• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
Here we are in the middle of a busy weekend involving draft prospects, but the most exciting thing on the horizon doesn't begin until Tuesday.
That, of course, would be the upcoming Five Nations Under-18 tournament in Plymouth, Mich., which should go a long way to determining which players get drafted and where. Teams from the U.S. Russia, Sweden, Finland, and the Czech Republic will gather for what the most important tournament since the Hlinka Memorial in August. A total of 53 players profiled on this site are expected to be there.
There will be plenty of discussion of the Five Nations in the days to come. For now, let's focus on Friday's top performances:
JUSTUS ANNUNEN -- Annunen will be Finland's goaltender at the Five Nations next week, and he approaches the tournament in top form after stopping all 18 shots in Oulu's 6-0 Finnish U20 shutout at Kouvola on Friday. His workload wasn't tough -- four saves in the first, nine in the second, and five in the third -- but he handled it with ease en route to his third shutout of 2017-18. Annunen has won back-to-back games and four of his last five starts. Over the past nine games, he has a stunning. 948 save percentage. (Note: Seventh appearance on this list in 2017-18)
ELIJAH BROWN -- Medicine Hat's 5-foot-9 center scored two goals in a 4-0 win over Calgary on Friday, claiming No. 2 star honors. His first goal opened the scoring at 1:16 of the second period. The next goal came just 2:20 later at 3:36 to make it 3-0. Brown has five goals and 16 points in 29 games this season, giving him WHL career highs in all three major scoring categories. Most impressive, he has strung together three straight multi-point games with four goals and six points in the month of February.
NATHAN DUNKLEY -- Traded by Kingston to London at the OHL deadline last month, Dunkley is really adjusting to his new surroundings. On Friday, he had a goal and two assists for No. 2 star honors in the Knights' 4-1 win over Erie. All three points came in the opening period. Dunkley assisted on the game's first goal at 4:10, drew the primary assist on the eventual game-winner for a 2-0 lead at 12:47, and scored at 16:50 to put London up 3-0. He averages nearly a point per game this season with 16 goals and 26 assists in 43 games, including nine points in 12 games with the Knights. This was Dunkley's fourth three-point game of the season and his first in a London uniform. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
LIAM FOUDY -- While teammate Dunkley was getting a goal and two assists in London's 4-1 win over Erie on Friday, his linemate Foudy was getting two goals and one helper. The game's No. 3 star scored the opening goal and 4:10 of the first period. He later assisted on Dunkley's goal at 16:50 of the first to make it 3-1 and hit an empty net at 19:21 of the third to put away the game. Foudy has 12 goals and 20 points in 48 OHL matches, but he has been a much different player of late with points in seven of his last eight games. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
CAM HILLIS -- If Andrei Svechnikov isn't the OHL's Rookie of the Year, then Hillis certainly will be. The Guelph forward picked up three points -- a goal and two assists -- in Friday's 4-3 OT win over Saginaw. His shorthanded goal at 5:39 of the first period opened the scoring. He then had two primary assists -- one at 5:04 of the second for a 2-0 lead and the other on the winner at 4:32 of overtime. Hillis leads all OHL rookies with 51 points in 51 games -- five points ahead of Svechnikov. This was his fourth three-point game of the season, and he has points in seven of his last 10 outings. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
LOGAN HUTSKO -- Hutsko is one of the more interesting prospects in this draft. The American, who turns 19 on Sunday, came out of the U.S. NTDP program but missed his entire draft year due to injury. Now he's back with Boston College and making a big mark as a freshman. On Friday Hutsko led the way for the Eagles with two goals and six shots in a 3-2 OT win over UMass-Lowell. Hutsko's first goal, at 1:38 of the third period, tied the game 2-2 and forced the overtime, where he also emerged as the hero. His winning goal, at 4:53 of OT, marked the second two-goal game of his young NCAA career. With points in six of his last eight games, Hutsko now has 19 in 29 games this season -- tying him for third on the BC scoring list.
DAVID LEVIN -- There were such high hopes for Levinin the fall. He was looking to be the first Israeli ever drafted in the NHL's first round. But an injury-plagued season became a nightmare -- until Friday. The Sudbury forward was brilliant in the Wolves' 6-3 win over Flint, scoring his first OHL a hat trick for No. 1 star honors. Levin opened the scoring just one minute into the game, notched the eventual game-winner for a 4-2 lead at 7:52 of the second period, and completed his hat trick just over a minute later with a power-play goal at 8:57. The goals snapped a five-game drought and gave him his first multi-goal performance since Oct. 13. Through 34 games this season, Levin has 11 goals and 23 points. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
COLE REINHARDT -- What a night for Reinhardt, who exploded for two goals and an assist in Brandon's 6-3 win over Saskatoon. The game's No. 1 star got the first goal at 3:11 of the opening period. He then assisted on a goal at 16:16 of the second to cut the lead to 3-2 before scoring the game-winner for a 4-3 lead at 15:32 of the third. This was his second three-point game of the season, but it was the more important one, since it snapped a 16-game goal drought. Through 50 WHL games, the Wheat Kings winger has 13 goals and 21 points. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
DAVID TENDECK -- Tendeck has forced himself into the conversation as perhaps the best Canadian goalie prospect in this year's draft pool. The remarkable Vancouver Giants netminder stopped a career-high 49 shots Friday in a 2-1 OT win over Seattle and was the clear choice for No. 1 star. He stopped all 15 Thunderbirds shots in the first period, all 19 in the second, 14 of 15 in the third, and one in the OT. He finally lost his shutout with just 9:33 left to play. Tendeck has now won three of his last four starts and ranks third in the WHL with a 2.91 goals-against average. He is also tied for third in save percentage (.913) and tied for eighth in wins (20).( (Note: Ninth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JOE VELENO -- Veleno might be the hottest forward in all of major-junior hockey right now. The Drummondville center was the No. 2 star of Friday's 4-1 outdoor victory over Sherbrooke after scoring a goal and adding two assists. The goal came on a power play for a 1-0 lead at 7:17 of the first period. A primary assist on another power-play goal -- the eventual game-winner for a 2-0 lead --at 5:56 of the second period set the stage for another assist on the game-sealing empty-netter at 18:29 of the third. Veleno now has 14 goals and 62 points in 48 games, including four straight three-point games and a current 13-game point streak. He ranks seventh in the QMJHL in scoring and second in assists. (Note: 10th appearance on this list in 2017-18)