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Prospect Need to Know: Podkolzin running wild in Alberta

The 2019 draft prospect is looking like a high first-rounder thanks to his early play for Russia at the World Jr. A Challenge. Learn more about him and more top kids in our weekly round-up.

Oh, we’ve got international hockey goin’ on, people. Sure, the world juniors are still a couple of weeks away, but the Division 1-A tournament – the one whose winner joins the WJC next season – is in full swing in Germany, with the home team starting off strong. In Alberta, the World Jr. A Challenge is underway and there’s a lot of intriguing talent there, as well. Let’s take a look at some of the standouts of those tourneys so far, plus others from around the hockey prospect world.

Vasily Podkolzin, RW, SKA-1946 (Rus.): I’d like to mix it up and spotlight someone else on Russia’s WJAC team, but Podkolzin has just been too good – he deserves the spotlight. An incredibly gifted scorer with great puck protection skills, the 2019 draft prospect leads the tourney with four points and three goals in two games. NHL arrival: 2020-21

Jett Woo, D, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL): He didn’t get an invite to Canada’s world junior camp, so Woo is taking it out on the ‘Dub.’ The league’s player of the week with seven points in three games, Woo is a hard-hitting Vancouver Canucks pick who can be trusted in pressure situations and is now putting up nearly a point per game. NHL arrival: 2020-21

Martin Necas, C, Charlotte Checkers (AHL): So this is pretty good timing for the Czechs: Necas is on fire just a couple weeks before the world juniors begin. The AHL player of the week thanks to seven assists in two games, the Carolina Hurricanes first-rounder did some clutch work on the weekend and now has 20 points in 22 games for the Checkers. NHL arrival: 2019-20

Moritz Seider, D, Adler Mannheim (Ger.): The top-scoring defenseman early on at the Division 1-A world juniors, Seider has put up three points in two games. The 2019 draft prospect is a big, right-shot blueliner who can wing the puck and he’ll be key for the Germans as they hope to earn promotion to the top rung. NHL arrival: 2020-21

Austin Wong, RW, Okotoks Oilers (AJHL): A personal fave, Wong is a rambunctious Winnipeg Jets draft pick repping Canada West at the WJAC and coming off a two-goal effort in a win over Canada East. The Harvard commit is a physically punishing player who can also light the lamp, making him nasty to play against. NHL arrival: 2022-23

Mattias Samuelsson, D, Western Michigan Broncos (NCHC): The conference rookie of the week, Samuelsson played a big part in the Broncos’ winning weekend against the defending national champs from Minnesota-Duluth. The big Buffalo Sabres prospect had a couple assists, but was also integral in shutting down the high-powered Bulldogs. NHL arrival: 2020-21

Gabriel Fortier, C, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL): The Drakkar have vaulted to the top of the Eastern Conference and strong play from Fortier has helped. The Tampa Bay Lightning pick is fast and fearless, playing much bigger than his 5-foot-10 frame would indicate. Fortier has six points in his past four games for the squad. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Joseph Woll, G, Boston College Eagles (Hockey East): It’s starting to come together for Woll after the Eagles had a tough start to their season. The Toronto Maple Leafs pick hasn’t lost a game in more than a month and the big netminder’s numbers are skyrocketing. Woll now has a .932 save percentage, not to mention two shutouts in his past three games. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Blade Jenkins, LW, Saginaw Spirit (OHL): With eight points in his past four games, Jenkins is heating up in Saginaw, where the Spirit currently sit second in their division. The New York Islanders pick brings a great combination of size and skill with a nice shot added in to make him even more dangerous. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Akira Schmid, G, Omaha Lancers (USHL): The Lancers have struggled this season and though Schmid’s .891 save percentage doesn’t sound very good, he’s actually been the best of five netminders used by the team this season. But the New Jersey Devils pick will use that adversity at the world juniors, where Switzerland will also be outgunned on most nights. NHL arrival: 2023-24


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