Daily 2018 Draft Prospect Updates

Nov. 12, 2017


There were enough games on Sunday to fill a complete list of 10 top performances. Once again, talent came from multiple directions. In a rare situation for a weekend, a minority of the 10 came from North American major-junior -- two from the OHL and one from the WHL. The others came from the Five Nations tournament, which ended with Finland as champion, Russia's MHL, Tier II's OJHL and AJHL, and the USA's USHL.

With so much diversity in this draft pool, it's getting crowded in the overall standings for appearances on this list. A whopping 166 different players have been featured here since Sept. 21, and the season is still less than two months old. It's a totally different world from last year, when the talent was so thin. Take a look at the range in this list:

Stars of the Night

JUSTUS ANNUNEN -- Finland made the local fans proud by winning last week's Five Nations tournament in Hameenlinna, and goaltender Annunen was a big part of that championship. On Sunday, he stopped 21 shots in the 2-1 OT victory over Sweden that delivered first place to the Finns. He started three games in the tournament and went 2-1 with a .906 save percentage. He was also one of only two first-year draft-eligible goalies to record two victories along with Czech netminder Lukas Dostal. It's already clear that Annunen is going to be drafted much higher than anyone might habe expected a year ago. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)

JACOB BERNARD-DOCKER -- There are only a handful of draft prospects in the AJHL, but they all hope to follow the lead of 2017 first-rounder Cale Makar. Bernard-Docker, a defenseman like Makar, was brilliant on Sunday, scoring two goals and adding an assist in Okotoks' 5-1 win at Brooks. All of his points came on special teams, and he was named the "Away Team Star of the Game". He began his scoring parade with the game's first goal on a power play at 2:54 of the opening period. He later assisted on the eventual game-winner, also on the power play, at 13:43 of the first. He capped it off with a shorthanded goal at 17:32 of the second to make it 3-1. It was the first career two-goal game for the North Dakota recruit.

DREW DeRIDDER -- The U.S. NTDP Under-18 team A avoided embarrassment at the Five Nations tournament by securing its lone victory to finish third overall on Sunday. Starting goaltender DeRidder, a Michigan State recruit, delivered that victory with 23 saves for a 3-0 shutout of the Czech Republic. Despite Team USA's struggles, DeRidder had a very strong tournament, stopping 62 of 66 total shots for a .939 save percentage. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)

BRAD GINNELL -- Ginnell scored two goals in the Portland Winterhawks' 6-1 rout of Prince Albert on Sunday to earn No. 3 star honors. His first goal, at 14:32 of the second period, gave Portland a 2-1 lead and stood up as the game-winner. His second goal, scored on a power play at 15:56 of the third period, closed the scoring. These were Ginnell's first goals since Oct. 14 and marked the first two-goal game of his WHL career.

DANIL GIZATULLIN -- Russia's MHL is home to some intriguing prospects, and Gizatullin is high on that list. The Yaroslavl left wing had a goal and two assists on Sunday in an 8-2 win at Primorsky Krai. His first assist cut an early deficit to 2-1 at 17:36 of the opening period and helped set the tone for eight unanswered goals. He later assisted on a tying goal at 11:48 of the second period and then made it 4-2 when he scored with only 16 seconds left in that period. Gizatullin has goals in back-to-back games and a total of 11 points in 23 MHL appearances this season. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)

CURTIS HALL -- It was a huge Sunday for Hall, a Yale recruit who plays for the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms. His hat trick, one assist, five shots, and plus-5 rating lifted Youngstown to a 5-4 victory at Muskegon. Hall, the game's No. 1 star, got his first goal at 15:51 of the first period for a 2-0 lead. He picked up a second goal at 12:38 of the second to make it 3-1, and closed his hat trick with an unassisted goal -- the game-winner -- for a 5-3 lead at 14:09 of the third. Hall also had the primary assist on a goal at 1:31 of the third for a 4-1 lad. Hall is on fire these days with six points in the past two games. He has 10 points in 12 USHL games, and his six goals are one shy of his total from last season.

JACK McBAIN -- No prospect had a more impressive Sunday than McBain, who must have heard that sons of former NHL players were having a big weekend across the board. McBain, an early candidate for OJHL MVP, scored three goals and added two assists in pacing the Toronto Jr. Canadiens to a 6-3 win over Mississauga. The Boston College recruit and son of Andrew McBain scored his first goal at 15:57 of the first period for a 1-1 tie. His second goal came at 16:49 of the second to make it 2-1, and his third at 17:33 of the final period for a 5-3 lead. He also had an assist 45 seconds into the third, and a primary helper at 3:31 on the eventual game-winner at 3:31 of the period. McBain's monster weekend saw him score seven points in two games, giving him 34 on the season to rank seventh in the OJHL. His 23 assists tie him for third overall. (Note: Seventh appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- tied with Filip Zadina for overall lead)

ALLAN McSHANE -- McShane continued his strong play in the OHL, scoring both of the Oshawa Generals' goals in their 6-2 loss to Ottawa on Sunday. The game's No. 2 star picked up a power-play tally at 7:24 of the second period to cut the lead to 5-1 and then made it 5-2 with an unassisted goal at 14:35 of the second. McShane has five goals in his last two games and 24 points in 20 games this season. He is tied for first in scoring among first-year draft-eligible OHL players. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)

RYAN MERKLEY -- The highest-scoring first-year draft-eligible defenseman in the OHL is Merkley, an offensive dynamo who has been playing his best hockey of late. On Sunday, he had four second-period assists in Guelph's 5-1 thrashing of Sudbury to earn No. 1 star honors. He had the primary assist on the game's first goal at 2:20 of the second period, quickly following it up with an assist at 3:46 to make it 2-0, a primary helper at 13:44 for a 4-1 lead, and a power-play assist on the game's final goal at 18:12. Merkley is now on an eight-game scoring streak with four goals and 11 assists over the span. He ranks second among all OHL defenseman in scoring and is tied with Allan McShane (above) for the lead among 2018 draft prospects. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)

NIKITA RTISCHEV -- Rtischev ranks second in scoring among MHL first-year draft-eligibles and had two goals in Moscow Red Army's 5-3 win over Mytischi on Sunday. His first goal was the game-winner at 16:25 of the third period, putting Red Army up 4-3. His second goal went into an empty net with one second to go. Rtischev, a right wing, now has 14 points in 21 MHL games. At 6-foot-1, he has good size for the NHL and is certain to be drafted in June. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)