• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
A very busy week that featured World Junior medal games came to a rather quiet end on Sunday. Yes, there were plenty of games involving 2018 draft prospects, but the number of standout performances didn't reflect that. There were some great showings, but not enough to round out a full list of 10 for Sunday.
So, we'll settle for five in the list below. With the U.S. NTDP Under-18 team playing, there was hope that at least one American player would make this list, but the U-18's fell at home to Utica College, ranked No. 10 in Division III. Team USA shouldn't be blowing leads at home against D-III schools, which makes one wonder if this team can defend its World Under-18 gold medal. Despite its talent level, it doesn't seem to have an identity and doesn't seem to be on the same page for long stretches. It will be interesting to see if they get it together in time for the World U-18's.
Team USA's woes aside, here are the five Canadian players who made Sunday's top-performances list:
BARRETT HAYTON -- Hayton had a goal and two assists Sunday in Sault Ste. Marie's 7-3 win over Guelph, as the Greyhounds boosted their OHL-best record to 34-3-2. The game's No. 1 star had the lone assist on a goal at 4:03 of the first period for a 2-0 lead. He later scored the eventual game-winner at 12:58 of the second to make it 5-2, and his primary assist on a power-play goal at 3:47 of the third stretched it to 6-2. Hayton is now averaging a point per game with 16 goals and 23 assists. He has points in six of his last eight games and goals in four of the six. (Note: Seventh appearance on this list in 2017-18)
OLIVIER RODRIGUE -- Rodrigue was outstanding on Sunday, stopping 33 shots to lead Drummondville to a 2-1 OT shootout win at Rouyn-Noranda and earning No. 1 star honors. He was a perfect 12-for-12 in the first period and 13-for-13 in the third. He stopped both shots he faced in both the overtime and shootout, running his QMJHL win streak to three games. He is shaping up as the premier Canadian goaltender in this draft, which is something many project for him at the start of the season. (Note: Eighth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
AKIL THOMAS -- Thomas was so dominant at the start of the OHL season before cooling off a bit. He's coming back, however, having found his game over the past month or so. On Sunday, he had three assists as the No. 2 star of Niagara's 8-3 loss to Kington. All three were primary helpers. The first came on a power-play at 6:15 of the second period. The second was the lone assist on a goal at 4:43 of the third -- cutting the lead to 6-2. Less than a minute after that assist, he set up another goal at 5:34. Still well over a point per game with 11 goals and 44 points in 38 OHL outings, Thomas posted his first three-assist game of the season on Sunday and extended his scoring streak to nine games (three goals, 11 assists over the span). Earlier in the season, he also had a nine-game streak. (Note: Seventh appearance on this list in 2017-18)
CHASE WOUTERS -- Wouters scored twice in Saskatoon's 5-3 loss at Brandon, earning No. 2 star honors -- his second No. 2 selection in the past six WHL games. His first goal, at 15:42 of the second period, cut the lead to 3-2, and his second, at 11:32 of the third, made it a tie game. Wouters now has career-highs of 10 goals and 19 points in 42 WHL games this season. He also has a plus-7 rating after being a minus 10 in 2016-17. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
FILIP ZADINA -- In his first QMJHL game since the World Juniors ended, Zadina had an assist and a huge goal in Halifax's 6-5 win at Bathurst on Sunday. He helped the Mooseheads to a big early lead with a primary assist at 0:48 of the second period, making it 4-0. Bathurst came back, and the game seemed destined for OT. Zadina had other plans, scorin at 19:11 of the third to clinch the win in style. Zadina, a major star for the Czechs in Buffalo, has 25 goals and 48 points in 33 QMJHL games this season to rank second in both of those scoring categories. (Note: 13th appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- leads all players)