• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
Not many games on a fairly quiet Thursday, but the three 2018 NHL draft prospects who made this list did it with huge performances, taking full advantage of the less-crowded stage. When a handful of players play like this, it more than makes up for a lack of games.
Two come from the major-junior ranks, and one from the USHL. The thing to note about all of them is that they are all surging and making strong bids to raise their ranking before Central Scouting's midterm list comes out in a couple of months.
Check out what these three did on Thursday:
RILEY DAMIANI -- Damiani scored twice in Kitchener's 5-4 loss at North Bay, earning No. 3 star honors. His first goal came on a power play at 10:42 of the second period to tie it up at 2-2. At 2:15 of the third, Damiani notched his second goal, pulling the Rangers into a 4-4 tie. Damiani has nine goals and 16 points in 24 OHL games this season, but he is ramping it up of late with three goals and an assist in his last four games.
JACK DRURY -- Drury is the son and nephew of two former NHL players. His dad, Ted, played in over 400 NHL games. Uncle Chris was a Hobey Baker Award, Calder Trophy and Stanley Cup winner who played nearly 900 NHL games. Jack Drury made both of his famous relatives proud on Thursday, and it was a very Happy Thanksgiving for all of them. Jack scored two goals and added an assist to lead Waterloo to a 5-2 win over Cedar Rapids in the day's lone USHL game. All three points came in the second period. The first was an assist at 1:54 for a 1-1 tie. Only 33 seconds later, he scored a shorthanded, penalty-shot goal for a 2-1 lead, and at 16:51, Drury scored on a power play to make it 4-1. Drury has three goals and 14 points in 16 USHL games this season, but he has come on like gangbusters with seven points in the past four games. With a name like Drury, he's got to be good. Next year, he'll follow his father's career path to Harvard.
VLADISLAV KOTKOV -- Last year, when he was playing junior in Russia, Kotkov looked like a sure-fire first-round pick. Since coming over to the QMJHL, the big Chicoutimi winger took a while to find his game. Well, he has found it in a big way this month and looked like a first-rounder on Thursday, scoring a hat trick in the Sagueneens' 5-3 win at Quebec. The Remparts had led 3-0 in the second period when Kotkov went to work on the first multi-goal game of his major-junior career. His goal at 3:19 of the second cut Quebec's lead to 3-1. His goal at 17:11 of the second cut it to 3-2, and his power-play goal at 3:25 of the third was the game-winner, giving the Sags their first lead of the game at 4-3. Kotkov now has seven goals and 14 points in 21 games and is in the midst of a four-game scoring streak in which he has averaged two points per game. (Note: Second appearance on this list in 2017-18)