When you’re on a roll, the world can often be your oyster.
That must be how Dallas Stars forward prospect Jason Robertson feels right about now.
The Stars’ 2nd round pick, 39th overall, in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft is absolutely on fire right now for the OHL’s Kingstron Frontenacs. He’s currently riding a seven-game point-scoring streak, picking up a whopping 15 points over that span.
League-wide, his hot play has moved him into a tie for 7th in OHL scoring, with 39 points on the year in just 28 games. He’s also 1st in the league in shots, with 137, which is 15 more than the next-closest player. He’s averaging just under five shots per game, at 4.89.
His play has helped the Fronts propel up the OHL standings, firmly establishing themselves as one of the league’s top teams.
Robertson, a Michigan native, has never played in any international events for USA Hockey, but his strong play this year surely is putting him on the radar for the upcoming World Juniors. Seeing him play against many of the best under-20 players in the world would be a great barometer to see just how far his development has come.
North American Juniors
Nick Caamano picked up a couple of assists over the weekend for his new team, the Hamilton Bulldogs. He now has four points in four games since being traded from the Flint Firebirds.
Liam Hawel missed the previous two games for the Guelph Storm. I haven’t been able to find any concrete information as to why, but given how big of a role he usually plays for the team when he’s in the lineup, it’s most likely that he’s missing time due to injury or illness.
Ondrej Vala scored one goal last week, bringing his total on the year to seven. He also recently got invited to the Czech Republic’s camp for the World Juniors. He made their roster last year and should make it again this year.
Jake Oettinger split a win and a loss over two weekend games for Boston University against their rival Boston College. He stopped 29 of 33 shots in a high-flying 7-4 victory on Friday, before allowing three goals on 26 shots on Saturday.
Defenseman Michael Prapavessis picked up three assists in two games for R.P.I. It was the best weekend of the season for the Stars’ 4th round pick, 105th overall, in the 2014 NHL draft, who now has nine points in 16 games. Prapavessis is in his last year of NCAA eligibility and will need to make big strides in his play if he hopes to earn an ELC from the Stars, which is looking fairly unlikely at this point in time.
Riley Tufte started the season hot, but has cooled off in the past few weeks, picking up only one points in his last five games for the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Consistency continues to be something that Tufte has had trouble with since he begun playing in the NCAA.
The Texas Stars had an overall positive week in the AHL, picking up two wins over the defending league champion Grand Rapids Griffins before losing to the Rockford IceHogs 6-2 on Saturday, a loss which snapped a five-game winning streak.
Roope Hintz stood out in that span, picking up two goals, as well as the shootout-winning tally in Friday’s 5-4 win. Jason Dickinson was also notable in that game, scoring a goal in the dying seconds that forced overtime.
Mark McNeill, who has often been healthy scratched due to the AHL’s rule about teams dressing a limited number of “veteran” players, scored two goals as he tries to work his way into being a lineup regular.
Goaltending prospect Philippe Desrosiers has quietly been very good for the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads this season. He stopped 36 of 37 shots in a 2-1 win on Saturday, bringing his season totals to a record of 9-1-2 and a .916 save percentage. Currently a pending RFA that is in the last year of his contract, Desrosiers is making a case for himself to earn an extension and possibly form a goaltending duo with Landon Bow for the Texas Stars next year.
Miro Heiskanen played in two of HIFK’s three games last week in the Liiga, scoring one goal and logging over 24 minutes of ice time in both. Highlights of the game with the goal can be found here.
And in unsurprising news, Heiskanen has officially been invited to Finland’s World Juniors camp. He made their team last year as a 17-year-old.
Jakob Stenqvist had two assists in two games for Bjorkloven in Sweden’s Allsevnskan league. Highlights of those assists can be found here. He’s become a staple of Bjorkloven’s powerplay and leads defensemen on his team in scoring, with 13 points in 23 games.
2018 NHL Draft Watch
Forward Ryan McLeod of the Mississauga Steelheads is a player that you watch to fully appreciate.
Not only is McLeod one of the best skaters heading into the 2018 draft, he’s also 6’2,” possesses strong puck distribution skills and can unleash a great wrist shot. However, his numbers for a late 1999 birthday are a little concerning, only putting up 42 points in 68 games last year (what would have been his draft year if he were born a week earlier) and 30 points in 28 games so far this season.
While the point production isn’t quite there yet, the younger brother of 2016 New Jersey Devils 1st round pick Mikey McLeod has a tantalizing assortment of skills that should help him develop into a reliable, versatile two-way player at the NHL level.