• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
Normally, there are only enough games on a Wednesday to produce a list of five star performances by draft-eligible prospects. This Wednesday was different, as so many players were on top of their game. As a result, a maximum list of 10 is required. Great to see so many players making the most of the crucial draft year.
The largest number of Wednesday's stars came from the QMJHL, where four players turned in list-worthy games. They were joined by three Europeans and three others from the major-junior ranks. See them all below:
NICOLAS BEAUDIN -- At just over 5-foot-10, Beaudin is a bit undersized for a defenseman, but he's a player that will be drafted in June. On Wednesday, he helped his cause with a goal and plus-3 rating in Drummondville's 5-1 rout of Quebec. Beaudin, the game's No. 2 star, scored the eventual winning goal to give the Voltigeurs a 2-0 lead at 16:30 of the first period. Beaudin has eight points in 11 QMJHL games so far this season and appears on his way to at least matching the 41 he had last year. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JUSTIN BLANCHETTE -- Blanchette was the No. 3 star of Baie-Comeau's 4-2 loss at Rimouski. Although his team fell on the road, Blanchette did everything he could to keep the Drakkar in the game, making a remarkable 46 saves. The Drakkar's No. 1 goalie was sensational against the Oceanic and has a .938 save percentage in his last two starts. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
DOMINIK BOKK -- Bokk is one of the more intriguing stories in the draft pool, and he will definitely get drafted. He's German, and spent many years in the Cologne development program. However, when it came time for this winger take the next step in his draft year, he chose to go to Sweden and be part of the Vaxjo Lakers' pipeline. So far, the decision has paid off, and Wednesday was a good example. Bokk had a goal, an assist, and four shots in the Vaxjo U20 squad's 7-0 win over Karlskrona. He scored at 3:43 of the second period for a 5-0 lead, and assisted on a power-play goal at 19:23 of the second to make it 6-0. Through 12 games with Vaxjo's top junior team, he has four goals and 10 assists.
FILIP KRAL -- What a ride it has been so far this season for this Czech defenseman. He opened the season playing against men in the Czech Extraliga. He wasn't getting much icetime, however, and so his Brno club gave him the opportunity to go to North America and play with the WHL's Spokane Chiefs. The transition has been smooth. On Wednesday, Kral picked up two assists and No. 2 star honors in the Chiefs' 2-1 win over Moose Jaw. Both assists came on the power play in the opening period -- the first at 13:45 for a 1-1 tie, and the second on the game-winner at 17:35. By going to the WHL for the rest of the season, Kral likely boosted his draft position.
VITALI KRAVTSOV -- There is only one first-year-eligible draft prospect playing in the KHL, and it's this talented Chelyabinsk forward. Kravtsov, who starred in the MHL last season, had been out for a month with an injury, but he came back looking great. On Wednesday, he scored a goal in Chelyabinsk's 3-2 shootout victory at Beijing. The goal, at 7:09 of the second period, tied the score at 2-2 and set the stage for the eventual shootout. When you are able to miss a month and then come back to score a big goal in the KHL, you have definite NHL potential.
DAVID LEVIN -- After a slow start, Levin is on fire. Maybe the first Israeli citizen expected to play in the NHL will also be a first-round pick. Levin had a goal, two assists, and won eight of 12 faceoffs to earn No. 2 star honors in Sudbury's 4-2 win over OHL rival Sault Ste. Marie. He assisted on the game's first goal at 8:41 of the opening period, had the primary assist on a power-play goal to make it 2-0 at 2:53 of the second, and closed out the scoring with an empty-netter at 19:47 of the third. With eight points in the past four games, Levin is right where he wants to be. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
OLIVIER RODRIGUE -- The Drummondville goalie, who will be one of the first Canadian netminders drafted in June, was the No. 3 star of his team's 5-1 win over Quebec, making 24 saves. Rodrigue, who had to miss some games with an early-season head injury, is firmly in the driver's seat for the Voltigeurs now, and he has been among the three stars in back-to-back games.
NIKITA RTISCHEV -- After playing for the Russian team that won an Under-18 exhibition series vs. the Czechs, Rtischev is back in the MHL with Moscow Red Army, and the draft-eligible right wing is building on his international success. On Wednesday, he had a goal and an assist in Red Army's 3-2 win over the Soviet Wings. He picked up the primary assist on a goal at 16:24 of the second period for a 1-1 tie, and later scored the game-winner at 3:38 of the third to make it 3-1. Rtischev now has nine points in 14 MHL games.
TODD SCOTT -- The Vancouver Giants won on the road at Saskatoon on Wednesday, and goaltender Todd Scott was the No. 2 star of the 6-3 victory. Coming off three straight hard-luck losses in which he played well, Scott finally got his first win of the season, making 32 saves. This Minnesota native has significan North American competition as a draft-eligible netminder, but he's starting to make a name for himself.
DMITRI ZAVGORODNY -- He gets better and better as the season goes on, but his size disadvantage will likely make it tougher for NHL teams to pick him. Based on his performance, there's no doubt he should go high. On Wednesday, he was the No. 1 star of Rimouski's 4-2 win over Baie-Comeau, scoring at 5:27 of the second period to make it 2-2, and netting the game's final goal at 12:05 of the third. Zavgorodny has six goals and six assists in 10 QMJHL games. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)