Daily 2018 Draft Prospect Updates

Jan. 12, 2018


There were lots of games involving 2018 draft prospects on Friday, but few produced top performances worthy of this list. Fortunately, 10 players came through to provide a full complement here.

It's interesting to see how some of the hottest prospects have gone into a bit of a scoring slump. This is particularly true of defensemen such as Jett Woo in the WHL, who was injured earlier in the year, and the OHL's Ryan Merkley, who is still looking for his first multi-point game of 2018. It's a long season, and some of these guys are starting to feel it.

A diverse group makes up Friday's list, which includes several players making their HDC top-performances debut. There are five major-junior players, three USHL players, and one each from the NCAA and U.S. NTDP program. Americans make up half of the group. View the full list of 10 below:

Stars of the Night

SAM BITTEN -- Bitten scored two goals in Ottawa's 5-0 win at Gatineau in an inter-league game between the OHL and QMJHL. It was his first two-goal game in major-junior, and his No. 2 star honor on Friday was just his second three-star selection of the season. Bitten's first goal at 12:39 of the opening period stood up as the game-winner. His other goal, at 7:37 of the second, stretched the lead to 3-0. This was a true scoring outburst for Bitten, who has five goals and 14 points in 39 OHL games.

KODY CLARK -- Kody, the son of Maple Leafs legend Wendel Clark, had a goal and an assist for Ottawa in Friday's 5-0 win at Gatineau. His first point was an assist at 9:42 of the second period on the 4-0 goal, stretching his current point streak to four games. He then closed the scoring at 17:32 of the third. It was Clark's second multi-point game in a row, as he is close to a point-per-game average with 15 goals and 31 points in 34 OHL games. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)

CAIDEN DALEY -- Daley is not a big-time scorer for the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings, but that might change now that the team has loaded up on talent for the stretch run. On Friday, Daley flashed his offensive ability with a goal and assist in Brandon's 4-1 win over Calgary. The game's No. 2 star had the lone assist on the opening goal at 3:59 of the first period, before scoring the game-winner for a 2-0 lead just minutes later at 7:27. Friday marked his first goal in nine games since Dec. 16 and his first three-star selection of the season. He has five goals and nine points in 40 games.

ZACHARY EMOND -- Emond might only be a backup goalie for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, but he was phenomenal on Friday night as he led his team to a 4-1 win at Sherbrooke by stopping 47 of 48 shots. Honored as the game's No. 1 star, Emond stopped all 20 shots in the second period and all 13 in the third. He closed the game with 46:04 of shutout time after giving up the opening goal. Emond doesn't play much, but he has won three of his last four starts. His 47 saves on Friday were a QMJHL career high. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)

ERIK MIDDENDORF -- Middendorf, a University of Denver recruit from Arizona, scored twice for the U.S. NTDP Under-18 team in a 5-4 OT shootout loss to the Sioux City Musketeers on Friday. The No. 1 star opened the scoring at 7:27 of the first period before doing it again to put the Under-18's up 3-2 at 17:30 of the second. Middendorf has scored three goals and six points in nine NTDP games against USHL teams. He also has three goals in his last two games after going 15 straight without scoring.

MICHAEL PASTUJOV -- Passed over in the 2017 draft, Pastujov is making a strong case to be picked in 2018. On Friday, the Michigan freshman led the Wolverines to a 5-3 road upset of No. 9 Minnesota. His goal and assist earned him No. 1 star honors as an unlikely hero of the Big Ten showdown. The goal, at 8:13 of the first period, put Michigan up 2-0. The assist, on the eventual game-winner at 18:01 of the second, helped Michigan grab a 4-2 lead. Pastujov had been seeing limited action this season, but he has broken into the lineup in a big way with goals in two of his last four games.

NOAH PROKOP -- Prokop had a goal and assist in Green Bay's 5-3 loss at Muskegon on Friday. The Nebraska-Omaha recruit assisted on a power-play goal at 12:44 of the first period to tie the score at 1-1. His fifth goal of the USHL season at 12:16 of the third cut the lead to 4-2. Prokop, a center from Colorado, has 11 points in 29 games, but he has goals in two of the past three.

JACK RANDL -- Fresh off the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, Randl returned to Omaha on Friday to register a rare Gordie Howe hat trick of a goal, assist and a fight in his team's 6-2 win at Lincoln. He got the Lancers on the board at 9:07 of the first period, making it 1-1. He set up a power-play goal five minutes later at 14:25. In the third, he completed his hat trick by taking part in a brawl that led to a fighting major and game misconduct at 15:03. Randl, who will play college hockey at Michigan, has eight goals and 16 points in 23 games. Friday's goal snapped a four-game drought. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)

EGOR SOKOLOV -- The No. 2 star of Cape Breton's 4-1 win at Chicoutimi on Friday, Sokolov had a goal and assist, finishing plus-3 for the night. He opened the scoring at 12:41 of the first period and had the lone assist on the game-winner for a 2-1 lead at 10:55 of the second. The 6-foot-3 Russian winger now has 15 goals and 31 pints in 40 QMJHL games, as he is emerging as a very strong NHL prospect. Friday's tally gave him goals in back-to-back games. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)

T.J. WALSH -- It's no fun when you have to sit out the first several months of a season recovering from an injury, but Walsh is finally back in the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders lineup, and he's making his mark. On Friday, the undersized Boston College recruit had a goal and assist in Cedar Rapids' 6-5 OT loss at Chicago. Walsh scored at 4:40 of the second period for a 3-3 tie before getting the primary assist on a goal at 13:01 that gave his team a short-lived 5-3 lead. This was Walsh's first goal of the 2017-18 USHL season, and he now has three points in three games since his return from the injury.