• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
It was a great day for goaltenders, as four from four different leagues found spots on the top-10 performances list for Saturday. With two defensemen also on the list, forwards are a rare minority on here.
Perhaps it's appropriate that goalies and defensemen carried the day, since the 2018 NHL craft pool has so much depth at these positions. Don't worry, forwards will be back in force soon. Check out the list below for the four who made it on Saturday:
JUSTUS ANNUNEN -- The best first-year draft eligible goalie in Finland just keeps on winning. On Saturday, Annunen made 35 saves in Oulu U20's 3-2 win at Tampere Ilves. He was particularly strong holding the fort in the third period, stopping 17 of 18 shots. Annunen, who has 13 wins on the season, has won four of his last five starts and has not lost in regulation since Oct. 21. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
LUKAS DOSTAL -- Czech goalie Dostal has been having a monster season against men in the WSM Liga and against prospects his own age in the U20 league. Given a chance to start a U20 game for the first time since Oct. 19 on Saturday, he responded with 35 saves in Brno's 4-2 win over Litvinov. Dostal, who has four WSM wins, has won all five U20 starts this season. His save percentage in those games is .932. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- tied for lead among goalies)
NATHAN DUNKLEY -- Dunkley, a center, has been a hot play-maker for the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs. He kept up his high assist totals on Saturday with three helpers in Kingston's 4-3 OT loss at Saginaw. His first point was the primary assist on the game's first goal, just 4:59 after the opening faceoff. He later got the primary assist on a goal at 12:15 of the third period that cut the lead to 3-2. He closed out his big game with an assist on the goal that forced overtime -- scored with 4:01 to go. Dunkley is on a three-game point streak with a two-points-per-game average in those games. He has five assists in the past two games and 15 in 19 to date. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
BENOIT-OLIVIER GROULX -- Halifax left wing Groulx has played in the shadow of teammate Filip Zadina for much of the season, but he's having a great year by any standard. On Saturday, he was the No. 2 star of the Mooseheads' 7-1 rout at Saint John, with a goal and an assist. The goal came shorthanded at 13:39 of the first period to make it 1-1. Then he had the primary assist on the game-winner 52 seconds into the second for a 2-1 lead. Groulx has goals in four of the past six games for a total of 14 on the QMJHL season -- tied for eighth in the league. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
CURTIS HALL -- Yale hockey fans are really lucky to have this future Ivy Leaguer coming down the pipeline. Hall, a 6-foot-2 center from Ohio, was the No. 1 star with two goals in Youngstown's 5-1 USHL win at Central Illinois on Saturday. He opened the scoring at 3:48 of the first period before making it 3-1 on a power play at 2:14 of the second. Hall now has points in six of seven games and a total of 10 goals and 16 points in 17 games this season. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
KEEGAN KARKI -- Karki could have been the U.S. NTDP's Under-18 Team goalie this season, but some off-ice issues led to his exit from the program and the loss of a scholarship offer from North Dakota. He started his season in Omaha's training camp, but ended up with the USHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks. Playing in a backup role, he found his top form on Saturday, making 27 saves as the No. 1 star of the Lumberjacks' 3-2 win over Lincoln. It was Karki's first victory since joining Muskegon and a sign that he may still be on track for a strong draft position despite the off-ice concerns.
SERRON NOEL -- It's quite clear that if he keeps up his present pace, Noel will be a first-round draft pick in June. He is a powerhouse at right wing for the OHL's Oshawa Generals, and has been scoring at a ridiculous rate. On Saturday, he had a goal and two assists in Oshawa's 7-3 win at Barrie, earning No. 1 star honors. Noel assisted on the game's first goal at 1:51 of the opening period. He then had the primary assist on a power-play goal for a 2-0 lead at 5:05 of the first. He scored his goal at 5:55 of the second, making it 3-0. Noel has three goals and three assists in the past two games and is just under a point-per-game average with 20 in 21 this season. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
OLIVIER RODRIGUE -- Rodrigue was brilliant in a 26-save shutout on Saturday, leading Drummondville to a 2-0 win over QMJHL rival Rouyn-Noranda. The game's No. 2 star made 14 of his stops in the third period alone. Now red-hot in the nets and fulfilling scouts' early expectations, Rodrigue has won five of his past six starts, and his 13 wins in 22 starts are one shy of his win total from last season. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- tied for lead among goalies)
TY SMITH -- Smith, who will almost surely be the first defenseman drafted out of the WHL in June, posted his first four-point game on Saturday, racking up a goal and three assists in Spokane's 7-3 win over Regina. Smith, the No. 1 star, scored the game's first goal on a power play at 3:34 of the first period. Just over a minute later, he assisted on a shorthanded goal for a 2-0 lead at 4:44. In the second period, he assisted on a power-play goal at 4:25 to make it 3-0 and recorded the primary assist on another man-advantage goal at 6:03. Smith's goal was his first since Nov. 10. He averages a point-per-game with four goals and 21 assists this season. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
WYATTE WYLIE -- A great story in this draft pool. The 6-foot-1 defenseman grew up in Everett, Wash., rooting for the WHL Silvertips. Now, he is living his dream as a key member of that team. On Saturday, he had a goal, an assist, and four shots in Everett's 5-2 win over Victoria to earn No. 1 star honors. That had to thrill the local fans. Wylie's goal came at 15:01 of the first period for a 1-1 tie, and it was his first of the season. He later assisted on a power-play goal at 1:58 of the third to make it 4-1.