• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
There were enough games involving prospects on Tuesday to come up with five for the top-performances list.
Three on this list are Europeans -- although one plays in North America, and two are major-junior goaltenders. Why is that significant? Because it reflects two areas of strength in this draft. While defenseman are clearly the cream of the crop -- and will be the story 2018 for sure -- there are also a lot of very good European players and goaltenders. It will be interesting to see how many of these end up in the top 100 picks, as it may well be a significant increase from last year -- particularly for the goalies.
It's just one more thing to consider in the months leading up to a talent-laden draft. For now, take a look at the five below:
ZACHARY BOUTHILLIER -- Bouthillier is one of names to watch in June. Playing in a No. 2 role on a weak Chicoutimi team, he has not drawn the attention he deserves. He has been on fire of late, and may well be establishing himself as the Sagueneens' main man. On Tuesday, Bouthillier made 30 saves in a 3-2 OT win over Blainville-Boisbriand, claiming No. 1 star honors for the second straight game. He stopped all 10 shots faced in the first period, eight of nine in both the second and third periods, ane all four in the overtime. Sometimes Quebec's best goaltenders are stuck on struggling teams, as was once the case with a kid named Patrick Roy. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JOEL HOFER -- Swift Current's backup goaltender was perfect against Prince George on Tuesday night, stopping all 30 shots in the Broncos' 4-0 win for his first WHL shutout. The game's No. 3 star made three saves in the first period, seven in the second, and an unbelievable 20 in the third. It was a big moment for Hofer, who had gone four games between starts and had not won since Jan. 7. He played in only three January games and went 2-0-1 in them. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
VLADISLAV KOTKOV -- After coming over from Russia at the start of the season, Kotkov has a rocky adjustment to the QMJHL. He wasn't scoring the kind of goals he was getting in Russia's top junior league, and he wasn't putting up many points either. That's all behind him now, as he is one of Chicoutimi's offensive leaders. On Tuesday, he earned No. 3 star honors with a goal and assist in the Sags' 3-2 OT win vs. Blainville-Boisbriand. He had a primary assist on the game's first goal at 7:25 of the second period and was the hero in overtime when he scored at 3:06 Now on a three-game scoring streak, Kotkov has 13 goals and 23 points on the season. That includes points in seven of 10 January games. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
RASMUS KUPARI -- Kupari plays against men' in Finland's Liiga, so he doesn't always crack the scoresheet. On Tuesday, however, he had one of his best games to date, scoring once and assisting on another goal in Oulu's 5-4 OT win at Hameenlinna. His goal, at 12:32 of the opening period, got Oulu on the board at 1-1. He later assisted on a power-play goa that cut HPK's lead to 4-2 at 4:32 of the third period, opening the gates for a big comeback win. This was the second goal in the past four games for Kupari, who has five goals and eight Liiga points in 2017-18 (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
YURY PLATONOV -- Russia's MHL is a great source of imports for major-junior hockey. If a CHL team wants a solid pick in this year's Import Draft, it might consider Platonov, who has steadily improved throughout the 2017-18 season. On Tuesday, the 5-foot-10 center had a goal and an assist in Magnitogork's 5-2 win at Novokuznetsk. He assisted on the eventual game-winner to make it 3-0 at 10:25 of the second period and scored for a 4-0 lead minutes later at 14:52. Platonov, riding a three-game scoring streak, has 13 goals and 23 points in 44 MHL games. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)