It’s crunch time in the NCAA, with conference tournaments underway and slots in the Frozen Four at stake. And while some teams are gunning for championships, it’s worth remembering that players on ousted squads may be signing with NHL franchises very soon. In major junior, the CHL playoffs are fast approaching, with a lot of teams already clinching. The Memorial Cup hosts in Regina have righted the ship just in time, but may still be first-round playoff fodder. That’s a big storyline to watch. Elsewhere, we’ve got a lot of big performers, so let’s take a whirl around the world of prospects.
Cale Makar, D, University of Massachusetts Minutemen (Hockey East) – If you haven’t seen Makar go end-to-end on Vermont yet, treat yourself. The Colorado Avalanche prospect has five points in his past seven games, helping the Minutemen get past the Catamounts and into the Hockey East tournament’s quarterfinal. Skating and puck poise are his big strengths. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Jacob Bernard-Docker, D, Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) – The Oilers finished off the regular season with a gaudy 24-game win streak, setting a new Alberta Jr. A League record. Bernard-Docker earned himself AJHL defenseman of the year honors in the process and eight points in his past eight games didn’t hurt. The 2018 draft prospect and University of North Dakota commit is a great skater who is efficient and structured. NHL arrival: 2021-22.
Cody Glass, C, Portland Winterhawks (WHL) – As the Vegas Golden Knights march toward their first Stanley Cup playoff berth, it’s worth noting that the franchise’s first draft is still looking like a sizzler. Glass, the first-ever selection, has 13 points in his past five games for the Winterhawks and has an outside shot at hitting 100 if he keeps it up. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Rasmus Kupari, C, Karpat Oulu (Fin.) – It’s been an interesting draft year for Kupari, a skilled center with a lot of upside. He got a ton of hype after the Ivan Hlinka, but didn’t get much of chance to make an impact at the world juniors and didn’t go to the Five Nations in Michigan. Now, he’s getting a chance to make an impact with Karpat thanks to the arrival of new linemate Kristian Vesalainen, the Winnipeg first-rounder. Scouts are watching closely right now. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Evan Fitzpatrick, G, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL) – It has literally been a month since Fitzpatrick has lost a decision and even in that game, he only surrendered two goals. Since a trade from Sherbrooke, the big St. Louis Blues pick has been a wall for the Titan, ringing up a 14-3 record with a .919 save percentage. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Sami Niku, D, Manitoba Moose (AHL) – The top-scoring rookie defenseman in the AHL, Niku is a slick-skating puckmover who has made a seamless transition to North America. The Winnipeg Jets prospect has 41 points in 58 games (putting him fourth among all rookie scorers) and has been pretty deadly on the power play. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Jonatan Berggren, RW, Skelleftea (Swe.) – North American scouts were anxious to see what Berggren could do on the smaller ice at the Five Nations in Michigan and he seemed to do well with a point per game. Back home in Sweden, the fast and skilled winger has been piling up points at the junior level and the 2018 draft prospect got to see his first SHL action, too. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Michael DiPietro, G, Windsor Spitfires (OHL) – DiPietro just set the Windsor record for shutouts in a season with seven, breaking the previously-held record of six – which DiPietro established himself last year. The Vancouver Canucks pick anticipates the play well and has great athleticism. The fact he’s still putting up goose-eggs after the Spitfires traded away their top players speaks volumes for the netminder. NHL arrival: 2021-22
David Pope, LW, University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (NCHC) – Pope has used his time in college very well. The 6-foot-3, 194-pound senior is a lot stronger than he was coming into Omaha, while his skills and skating have also developed. The Detroit Red Wings pick was one of the NCHC’s top scorers with 40 points in 33 games (including a league-leading 20 goals) and now he and the Mavs have a conference tourney date with North Dakota. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Eric Green, G, Northfield Mount Hermon Hoggers (Mass. HS) – An intriguing 2018 draft prospect who was passed over last season, Green is a 6-foot-5 netminder who moves quickly and never gives up on a save. He faced a ton of rubber for the Hoggers this season and it will be interesting to see where his future takes him – as of yet, Green hasn’t committed to a college program. NHL arrival: 2022-23