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Prospect Need to Know: The Memorial Cup picture is getting more clear

Half the field is already set, while some epic battles are shaping up in the OHL and WHL. We've also got updates from the USHL, AHL and international scene in our weekly wrap-up from the world of futures.

We���ve had some incredible storylines in the prospect world lately, from Team USA not winning gold at the world under-18s to Guelph erasing a 3-1 deficit to Saginaw in the OHL playoffs. As a holdover from UMass’ fantastic run to the NCAA final, the Minutemen just saw Mario Ferraro sign his pro deal with the San Jose Sharks – while fellow blueliner Cale Makar is already knee-deep in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Thanks to Halifax’s win over Drummondville, half the Memorial Cup field is already set, with the Mooseheads and Rouyn-Noranda both guaranteed spots. Who will join them? The candidates are Ottawa and Guelph in the OHL and Prince Albert and Vancouver in the WHL. Let’s see who has been standing out lately in those various circuits and more.

Aliaksei Protas, RW, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL): It doesn’t get much better than scoring a hat trick in a series clincher, but that’s what Protas did as the Raiders dispatched the Edmonton Oil Kings to punch their ticket for the final. The 2019 draft prospect has great hockey sense and skill, while his skating is fine when he’s going north-south right now. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Alexis Gravel, G, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL): The Q’s player of the week, Gravel has a 10-2 record in the playoffs and just helped the Memorial Cup hosts knock off the offensively potent Drummondville Voltigeurs. The big Chicago Blackhawks draft pick is rocking a .921 save percentage in the post-season. NHL arrival: 2023-24

Yaroslav Askarov, G, SKA-Varyagi (Rus.): Call him The Dream Killer. Askarov stopped Team USA in its tracks with a virtuoso performance in the under-18 semifinal, giving him early dibs as the top goaltender in the 2020 draft class. Big, talented and clutch, Askarov earned goaltender of the tournament honors from the IIHF and his international results have been sparkling all year. NHL arrival: 2023-24

Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver Giants (WHL): Talk about getting hot at the right time. Byram, the top defenseman available in the 2019 draft, now leads the ‘Dub’ in scoring with 18 points in 15 games and, of course, he’s doing it from the blueline. Super-smart with great power play acumen, Byram just needs to hammer out his agility. Otherwise, there is tremendous upside. NHL arrival: 2020-21

Joel Teasdale, LW, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL): A very nice pickup by the Montreal Canadiens, Teasdale was signed by the Habs in 2018 after getting passed over in the draft. Reliable and talented, Teasdale had an assist on the game-tying goal and scored the game-winner as the Huskies eliminated Rimouski. His 26 points in 14 games ranks second in the league. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Philip Broberg, D, AIK (Swe.): Broberg needed a big under-18s and the kid delivered, helping Sweden win gold and making some very impressive rushes to the net. The 2019 draft prospect was named defenseman of the tournament by the IIHF and put up six points in seven games. Only Team USA’s Cam York had more points from the back end. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Robert Mastrosimone, LW, Chicago Steel (USHL): Chicago is taking on Muskegon in the Eastern Conference final and Mastrosimone continues to roll with three points in the first two matches, giving him 10 points in six playoff games overall. The Boston University commit and 2019 draft prospect is a tenacious energy player who creates points through hard work. NHL arrival: 2022-23

Tristan Lennox, G, Saginaw Spirit (OHL): Shout-out to Lennox, the rookie netminder forced into the crease when starter Ivan Prosvetov was unfortunately suspended during the Western Conference final. The Spirit fell to Guelph in Game 7, but Lennox made some fantastic stops to give them a chance. He’ll be one to watch for the 2021 draft. NHL arrival: 2025-26

Dmitri Samorukov, D, Guelph Storm (OHL): The OHL player of the week, Samorukov actually earned the honor before he helped Guelph eliminate Saginaw. The Edmonton Oilers prospect has a great two-way game from the blueline and made his presence felt with seven points in the final three games of the series; all Guelph victories. NHL arrival: 2019-20

Sam Steel, C, San Diego Gulls (AHL): The Gulls get a tough second-round matchup in Bakersfield, but at least San Diego has Steel. The Anaheim Ducks prospect had six points in four first-round games to lead the squad, using the creativity and playmaking skills the Ducks are so high on with the youngster. NHL arrival: 2019-20

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