• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
Yet another busy Saturday in prospect land, as virtually all the draft-eligibles were in action. Although it didn't produce the kind of huge performances observed Friday, Saturday held its own with a large number of prospects earning three-star honors, a lot of noise in the European junior leagues, and some big goaltending efforts.
The list below includes six major-junior players, three European junior players, and one from the Tier II ranks. Oh, and two guys named Lucas. Here they are:
NICOLAS BEAUDIN -- One of the top QMJHL defensemen, Beaudin continued his strong play on Saturday with a goal and an assist in Drummondville's 2-1 OT win over Halifax. The game's No. 1 star, Beaudin scored on a power play at 0:34 of overtime. He also assisted on a power-play goal at 17:02 of the second period to pull the Voltigeurs into a tie. Beaudin only got a Grade C from Central Scouting earlier this year, but he has 15 points in 18 games and is seventh in QMJHL defensemen scoring. Among first-year draft-eligible d-men, he ranks second. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
ADAM BOQVIST -- Almost everyone has Boqvist pegged as a top-five pick in June, but the Gavle U20 star had gone through scoring slumps at times this season. On Saturday, the talented defenseman was in top-scoring form with two goals and five shots in a 7-2 win over Stockholm Djurgarden. Boqvist scored the eventual game-winner for a 3-2 lead at 16:17 of the second period and added a power-play goal at 5:05 of the third for a 5-2 lead. With his first two-goal game in the books, Boqvist now has 11 points in 13 U20 games. He has also played in two SHL games this season.
LUCAS FITZPATRICK -- Fitzpatrick is a QMJHL backup goaltender with an .897 save percentage, but there is a very good chance he'll be drafted. He has good size, and he comes through with clutch wins in a high-scoring league. On Saturday, Fitzpatrick was the No. 1 star of Shawinigan's 3-2 OT win over Saint John, stopping 30 shots, including 18 of 18 over the final two periods of regulation. It was his first No. 1 star selection. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
BLADE JENKINS -- It was big news when Michigan native Jenkins abandoned his college hockey plans last summer and entered the OHL with the Saginaw Spirit. But it has taken him awhile to adjust to the major-junior game. On Saturday, he showed that he can flourish at this level with a remarkable second-period hat trick in the Spirit's 6-1 win over North Bay. The game's No. 1 star scored the game-winner for a 2-0 lead at 1:18 and quickly followed it up with a goal at 4:24 to make it 3-0. His final goal, at 16:-1, made it 4-1. Jenkins, who used to be part of the U.S. NTDP program, is riding a four-game goal-scoring streak.
LENNI KILLINEN -- Next week, Killinen will play for the host country in the Under-18 Five Nations tournament. On Saturday in the Finnish U20 league, he tuned up by scoring a goal and assisting on two others in Espoo's 8-1 win over Helsinki Jokerit. He had the primary assist on the game's first goal just 53 seconds after play began. He then had another primary assist on a goal at 1:57 of the third period to make it 6-0 and a power-play goal at 3:52 of the third for a 7-0 lead. Killinen, who could be a breakout Five Nations player, has four three-point games this season. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
LUCAS MATEWA -- The Swiss Under-20 league doesn't get so much attention, but it is home to a lot of talented players and some prime draft prospects. One of those is defenseman Lucas Matewa, who had a goal and two assists in Saturday's 4-3 win over Langnau. Matewa scored on a power-play at 3:40 of the first period for a 1-0 lead. He added the primary assist on the 2-0 goal at 6:19 of the first, and picked up another primary helper on a power-play goal at 5:31 of the second period, tying the game 3-3. It was Matewa's first multi-point game of the season, and he is currently on a three-game point streak.
JACK McBAIN -- The man among boys in the OJHL this season is Boston College recruit McBain. On Saturday, the big forward scored a goal in the Toronto Jr. Canadiens' 2-1 win at Mississauga to claim No. 1 star honors. McBain's goal came at 8:54 of the first period for a 1-0 lead. He now has points in eight of his last nine games. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
RYAN MERKLEY -- The Guelph Storm's puck-moving defenseman could be the first OHL defenseman drafted in 2018. He has been remarkably consistent in his scoring, and was on his game Saturday with a goal, an assist, and four shots in a 3-2 overtime win at Flint. Merkley started off with a power-play goal at 17:54 of the first period to tie the game 1-1. He later had a power-play assist at 12:25 of the third, helping the Storm force overtime. Now on a six-game scoring streak, Merkley has seven multi-point games and is averaging more than a point per game this season. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
OLIVIER RODRIGUE -- Rodrigue stopped 31 shots in Drummondville's 2-1 OT win over Halifax for his first victory since Oct. 22. It has been an up-and-down year for the highly-regarded Rodrigue, one of the top-rated Canadian goaltenders for the 2018 NHL draft. He is 7-4-2 with a 2.47 GAA and .899 save percentage. More was expected from him, but he has already missed games due to an injury, and when he is hot, he is very hot. It will be interesting to see how all this affects his draft position. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
TODD SCOTT -- Scott dominated Vancouver's 5-4 win over Kamloops, stopping 43 shots to earn No. 1 star honors. He made 12 saves in the first period, 16 in the second, and 15 in the third. He also finished among the three-star selections for the fourth time this season. Scott, an American, did not get the preseason attention of some of his fellow major-junior netminders, but he has been one of the best first-year drat-eligible goalies in the WHL -- the kind who can put a team on his back when needed. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)