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Prospect Need to Know: Stuart Skinner makes a great first impression

The Edmonton Oilers pick has a new home in the WHL and he got comfortable very quickly. Learn about him and other prospects making noise right now

The USHL Top Prospects Game was held in Nebraska last week and once again, there was a nice collection of talent involved. With the world juniors behind us, it really is the season for special games, with the Canadian Jr. A League bringing its best draft prospects together in Mississauga next week and major junior following a couple days later in Guelph. Meanwhile, the NCAA’s Hobey Baker Award has revealed a long list of candidates, some of whom you’ll find on the list below. And, the AHL All-Star Game is coming at the end of the month, so let’s take a spin around the world of prospects to round up some of the prominent names.

 

Stuart Skinner, G, Swift Current Broncos (WHL) – Another one of those big major junior trade deadline acquisitions, Skinner came to Swift Current from Lethbridge and has immediately made an impact. The Edmonton Oilers pick has size and good lateral movement, which has helped him win his first two starts with the Broncos, one by shutout. That earned him WHL goalie of the week honors. NHL arrival: 2023-24

 

Rasmus Dahlin, D, Frolunda (SHL) – Talent-wise, the Olympics are going to be a dud on the men’s side, but at least we’ll have Dahlin to watch in Korea. The top prospect for the 2018 draft has been named to Sweden’s squad and his combination of offensive dynamism, size and whip-smart defensive awareness will be a treat. He was certainly one of the best players at the world juniors. NHL arrival: 2018-19

 

Adam Gaudette, C, Northeastern University Huskies (Hockey East) – The Vancouver Canucks rebuild is looking pretty solid thanks to some deft scouting and Gaudette, a fifth-rounder in 2015, is a big part of that. The two-way center leads the conference in scoring with 35 points in 22 games and he’s been especially hot of late with nine points in his past three outings. The Huskies are also riding high in the standings right now, just behind Boston College. NHL arrival: 2018-19

 

Thatcher Demko, G, Utica Comets (AHL) – Speaking of the Vancouver rebuild, it will be interesting to see when Demko gets an extended shot with the club. The big,athletic netminder has been great in Utica, surrendering just five goals in his past three games. His overall play earned him a nod for the AHL All-Star Game (Utica will play host) and he’ll be one of the best NHL prospects at the shindig. NHL arrival: 2018-19

 

Evan Bouchard, D, London Knights (OHL) – The Knights traded away a slew of future NHLers at the deadline, but Bouchard remains. A 2018 draft prospect who has developed terrifically with London, the solid blueliner with excellent offensive skills now leads the team in scoring with 50 points through 43 games. Most importantly, he has learned to shoot more, as his 192 shots so far have well eclipsed his previous high of 135 in a season. NHL arrival: 2019-20

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Riley Tufte, LW, University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (NCHC) – The Dallas Stars first-rounder is beginning to heat up for the Dogs after a pretty quiet world juniors. Tufte has great size and speed, so once he fully realizes his potential he’ll be a juggernaut. A recent four-point night against Colorado College teased that dominance and Tufte has six points in four post-WJC games. NHL arrival: 2019-20

 

Tyler Madden, C, Tri-City Storm (USHL) – His two-goal performance at the Top Prospects Game earned Madden MVP honors for Team East and I also liked the Northeastern University commit’s play at the World Jr. A Challenge in December. The son of former NHLer John Madden brings a lot of skill to the table; he can go to the net or find those soft areas to create offense. Madden is up for the 2018 draft. NHL arrival: 2023-24

 

Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) – Lauded for his smarts and solid play, McIsaac is also on track to have his best offensive month of the season with six points so far in January. The Mooseheads have taken over first place in the Quebec League, which is impressive given that many of their top players are just draft-eligible this year. Look for McIsaac to be taken in 2018’s first round, along with several teammates. NHL arrival: 2019-20

 

Alex Newhook, C, Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) – What Newhook is doing in the B.C. League is truly impressive right now. The 2019 draft prospect turns 17 on Jan. 28, but he is already the second-highest scorer in the league with 53 points through 37 games. Newhook plays the game at a very high pace, like Robby Fabbri with a slightly bigger frame. He’s a Boston College commit with a ton of offensive upside. NHL arrival: 2019-20

 

Mitch Lewandowski, RW, Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten) – Passed over in the draft twice, Lewandowski had to prove to scouts that his smaller frame could handle the rigors of top-end hockey. As a freshman with Michigan State, the 5-foot-9, 176-pounder has passed with flying colors and he likely won’t get passed over this summer. Lewandowski is tied for the team lead in scoring with 27 points in 24 games, which also puts him among the conference leaders. NHL arrival: 2021-22