In this edition of the Carolina Hurricanes’ Prospect Corner, we go streaking (no, it’s your dirty mind), visit an under-the-radar breakout player in New Brunswick, and look at a key reason why the Boston College Eagles are defying expectations so far this season.
Canes Prospects Streaking in November
As the calendar turned to the month of November, multiple Canes prospects took their game to another level. From the start of the month, the group of Nicolas Roy, Janne Kuokkanen, Julien Gauthier, Warren Foegele and Steven Lorentz have played in a total of 26 games. In those 26 games, the group has compiled a staggering 50 points.
Roy has led the way for Chicoutimi, and is currently riding a six-game points streak where he has piled up nine goals and nine assists for 18 points. In November, the Saguenéens captain has 14 points in five games, leading his team to a 5-0 record. His 30 points on the season, 22 of which have come in the last nine games, place him sixth in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s scoring race, five points behind points leader Maxime Fortier, despite Roy playing just 17 games this season.
Kuokkanen has broken out in a big way since starting the season with five points in his first seven games. The young forward has been on a tear with 19 points during his current nine-game point streak, giving him 24 points for the season and placing him firmly among the Ontario Hockey League’s top 20 scorers. He appears to be developing a knack for scoring big goals, as three of Kuokkanen’s 10 goals on the season have been game winners.
Gauthier has had a more consistent month of November, with eight points in his five games played. He is now over a point-per-game average on the season with 17 points in 15 games. Interestingly enough, 11 of his 17 points are assists, a step forward for a player who was pigeonholed during his draft year as strictly a goal scorer. After recording just 16 assists in 54 games last season, Gauthier is well on his way to passing that mark. Of his six goals scored, three are shorthanded, a number that ranks second in the QMJHL.
Despite playing seven fewer games than his teammates, Foegele leads the Kingston Frontenacs with 15 points, and on most nights has been their best player. Another prospect who has had a prolific November, Foegele has points in seven of his last eight games and 10 this month in five contests.
Lorentz has taken over a leadership role in Peterborough as one of the team’s four alternate captains. After a slow start in his first six games, Lorentz has broken out offensively, playing at a point-per-game pace over his last 13 games. With 16 points in 19 games this season, the 2015 seventh-round pick is likely to push for a career high in points and assists.
Spencer Smallman’s Offensive Breakout
A player who doesn’t come up in conversation enough when talking about Canes prospects is Smallman, the 2015 fifth round pick and captain of the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. His overage season has proven to be his offensive breakout, as he is on pace to top his career highs in goals, power-play goals, shots and points.
Smallman is currently sitting with 23 points in 19 games, and is shooting at a career high 18.2%. He is second on the Sea Dogs, and tied for fifth in the QMJHL, with six power-play goals. The Summerside, Prince Edward Island native has displayed leadership ability both in the room and on the ice, where he plays a three-zone game with consistency and grit. As it stands, Saint John has the third-most points (28) in the QMJHL with a 13-6-2 record and ranks second in goals scored (87).
Eagles Relying on Freshman Cotton
Boston College, who many had predicted to have a down year, has instead been rolling through their first 13 games of the college hockey season with a 10-2-1 record. The Eagles, currently 5-0-1 in Hockey East and ranked third in the nation in the USCHO Top 20 Poll, have relied on depth scoring and consistency up and down the lineup. Seven players have four or more goals on the season, and they boast six players with double-digit point totals.
David Cotton, a 2015 sixth-round Canes draftee in the midst of his freshman season for the Eagles, has been one of the depth scorers who have helped BC to the first NCAA team with 10 wins this season. His nine points (4G, 5A) rank seventh on the team, but first among BC freshmen. Among all NCAA freshmen, Cotton ranks tied for 11th in goals and tied for 17th in points.
After coming off a decent year in 2015-16 with the Waterloo Blackhawks of the United States Hockey League, it was unknown whether or not Cotton’s offense would translate immediately to the college hockey game. Clearly, he has made the jump up to college hockey fairly seamlessly, as an important member of one of the biggest early surprises of the 2016-17 college hockey season.
Helvig and Booth Continue their Strong Play
Callum Booth (Quebec - QMJHL) and Jeremy Helvig (Kingston - OHL) have both been solid in between the pipes, each playing the majority of games for their junior clubs so far this season.
Booth, who is on pace for career highs in wins and save percentage and a career-low in goals against average, has bounced back from a groin issue that kept him out for five games in early November. Since returning from the injury, he has made 66 saves in two wins for the Remparts. Booth is one of two goaltenders on the roster for the two game Canada-Russia series that will be held November 15th and 17th in Chicoutimi and Baie-Comeau, Quebec.
Helvig has been the Frontenacs’ workhorse this season, appearing in 16 of Kingston’s 19 games. He hit a bit of a rough patch this week, being pulled from the net (more the fault of a terrible defensive effort than his own) after five goals on 10 shots against Janne Kuokkanen’s London Knights in a game that the Fronts lost 7-0. However, Helvig bounced back the next night with a 29-save performance, picking up the win in a Kingston victory at Sarnia. He currently leads the OHL with three shutouts, and is relied upon to be great each night for a Kingston team that is tied as the lowest scoring team in the OHL.