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Prospect Need to Know: Early playoff heroes

Several 2019 draft hopefuls are taking the CHL post-season by storm early on, while kids from the Oilers, Islanders and Lightning are also hot right now. Learn more about them and more in our weekly roundup.

It’s fun time, people. The CHL playoffs are on, plus the NCAA Frozen Four field of 16 has been set, with regionals beginning Friday. I will have a special Frozen Four preview later in the week, so I’m going to stay away from the college kids on this week’s list. I will, however, note that the flood of pro signings has already begun. Boston University has already seen Joel Farabee (PHI), Dante Fabbro (NSH), Jake Oettinger (DAL) and Chad Krys (CHI) sign and it will be interesting to see if anyone else leaves school early. One prominent Terrier with a decision to make is center Shane Bowers (COL), who just completed his sophomore season. Another player to keep an eye on is Wade Allison (PHI) of Western Michigan. I don’t think he’ll rush his decision, either, but he’s a big name to keep in your back pocket.

With all that established, let’s take a look at what’s going on elsewhere in the world of prospects, because it is a busy time of year – and let’s not forget that the world under-18 championship is less than a month away, too.

Graeme Clarke, RW, Ottawa 67’s (OHL): Boy, does Clarke have a scintillating set of hands. The 2019 draft prospect has teed off on the Hamilton Bulldogs in two opening series victories, netting five goals for the powerhouse 67’s. His work around the net is very creative and impressive and it looks as though he’s just getting started. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Samuel Poulin, LW, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL): A power forward with a good shot and a heavy game, Poulin is the firestarter for the Phoenix, with four goals in two games against Blainville-Boisbriand in the first round. The 2019 draft prospect is Sherbrooke’s captain and his ability to drive the net, work the wall and use his reach has scouts intrigued. NHL arrival: 2020-21

Evan Bouchard, D, London Knights (OHL): The early playoff scoring leader in the OHL, Bouchard racked up seven points in his first two games for the Knights, both wins over Windsor. The Edmonton Oilers first-rounder and OHL player of the week is a dynamite passer who can log a lot of minutes and he has a bomb for a shot, as well. NHL arrival: 2019-20

Mads Sogaard, G, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL): Playing for Denmark at the world juniors, Sogaard is used to being shelled – but at least with the Tigers he’s getting goal support. The towering 2019 draft prospect has made 86 saves in two playoff games against Edmonton to keep the series at 1-1. Sogaard is quick and reads the play well, but sometimes he can overplay his angles. Nevertheless, there’s a lot to build off. NHL arrival: 2023-24

Noah Dobson, D, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL): Thanks to his title with Acadie-Bathurst last year, Dobson has the rare opportunity to win consecutive QMJHL championships with two different teams. The puckmoving New York Islanders pick has done his part on the offensive end so far with four points in two games, but the Huskies have their hands full with underdog Shawinigan. NHL arrival: 2019-20

Alex Barre-Boulet, C, Syracuse Crunch (AHL): He can shoot and he can set guys up, so there’s no mystery to why Barre-Boulet has been such an effective player for the Crunch. Signed as a free agent by Tampa Bay, Barre-Boulet is the top rookie scorer in the AHL with 32 goals and 60 points in 66 games. Skating is a work in progress, but the kid produces. NHL arrival: 2020-21

Samuel Fagemo, LW, Frolunda (SHL): Passed over in the draft last year, Fagemo won’t go unclaimed again after a cracking year in the SHL. The teenager is playing on Frolunda’s second line in the playoffs right now and he put up 25 points in 42 regular season games. Energetic and willing to go to the dirty areas, he has a burning desire to score. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Zac Jones, D, Tri-City Storm (USHL): A mobile puckmover with great edges and vision, Jones is a 2019 draft prospect with some high upside. The UMass commit has 47 points in 51 games and has helped the Storm run away with the Western Conference’s first-round playoff bye. The team has also won eight straight. NHL arrival: 2022-23

Egor Afanasyev, C, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL): In the East, Muskegon is closing in on the first-round playoff bye and Afanasyev is driving the bus offensively. The 2019 draft prospect leads the Jacks in scoring with 56 points in 53 games, using his hands, 1-on-1 skills and compete level to get the job done. Skating is a question mark, but the kid produces. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Aliaksei Protas, RW, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL): The Raiders are up 2-0 in their series against Red Deer and Protas is leading the offensive charge with four points so far. The 2019 draft prospect has terrific size, hockey sense and playmaking ability, he just needs to smooth out his stride as he continues to develop in his young career. NHL arrival: 2021-22

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