Welcome to my ramblings, where I’ll be writing down my thoughts on NHL and draft-eligible prospects once a week. I’ll be using the ramblings to keep you posted on the week’s events, or let you in on some questions I ask myself often regarding prospects, amateur scouting and player development.
The CHL’s 2022 playoffs are reaching their end, and we can already take a look at the prospects who have stood out as tournament MVPs ahead of the Memorial Cup. Two of the names I’ll mention below haven’t even appeared in their respective leagues’ finals, but still deserve a mention for their outstanding performances in the games they played. We’re talking two points a game, or goal-per-game performances that just can’t go ignored.
Let’s get right into it.
Wyatt Johnston, C/RW — Windsor Spitfires, OHL (Dallas Stars)
Johnston is pretty much single-handedly carrying this Spitfires squad towards the promised land. He has accumulated 14 goals, 25 assists for 39 points in 23 games, 10 points clear of his team’s runner-up, linemate Will Cuylle. The Spitfires don’t offer much defensively, and have relied heavily on their top line to drive results and get them wins. It’s worked so far, but the team is trailing three games to two against the Hamilton Bulldogs, who have much more depth in their lineup and can hurt their team in waves.
Johnston’s puck skills are absurd — the OHL MVP loads pucks in his hip pocket which helps him shoot, pass or deke from the same position. This adds to his already-deceptive mindset with the puck, and his ability to absorb and manipulate opponents with ease. If there’s a roadblock to what he wants to do, he is both able to rid himself of the roadblock, or adjust on the fly to find the second-best option.
He plays with pace and finesse, and has a refined defensive game that makes him one of the best prospects in the CHL, if not the best. Expect him to continue his career in the NHL this fall. The Dallas Stars’ scouting team is next-level in its prospect analysis.
Speaking of which:
Mavrik Bourque, C — Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL (Dallas Stars)
Bourque was the primary offensive driver on the Cataractes all the way through their President’s Cup winning postseason, as he scored nine goals and added 16 assists for 25 points in 16 games. He was paired with Oilers first-rounder Xavier Bourgault on the top line, and that one-two punch was simply too much for any of the Q’s teams to handle.