CHL seasons wrapping up, scoring titles up for grabs, NCAA bracket information and a few notable prospects recalled to the NHL…
With the WHL, OHL and QMJHL regular seasons wrapping up in a few days, let’s take a closer look at the top goal scorers from each league. Beginning with the OHL, Kevin Labanc (SJS) has 125 points (39-86), giving him a six point lead over Christian Dvorak (ARI) and an 11 point lead over Mitch Marner (TOR). It isn’t a guarantee that Labanc will be the OHL leading scorer, but with only two games left for both the Barrie Colts and the London Knights, Dvorak and Marner could be involved in a couple of high scoring games on the weekend with a home and home series against the high scoring Erie Otters. Barrie Colts play the Eastern Conference basement dwellers, Sudbury Wolves and a good Battalion team in North Bay. The scoring race could come down to the wire, but I think Labanc will hold them off.
Dvorak currently leads with 51 goals scored over Andrew Mangiapane (CGY), who was Player of the Week (Ending March 13th) in the entire CHL. This is another tight race to keep a close eye on, catch the London Knights and Erie Otters, who are the final Friday Night Hockey matchup on Sportsnet.
As for the QMJHL, Conor Garland (ARI) has had the scoring title wrapped up for about half the season, having a 20-30 point gap between him and whoever was in second. Garland is sitting at 126 points (38-88) with 10 points (4-6) in the past 5 games. Garland leads the entire CHL, but Labanc is hot on his tail. Look for Garland to finish strong this weekend playing the worst team in the Maritimes Division, Halifax Mooseheads and then the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Francis Perron (OTT) is currently second with 107 points (41-66). 2016 Draft Eligible Alex D’Aoust and Pierre-Luc Dubois sit tied for third in scoring with 95 points apiece. D’Aoust with 43 goals and 52 assists and Dubois with 40 goals and 55 assists. Both of them have two games remaining.
The WHL scoring race is the tightest of the three leagues, with Adam Brooks (2016 draft eligible) at 115 points (38-77) and recently signed free agent, Dryden Hunt (FLA) at 113 points (56-57). Third place is Brayden Burke (2016 draft eligible) with 106 points (25-81) and Jayce Hawryluk (FLA) in fourth place with 103 points (44-59).
2017 Draft Eligible Nolan Patrick nearly doubled his 2014-15 totals and has hit the century mark with 101 points (41-60). Patrick is at the top of everyone’s 2017 Draft rankings, and for good reason. Patrick is only four days too young to be in the 2016 draft, which means he will be one of the oldest kids available in the 2017 draft. This scenario may sound familiar, Auston Matthews (2016 draft eligible) was only two days too young for the 2015 entry draft. Matthews is the consensus number one overall in the 2016 draft.
There has been a lot of discussion whether or not to change the draft eligible dates to just the full birth year of a player, rather than cut it off at September 15th, this would change the two outcomes of last year’s draft and this year’s draft. Matthews likely would have been a top three pick in 2015 and Patrick would likely be a top 3-5 pick in this year’s draft.
I agree the NHL should change the draft eligibility to a full birth year, makes every child the same age, why make the cut-off date the beginning of the NHL season, mid-September?
There has also been discussion on the age of draft eligibility changing from 18 to 19 or maybe even 20. That would be a much more drastic change, but could benefit the junior ranked teams that see their most talented players move into the NHL at such a young age. I’m on the fence with this one, it would benefit the junior teams, but some of the kids that get drafted are capable of playing in the NHL (i.e. McDavid, Stamkos, and Tavares to name a few).
The NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship bracket will be announced March 20 at noon. Regional Championships will be played from March 25-27 across America. Get all the tournament information, game time and days, and broadcast information HERE. There is also an interactive bracket found HERE.
Peter Harling broke down some of the top college free agents in his latest feature, it a great read and a lot of deep analysis on guys who don’t get a lot of coverage.
The AHL season wraps up in exactly one month and a lot of the NHL teams wanting a better look at their top prospects, a lot of players are being recalled and re-assigned daily. Be sure to check the dobberprospects.com homepage to see the latest updates on players. A few notable players who have recently been called up:
A couple of notable contracts signed in the last few days:
Francis Perron (OTT) has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators.
Jason Kasdorf (BUF) has signed a one-year entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres.
Viktor Svedberg (CHI) has signed a two-year contract extension worth $1.5 million with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Scott Wilson (PIT) has signed a two-year, one way contract extension worth $1.25 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Tom Kuhnhackl (PIT) has signed a two-year, one way contract extension worth $1.25 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Bryan Rust (PIT) has signed a two-year, one way contract extension worth $1.8 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Feel free to leave comments, questions or concerns below, have fun playing the game of Fantasy Hockey.