• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
It was a busy day at the World Juniors on Thursday, particularly for some of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft's top prospects. Rasmus Dahlin, Andrei Svechnikov, and Brady Tkachuk -- all projected top-5 picks -- found their way onto this top-performances list with good reason. It has been a while since we have had a World Junior that was this deep a showcase for the upcoming draft.
The Canadian major-junior leagues also placed three players on the list for Thursday. In addition to Tkachuk, USA Hockey is represented here by players from the USHL and Minnesota high school hockey. As this wide-ranging group of draft prospects continues to play so well in so many locations, it's hard not to be excited about the big day in June. Just take a look at the diversity of players in Thursday's list:
DAWSON BARTEAUX -- A defenseman with the Red Deer Rebels, Barteaux makes this list for the first time after a two-point performance in Thursday's 4-3 OT loss at Edmonton. After assisting on a goal at 14:01 of the first period for a 1-1 tie, Barteaux scored his first WHL goal on a power play at 6:02 of the third to make it 2-2. He was rewarded for his efforts with a No. 1 star selection -- not bad for a guy known mostly for defense. Barteaux now has 12 points in 28 WHL games.
RASMUS DAHLIN -- Dahlin continued to show his gifts at the World Juniors on Thursday, picking up another two assists for Sweden in a team-high 24:05 of icetime during the Swedes' 3-1 win over the Czechs. Dahlin assisted on a power-play goal at 19:04 of the opening period for a 2-0 lead. That goal stood up as the game-winner. At 4:25 of the third, he had the lone assist on another power-play tally to close out the scoring. With four assists in two WJC games, Dahlin leads the tournament in assists and is the tournament's top-scoring 17-year-old. No wonder he's almost certain to be the NHL's No. 1 pick in 2018. (Note: Seventh appearance on this list in 2017-18)
CURTIS HALL -- The Ivy League doesn't often get the players who would otherwise be no-brainer scholarships for schools in the Big Ten, but Hall has cast his lot with Yale, and the Bulldogs are one lucky Ivy League school. He continued his outstanding USHL season on Thursday with a goal and assist in Youngstown's 7-5 loss to Madison. The game's No. 1 star had the primary assist on the opening goal, a power-play tally, at 17:00 of the first period. He followed that with a goal at 10:26 of the second to make it 2-1. Hall now has 11 goals and 19 points in 19 games, surpassing his seven goals in 59 games last season. He is also riding a five-game scoring streak. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
BEN HELGESON -- A three-point game in the upper levels of the Minnesota high school ranks is always notable. Helgeson did it Thursday with two goals and an assist -- one point per period -- in Maplewood Hill-Murray's 4-4 tie with Eden Prairie at the Schwan's Cup tournament Gold Division in Minneapolis. He scored the game's first goal at 6:30 of the opening period, and picked up the lone assist on a power-play goal at 10:14 of the second -- cutting the Eagles' lead to 3-2. His second goal, at 16:32 of the third, tied the game for good. Helgeson, with three multi-goal games this season, has eight goals and 17 points in 12 games. He'll be playing college hockey at Wisconsin. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
SAMUEL HOUDE -- Houde picked up three assists in Chicoutimi's 5-1 win at Baie-Comeau, earning No. 2 star honors in the process. His first assist set up the game's first goal at 10:42 of the opening period. His second was the primary helper on the eventual game-winner for a 2-0 lead at 15:42 of the first. He closed with the lone assist on a 5-0 goal at 9:55 of the third. This was Houde's first three-point game in the QMJHL as well as his first multi-assist game. He now has five assists and 10 points in 21 games. Ironically, he had not assisted on a goal since Oct. 21.
DANIIL ISAYEV -- If Amir Miftakhov is the first Russian goalie drafted in June, then Isayev will be the second. On Thursday, he stopped 30 shots in Yaroslavl's 3-2 MHL win at Riga. Isayev had last played in the MHL on Nov. 15 before joining Russia's team at the World Junior A Challenge. On Thursday, he showed no rust in lifting his MHL record to 10-3-1. His most impressive stats are his save percentage (.943) and his goals-against average (1.35). (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
RYAN O'REILLY -- O'Reilly, a University of Denver recruit, has proven to be a top-notch goal-scorer in the USHL. On Thursday, he had a goal and two assists in Madison's 7-5 win at Youngstown, earning No. 2 star honors. O'Reilly notched a power-play assist at 11:25 of the second period tie it 2-2 and later had the lone assist on a goal at 16:51 of the second to put Madison up 4-2. His goal, the game-winner, came at 5:55 of the third period to make it 6-3. Through 21 USHL games, O'Reilly has 14 goals and 18 points. He ranks third in the league in goal-scoring. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
ANDREI SVECHNIKOV -- Svechnikov isn't getting a lot of icetime, but he's making a lot happen at the World Junior Championship. Given only 10:56 of icetime in Russia's 5-2 win over Switzerland on Thursday, he managed to get two assists -- the first points of his World Junior career. His first assist was the primary helper on a goal at 18:16 of the second period, making it 2-1. He also had the lone assist at 18:18 of the third on a goal that made it 4-2. Svechnikov has been in the spotlight at this tournament and, like Dahlin, he has responded with outstanding play. (Note: Eighth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
BRADY TKACHUK -- Team USA suffered a disappointing 3-2 loss to Slovakia at the World Junior on Thursday, but Tkachuk scored a goal that will be remembered long beyond the final score. Trailing 1-0 midway through the second period, the Americans got an odd-man rush against the Slovaks. The play ended with Tkachuk taking a pass in full stride and calmly deking the Slovak netminder for a 1-1 tie at the 11:07 mark. Players who finish chances like that at this tournament have a bright future ahead of them. Just ask Nico Hischier. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
CHASE WOUTERS -- Wouters had a career-high four-points for Saskatoon in a 6-4 win at Prince Albert. The game's No. 2 star assisted on a power-play goal to get his team on the board 1-1 at 9:56 of the first period. He followed that with a goal at 4:12 of the second to cut the lead to 3-2. His third point was an assist on the 3-3 tying goal at 17:53 of the second, and his fourth was another assist on the game-winner at 14:01 of the third, making it 5-3. Wouters now has eight goals and 22 points in 37 WHL games, surpassing his 2016-17 totals of six goals and 21 point. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)