• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
Friday produced an interesting and diverse group of 2018 draft prospects who turned in star performances. On a day when just about everyone was playing, some lower-profile players really stepped up to steal the spotlight from the big names. Only two or three of the names below are projected first-round picks -- yet another indication of just how deep this draft will be.
The full list of 10 players includes three Europeans, four major-junior players, two members of the U.S. NTDP program, and one from the USHL. Four of the 10 are goaltenders, as you can see in the list that follows:
RYAN CHYZOWSKI -- His dad was the No. 2 overall pick in 1989, but Chyzowski, a left wing, won't go as high in June. On Friday, he scored twice, added an assist, and had five shots on net in Medicine Hat's 11-1 WHL rout of Kootenay. Chyzowski picked up his first point at 3:28 of the second period, stretching the Tigers' lead to 4-0. He later scored at 14:23 of the second to make it 7-0, and again on a power play at 11:15 of the third to close the scoring. It was his first WHL three-point game.
KODY CLARK -- Here's a player whose father was not only drafted No. 1 overall, but went on to become a Toronto Maple Leafs legend. It would be hard for any player to fill the skates of Wendel Clark, but Kody is making a name for himself in the OHL and improving his own draft position with every game. On Friday, he had a dramatic goal and assist in Ottawa's 2-1 overtime win over Oshawa to earn No. 1 star honors. He registered the primary assist at 15:26 of the third period to force the overtime, and then he got the game-winner with only 25 seconds left in OT. Clark has now had back-to-back No. 1 star performances with five points in the two games. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
DREW DeRIDDER -- It's time to start considering the U.S. NTDP Under-18 goalie as one of the very best netminders in this draft. DeRidder stopped a remarkable 39 shots on Friday night in New Hampshire, leading Team USA to a 3-0 win over Dartmouth College. It's one thing to shut out USHL teams, but it's a much bigger deal to do it against a college squad. DeRidder has back-to-back shutouts, denying all 73 shots he has faced in the past two games. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
SAMUEL ERSSON -- Could Ersson end up being the first Swedish goalie drafted in June? He is certainly making the case for that. The Gavle Under-20 star made 35 saves in Friday's 4-2 win over Ornskoldsvik for his second straight victory. The bigger news is that he has now won seven of his last eight starts, making 30-or-more saves in four of those eight games, including each of the last three. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JOEL FARABEE -- Following the lead of his NTDP teammate DeRidder, Farabee has been red hot of late. On Friday, he had a hand in all three of the U.S. Under-18 team's goals in its shutout of Dartmouth. Farabee helped get his team on the board with the primary assist on a goal just 17 seconds into the second period. At 14:38 of the second, he scored to make it a 2-0 game, and he earned the primary assist on the final goal at 10:14 of the third. Farabee, a left wing headed to Boston University, has posted six points in the past three games. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
FILIP HALLANDER -- Playing against men in Sweden's Allsvenskan, Hallander is holding his own this season. He saved his best for Friday, assisting on three goals in Timra's 4-1 win at Ornskoldsvik. After picking up the lone assist on the game's first goal at 15:39 of the opening period, Hallander got the primary assist on the eventual game-winner -- a power-play goal at 13:36 of the second for a 2-1 lead. He then had the lone assist on a goal at 1:31 of the third to make it 3-1. His season-high three points came in a season-high 17:52 of icetime. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
FILIP KRAL -- What a great move it was for Kral to leave the Czech Extraliga, where he saw limited icetime, and come to the WHL for the rest of this season. On Friday, the Spokane defenseman continued making waves as the No. 1 star of the Chiefs' 3-2 shootout loss to Kamloops. Kral had the lone assist on a power-play goal at 7:55 of the second period to tie it at 1-1. He then got a goal of his own less than three minutes later -- scoring at 10:23 of the second. He has posted points in all four games since entering the WHL -- a total of two goals and four assists. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JAKE KUCHARSKI -- He's a future Providence College goaltender, but for now he's making his mark in the USHL. Kucharski, who started his 2017-18 season as the winning goalie in the All-American Prospects Game, has been solid for the Des Moines Buccaneers. On Friday, he showed great resiliency, as he bounced back from a rough loss to make 35 saves in the Bucs' 4-3 overtime win at Sioux Falls. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
FRANTISEK REHAK -- Like so many talented players in the draft pool, Rehak is a small forward who might not get drafted because of his size. The Czech left wing, who plays in the Swiss U20 league with the Kloten junior team, scored twice in a 3-2 win over Davos on Friday. His first goal made it 2-0 at 0:35 of the second period. His second goal -- the game-winner -- gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead at 2:08 of the third. It was Rehak's first multi-goal game of the season.
OLIVIER RODRIGUE --
Earlier this season, Rodrigue missed a few QMJHL games due to injury. He has come back with a vengeance and is out to prove
his NHL draft worth. Friday provided a great example of his ability, as he stopped 32 shots in Drummondville's 2-1 overtime win at Quebec. Naturally, he was named the game's No. 1 star. In fact, he has been one of the 3-star selections in each of his last three games and has stopped 56 of 58 shots over his last two wins. Being the first Canadian goalie drafted is not out of the question.
(Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)