24 games. Fabbro is a Boston University commit.
Alex DeBrincat, RW – Erie Otters (OHL): It didn’t take long for DeBrincat to make his case for the world juniors: USA Coach Ron Wilson sat the Otters star against UMass because it was decided that Debrincat had already made the team. With his lethal hands and creativity, the smaller winger has proven to be a great weapon for elite linemates – like Auston Matthews, for example.
2017 Draft Star
Cale Makar, D – Brooks Bandits (AJHL): Despite being the youngest player on Canada West, Makar was named to the WJAC all-star team and certainly earned the distinction with the poise and puckhandling ability he showed on the blueline. A UMass commit, Makar has been averaging a point per game back in the Alberta Jr. A League with Brooks.