• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
Tuesday was the rare day with many games involving draft prospects, but few candidates for a top-performances list. This draft pool is too deep for days like this. In an uncommon twist, the bulk of the best efforts came in the MHL, Russia's top junior league.
There are a lot of talented Russians eligible for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, but there is always a concern with drafting Russians who have not yet played in North America. Whether it's because these players prefer to remain at home in the KHL or it's hard to deal with their agents, Russians are something of a gamble. Klim Kostin slipped all the way to the bottom of the 2017 draft, and it will be interesting to see what happens with some of the top-ranked Russians in June.
Check out Tuesday's list below:
NIKITA DOLGOPYATOV -- He might get passed over in June -- not because he's Russian but because he's 5-foot-8. Despite his diminutive size, Dolgopyatove has raised his game for Moscow Red Army. On Tuesday, he scored two goals in the CSKA junior team's 3-1 win over the St. Petersburg Silver Lions. Dolgopyatov scored at 12:58 of the second period to tie the game 1-1. He later delivered the winner by breaking that tie with only 3:03 left in regulation. Dolgopyatov,who has nine goals and 14 points in 27 MHL games this season, is now on a three-game point streak. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JOEL HOFER -- The only major-junior player to make this list for Tuesday is Swift Current's backup goaltender. Hofer, a WHL rookie who has started only a handful of games, continued to impress with 35 saves in the Broncos' 5-4 OT win over Prince Albert. He stopped 12 shots in the third period and two in overtime. He is now 3-1 with an impressive .920 save percentage. In a weak year for WHL goalies, Hofer has done a lot with limited icetime.
NIKOLAI KOVALENKO -- Former NHL player Andrei Kovalenko's son had been out of MHL action with an injury for nearly two months. On Tuesday, he came back with a vengeance in Yaroslavl's 3-1 win at Chekhov. Kovalenko helped get the ball rolling, picking up the primary assist for a 1-0 lead at 8:56 of the opening period. He later found the net himself at 16:53 of the third to close the scoring. Kovalenko has a notable seven goals and 14 points in 23 games this season. Prior to Tuesday, he had not played since Oct. 19. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
IVAN MURANOV -- Muranov was dazzling early but has cooled off of late. He is still a strong draft candidate, however, and made that point on Tuesday with two goals in Balashikha's 4-2 win over Beijing. Muranov scored the game's first goal 46 seconds into the middle period and closed the scoring with 1:04 to go. He logs a lot of icetime. He played 20:13 on Tuesday, and he often goes over 21 or 22 minutes. Thos minutes have led to 11 goals and 18 points in 35 MHL games. Tuesday's goals marked his first multi-point game since Oct. 1. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)