CHL Playoffs are underway, with a few series already swept, a few teams on the brink of elimination and a few series still up for grabs.
Let’s start in the WHL, Medicine Hat swept Brandon last night, disappointing that Nolan Patrick (’17 Draft Eligible) wasn’t able to dress in any of the four games due to a lower-body injury. Patrick being hurt could very well hurt his chances at going number one in June. He has been plagued with injuries the last few years, having your number one pick be injury-prone already could scare away teams who want a guy who can stay in the lineup night-in and night-out. Could be interesting come June. As for his main rival for the top spot; Nico Hischier (’17 Draft Eligible), you can find his playoff hopes in the QMJHL section below.
Regina Pets (2018 Memorial Cup Hosts) have a chance to sweep the Calgary Hitmen tonight (Thurs.) and the Seattle Thunderbirds could sweep the Tri-City Americans Friday night.
The WHL playoff scoring race is tight at the top, a three way tie with Sam Steel (ANA), Keegan Kolesar (CBJ) and David Quenneville (NYI) all tied at nine points apiece.
The Erie Otters made quick work of their first series, winning all four games with a goal differential of 29-12, a +17 difference. They gave up three foals in every single game, but with their high scoring offence and their top line of Alex DeBrincat (CHI), Dylan Strome (ARI) and Taylor Raddysh (TBL), they are looking like last year’s London Knights trio (Marner–Tkachuk–Dvorak). The Otters trio is first, second and third in the OHL Playoff scoring race, with 13, 11 and 11 points each.
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds’ Joseph Raaymakers (’98 born, undrafted) has taken over the net after Matthew Villalta (’17 Draft Eligible) gave up six goals in the second game. Raaymakers is now leading the OHL with 1.30 GAA, .958 SV% in the two and a third games played. Greyhounds are up 3-0 in the series against the Flint Firebirds.
Nick Suzuki (’17 Draft Eligible) is tied with his Attack teammate Petrus Palmu (’97 born, undrafted) with nine points apiece, Palmu and Suzuki have put up big numbers against the Kitchener Rangers. Owen Sound has outscored Kitchener 21-7 in four games, leading 3-1 in the series.
The OHL playoff series have a few upsets brewing, Windsor, Sudbury and Hamilton all are the underdogs of their series, but are leading 2-1. A lot can change in 2-3 games, but upsets are bound to happen in the first round of playoffs, especially in the OHL Eastern Conference.
In the QMJHL round one playoffs, there has been five series sweeps, the 1vs16 Saint John, the 8vs9 Chicoutmi, the 5vs12 Blainville-Boisbriand, the 4vs13 Charlottetown and the 6vs11 Acadie-Bathurst series have all been 4-0 victories for the higher seeded team in each series.
The QMJHL Playoff scoring leader is Thomas Chabot (OTT), a defenseman from Saint John leading the way with 10 points (3-7). After Chabot there is a four-way tie with Mathieu Joseph (TBL), Daniel Sprong (PIT), Dmitry Zhukenov (VAN) and Samuel Girard (NSH) all tied at 8 points.
Two QMJHL series are tied at two, Shawinigan vs Val d’Or and Rouyn-Noranda vs Halifax. The Mooseheads are keeping pace with the Huskies all due to everyone contributing. The young guys of Nico Hischier (’17 Draft Eligible), Benoit-Olivier Groulx (’18 Draft Eligible) and Maxime Fortier (’17 Draft Eligible) aren’t blowing up on the scoresheet, but playing well enough to keep pace with the second seeded Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Hischier has three points (2-1), Groulx has two points (1-1) and Fortier has two points (1-1). Goaltender Alexis Gravel (’18 Draft Eligible, 2000 born) has been playing very well as well, holding the Huskies to just nine goals in four games so far. The Huskies should be able to make it through the first round, but they probably thought it wouldn’t be this difficult.
Tyson Jost (COL) signed a three-year entry-level contract and will join the Colorado immediately.
Charlie McAvoy (BOS) signed an amateur try-out contract with the Providence Bruins (BOS), he likely won’t see any time with the parent club unless Boston gets eliminated early.
Clayton Keller (ARI) signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Arizona Coyotes. Keller has already dressed two games, receiving over 13 minutes of ice time and recording an assist in his second NHL game. You can find Keller’s FrozenPool profile HERE.
Undrafted free agent Matt Gaudreau, Johnny’s little brother, signed an amateur try-out contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI).
Undrafted free agent Joseph Gambardella signed an amateur try-out contract with the Bakersfield Condors (EDM) as well as a two-year entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers.
A notable recall for the Minnesota Wild, Joel Eriksson Ek has been recalled from the Farjestad BK (Swe) and will join the Wild for the rest of the regular season. In his first nine games, Eriksson Ek put up five points (2-3). Find his FrozenPool profile HERE.
Tonight’s CHL action:
Lethbridge at Red Deer – Game 4 (RD 2-1), #LETvsRD
Regina at Calgary – Game 4 (REG 3-0), #REGvsCGY
Prince George at Portland – Game 4 (PG 2-1), #PGvsPOR
Peterborough at Niagara – Game 4 (PET 3-0), #PBOvsNIAG
Kingston at Hamilton – Game 4 (HAM 2-1), #KGNvsHAM
Mississauga at Ottawa – Game 4 (MISS 2-1), #MISSvsOTT
London at Windsor – Game 4 (WSR 2-1), #LDNvsWSR
No games for the QMJHL.
Follow along every day with my Daily CHL Bracket Updates: @zwambag
Feel free to leave comments, questions or concerns below, have fun playing the game of Fantasy Hockey.