• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
We've reached that point in the World Junior Championship where the preliminary round starts to feel endless, and there's a real desire to get to the elimination games. Not that this first portion of the tournament hasn't been entertaining, but it has been fairly predictable. So Jan. 2 can't get here fast enough.
Four World Junior games took place Saturday, but only one player makes this list from the big event. Major-junior leagues give us seven of the 10 below, and U.S.-based leagues are represented by players from the USHL and NAHL.
Here's to a great final six days of the World Junior. For now, enjoy this list of Saturday's top performances:
RASMUS DAHLIN -- There aren't enough superlatives to describe Dahlin, and his performance at the World Junior Championship has only made his draft stock rise. The projected No. 1 pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft moved into a tie for the World Junior scoring lead with two assists in Sweden's 7-2 preliminary-round win over Switzerland on Saturday. Dahlin, who also had five shots on the afternoon, led the Swedes for 21:28 of icetime. His points were a primary assist on a goal at 10:01 of the third period to stretch the lead to 5-2. He also assisted on the game's final goal at 12:17 of the third. He has yet to score a goal, but with six assists through three games, he leads the tournament in assists and is in the overall scoring race. Not bad for a 17-year-old defenseman. (Note: Eighth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
KAI EDMONDS -- The Barrie Colts' backup goaltender is making the most of his minutes. On Saturday, Edmonds stopped 31 shots in a 4-3 OT win at Owen Sound. He denied 14 of 15 shots in the first period, and was had 10 saves from the start of the third period to the end of OT. Edmonds was a perfect 3-0 in his OHL starts during the month of December. The scouts need to give him a long look whenever he gets to play. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
PAVEL GOGOLEV -- Gogolev had the biggest day of any player on Saturday, notching his first OHL hat trick on three shots in Peterborough's 5-4 win over Ottawa. The game's No. 1 star had a goal in each period. He scored his first just 18 seconds into the game. He scored his second at 6:34 of the middle period for a 2-1 lead. He capped off the hat trick with a goal at 8:10 of the third, cutting Ottawa's lead to 4-3 and setting off a run of three unanswered Petes goals. Gogolev now has 14 goals in 34 OHL games. Saturday was his first multi-point effort since Nov. 24. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
ALEXIS GRAVEL -- Gravel earned No. 3 star honors after making 29 saves in the Halifax Mooseheads' 5-2 QMJHL victory over Cape Breton. He had 12 saves in both the first and second period en route to his fourth straight win. Gravel is 5-0-1 in his last six starts and has not allowed more than two goals in any of those games. He is re-establishing himself as one of the premier goalies in the 2018 draft pool. (Note: Seventh appearance on this list in 2017-18)
BARRETT HAYTON -- The OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds are an amazing team this season, and Hayton has been a big part of that success. On Saturday, he scored a goal, had an assist, and put five shots on net in the Greyhounds' 4-3 OT shootout win over Guelph. He helped get the scoring started by assisting on a power-play goal at 8:26 of the first period before scoring a goal of his own just 28 seconds into the third -- tying the game 3-3. Hayton has 15 goals and 34 points in 36 games and multi-point games in three of his past four outings. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
BLADE JENKINS -- Jenkins sacrificed his college eligibility to play in the OHL, and that decision continues to pay off in terms of his rising draft stock. On Saturday, the Michigan native had a goal and two assists in Saginaw's 6-2 win over Flint, earning No. 2 star honors. His first point was the lone assist on the eventual game-winner, giving the Spirit a 3-2 lead at 16:02 of the second period. In the third, he had a primary assist on the 5-2 goal at 8:50 and closed the scoring with a goal at 14:08. Jenkins has 13 goals and 27 points in 34 games. Saturday marked his first goal since Dec. 2, but it was also his fourth three-point game of the season. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
VLADISLAV KOTKOV -- Chicoutimi's Russian import is surging. On Saturday, he was in on both goals as the Sags fell 3-2 at Drummondville. He scored his 10th of the season at 2:52 of the second period, cutting the lead to 3-1. He then got the primary assist on a power-play goal at 19:14 of the third. With 27 points in 31 games, Kotkov is rapidly rising in the QMJHL scoring race for draft-eligible forwards. His size will be a big asset on draft day. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
TYLER MADDEN -- The son of longtime NHL forward John Madden, Tyler is a center with the USHL's Tri-City Storm. Earlier in the season, he was with Central Illinois, but he has been surging since the trade to Tri-City. On Saturday, Madden scored two goals in the Storm's 5-4 OT shootout loss at Green Bay. The game's No. 2 star scored at 7:27 of the first period for a 2-0 lead and at 9:12 of the second to put his team up 3-2. Through 20 games this season, Madden has nine goals and 17 points, including a current four-game scoring streak that has seen him find the net in three of the past four games.
TY SMITH -- It's not a huge stretch to say that Smith might be the first major-junior defenseman drafted in June. A sure-fire first-rounder, the Spokane star continues to showcase remarkable offensive abilities. His No. 1 star performance on Saturday saw him score a goal and assist on another in the Chiefs' 4-3 win over Tri-City. Smith had the primary helper on the game's first goal, just 56 seconds after the opening faceoff. He saved his best for last, however, scoring the winner at 4:09 of overtime. With six goals and 39 points through 37 games, Smith is running neck-and-neck with Calen Addison to be the top-scoring WHL prospect on defense. He had points in seven of his last eight games. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
GABE TEMPLE -- Temple gets the NAHL onto this list on the strength of his one goal and one assist in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights' 5-1 rout of Kenai Valley on Saturday. The Knights winger, who will play college hockey at Michigan Tech, earned No. 2 star honors after assisting on the game's first goal at 7:25 an immediately coming back to score the game-winner for a 2-0 lead at 7:56. Temple is not a high-scoring forward -- he only has eight points in 30 games -- but he is definitely a player to keep an eye on this season and during his college career.