• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
We had a full plate of games involving 2018 draft prospects on Saturday, and there were may contenders for this top-performances list.
One thing to note of late is how the OHL, QMJHL, and WHL trade deadlines have reshaped the draft hopes of many players in new surroundings. Three of the players below -- one from each major-junior league -- were traded in the weeks leading up to the traded deadlines. Like so many others, these deals have enabled them to get more icetime and showcase their talent. Trades are usually meant to help the teams involved, but at this level they clearly help the players, too.
The three traded players are joined here by two others from the CHL, two from the U.S. NTDP program, two from European leagues, and one from the USHL. View the full list below:
JUSTUS ANNUNEN -- Finland's hottest draft-eligible goaltender in the Under-20 ranks had cooled off in recent weeks, but he returned to form on Saturday with 41 saves in Oulu's 4-3 overtime win at Espoo. Annunen stopped 15 of 16 shots in the second period, 13 of 13 in the third and one more in OT. This was his first start since Nov. 25, due to the holiday break. Going back into November, he has won five straight starts and eight of his last 10. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
ILIJAH COLINA -- A few days after being traded by Portland, Colina had his best game of the season Saturday in Prince George's 5-2 win at Tri-City. The new Cougars center had a goal, an assist, and won 10 of 12 face-offs to earn No. 1 star honors -- his first three-star selection in 2017-18. Colina scored his fourth goal of the season at 7:30 of the first period for a 2-0 lead. He then registered the primary assist on the eventual game-winner that made it 3-1 at 13:40 of the second. Colina has three points in the two WHL games since being traded -- way ahead of his pace with Portland.
SEMYON DER-ARGUCHINTSEV -- Der-Arguchintsev had three assists and won seven of 11 face-offs in Peterborough's 6-2 win over Ottawa. He got the primary helper on the game's first goal on a power play at 13:25 of the opening period, later assisting on goals that made it 4-1 at 8:49 of the third and 5-1 just 22 seconds later. Der-Arguchintsev now has six goals and 27 points in 42 OHL games. This was his first multi-point effort since Nov. 30. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JONATHAN GRUDEN -- The U.S. NTDP Under-18 team crushed Sioux City 9-2 on Saturday, and left wing Gruden was a big part of the rout. The game's No. 2 star finished with a goal and two assists. He got the ball rolling with the primary assist on the opening goal at 8:35 of the first period, before scoring with 15 seconds left in the period to pull Team USA into a 2-2 tie. In the second, Gruden set up the 5-2 goal at 13:55. The Miami University recruit now has three goal and nine points in nine USHL games this season as well as five points in his last four games for Team USA. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
IVAN PROSVETOV -- A lot of NHL teams must already regret passing on Prosvetov in the 2017 draft. He went into the USHL with a vengeance this season and was recently the best goaltender at that league's Top Prospects game. On Saturday, he turned in a gem with 52 saves in Youngstown's 3-1 win at Dubuque and was a no-brainer for the No. 1 star selection. The Moscow native stopped all 18 shots in the second period and all 23 in the third. After giving up an early goal, he finished with 52:09 of shutout hockey. He also set a career-high in saves, breaking his previous high of 42.
GABRIEL SEGER -- On Vaxjo's Under-20 team, Sweden's Seger often plays in the shadow of teammate Dominik Bokk. But Seger could be drafted in June, and his performance on Saturday is evidence. The Lakers center had a goal, two assists, five shots, and won 10 of 12 face-offs in a 7-3 win over Jonkoping. He started with the primary helper on the opening goal just 71 seconds into the game. In the second period, he scored at 4:20 for a 4-2 lead, and he had another primary assist on the final goal at 1:01 of the third. This was his first three-point game since Sept. 19. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
MATTHEW STRUTHERS -- Another major-junior player flourishing in the wake of a trade is North Bay's Matthew Struthers, the No. 2 star of his team's 3-0 win at Barrie on Saturday. Struthers picked up a goal and an assist -- helping set up the 2-0 goal at 10:58 of the second and scoring seven minutes later at 17:55. He now has 12 goals and 25 points in 37 OHL games. That includes points in every game with North Bay. Prior to the trade he had 18 points in 32 games for the 67's. Since then he has seven in five. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
DAVID TENDECK -- The Vancouver Giants goaltender was the No. 2 star of his team's 3-2 win over Kelowna on Saturday. He finished with 28 saves after facing 10 shots in each period. He has played so well that the Giants were able to trade backup Todd Scott to Edmonton. His stellar record of 17-7-2 includes wins in four of his last five starts. He ranks third in the WHL with a 2.93 goals-against average and is tied for ninth with a .911 save percentage. (Note: Seventh appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JOE VELENO -- Since coming over to Drummondville in a trade, Veleno has been piling up assists left and right. On Saturday, he had three more -- all on the power play, one per period -- in the Voltigeurs' 5-0 win over Val d'or to claim No. 2 star honors. He began with an assist on the opening, power-play goal at 14:48 of the first. That was good enough to be the game-winner. He then had the primary assist on another man-advantage score at 8:44 of the second to make it 3-0. His final assist helped close the scoring at 13:18 of the third. Veleno now has six goals and 33 assists in 38 QMJHL games. He has had two three-point games since joining Drummondville after having had only one for Saint John. His current three-game scoring streak includes seven assists. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JAKE WISE -- No first-year draft-eligible prospect scored more points on Saturday than Wise, who erupted for a goal and three assists in the U.S. Under-18 team's 9-2 rout of Sioux City -- not bad for a guy who missed the first half of the season with an injury. The game's No. 1 star assisted on the opening goal at 8:35 of the first period, helped set up a goal that tied it 2-2 at 19:45 of the first, and then scored at 13:55 of the second to make it 5-2. He closed his night with the primary assist on a power-play goal at 17:24 of the second. These were his first USHL points of the season, including his first goal since rejoining Team USA.