• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
All three North American major-junior leagues had games on tap Wednesday, as did the junior leagues in Russia, Sweden, and Finland. There was no shortage of places to watch 2018 draft prospects, and several, particularly some of the smaller players in the draft pool, were able to make their case to scouts with strong performances.
Tonight's stars list reaches its typical mid-week total of five players. You'll find an OHL, a QMJHL, two MHL, and one Swedish junior player this time around:
AIDAN DUDAS -- It's important to remember that Dudas is only 5-foot-8, and history shows that players of his size -- even good ones -- are lucky to get drafted. Dudas, however, is playing a lot bigger than his stature of late, and on Wednesday he recorded his second two-goal game in his past three outings. In the process, he helped spark Owen Sound to a 5-2 OHL victory over Kingston and was named the game's No. 1 star. Dudas, who scored on two of his five shots, found the net for the eventual game-winner -- giving the Attack a 3-1 lead at 8:46 of the second period. His other goal stretched the lead to 4-2 at 17:37 of the second. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
DANIL GIZATULLIN -- Gizatullin makes his debut on this list, thanks to scoring two goals and racking up 25 PIM in only 6:36 of icetime during Yaroslavl's 7-2 win over MHL also-ran Beijing. Loko players feasted on their Chinese road trip, and Gizatullin had great success as part of that. He scored on a 5-on-3 power play at 10:24 of the first period to make it 2-0. He then scored the game-winner for a 3-1 lead at 2:13 of the second. Despite his very limited icetime, Gizatullin has put up four points in his last three games.
CARL WASSENIUS -- Wassenius continued his recent scoring surge for Orebro's U20 squad, picking up a goal an assist, and seven shots in his team's 6-4 loss at Vaxjo. He started his scoring early, picking up the primary assist on the game's first goal -- a power-play marker -- at 1:35 of the opening period. He then got a power-play goal of his own to cut Vaxjo's lead to 4-2 at 7:37 of the second. Wassenius now has six points in his last four games. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
DMITRI ZAVGORODNY -- Rimouski's Russian import continued his fine play at home on Wednesday night, even though his team fell 3-2 to Drummondville. Zavgorodny recorded a goal and an assist, running his goal-scoring streak to three games and earning No. 2 star honors for the Oceanic. He scored his goal on a power play at 12:26 of the first period for a 1-1 tie, and he later added power-play assist to make it 2-1 at 14:52 of the second. Despite his small stature, which will likely hurt him in the NHL draft, even though he dominated at August's annual Hlinka tournament, he has already justified Rimouski's decision to pick him seventh overall in last June's CHL Draft. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
ALEXANDER ZHABREYEV -- On a night when smaller players were all the rage, Zhabreyev fit right into this group of stars. Another guy who will likely have a long draft-day wait due to his size, Zhabreyev has been flying under the radar in Russia's MHL. On Wednesday, the diminutive center scored and had an assist in St. Petersburg Dynamo SPB's 7-1 win over Khabarovsk. His goal, on a power play at 16:53 of the first period, stood up as the game-winner, although it only made it a 2-0 game at the time. He assisted on a goal that pushed the lead to 5-0 at 17:43 of the second period. Zhabreyev is now a point-per-game draft prospect with five goals and 11 assists in 16 games. He is one of three potential NHL draftees playing for SPB, which is tied for seventh in the 33-team MHL. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)