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Prospect Need to Know: Kingston breaks through

Goaltender Jeremy Helvig led the charge for the Frontenacs, who have a title on their mind. Learn about him and more of the game’s top youngsters

With a couple of stragglers aside, we’re basically down to the conference finals in major junior. It’s definitely an interesting year and perhaps the best story is the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, the hard-luck franchise that is through to the semi-final after years of disappointment. Elsewhere, the USHL playoffs have begun and the AHL has its matchups set. We’ve also got the world under-18s about to kick off in Russia, where there will be a ton of talent on display. I’ll have a lot more coverage on that tourney next week, once the real games commence. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the prospects making noise around the hockey world.

 

Jeremy Helvig, G, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL): Helvig could have turned pro this year, but Carolina had a backlog of young netminders, so he returned to Kingston. Boy, are the Fronts glad he did. The Hurricanes pick was the OHL player of the week with a .958 save percentage and three wins, helping Kingston to the conference final. The big kid has been great all season. NHL arrival: 2019-20

 

Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, U.S. NTDP (USHL): The Americans head into the world under-18s as favorites (as usual) and Wahlstrom will be at the tip of the spear. The 2018 draft prospect and Harvard commit leads the team with 40 goals and 83 points in 54 games, not to mention a walloping 243 shots on net. Smart, with an elite shot, Wahlstrom can also distribute and is known as a student of the game. NHL arrival: 2019-20

 

Keegan Karki, G, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL): In a sketchy year for goaltending prospects, Karki brings some real intrigue to the 2018 draft class. A 6-foot-4 kid with a lot of upside, Karki has matured both on and off the ice this season. His GM in Muskegon is John Vanbiesbrouck, who knows a thing or two about goaltending. NHL arrival: 2021-22

 

Pierre-Olivier Joseph, D, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL): The Islanders swept a very good Halifax squad in the second round and now draw the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Joseph, the puckmoving Arizona Coyotes pick, has eight points in his past six games and will be key to any success Charlottetown has against the Armada. NHL arrival: 2020-21

 

Lukas Jasek, RW, Utica Comets (AHL): With seven points in his first six games, Jasek has taken the AHL by storm. It’s pretty remarkable for a player who didn’t make a huge dent back in the Czech League, but the Vancouver pick is getting his opportunities in Utica and cashing in. Jasek plays a nice two-way game and uses a variety of strong shots to score goals. NHL arrival: 2019-20

 

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Riley Sutter, RW, Everett Silvertips (WHL): The Tips are through to the Western Conference final and Sutter has been a factor with five points in his past four games. The 2018 draft prospect still needs to get quicker, but he’s a great net-front presence thanks to his hands, size and hockey sense. He comes from the famous Sutter clan, with Ron being his father. NHL arrival: 2020-21

 

Evan Fitzpatrick, G, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL): The Q’s player of the week, Fitzpatrick has been a wall for the Titan, rolling up a .962 save percentage as he helped dispatch his old team from Sherbrooke. The St. Louis Blues prospect brings great size and awareness to the crease and has really settled down over the years. NHL arrival: 2020-21

 

Matthew Strome, LW, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL): Hamilton will meet Kingston in the Eastern final and the Dogs are getting offense from numerous sources. Strome, the Philadelphia Flyers pick, has been doing his part with 14 points through nine playoff games. Yes, he needs to get faster, but the kid is very smart and skilled. NHL arrival: 2021-22

 

Aleksi Heponiemi, C, Swift Current Broncos (WHL): The Broncos knocked out Moose Jaw with an emphatic 6-0 win in Game 7 of their second round series, meaning we get more Heponiemi this year. The slight Finn and Florida Panthers pick has 18 points through 14 post-season games, remarkably all assists. Needless to say, the kid can pass and his vision and power play prowess are huge assets. NHL arrival: 2020-21

 

Tim Soderlund, LW, Skelleftea (SHL): Soderlund’s team is through to the SHL final, where they take on a very tough Vaxjo Lakers side. But this is all great experience for the Chicago Blackhawks prospect, who has four goals in 12 playoff games while playing a depth role. Soderlund is a hard-working Viktor Arvidsson clone who always seems to show up in big games. NHL arrival: 2019-20