Prospect Ramblings: CHL finals & AHL second round underway & some predictions (May 05)

Paul Zwambag

2016-05-05

Casey DeSmith - photo courtesy www.theahl.com

CHL finals have begun, the AHL second round underway and some more CHL series predictions…

 

The three CHL finals have been set, which means it's time for another round of predictions. My overall record for every CHL series is now at 25-17.

OHL – (9-5 record)

London Knights (3) vs. Niagara IceDogs (4) – Prediction: Knights in 6 games.

WHL – (9-5 record)

Brandon Wheat Kings (1) vs. Seattle Thunderbirds (3) – Prediction: Wheat Kings in 6 games.

QMJHL – (7-7 record)

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (1) vs. Shawinigan Cataractes (2) – Prediction: Huskies in 6 games.

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Now to breakdown each final, The Knight's top line trio has already been well documented, so the hidden gem in this series could be goaltender Tyler Parsons (2016 draft eligible). Parsons was named the Vaughan CHL Goaltender of the Week ending May 1st. Allowing only seven goals in their third round sweep of the Erie Otters. Parsons is first in GAA (2.27) and SV% (.924), who's second in those stats? Alex Nedeljkovic (CAR) of the Niagara Ice Dogs (2.33 GAA, .918 SV%). This series could come down to goaltending, which is a surprise with all the elite players in the Ice Dogs and Knights' lineups.

Parsons draft stock is slowly moving up, he could be the first goaltender, but more than likely in the second or third round.

***Quick note: Max Jones (draft eligible) will make his return to the line up in Game 3 of this series, after sitting out his 12-game suspension for a blind-side hit in Game 4 of the first round.

London wins the first game of this series 4-1, Mitch Marner (TOR) and Christian Dvorak (ARI) have extended both their point streaks to 13 games with Marner's goal and assist and Dvorak's goal.

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The high-powered Brandon Wheat Kings are facing the very hot Seattle Thunderbirds. Brandon has five of the top six points leaders, all with 20+ points scored through 16 games played. Only one Seattle Thunderbirds, Mathew Barzal (NYI), is on that list. The Thunderbirds are a scoring by committee with four players with double digit points in only 13 games played. Seattle has only lost one game all playoffs, losing Game 1 of the second round to the Everett Silvertips. Overager Landon Bow (undrafted) has been stellar within net, with a 12-1 record, 1.54 GAA, .936 SV% and has only allowed 21 goals in those 13 games. Bow will be in tough to keep the puck out of the net with the high scoring Wheat Kings, a recipe for a great WHL final.

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The battle of the President Cup in the QMJHL is between Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the Shawinigan Cataractes. Anthony Beauvellier (NYI) is leading the playoffs in scoring with 26 points (12-14) in 17 games played (1.53 pts/gp). Beauvellier's teammate Dmytro Timashov (TOR) is tied for second with Francis Perron (OTT) at 25 points.  Shawinigan has five players in the top 10 scoring. Alexis D'Aoust (2016 draft eligible) – 8-14-22 pts, Gabriel Gagne (OTT) – 10-10-20 pts, Cavan Fitzgerald (SJS) – 3-17-20 pts, proving that the Cataractes are a high scoring, well rounded team who could give the Huskies troubles. The Huskies are led by Perron (10-15-25) and Timo Meier (SJS) – 10-8-18 and their number one netminder Chase Marchand (undrafted), 12-3, 1.19 GAA, .953 SV%.

Huskies were down 2-1 halfway into the third period, they scored three straight to win 4-2 in Game 1.

***

The second round of the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs has begun, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT) won their first game against the Hershey Bears (WSH) 4-0. Casey DeSmith (PIT) has locked in the starting role with a 33 save shutout. DeSmith has now won four straight playoffs game, winning three overtime games in the first round against the Providence Bruins and then this first game in the second round. The Penguins goaltending depth is showing through from Marc-Andre Fleury to Matt Murray to Tristan Jarry to DeSmith, very good depth in the organization all of a sudden. Daniel Sprong (PIT) showed up for the Calder Cup Playoffs and has been on fire, he has only been held off the score sheet once, his first AHL game, but has since scored five goals and added an assist, two of those goals have been game winning goals. Next year Sprong will be ready to make the Pens roster on a full time basis and maybe even in a top-six role. He could be a great late-round pick in yearly drafts. A must draft in dynasty, if he hasn't been drafted already.

Toronto Marlies took their first loss since April 13th, losing to the Albany Devils 2-1, and the first time they have been held to one goal or less since March 4th. The Marlies can score, but Scott Wedgewood (NJD) was able to shut them down, stopping 32 of 33 shots on goal. Wedgewood could be the difference maker in this series.

The other two series are being played on Thursday night, the Grand Rapids Griffins (DET) faceoff against the Lake Erie Monsters (CBJ) for the Central Division winner and the San Diego Gulls (ANA) battle against the Ontario Reign (LAK) for the Pacific Division winner to meet in the Western Conference final.

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If you are interested in watching a couple of CHL games and you're in Canada, Sportsnet360 will be airing three games in the next week from each of the WHL, OHL and QMJHL finals.

Friday, May 6th: Game 1 – Seattle Thunderbirds at Brandon Wheat Kings – 9:00pm EDT

Sunday, May 8th : Game 3 – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies at Shawinigan Cataractes – 7:00pm EDT

Wednesday, May 11th: Game 4 – London Knights at Niagara Ice Dogs – 7:00pm EDT

This is the first time in a long time that everyone can get a chance to see the final six CHL teams fighting for the final three Memorial Cup spots this late in the season. Don't miss your chance to see some future NHLers.

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If you want to catch some of the top eligible 2016 draft picks, Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, to name a few, are playing for their respective countries at the IIHF World Championships, beginning on Friday. TSN will be broadcasting every game of the tournament. This year's rosters are very young and have a lot of new names in the International scene that could be gaining experience for the World Cup of Hockey and future Olympic and International events.

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And if you are just excited about next year's fantasy season, Dobber has opened up his pre-orders for the Prospect Report, Fantasy Guide and two fantasy packs in the SHOP, get an early jump on your competition for next year. A lot of time, effort and research go into these guides, worth every penny and most up to date on the market. Dobber updates as much as possible to keep everyone up to date on any moves, signings, injuries that a hard copy magazine can't provide.

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Feel free to leave comments, questions or concerns below, have fun playing the game of Fantasy Hockey.

 

Paul Zwambag
@zwambag

 

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