• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
It's not every day we find two of the top three draft prospects on this top-performances list, but it happened on Saturday.
As mentioned here before, Andrei Svechnikov and Filip Zadina will battle for the No. 2 spot in the draft behind Rasmus Dahlin. In any other draft year, each of them might be a no-brainer No. 1 pick. So the real drama comes down to passing on Svechnikov or Zadina at No. 2. But the truth is that it shouldn't be a tough decision. Svechnikov is an exceptional talent who has been on the radar for a long time. While he missed some games due to injury, he has done nothing to disprove the notion that he should go No. 2. Zadina has been great, but not great enough to make a team pass on Svechnikov.
Those two major-junior rookie stars weren't the only ones on Saturday's list. Two players from European leagues, three other CHL players, two USHL guys, and a member of the U.S. NTDP Under-18 team also made the list. Take a look:
BEN COPELAND -- The Colorado College recruit posted a USHL career-high three points in Waterloo's 4-2 win over Tri-City on Saturday. All three were assists, earning him No. 1 star honors. The first opened the scoring on a power play at 8:17 of the second period. Five minutes later, he had the primary assist on a goal that made it 2-1 at 13:41. He finished with a power-play assist on the game-winner at 0:47 of the third. Copeland had back-to-back three-star selections over the weekend after having gone three games without a point. With 30 points in 37 games, he has already doubled his total from 2016-17.
NICK DONOFRIO -- Hamilton's backup netminder doesn't play much, but when he does, he's very effective. On Saturday, Donofrio stopped 30 shots in a 2-1 win over OHL rival Mississauga and was named the game's No. 1 star. Donofrio stopped all 13 first-period shots, all eight in the second, and nine of 10 in the third. He held a shutout until the 44:57 mark. Donofrio has now won his last three starts and deserves consideration on draft day despite limited playing time.
LUKAS DOSTAL -- Who is the most consistent European-based goalie in the 2018 draft pool? It's this rising Czech star, who recently got a chance to serve as a backup in one of Brno's Extraliga games. Playing against men in the Czech WSM ranks on Saturday, Dostal stopped 19 shots for Trebic to shut out Prague Slavia 2-0. He had six first-period saves, two in the second, and 11 in the third for his first WSM win since Jan. 10 -- a game he also won by shutout. Dostal's WSM stats include a remarkable 2.34 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. It will be interesting to see how high he goes in June. (Note: 15th appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- leads all goaltenders)
SAMUEL HOUDE -- Houde was the No.1 star of Chicoutimi's 4-1 win over Baie Comeau on Saturday, scoring a pair of goals. His first tally was the eventual game-winner, putting the Sagueneens up 2-0 at 3:38 of the second period. His second goal, scored on a power play at 9:39 of the third, stretched the lead to 3-1. Houde now has 11 goals and 19 points in 35 QMJHL games, including back-to-back games with a goal. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
VITALI KRAVTSOV -- Kravtsov came so close to making the Russian World Junior team, and as the only first-year draft-eligible prospect in the KHL, he might have expected to be there. Now that the KHL is on an Olympic break, Kravtsov is playing for Chelyabinsk in the VHL, Russia's second tier league. On Saturday, he scored twice on four shots in a 4-2 loss at Chekhov. Kravtsov notched the game's first goal at 7:47 of the opening period and scored again to make it 2-2 at 11:03 of the second. In only six VHL games, Kravtsov has an impressive three goals and two assists. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
TRISTEN NIELSEN -- This 5-foot-9 center is a WHL dynamo, who often provides the spark that Calgary needs at crunch time. On Saturday, he played a big role as his team rallied for a dramatic 6-5 OT shootout win at Kamloops. Nielsen picked up three assists in the game, beginning with the primary helper on a power-play goal at 16:06 of the second period to make it 2-0. In the third, he sparked the Hitmen rally with the lone assist on a goal at 15:21 of the third to cut the lead to 5-3. He then got the primary assist on a power-play goal at 17:37 to make it a 5-4 game. With points in three of his last four games, Nielsen now has 10 goals and 19 points in 31 outings. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
MARTIN POSPISIL -- The best Slovak draft prospect in the USHL this season just might be Pospisil, who earned No. 1 star honors with a goal and two assists in Sioux City's 4-2 win over Green Bay on Saturday. Pospisil opened the scoring at 5:10 of the first period, got the lone assist on the game-winner at 4:31 of the third to go up 3-0, and had the primary helper on the empty-netter that closed it out at 19:24. With back-to-back multi-point games this season and goals in three of his last five outings, Pospisil now has five goals and 16 points in 33 games. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
ANDREI SVECHNIKOV -- Svechnikov could be one of the best No. 2 overall draft picks in many years, based on how his is performing in the OHL. On Saturday, he recorded his third hat trick of the season in Barrie's 6-2 win over Windsor, claiming No. 2 star honors. His first goal opened the scoring 8:02 into the game. His second was a short-handed tally at 8:28 of the third to make it 4-2. His final goal, also short-handed came with 11.7 seconds to go. Svechnikov has 27 goals and 43 points in only 29 games. He leads all OHL rookies in goals and ranks second in points. He is currently on a five-game goal-scoring streak in which he has put up eight tallies. He also has an eight-game scoring streak that features 11 goals and 17 points. Wow, just wow.. (Note: 15th appearance on this list in 2017-18)
OLIVER WAHLSTROM -- Team USA has a big contribution for the 2018 draft pool in Wahlstrom. The American sniper scored two more goals and added an assist Saturday in the U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team's 5-3 win at Madison. Wahlstrom scored at 16:33 of the first period for a 1-1 tie and again at 10:44 of the second, short-handed for a 2-2 tie. His final point was the primary assist on the final goal at 18:54 of the third. Through 15 games against USHL opponents, Wahlstrom has 15 goals and 24 points -- tied for third in the league with 1.6 points per game. He has points in seven of his last eight games overall with two-goal performances in five of them. (Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
FILIP ZADINA -- The Czech sensation continued piling up QMJHL goals for Halifax on Saturday with two more in a 3-1 win over Bathurst to earn No. 1 star honors. Zadina scored the first goal just 73 seconds after the opening faceoff, and he posted the game-winner to make it 2-0 at 4:54 of the second period. Through 40 games, Zadina has 29 goals and 55 points, tying him for fourth in the QMJHL in goals and giving him more than any other first-year draft-eligible.These were his first goals since he scored twice at the CHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 25. (Note: 16th appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- leads all players)