This week in the Prospect Corner, we check in on Callum Booth’s progression into a top QMJHL goaltender, look at two Canes prospects who have been scorching in December, provide a small College Hockey prospect update and a handful of World Junior Championships tidbits.
Callum Booth Progressing in Quebec
It’s not the easiest task in the world to put up good goaltending numbers in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Q is often a goal bonanza from night to night, due to the league’s many offensively talented players and open style of play. Typically a goals-against average of anywhere from 2.30 to 2.60 has led the league over the past 10 years.
Prior to this season, Booth had a career goals against average of 3.02 and a career save percentage of .903 in 105 QMJHL games played. in 2016-17, Booth has bettered his numbers in all categories, stopping pucks at a 92.2% rate and sporting a significantly lower goals against average of 2.73. His 13 wins rank second among all QMJHL goaltenders, and his save percentage is first among all goaltenders who have played 20 games or more. The Remparts give him plenty of work to do on a nightly basis, as Booth ranks second in the league in both shots against and saves.
Steven Lorentz, Hudson Elynuik Remain Hot
Both centers are in the midst of breakout campaigns for Peterborough (OHL) and Spokane (WHL) this season.
Lorentz, whose previous career high in 2015-16 was 48 points in 58 games, has increased his point-per-game pace from a year ago from .83 to .97 this season. His 28 points rank in a tie for second on his team, just one off the lead. The 2015 seventh-round selection is in the midst of a seven game point streak, where he has put up five goals and seven assists, and his hat trick this past Thursday helped the Petes defeat the Ottawa 67’s.
On the west coast, Elynuik has been consistently putting up good numbers playing in a first line role for the high-scoring Chiefs. The 2016 third-round selection ranks in the top 25 scorers in the Western Hockey League with 12 goals and 24 assists in just 26 games. Much like Lorentz, he has experienced a jump in his point-per-game output, nearly doubling from .79 last season to 1.38 this season. He too is currently in a particularly hot stretch, tallying 17 scoring points (6 goals, 11 assists) in his last nine games.
With both teams pushing for playoff spots, Lorentz and Elynuik will remain integral parts to the success of their clubs for the remainder of the season.
College Prospects Tidbits
- David Cotton continues to be a solid secondary scoring option for Boston College as he sits in tie for 20th among NCAA freshmen in scoring with 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) in 20 games. The Texas native has points in three straight, including a goal in each of his last two games. Cotton has not been shy about firing the puck, ranking fifth on the Eagles with 44 shots on goal, averaging more than two per game.
- Congratulations to Yale forward and Canes 2015 fifth-round selection Luke Stevens, who tallied his first career collegiate point in mid-November in a Bulldogs road contest against Clarkson. Currently, he has two assists on the season as he is worked into the lineup as a depth option. Although he has played just seven games this season, Stevens currently leads Yale with a plus-4 rating.
- Both Max Zimmer and Matt Filipe have had modest point outputs to start their collegiate careers, which is to be expected as players jump up a level in competition. Zimmer has played in all of Wisconsin’s 16 games, currently ranking second among freshmen for the Badgers with five points, trailing only Bruins first-round selection Trent Frederic. Filipe has also played in all of his teams 16 games, providing four points as a secondary scoring option for Northeastern.
World Junior Championship Notes
- Team Canada are in the middle of their final camp and exhibition games before shoring up their roster for the World Juniors later this month.
- It appears that both Nicolas Roy and Jake Bean are unlikely to be in the lineup tonight when Team Canada takes on the U-Sport All-Stars in their first of two exhibition games against the Canadian College group. However, no need to panic, as Canada may be getting a look at some of their fringe players more closely. Also not playing tonight are virtual locks to make the final roster, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Tyson Jost.
- Julien Gauthier will be in the lineup, playing on a line with New York Islanders top prospect Mathew Barzal and WHL scoring leader Sam Steel in what could be a formidable trio if grouped together during the tournament.
- Janne Kuokkanen was named to Finland’s selection camp roster, and should be in lineup when the team plays its first exhibition game against Team Canada on Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
- Aleksi Saarela, who was a key player for Finland’s WJC winning entry last season will not participate this season for what have been labeled as “personal reasons”. The forward has been battling injury issues this year, but seems to be turning the corner as of late.
- Be on the lookout for my full World Junior Championship preview which should be coming up within the next 10 days or so when all the rosters have been set.