• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
It was a fairly quiet Wednesday on the draft-prospect front. The World Junior A Challenge featured two low-scoring games, and the WHL's six games didn't deliver much either. The WHL is clearly the weakest major-junior league for draft prospects. Only Spokane's Ty Smith seems to have a shot at the top 10.
So it was a bit of a stretch to find three top performances, but there were just enough to pull this list together. Check out the trio:
EVAN BOUCHARD -- Bouchard was far and away the most impressive draft prospect on Tuesday. The London defenseman had a goal and an assist to earn No. 1 star honors in the Knights' 3-2 overtime win at Erie. He was also the game's hero, scoring the winner at 3:28 of OT. Earlier in the night, he had the primary assist on the goal that forced overtime at 8:40 of the third period. With 11 goals and 27 assists in 31 games, Bouchard is tied for 14th in OHL scoring at 38 points. He ranks eighth in assists and fourth among defensemen. He is also tied with Ryan Merkley for the scoring lead among first-year draft eligible d-men. He will be a first-round pick in June. (Note: Eighth appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- leads all defensemen)
JAKE KUCHARSKI -- The Providence College recruit is currently representing Team USA at the World Junior A Challenge. On Tuesday, he stopped 27 Canada West shots for a critical 2-1 win that kept the Americans' title hopes alive. He was at his best in the first period, stopping 11 shots. This could be a turning point for Kucharski's season, as he looks to improve on his 5-6-0 record and .891 save percentage with Des Moines in the USHL. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
KAID OLIVER -- Oliver was part of a third-period surge for Victoria in the Royals' 5-4 loss at Prince George on Tuesday. His goal at 6:54 of the third capped off a remarkable run of three Royals goals in 1:50 and tied the game at 4-4. Victoria had trailed 4-1 early in the third period before its three-goal onslaught. Oliver also had five shots and won 12 of 18 face-offs against the Cougars. He extended his point streak to three games with three goals and three assists over the span. Through 30 games, Oliver has already set WHL career-highs in goals (5), assists (13) and points (18). Throw in his size and toughness, and he looks like he'll be NHL material in 2018. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)