• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
All of the top major-junior prospects took the ice in one game on Thursday, as the CHL held its annual Top Prospects Game.
If anyone's interested in the score, it was Team Cherry beating Team Orr 7-4. Team Cherry had a much stronger lineup, which helped its players shine. That's still no excuse for Andrei Svechnikov, who had an uneventful evening for Team Orr despite coming in as the No. 1 rated North American prospect. Instead, Filip Zadina stole his thunder -- just as he did at the World Juniors. It was hard to watch that game and not feel tempted to buck consensus and draft Zadina ahead of Svechnikov.
With so many prospects in action, it was possible to come up with a rare, full-house list of 10 top performances for Thursday. The list includes five players from the Top Prospects game, two from Swedish leagues, one from the USHL, and two Minnesota high school players. Check them all out below:
OSKAR BACK -- Back, one of the best face-off men in the Swedish Under-20 league, won 16 of 20 draws while scoring a goal and an assist on Thursday in Karlstad's 4-3 OT win over Gavle. His unassisted goal at 8:26 of the first period made it 2-1, and he assisted on the winner just 56 seconds into overtime. Back's 62% face-off percentage is the best reason to draft him, but he also has held his own in several SHL games this season. Thursday's goal was his first U20 tally since Dec. 3. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
KEVIN BAHL -- Although team Orr was routed in the CHL Top Prospects Game, Bahl stood out with a goal and an assist in the 7-4 loss on Thursday. The big defenseman from the Ottawa 67's helped get his team on the board with an assist at 9:50 of the second period to make it 5-1. He later scored an unassisted goal at 13:48 of the period, and was named Team Orr's Player of the Game. The display of offense was a big surprise from Bahl, who has not scored a goal for the 67's since Nov. 18.
EVAN BOUCHARD -- High-scoring defenseman Bouchard was outstanding in Thursday's Top Prospect Game, registering four assists and five shots on goal to earn Player of the Game honors for the victorious Team Cherry. He started with the primary assist on a goal at 15:35 of the first period that put Team Cherry up 2-0. He then rattled off three helpers in the second period -- the first a primary assist on the eventual game-winner at4:12, the second on a goal at 15:00 for a 6-2 lead, and the third at 18:08 to make it 7-2. Bouchard, a sure-fire first-rounder has a good chance to be the first Canadian defenseman selected in June. (Note: 12th appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- leads all defensemen)
RASMUS DAHLIN -- There was no way the projected No. 1 pick in the 2018 Entry Draft was going to let scouts at the CHL Top Prospects Game forget about him. On Thursday, Swedish defenseman Dahlin made a statement in Gothenburg's 7-1 victory at Karlskrona with a goal and an assist against the men of the SHL. He picked up the lone assist on Joel Lundqvist's game-winning goal at 8:54 of the first period for a 2-0 lead. He later scored at 4:37 of the second to make it 3-0. Dahlin has posted points in three of his last four games, bringing him to six goals and 14 points in 31 outings. Thursday's goal was his first since Dec. 2. He's pretty safe at No. 1. (Note: Ninth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
TY DELLANDREA -- Seizing hold of the big stage represented by the annual CHL Top Prospects Game, Dellandrea scored twice in a record-setting span of 20 seconds during Team Cherry's 7-4 win on Thursday. He struck for his first goal at 16:22 of the first for a 3-0 lead and scored again at 16:22. No player or team in the game's history had ever scored twice in 20 seconds. Surrounded by great players, Dellandrea really raised his draft stock as he heads back to less attention with the lowly Flint Firebirds. (Note: Seventh appearance on this list in 2017-18)
AIDAN DUDAS -- The smallest player on the ice at the CHL Top Prospects Game also had the biggest heart. Dudas was an absolute spark plug for Team Cherry, scoring two goals in the 7-4 win on Thursday. He was like a buzzsaw, hustling all over the ice from the start, and got rewarded with a goal at 15:35 of the opening period to make it 2-0 and another at 15:00 of the second to make it 6-2. If there were ever an undersized player worth drafting, it's the 5-foot-7 Dudas, who competes hard all the time. (Note: 10th appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JACK JENSEN -- Jensen is one of the more exciting Minnesota high school players to watch, and the University of Minnesota has reason to be excited about his arrival on campus. On Thursday, Jensen posted three primary assists in Eden Prairie's 6-2 win over Stillwater. His assists came on the opening goal at 0:22 of the second period, a goal that made it 4-0 at 2:30 of the third, and his team's final goal at 13:21 of the third. Jensen now has 13 goals and 29 points in 18 games and is helping his team make the transition to life after Casey Mittelstadt. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JACK PERBIX -- Tied for 13th in Minnesota high school scoring race, Perbix will be a strong contender for the Mr. Hockey award if he returns to Elk River for his senior season. On Thursday, he had two goals and an assist in a 6-0 win at Anoka -- scoring his goals at 8:56 of the first period for a 2-0 lead and 8:40 of the second to make it 4-0. He closed out his night with a primary assist at 10:35 of the second period to make it 5-0. Perbix, a Notre Dame recruit, has 15 goals and 43 points in only 19 games this season. He has scored three points or more in nine of those 19 games. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
MARTIN POSPISIL -- A Slovak winger headed for college hockey at St. Lawrence, Pospisil erupted for his best offensive game of the USHL season on Thursday in Sioux City's 4-3 OT shootout win at Fargo. The game's No. 1 star began his point parade with the primary assist on the opening, power-play goal at 9:52 of the first period. He scored a goal of his own at 1:02 of the third to make it 2-1 before adding a primary assist on a power-play tally that made it 3-1 at 5:28 of the third. Pospisil has only 16 points in 29 games this season, but nine of those point have come during his current six-game scoring streak. He has clearly developed in offense in the North American game.
FILIP ZADINA -- Zadina is doing everything in his power to leapfrog Andrei Svechnikov into the No. 2 draft spot, and at this rate, he just might do it. On Thursday, he was one of Team Cherry's heroes at the CHL Top Prospects Game, scoring two goals on a game-high seven shots. Both of his goals were classic snipes, as he clearly has the best shot of any forward in this draft. His first goal made it 5-0 at 4:12 of the second period and stood up as the game-winner. His second, on a power play at 18:08 of the second, stretched the lead to 7-2. The sky is the limit with Zadina, whose 27 goals are tied for third in the QMJHL. (Note: 15th appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- leads all players)