• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
With many great performances by draft prospects on Saturday, it was tough to make the cuts to get this list to 10 players.
One of the players on the list is a 19-year-old who already slipped through two NHL drafts, but is having a great season in major junior. It's always tough to project what will happen to prospects who have already been passed over in another draft. One of the big stories last year was Morgan Geekie, who went undrafted in 2016 but returned to the WHL with a 90-point season in 2016-17. Geekie ended up going to Carolina in the third round, which suggests that the absolute ceiling for any previously undrafted player is only that high. If that's the case, such players might get pushed to lower rounds in a draft as deep as 2018.
The Saturday list includes three players in European junior leagues, six from major-junior and one from Tier II. There are three goaltenders -- and there were others who almost made it. Check out the list to see what a day of excellence had to offer:
JUSTUS ANNUNEN -- Annunen was the star for Oulu in a 2-0 shutout of Lahti in U20 league play on Saturday. He stopped 35 shots for his first shutout since Sept. 9, making 12 saves in each of the first two periods and 11 in the third. Annunen has won six straight U20 starts, stopping 76 of 79 shots over the past two games. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
TY DELLANDREA -- Dellandrea's two goals on five shots made him the No. 1 star of Flint's 4-2 win over Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday. He scored his goals in style -- getting a shorthanded tally and a power-play game-winner. The shorty, at 3:28 of the second period, pulled Flint into a 1-1 tie. The power-play goal, at 18:41 of the second, made it 3-2. Dellandrea has 17 goals and 35 points in 43 OHL games to rank second in scoring on his team. He has a three-game goal-scoring streak and points in five of his last six games. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
SLAVA DEMIN -- A defenseman heading for the University of Denver, Demin has been coming on of late. On Saturday, he helped Wenatchee to a 10-3 rout of Nanaimo, earning No. 3 star honors with a goal and two assists. He began his three-point night with an assist on the game's first goal just 66 seconds into the opening period. He later had the lone assist on a goal to go up 3-1 at 14:19 of the first before scoring a goal of his own to make it 4-2 at 6:35 of the second. That goal, his eighth of the BCHL season, stood up as the game-winner. Demin has posted 36 points in 44 games with points in four of his last five games. He has quietly risen to become the third-highest scoring defenseman in the BCHL. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
LUKAS DOSTAL -- If the Czechs had taken Dostal to the World Juniors instead of Jakub Skarek, they might have come home with a medal. The Brno Kometa goalie continued his remarkable season on Saturday with 39 saves in a 4-1 win over Plzen. After stopping 12 shots in periods 1 and 2, Dostal saw his shutout bid fall just 2:30 short. Dostal has spent considerable time playing against men in the WSM Liga, but he has won two of three since returning to the junior ranks, where he is 9-2-0 overall. (Note: 13th appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- leads all goaltenders)
ERIC FLORCHUK -- Florchuk erupted for two goals on four shots to lead Saskatoon to a 4-3 OT win over Regina. The game's No. 2 star scored the first and last goals of the game -- the first, unassisted, at 9:17 of the opening period, and the last at 1:37 of overtime. With 34 points in 47 WHL games, Florchuk is making a strong case for draft day since being traded to the Blades by Victoria. He has two multi-point games in his last three outings, and he has six points in four games with Saskatoon. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
KEVIN HANCOCK -- When you are almost 20 years old and have passed through two NHL drafts, your hope of getting drafted the third time is slim. That said, Hancock is doing everything he can to make an NHL team take him in the draft or sign him as a free agent this summer. The Owen Sound left wing tied his OHL career high with four points in the Attack's 8-1 win over Erie on Saturday to earn No. 1 star honors. He started with a bang, scoring the opening goal at 8:22 of the first period and another to make it 4-0 less than nine minutes later at 16:58. In the second period, Hancock had the lone assist on a shorthanded goal for a 6-0 lead at 13:02 of the second period, and he added a primary assist 31 seconds into the third on a goal that made it 7-0. Hancock is well over a point-per-game average with 13 goals and 22 assists in 28 games this season.
ANDERSON MacDONALD -- MacDonald had a night to remember with a natural hat trick in Moncton's 6-2 win over QMJHL rival Cape Breton. He earned No. 2 star honors after scoring on a power-play at 16:41 of the second; getting the winner for a 3-1 lead at 2:20 of the third, and capping off the hat trick with a goal at 8:05 of the third. With 24 goals and 37 points in 43 games, MacDonald is just four points shy of his 2016-17 total. He has six goals in the past four games and is tied for eighth in QMJHL goal-scoring. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
IVAN MURANOV -- Russia's top junior league, the MHL, is generally a feeder league for the KHL. Players who make a big mark in the MHL catch NHL scouts' attention and will often be drafted even if they don't plan on leaving home. As long as Muranov wants to play in the NHL, he's a great-looking draft prospect. On Saturday, the Balashikha winger scored twice in his team's 6-5 road win over the Moscow Soviet Wings. Muranov scored at 13:40 of the first period for a 3-0 lead and against just one minute later at 14:42. He now has 14 goals and 23 points in 47 MHL games. Saturday marked both his first goal and first multi-point game since Dec. 5. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
OLIVIER RODRIGUE -- The most consistent draft-eligible goalie in the QMJHL, Drummondville's Rodrigue was sharp again on Saturday, making 26 saves in an 8-0 shutout of Sherbrooke. The game's No. 2 star stopped seven shots in the first period, 11 in the second, and eight in the final 20 minutes for his third shutout of the season. He has won five of his last six starts and is third in the QMJHL with 22 wins -- one behind the league's co-leaders. (Note: Ninth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JOE VELENO -- If there were any doubts about Veleno earlier this season, the top Canadian prospect for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft has put them to rest. On Saturday, Veleno scored two goals and added two assists in Drummondville' 8-0 win over Sherbrooke to claim No. 1 star honors. The scoring parade began on a power-play at 5:20 of the first, as he got the primary assist on the eventual game-winner. He posted three more points in the second period -- scoring back-to-back goals at 9:01 and 12:26 to extend the lead to 4-0 and assisting on a power-play goal at 15:07. With eight goals and 38 assists in 41 QMJHL games, Veleno now ranks third in the league in assists and 22nd in points. His surge since being traded to the Voltigeurs has included a current six-game scoring streak for a total of 14 points. (Note: Seventh appearance on this list in 2017-18)