I try to keep a good mix going here, but sometimes geography is destiny. As such, I’ve seen OHL Mississauga twice in the past two weeks now and the Steelheads are looking dangerous – pretty amazing considering they traded away top players Ryan McLeod and Owen Tippett to Saginaw more than a month ago. Not saying they’re a contender in the East, but I do caution their first-round playoff opponent.
Elsewhere in the prospect world, we’ve got the University of Massachusetts establishing a new school record with 23 wins in a season and I am very intrigued to see what the Frozen Four field looks like when the tournament hits Buffalo in April.
Over in Minnesota, the state high school playoff brackets are set, with sectional brackets starting this week. A number of 2019 draft prospects are involved and I’ve got one of them featured below. Let’s get to the latest and greatest.
Ronnie Attard, D, Tri-City Storm (USHL): In scoring his 20th goal of the season on the weekend, Attard set a new league record for defensemen and it’s been that kind of year for the Western Michigan commit. Passed over in two drafts, Attard won’t get missed again this summer as improvements to his skating and smarts have led to a massive points explosion. NHL arrival: 2022-23
Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Fin.): Look out, Finland: Kakko is hot. The consensus No. 2 prospect for the 2019 draft just registered his first-ever Liiga hat trick and has six points in his past six games for TPS, while playing as the top-line left winger. That versatility is great, adding to his size, puck protection skills and vision. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Sasha Chmelevski, C, Ottawa 67’s (OHL): Very smart and very talented, Chmelevski is coming off a five-goal effort in a win over North Bay. The San Jose Sharks prospect is playing for a loaded 67’s team that has designs on a title and based on his play with both Ottawa and Team USA’s world junior squad, Chmelevski will be a key cog in that mission. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Demetrios Koumontzis, LW, Arizona State Sun Devils (NCAA): The Sun Devils got a crucial sweep over American International on the weekend, all but guaranteeing them a Frozen Four berth as an independent. Koumountzis, the talented Calgary Flames pick, has been an offensive driver of late with eight points in his past three games. NHL arrival: 2023-24
Maxime Comtois, LW, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL): Limited to just 16 games due to injury, NHL and world junior duty, Comtois doesn’t have the raw numbers to make headlines, but he did just assault the ‘Q’ with 16 points in his past four games to earn player of the week honors. The Anaheim Ducks pick is an excellent two-way player and is now averaging two points per game on the season. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Johnny Beecher, C, U.S. NTDP (USHL): On a stacked NTDP, Beecher isn’t getting the ice time he would elsewhere, but the 2019 draft prospect is still contributing. The University of Michigan recruit has four points in his past four games and the upside with Beecher is obvious – he’s 6-foot-3 and can skate like the wind. NHL arrival: 2021-22
Carl Grundstrom, LW, Ontario Reign (AHL): A key part of Toronto’s Calder Cup title last year, Grundstrom is now Los Angeles property, courtesy the Jake Muzzin trade. Since joining the Reign, the hard-working and talented winger has put up seven points in seven games and sits second behind veteran Matt Moulson in team scoring. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Kaedan Korczak, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL): With four points in his past five games, Korczak is putting up some nice totals on the blueline, but it’s his potential that really sings. The 2019 draft prospect is a beautiful skater who moves the puck well and brings a 6-foot-3 frame to the table. At 188 pounds, there’s room for more bulk. NHL arrival: 2022-23
Hayden Hawkey, G, Providence College Friars (Hockey East): The senior netminder with the on-the-nose name is coming off a critical weekend that saw him surrender just one goal in a sweep of UMass-Lowell, one of the top teams in the conference. Hawkey, an Edmonton Oilers pick, leads all Hockey East goaltenders with a 1.81 goals-against average. NHL arrival: 2022-23
Ryder Donovan, C, Duluth East Greyhounds (Minn. HS): Scouts are being a little cautious with Donovan, who didn’t dominate the high school ranks early – but the big, powerful center is getting there now. The 2019 draft prospect enters the sectional playoffs with 10 points in his past four games, plus he just committed to the University of Wisconsin. NHL arrival: 2022-23