• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
We're pretty much in full swing now. It's great to have hockey back. Some big names were in action today, and many of them lived up to the hype. Ironically, the player I chose to focus on -- Andrei Svechnikov -- had a rather pedestrian night for Barrie, which lost to North Bay in the OHL. What's great about this deep draft pool is you never know who is going to step up on any given night, and a few of the lower-profile prospects were among those making their mark.
Here are the day's Top 10 players:
DOMINIK ARNOST -- He's only playing in the U18 division of the Czech junior leagues, but the sparkplug from Prague Sparta is making a mark. Arnost had two goals, including the winner, in Sparta's 4-2 victory at Mlada Boleslav. He now has three goals and three assists in five games. He also scored last month in the gold-medal game of the 2017 Hlinka tournament. Worth keeping an eye on him.
ZACHARY BOUTHILLIER -- Chicoutimi's netminder stopped 34 shots in a 3-1 loss to Quebec. Although he came out on the wrong end of the score, his heroic efforts were rewarded with a No. 1 star selection. A strong start to the QMJHL season for this guy.
YANNICK BRUNNER -- When you see Swiss defenseman putting pucks in the net -- even at the U20 level -- you have to pay attention. Brunner scored two goals and added an assist in Kloten's 6-3 win over Gotteron. He now has five points in five games. Good candidate for Switzerland's World Junior team.
TY DELLANDREA -- Flint has a potential high draft pick here. Dellandrea scored two goals and put seven shots on net in the Firebirds' 5-3 victory at Kitchener. He was named the game's No. 1 star, getting his OHL season started with a bang.
RYAN McLEOD -- The jewel of Mississauga's crop of draft-year kids, McLeod could end up being a top-10 pick next June. He left no doubt about his ability by scoring two goals in a 4-3 loss to Ottawa, earning himself No. 3 star honors.
RYAN MERKLEY -- This is a defenseman already projected to go in the first round, and he got out to a good start with a goal and an assist in Guelph's 4-3 loss to Sarnia All the OHL eyes will be on him this season, and he is already producing.
AMIR MIFTAKHOV -- You might not know much about this Russian goalie, but he is really, really good. In fact, he could be one of the top three goalies drafted in Dallas. His MHL performance was one for the ages, as he stopped 40 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss to Khanty Mansiysk. The loss ended Miftakhov's four-game winning streak in which he was lights out for Kazan.
MATT SANKNER -- Here's a guy who might not even be drafted and might not even have a college scholarship yet. Making his debut for the South Kent Selects Academy team in the USPHL, an elite American U18 league, Sankner was brilliant. He stopped 22 shots for a 5-0 shutout of the PAL Islanders. Looks like the Academy has its goalie for 2017-18, and some college scouts better get over there.
TY SMITH -- One of the top WHL draft prospects did not disappoint in his season debut. Smith scored a goal and had two assists in Spokane's 4-2 win at Prince George. Expect big things from him all season long.
JETT WOO -- The best name in the draft pool and maybe all of hockey. The best part is that he's really good and has first-round potential. Jett was the No. 2 star of Moose Jaw's 3-0 win at Prince Albert, scoring a goal and putting five shots on net. Everybody's rooting for this guy, and he's looking great so far.