• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
There is no doubt that 2018 will be a great year to draft a puck-moving defensemen. Rasmus Dahlin, the clear No. 1 pick, is a generational blueliner who leads the pack, but there are dozens of d-men with NHL potential in this draft pool. As if to prove that point, defenseman dominated Saturday's top performances, taking seven of the 10 slots. Not only that, but the seven defenseman on this list come from five different leagues.
With such diversity on the Saturday list, there was only room for three major-junior players. That might be a low for a 10-player list here. There are also five Americans in the group. Check out the defense-heavy list below:
ADAM BOQVIST -- A number of ranking services have Boqvist as a top-4 pick next June, and his play on Saturday made them look good. The Gavle U20 defenseman scored two goals on six shots in his team's 4-2 win at Stockholm Djurgarden. His first goal opened the scoring 10:27 into the game. His second goal, at 2:15 of the third period, broke a 2-2 tie and stood up as the game-winner. Boqvist, who spent time in the SHL this season, now has eight goals and 15 points in 15 junior games. He has three goals and an assist over his last two games alone. Among Swedish d-men, only Rasmus Dahlin will be drafted ahead of Boqvist. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
MAX ELLIS -- The USHL's Youngstown Phantoms' diminutive right wing lit it up Saturday with two goals on five shots in a 4-3 overtime win over Chicago. He was the game's No. 1 star after scoring shorthanded at 8:12 of the second period to make it 3-1 and then delivering the winner at 2:41 of OT. His 5-foot-8 stature may limit his chances of being drafted by an NHL team, but Notre Dame fans can be proud of their recruit, as Ellis is riding a four-game scoring streak.
CALEB EVERETT -- On a Saturday full of high-scoring defensemen, Everett was right up there with two goals in Saginaw's 5-3 win over Owen Sound, earning No. 2 star honors. Everett, an American OHL rookie, got the game's first goal at 3:30 of the opening period. He later scored at 11:50 of the second period for a 3-2 lead. It was the first two-goal game for Everett, who has nine points in 16 OHL games.
GAVIN HAIN -- The U.S. NTDP team crushed Central Illinois 5-0 in USHL action on Saturday, and Hain provided a pair of goals, including the winner. The game's No. 2 star got the only goal his team would need at 8:48 of the second period for a 1-0 lead. At 11:30 of the third, Hain made it 4-0 to complete his first two-goal USHL game and give North Dakota fans a reason to get excited about their future centerman from Minnesota.
QUINN HUGHES -- Hughes is one of the most exciting players in the 2018 draft. The Michigan Wolverines freshman defenseman set up two goals with the primary assists in a 4-4 tie at Wisconsin on Saturday. His first assist helped open the scoring at 1:36 of the first period. His second came on a goal at 2:59 of the third period for a 3-3 tie. Hughes, a projected first-rounder in 2018, now has five assists in his last four games and has posted three two-assist games early in the college hockey season. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
MATTHEW KELLENBERGER -- Nobody on this list scored more points on Saturday than Kellenberger. The Oakville Blades defenseman erupted for five assists in his team's 7-1 win over Stouffville, claiming No. 3 star honors. He started off with a power-play assist at 1:57 of the second period on the eventual game-winner for a 2-1 lead. He added a power-play assist at 3:25 of the second, followed by primary assists on goals at 10:47 of the second for a 4-1 lead, 12:03 of the third to make it 6-1, and 18:32 of the third to close the scoring. Kellenberger, a Princeton recruit, has 29 points in 28 OJHL games. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
ADAM McCORMICK -- One of the QMJHL's low-profile --but higher-scoring -- defensemen, McCormick posted a goal and assist in Cape Breton's 6-5 shootout loss at Halifax on Saturday. He had the lone assist on a power-play goal with 31 seconds left in the first period for a 3-2 lead. He also scored a dramatic goal to force overtime with only 5:14 left in regulation. McCormick, riding a four-game point streak, has 15 points in 22 games. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JARED McISAAC -- The first defenseman drafted out of the QMJHL in June might be Halifax Mooseheads star McIsaac, who had his best game of the season in Saturday's 6-5 shootout win over Cape Breton. Named the game's No. 1 star for his efforts, McIsaac had the lone assist on a goal at 12:19 of the second period for a 3-3 tie. Just over three minutes later at 15:28, McIsaac scored to make it 4-3. He capped it off with a power-play goal at 7:18 of the third for a 5-4 lead. He even took a turn in the shootout, where he was stopped. Five of McIsaac's 13 points this season have come in his last three QMJHL games. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)
K'ANDRE MILLER -- Nothing says "Day of the Defensemen" more than having Miller on this list. The U.S. NTDP blueliner had his best offensive night of the season with a goal and two assists in a 5-0 USHL win over Central Illinois. He had primary assists at 14:15 and 14:53 of the second period to put Team USA up 3-0. He later closed the scoring with a power-play goal at 18:28 of the third. It was the first USHL goal for the 6-foot-3 Wisconsin recruit, who is on a three-game point streak.
JONATHAN MOR -- The U.S. NTDP Under-18 team can thank backup goaltender Mor for the 5-0 shutout of Central Illinois on Saturday. Mor, the game's No. 1 star, was an absolute wall with 29 saves. He had 10 saves in a scoreless first period and 12 in the second en route to his first official USHL win. Mor has not lost a Team USA game in regulation since Oct. 21.