• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
A busy Saturday as always for the 2018 NHL draft prospects. While some of the bigger names (in fact, the biggest) made this top 10 performances list, there are also a number of lower-rated players who found their way into the spotlight. The loss of Andrei Svechnikov for eight weeks due to a broken hand has thrown a real wrench in the fan, but without him, there will be a regular slot available for others to fill.
Will Svechnikov's absence affect his draft status? Probably not, although it opens the door for Rasmus Dahlin to shine even more as the likely No. 1 overall pick. Missing the World Junior would really hurt Svechnikov, so let's hope he can be there. Anyway, the full list of 10 players below includes Dahlin. He's one of two Europeans on the list, which also has six major-junior players and two from the USHL. Here it is:
KODY CLARK -- Wendel's son is looking like he wants to follow dad's footsteps and be a first-round pick. On Saturday he had yet another multi-point game with a goal and an assist in Ottawa's 2-1 OT win over Oshawa. He did it in style, winning No. 1 star honors in the process. His primary assist on a goal at 15:26 of the third period forced the overtime. He then delivered the winner with five seconds left in OT. Clark has been the No. 1 star in back-to-back OHL games, picking up a total of five points. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
RASMUS DAHLIN -- Svechnikov's injury throws the No. 1 talk entirely to Dahlin, and the phenomenal Swedish defenseman did not disappoint in the first day of the Svechnikov-less era. He scored yet another goal in Gothenburg's 3-2 OT win over Skelleftea to run his point streak to four SHL games. The fact that a 17-year-old defenseman is playing so well in the SHL is amazing, and Dahlin reminded us of that by scoring the game's first goal just 13 seconds into the middle period. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
ALEXIS GRAVEL -- Still considered one of the top Canadian goalies eligible for the draft. Gravel had cooled off from his hot QMJHL start, but he seemed to turn the corner on Saturday, stopping 26 shots in Halifax's 3-1 win at Sherbrooke. Gravel, the No. 2 star of the game, opened strong with 17 saves through the first two periods as his team went up 2-0. He lost his shutout bid at 7:19 of the third. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
BLAKE McLAUGHLIN -- McLaughlin was way too talented to be just an average player in the USHL, and on Saturday, he broke out in a bi8gt way. As the No. 1 star of Chicago's 7-2 win over Madison, McLaughlin had two goals and an assist. After recording the primary helper on a power-play goal at 11:10 of the third period to make it 5-2, he erupted for two goals in a span of 14 seconds -- scoring at 16:05 and 16:19 of the third period. They were the first two goals of his USHL career.
AMIR MIFTAKHOV -- Russia's No. 1 goaltending candidate for the 2018 draft kept rolling with 24 saves in a 2-1 shootout win at Ust-Kamenogorsk. He has been one of the hottest goaltenders in the MHL all season with seven wins. Of late, he has back-to-back victories, stopping 45 of 48 shots. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
BLAKE PIETILA -- Pietila, a goalie for the USHL's Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, made the most of his first start this season by stopping 31 shots in a 5-3 win over Central Illinois. The Michigan Tech recruit is one half of a twin tandem heading for that college program. His brother, Logan, is also in the USHL with Dubuque. It's only a matter of time before they face each other at this level before being reunited when they get to college.
TODD SCOTT -- The WHL wasn't expected to produce a lot of top goaltending prospects for next June, but Scott is starting to show he belongs in that tier. On Saturday, he earned No. 1 star honors with 33 saves in Vancouver's 5-2 WHL win over Regina. He set the tone early, stopping all 15 first-period shots. Scott has been one of the top two stars in each of his last two starts. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
KYLE TOPPING -- Playing on a line with 2017 NHL draftee Kole Lind, Topping has quietly put up a lot of points for the WHL's Kelowna Rockets, and Saturday was one of his better games as he picked up three assists in a 7-2 rout of Portland. He assisted on the first goal of the game, just 47 seconds into play, and then had an assist on a power-play goal at 14:47 of the first period to make it 3-0. His final assist came on a goal that stretched the Rockets' lead to 5-1 at 12:24 of the second. He now has 15 points through 12 games.
CHASE WOUTERS -- Wouters, a left wing, had a goal, an assist, and won 15 of 22 face-offs as Saskatoon lost in overtime at Prince Albert. He saved his heroics for regulation's waning minutes. He assisted on a power-play goal at 17:50 of the third period to cut the Raiders' lead to 3-2, and he scored the goal to force overtime with just 1:21 remaining. It was Wouters' first multi-point game of the season.
FILIP ZADINA --
It's hard not to project Zadina as a top-3 pick when he is playing like this. On Saturday, the Mooseheads' winger earned No. 1 star honors after scoring his 11th goal of the season for his QMJHL-leading 21st point in Halifax's 3-1 win at Sherbooke. He also ran his point streak to five games with the game's first goal at 12:41 of the opening period. During his point streak, he has scored seven goals and 10 points. His 21 points through 13 games put him well ahead of Nico Hischier's pace. Through 13 games last season, Hischier had 13 points.
(Note: Sixth appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- leads all prospects)