• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
Friday was a great day to watch 2018 draft prospects. Forget the big names, this day was a showcase for players vying for drafts slots beyond Round 2. Several of these lesser lights stepped up and had their best games of the season. As a result, this top performances list is filled with players who aren't often featured here. It was a huge day for goalies, and there's even a set of twins, who somehow managed to play their best games of the season on the same night.
It all translates into three words: Deep draft pool. The list below features seven major-junior players, two from the USHL, and one from the Czech Republic. Enjoy the diversity as you check them out:
EVAN BOUCHARD -- Bouchard continued his remarkable season for London on Friday with a goal, assist, and nine shots in London's 4-3 OT victory over Peterborough. The defenseman, a lock to be taken in June's first round, was the game's No. 2 star after picking up the primary assist on a power-play goal at 9:04 of the third to put London up 3-2 and then delivering the winning goal 50 seconds into overtime. Bouchard now has 10 goals and 26 assists in 29 OHL games, tying him with fellow prospects Ryan Merkley for second in the league's scoring race for defensemen. He has also posted multiple points in five of his last six games. (Note: Seventh appearance on this list in 2017-18 -- leads all defensemen)
TRISTAN COTE-CAZENAVE -- Cote-Cazenave has been overshadowed by other QMJHL draft-eligible goalies this season, but he is definitely a strong candidate for the draft. He might even be the only Victoriaville player to hear his name called by an NHL team in June. On Friday, he made his case for that with 34 saves in Tigres 7-1 win over Sherbrooke. He was perfect in the final two periods, making 18 total saves, and has now won two of his last three starts with a .955 save percentage in those games.
KAI EDMONDS -- The Barrie Colts did a bit of a roster shakeup on Thursday in trading away Kirill Nizhnikov, but Edmonds made sure there was no setback when the team hit the ice Friday. Barrie's backup goaltender made 32 saves to lead the Colts to a 3-2 win at Mississauga, earning No. 1 star honors -- his first major-junior three-star selection. His best period was the second, when he stopped all 15 Steelheads shots. It was his first start since Nov. 25, and his 32 saves were an OHL career-high. Edmonds has now won two of his last three starts.
ERIC FLORCHUK -- No prospect has more points Friday than Florchuk, who exploded for two goals and three assists in Victoria's 10-3 thrashing of Kootenay. The game's No. 2 star, made a statement early, scoring the game's first goal on a power play at 5:17 of the opening period. He followed that with an assist at 13:55 of the first for a 3-0 lead, a primary assist at 14:08 of the third to go up 8-3, and another assist just over a minute later at 15:33. The player who opened the scoring then closed it at 18:16 of the third to give his team a 10-goal night. Florchuk has seven goals and 24 points in 34 games. The 24 points are a WHL career high.
COLE FONSTAD -- Fonstad picked up his goal and assist in dramatic fashion Friday, as Prince Albert rallied to beat Kamloops 6-5 in an overtime shootout. His assist came at 8:49 of the third period, as the Raiders cut the lead to 3-2. Fonstad then forced overtime with a goal at 17:28 of the third and was the lone player to score in the shootout -- giving his team the victory. Fonstad has 10 goals and 37 points in 30 WHL games for Prince Albert and ranks second on the team in scoring. He has back-to-back three-star selections in the midst of a five-game point streak that has moved him into the WHL's top 25 scoring leaders. (Note: Fifth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
KAID OLIVER -- While Florchuk, a center, was tearing it up for Victoria on Friday, his left winger, Oliver, was right there with him. Oliver set WHL career-highs with two goals and four points in the Royals' 10-3 decimation of Kootenay to earn No. 1 star honors. He began with the primary assist on Florchuk's power-play goal at 5:17 of the first period before adding his own power-play goal to make it 2-0 at 10:45. Later in the first, he had the primary assist on Florchuk's second goal at 13:55. He finished his big night with a goal at 5:30 of the third period, making it 7-1. Oliver now has 16 points in 28 games, blowing past the seven he scored in 61 games as a rookie.
BLAKE PIETILA -- The USHL's Pietila twins, who will play together at Michigan Tech, were the big story on Friday. Blake, a goaltender, stopped 25 shots in Cedar Rapids' 2-0 win over Chicago to earn No. 1 star honors. He was at his best in the third period with 11 saves. It was his first win since Nov. 4, and it gave the Pietila family and Michigan Tech fans one of two reasons to celebrate. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
LOGAN PIETILA -- Perhaps realizing that his twin was having a big night in another Iowa city, Logan stepped up his own game in Dubuque's 7-1 rout of Madison. The No. 2 star finished the night with a goal, two assists and a plus-3 and was recognized with his first postgame three-star selection of the season. All three of Pietila's points came in the second period. He had the primary assist on a goal at 6:53 for a 3-1 lead, followed by his second goal of the season at the 8:24 mark to make it 4-1, and the lone assist on a power-play goal at 11:45 to put the Fighting Saints up 5-1. Pietila's goal was his first since Nov. 3. He now has seven points in 15 USHL games.
DAVID TENDECK -- Tendeck, suddenly emerging as Vancouver's clear No. 1 goalie, is really something special. On Friday, he made 37 saves for a 1-0 shutout win at Portland and was named the No. 1 star. He had 14 stops in the first period, 11 in the second and 12 in the third. Tendeck has won three consecutive starts for the Giants with a .949 save percentage over the span. His WHL season save percentage of .908 dwarfs his .856 from last season.
RADIM TOMAN -- Toman's biggest obstacle to getting drafted is his size, because he's under 5-foot-9. Otherwise, this Czech center might be one of the top prospects. On Friday, the high-scoring Toman picked up a goal and two assists in Vitkovice U20's 5-4 OT win over Zlin. His goal, at 17:23 of the opening period, gave his team a 2-1 lead. He later had the primary assist on a power-play goal at 11:05 of the second to make it 4-2 and assisted on the game-winner 54 seconds into the 3-on-3 overtime. Toman has scored points in all but one of his U20 games this season. This was his second three-point effort and extended a four-game streak. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)