The Under 18 World Championship tournament is in full swing in North Dakota. The tournament is chock full of prospects eligible for the 2016 NHL draft but heading into Mondays games it was a 2017 draft eligible player who was the leading scorer. Kailer Yamamoto from USA is making a name for himself with four goals and seven points in three games. Yamamoto will be a name to keep in mind for the 2017 draft as he is one of the early top ranked prospects. He played his rookie season in the WHL with the Spokane Chiefs posting an impressive 19 goals and 71 points in 57 games with a plus-20. If he can do some growing heading into his draft year to raise his 5’8” 159 pound stature it will go a long way in his draft rankings.
Looking even further into the future, 2018 draft eligible prospect Filip Zadina of the Czech Republic is a 16 year old, 6’0” 187 pound Left Wing with three goals and four points in three games. He will be a top pick in this summer’s CHL Import Draft to watch.
Another Czech player making some noise is 2016 draft prospect Ondrej Najman who had a five point game Monday with two goals and three assists in a 9-2 victory over Denmark.Najman is ranked 30th in European Skaters by NHL Central Scouting and is a 6'1" 187 pound centre.
NCAA freshmen are dominating the league scoring leaders with six of the top ten in scoring all played in the NCAA this year. Prominent 2016 draft eligible prospects Clayton Keller, Tyson Jost, and Kieffer Bellows are as expected scoring early as are Trent Frederic, Adam Fox, and Joey Anderson.
Logan Brown from the OHL Windsor Spitfires is also helping his draft status playing on team USA with six points in three games as is Sarnia Sting forward Jordan Kyrou who had a four goal game for Canada.
Top three 2016 projected Jesse Puljujarvi has joined team Finland in North Dakota, but has not seen a game yet.
Moncton eliminated Gatineau Monday Night in the QMJHL meaning 2016 draft prospect Vitali Abramov could be joining Team Russia.
Two late additions joining Team Canada Monday night will be 2016 Draft eligible Boris Katchouk and Noah Gregor
Jost to Bitten to Boris Katchouk. Jost is having a Barzal-esque U18 tourney. pic.twitter.com/v9z4qM8Wnl— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) April 19, 2016
Alex Nylander is having a very good day. After being named the OHL rookie of the year he went on to take the lead in scoring at the U18 Worlds with a six point game for eight points in three games. Tim Wahlgren of Sweden had a natural hat trick in the game as well, both are 2016 draft eligible
The OHL named its First All-Rookie Team today. Nylander is the headliner joined by two top forward prospects for the 2017 draft in Owen tippet of the Mississauga Steelheads and Nick Suzuki from the Owen Sound Attack, and goalie Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires. Fellow 2016 draft eligible defencemen Mikhail Sergachev and Cam Dineen were also named, Dineen being named to the first team over Olli Juolevi was a surprise to me. Juolevi was also left off the ballot for Defenceman of the Year as well with Jakob Chychrun, Travis Dermott (TOR), Cam Dineen, Roland McKeown (CAR), Mikhail Sergachev, and Mithchell Vande Sompel (NYI) all got the nod
The OHL also announced the finalists for their individual awards. The Goaltender of the year finalists include Mackenzie Blackwood (New Jersey), Michael McNiven, Alex Nedeljkovic (CAR), Tyler Parsons (2016 prospect), Jake Smith and Devin Williams. The Overage Player of the Year will be a slam dunk for league leading scorer and San Jose Sharks prospect Kevin Labanc. Erie goalie Devin Williams and Petes forward Hunter Garlent also had great years and could get some looks as free agents.
Speaking of older players, when doing your fantasy hockey draft research, don’t forget to look for some draft re-entry players. This is often an overlooked pool of players which has turned out previous success stories such as Tanner Pearson, JC Lipon and Andrew Mangiapane. This year some players to keep an eye out for include two Ottawa 67’s players in Dante Salituro and Stepan Falkovsky. Salituro is a small offensive winger who is quick and has a motor that never quits. Falkovsky is a massive defenceman with a canon of a shot from the point. He has some skating issues and the 6’7” giraffe needs to iron out some defensive and consistency wrinkles in his game yet, but he is a tantalizing package. Jeremy Helvig managed to steal the starting job in Kingston away from defending OHL goalie of the year Lucas Peressini. Helvig is a big goalie at 6’4” and was the Eastern Conferences Most Improved Player as selected by the Coaches poll. He has size, is positionally sound and is very athletic. Cameron Lizotte was invited to the Toronto Maple Leafs rookie camp after going undrafted last summer. He later asked for a trade out of Peterborough and is helping Barrie in the Eastern Conference finals. Lizotte is a stay at home defenceman that won’t provide many fantasy points outside of hits, blocks and penalty minutes.
NCAA Frozen Four Champion and Most Outstanding Player Drake Caggiula watch took an interesting turn today as he spent the day in Philadelphia with his old Coach and current Flyers and Coach Dave Hakstol before taking in game three Monday night. Other teams in contention continue to be Chicago, Edmonton, Vancouver and Buffalo.
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