Oh, we have some big news, prospect followers. Matthew Savoie, the dynamic phenom who scorched the western bantam ranks for 71 points in 31 games for the Northern Alberta X-Treme, has committed to the University of Denver. Why is this a big deal? Because Savoie is the top prospect for the WHL bantam draft this year. It was recently leaked that Savoie was denied Exceptional Status to join the ‘Dub’ full-time next year (normally, players are drafted then returned to play midget for the year – they can play a handful of games in the WHL as 15-year-olds only) and now there’s the possibility he won’t play major junior at all.
The WHL draft lottery actually takes place Wednesday, so the stakes are high. Whoever wins the right to pick No. 1 will have a gutting decision to make: take Savoie and hope you can change his mind, or pass on the best WHL prospect in years. I do not envy that GM. If Savoie wants to keep his NCAA eligibility, he could play in the Alberta Jr. A League or USHL after midget, then head to Denver from there. Savoie’s older brother Carter is also a Denver commit, whose USHL rights are owned by Dubuque, for what it’s worth.
In the meantime, we’ve got a lot of important hockey going on, so let’s take a look around the world of prospects to see what’s going on.
Logan Hutsko, RW, Boston College Eagles (Hockey East): The Eagles needed an upset to keep their Frozen Four hopes alive and they got it with a conference quarterfinal win over Providence College. Hutsko, the skilled Florida Panthers pick, had four points in two wins to knock off the No. 2 seed Friars. Boston College faces top-ranked UMass next. NHL arrival: 2021-22
Lucas Raymond, RW, Frolunda (Swe.): The 2020 draft is going to be a big one for Sweden and Raymond is serving notice that Alex Holtz isn’t the only gem on the block. Raymond just set a under-17 record with 48 points and counting in the under-20 SuperElit league. He’s the type of player that makes everyone around him better. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Mikey Anderson, D, University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (NCHC): With Scott Perunovich hurt, Anderson has picked up some offensive slack on the blueline and he was integral in the conference quarterfinal victory over Omaha. The Los Angeles Kings pick now has 10 points in his past six games for the Dogs, who take on Denver in the semi-final. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Jack Hughes, C, U.S. NTDP (USHL): The top-rated prospect in the 2019 draft gave us another reason to laud him on the weekend, as the dynamic Hughes broke the NTDP record for career points when he notched No. 190, surpassing Clayton Keller. Liney Cole Caufield broke Phil Kessel’s goals record the same night, as Caufield got his 105th career tally. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Josh Brook, D, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL): The Warriors have a tough first-round match-up against Saskatoon, but luckily Brook has been hot lately. The Montreal Canadiens pick has nine points in his past six outings and has put up good numbers all year. Brook is a great puckmover who can also dish out some physical punishment when necessary. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Vladislav Kotkov, RW, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL): The knock on Kotkov in his draft year was that he ran out of gas down the stretch, so it must be heartening for the San Jose Sharks to see the big, skilled Russian win league player of the week honors right at the end of the regular season. Kotkov, who signed with the Sharks as a free agent, had seven points in three games. NHL arrival: 2021-22
Robert Mastrosimone, LW, Chicago Steel (USHL): With 10 points in his past six games, Mastrosimone is getting into playoff form for the Steel and the team needs him, as they have hit the skids a bit recently. A Boston U. commit and 2019 draft prospect, Mastrosimone has a lot of quickness in his game, from his skating to his shot release. NHL arrival: 2022-23
Michael DiPietro, G, Ottawa 67’s (OHL): With two shutouts in his past four starts, DiPietro certainly looks primed for the post-season. The Vancouver Canucks pick also earned the OHL’s Dave Pinkney Award (along with teammate Cedrick Andree) this week for lowest team goals-against average. The 67’s have a deadly lineup and with solid goaltending, they could win it all this spring. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Alexander Campbell, RW, Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL): Yes, Alex Newhook is the main draw on the Grizzlies, but don’t overlook Campbell – he’s been dynamite as well. The Clarkson commit and 2019 draft prospect has 10 points in five playoff games after a great regular season. Campbell is a gamer who skates well; he just needs some meat on his frame. NHL arrival: 2022-23
Martin Necas, C, Charlotte Checkers (AHL): The best team in the league right now is Charlotte and the Checkers roll deep. One of the brightest young stars is Necas, the Carolina first-rounder who blends speed and skill for an enticing package. The Czech national has seven points in his past five games. NHL arrival: 2019-20