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Prospect Need to Know: Northeastern glory and Five Nations preview

The Huskies got their Beanpot, while scouts are gathering in Michigan to watch many of the best 2018 draft prospects. Learn about that and more in our weekly wrap

Northeastern University has won the Beanpot (and I didn’t jinx them). The Huskies beat Boston U. 5-2 on Monday night, snagging the all-Boston NCAA title for the first time in 30 years. Vancouver pick Adam Gaudette was named MVP of the tourney and his hat trick in the final was a statement. Elsewhere, TSN’s Gord Miller got a hold of the world junior host list for the next decade or so and it’s a fun one. We also get some hot Five Nations action in Michigan this week, as the top under-18 squads from Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Team USA square off. Some of the top names include Andrei Svechnikov, Grigori Denisenko, Adam Boqvist and Oliver Wahlstrom. Let’s take a look at some of the other kids to watch there and elsewhere in the prospect world.

Joe Veleno, C, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL) – Since his trade from Saint John, Veleno has been on fire. He now has 31 points in 18 games whilst wearing a Volts sweater and is nearing the top-10 in league scoring. Scouts believe the 2018 draft prospect was putting too much pressure on himself in Saint John, but it’s clear sailing now. NHL arrival: 2019-20

Dylan Sikura, RW, Northeastern University Huskies (Hockey East) – I’ve given Gaudette a lot of pub this season, so let’s share the love for Sikura, a silky playmaker who had two points of his own in the Beanpot final. Gaudette’s linemate, Sikura is a Chicago Blackhawks pick who is attracting a lot of attention right now – and with good reason. NHL arrival: 2018-19 (though there’s a chance he gets into a game this year)

Urho Vaakanainen, D, SaiPa (Fin.) – Despite his youth, Vaakanainen is leading his Liiga squad in ice time by almost a minute, clocking in at 22:06 per game. The 2017 Boston Bruins first-rounder has already eclipsed his previous best for points in a season with seven, while his smoothness and safeness bode well for the future. NHL arrival: 2019-20

Jack Drury, C, Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) – The son of former NHLer Ted Drury is already making a name for himself. Jack just broke a USHL record by running up a 23-game point streak, breaking a mark held by Mike Erickson and Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel. The Harvard commit and 2018 draft prospect brings a nice blend of skill and work ethic to the table. NHL arrival: 2022-23

Jay O’Brien, C, Thayer Academy Tigers (Mass. HS) – The top 2018 draft prospect from the New England prep school scene, O’Brien is a smart, two-way player with a great shot and a nice bag of offensive tricks to go with his responsible side. The Providence College commit was great at the All-American Prospects Game and also showed well in spot duty with Team USA’s NTDP. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Axel Andersson, D, Djurgarden (Swe.) – A modern-style defenseman with nice mobility and good hockey sense, Andersson will get a nice challenge at the Five Nations. Scouts want to see if he can handle the physicality and closer confines of the North American game, so this will be a crucial tournament for the 2018 prospect. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Jakub Lauko, C, Pirati Chomutov (Cze.) – Lauko had a smaller role for the Czechs at the world juniors, but the national side will need him much more at the Five Nations. A talented scorer who skates well and competes hard, Lauko has a bit of an edge to his game, too. The 2018 prospect has been playing against men all season. NHL arrival: 2020-21

Carter Hart, G, Everett Silvertips (WHL) – It’s a big Carter Hart year, OK? The Philadelphia Flyers prospect just tied the WHL record for career shutouts with 26 and also the Everett record for wins with 107. Needless to say, he’s definitely passing the latter soon and probably the former as well. But be patient, Philly fans – he’ll still need some AHL time before he hits The Show. NHL arrival: 2019-20

Sasha Chmelevski, C, Ottawa 67’s (OHL) – Chmelevski is a smart player with great instincts, but inconsistency knocked him down the draft board last year. San Jose scooped him up in the sixth round and now he’s rounding into form, tallying eight points in his past four games for the 67’s. He also leads the team in shots with 202 through 52 games. NHL arrival: 2020-21

Kyle Capobianco, D, Tucson Roadrunners (AHL) – The Arizona Coyotes love Capobianco’s elite feet and skill, so his rookie pro season in the AHL should be no surprise. He’s currently rocking a three-game point streak and is one of the league’s top-scoring rookie blueliners with 24 points in 37 games. Once he firms up his defensive play, he’ll be ready for full-time NHL duty. NHL arrival: 2018-19


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