• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
Another busy weekend in the books, and as mentioned a day ago, this was a weekend for defensemen to shine. Many of the blueliners were part of a wave of first-time appearances on this list. Sunday brought four more first-timers, and the message is now clear: This is the deepest draft pool in years with potential NHL star available well outside the first round.
There were just enough star performances on Sunday for a complete 10-player list. Eight players come from the major-junior ranks, along with two European-based players. View the final list from a remarkable weekend below:
AXEL BERGKVIST -- The Leksand U20 defenseman scored twice in his team's 7-4 loss to Ornskoldsvik on Sunday, giving him goals in back-to-back games. His first came at 10:56 of the opening period to make it 1-0. He then scored at 18:55 of the first for a 3-2 lead. With nine goals and 18 points in 22 games, Bergkvist is the highest-scoring defenseman in Sweden's J20 Norra division. Four of his goals have been scored on the power play.
EVAN BOUCHARD -- London's draft-eligible defenseman has been hot, hot, hot in November, and he remained on his role Sunday with two assists in the Knights' 4-0 win at Windsor. The No. 3 star, Bouchard began with the primary assist on the game's first goal at 5:46 of the opening period. He later had the primary assist on the game's final goal just 43 seconds into the third. Bouchard now has 25 points in 22 OHL games, including a five-game streak scoring streak in which he has averaged nearly two points per game. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
AIDAN DUDAS -- This guy is an absolute dynamo at just over 5-foot-7, as he continues to rack up the points for Owen Sound. Thursday's goal and assist at Windsor were followed by Sunday's three assists at Flint. The three assists -- rare for Dudas, who is more of a goal-scorer -- earned him No. 3 star honors. His first helper was the lone assist on a power-play goal at 1:47 of the second period, pulling the Attack into a 2-2 tie. He then got another second-period assist at 10:33 to make it 4-3, and closed out his big night with the lone assist on a goal 62 seconds into the third -- putting Owen Sound up 4-3. Dudas has a three-game OHL point streak with three-star selections in two of those games. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
ADAM LISKA -- Kitchener's Slovak import was the No. 1 star of the Rangers' 4-1 win over Peterborough, scoring a goal and adding an assist. Liska pulled Kitchener into a 1-1 tie with a goal at 16:10 of the first period, and he made it a 2-1 game by assisting on the winning goal at 18:10 of the second. He has suddenly picked up his offense with goals in three of the past four games.
KEVIN MANDOLESE -- Mandolese will be a tempting goaltender in the 2018 draft because of his great size, but he also has the skills to make a mark in the NHL. On Sunday, he stopped 40 shots in Cape Breton's 5-2 victory at Moncton, earning No. 3 star honors. Although the Screaming Eagles lack a clear No. 1 goalie, Mandolese has won his past two QMJHL starts and is thriving in a platoon situation with Kyle Jessiman. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
AMIR MIFTAKHOV -- Who will be the first Russian goalie drafted in 2018? It's a neck-and-neck battle between Miftakhov and Yaroslavl's Daniil Isayev. Miftakhov made the case for himself on Sunday, stopping 24 shots in a 2-1 win over Tyumen. He is a perfect 3-0 in his November NHL starts, rolling up a .928 save percentage during those games. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- leads all goaltenders)
COLE REINHARDT -- Reinhardt, a left wing with the Brandon Wheat Kings, had a monster game on Sunday in his team's 7-3 rout of Swift Current. By far the best performance of his WHL season to date, Sunday's output of a goal and two assists earned him No. 1 star honors. Reinhardt had the lone assist on a shorthanded goal -- and eventual game-winner -- for a 4-3 lead at 14:39 of the second period. He picked up another assist at 17:00 of the second to make it 5-3 and scored at 8:30 of the third for a 6-3 advantage. Reinhardt received his first three-star selection since opening night. He has six goals and nine points in 20 games.
OLIVIER RODRIGUE -- What a game for Rodrigue, another one of the top goalies in the draft pool. He stopped all 26 shots for a 4-0 shutout win at Shawinigan on Sunday, claiming No. 1 star honors. Rodrigue made 10 saves in the first period, eight in the second, and eight in the third. He continues to strengthen his draft stock, as he now has three straight wins. For the overall QMJHL season, his save percentage is .903, but in the three-game streak he has been lights-out with a .937 save percentage. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
EDOUARD ST. LAURENT -- St. Laurent, a left wing, was the No. 1 star of Baie-Comeau's 4-3 victory over Quebec, scoring a goal and winning seven of 11 face-offs on Sunday. His unassisted tally at 7:22 of the opening period gave the Drakkar a 3-0 lead. It was also his first goal of the season.
EGOR SOKOLOV -- While Mandolese was providing the defense for Cape Breton in its 5-2 win at Moncton on Sunday, Sokolov was providing some offense. The Russian right wing had a goal, and assist, and five shots in the game. He helped set up the game's first goal just 1:08 into the opening period, and he scored just under nine minutes later at 9:46 for a 2-0 lead. Sokolov, who has 18 points in 22 QMJHL this season, has benefited from playing on a line with Drake Batherson, the league's leading scorer. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)