• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
This top-performances list began running on the first day of the major-junior season (Sept. 21), and since that date, some 260 players have been featured in this space.
This is the definition of a deep draft. Since only 217 players can be drafted, it's clear that there will be many very good players who slip forward into the 2019 talent pool. In fact, the number of 19-year-olds on this year's Central Scouting North America list is staggering, which suggests some of the deserving but undrafted 2018 prospects will be even better a year from now.
Five players from three leagues qualified for Wednesday's list. Here they are:
ANDREW COXHEAD -- The game's No. 2 star, Coxhead scored twice in the first period of Quebec's 5-4 OT win at Gatineau on Wednesday. His first goal, at 5:04 of the opening period, gave his team a 2-1 lead. His second, at 5:04, made it 4-2. The goals snapped a 12-game goal-scoring drought for the center from Nova Scotia, who has 10 goals and 21 points in 54 QMJHL games.
CARL JAKOBSSON -- The Swedish Under-20 junior league will put many players in the 2018 draft and Jakobsson is one of them. On Wednesday, he scored a hat trick -- one goal per period -- for Karlstad in its 6-3 win over Stockholm Djurgarden. His first goal came on a power play at 6:42 of the opening period for a 2-0 lead. His second was the game-winner, putting Karlstad up 4-1 at 13:13 of the second. He completed his hat trick with a power-play goal to make it 5-3 at 17:29 of the third. This was Jakobsson's third multi-goal game of the 2017-18 U20 season. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
MATHIAS LAFERRIERE -- Laferriere was the No. 2 star of Cape Breton's 4-0 shutout win at Saint John on Wednesday, claiming No. 2 star honors with three assists. His first was the primary helper on the opening, power-play goal at 5:30 of the second period. He then picked up a primary assist on a goal to make it 3-0 at 1:58 of the third period and another power-play assist to close the scoring at 13:38. Through 51 games, the 6-foot-1 center has seven goals and 30 points, including points in seven of the past eight games. This was his second three-assist game of the season. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
KEVIN MANDOLESE -- Mandolese notched his first QMJHL shutout on Wednesday in Cape Breton's 4-0 win at Saint John. He only had to make 17 saves -- seven in the first period, one in the second, and nine in the third. Mandolese came into the season as one of the top major-junior goaltending prospects, but he has had a rocky ride, winning only 11 games to date. However, after a solid performance in the CHL Top Prospects Game, he has been coming on of late with wins in three of his last four starts -- allowing a total of only three goals over those games.. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
BRETT STAPLEY -- A 19-year-old who was not selected in last year's draft, Stapley has been having a big year with the BCHL's Vernon Vipers. On Wednesday, the University of Denver recruit scored twice and was named the No. 1 star of Vernon's 4-1 win over Chilliwack. His first goal came on a power play at 7:59 of the second period to make it 3-1, and his second stretched the lead to 4-1 at 19:07 of the second. An undersized center at 5-foot-9, Stapley might have trouble getting drafted due to his size, but his numbers are good. He has 22 goals and 50 points in 45 games this season, including points in four of his last five games.