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Hurricanes Prospect Corner: Returning Home and Breaking Out

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Martin Necas goes back to Europe, Elynuik in the midst of a breakout season and Helvig remains among the OHL’s most important players. 

Jamie Kellner

Prospect Corner is our regular look at the Hurricanes of the future, checking in with prospects in juniors, college and in Europe.

Necas returned to Brno

It was no secret that Martin Necas’s stellar camp and preseason caught the Hurricanes coaches and front office a bit by surprise. By all accounts, the team was thrilled that the talented center fell to them in June, but no one expected to have to make a decision about his NHL future as early as the 2017-18 season.

Just over a week ago the 2017 first rounder was returned to his club in the Czech Republic for the season, following a two-game stint in the NHL and some nights taking in life as a professional in the press box. Ultimately, it’s the best thing for Necas’s development, especially if he wasn’t going to get regular playing time in Carolina. By heading back to Europe, the young pivot will be able to play in all situations, refining his game in his home country. In two games back in the Czech Republic, Necas has already scored once, and during this campaign he will look to eclipse his seven goals and 15 points from a year ago.


Elynuik leading the Chiefs

Maybe more than any other prospect, I was interested to see how Hudson Elynuik’s season unfolded in 2017-18 for a couple of reasons. As a physically imposing 20-year-old, this season should have been one where the 2016 third rounder could breakout offensively. Secondly, I was interested to see how the big center reacted to not having Kailer Yamamoto on his wing. Edmonton’s first rounder created so much offense for Spokane over the past couple seasons that it was going to be an adjustment not having such a talented player in the lineup.

Thus far, Elynuik has passed both tests with relative ease. His 22 points lead all Spokane players, with his shots (45), goals (10), power play points (7) and game-winning goals (4) all also tops on the team. As of late, the center has taken things to another level, recording multi-point games in five of his last six contests, totaling 13 points and is averaging over two points-per-game in that span. Since his draft season, he has increased his points-per-game rate each season, from .79 in 2015-16, to 1.14 a year ago, to 1.38 currently. That pace, if it continues would likely find Elynuik in the top-15 scorers in the Western Hockey League at season’s end.


Helvig continuing winning ways

A season ago, Jeremy Helvig was one of the Ontario Hockey League’s most heavily relied-upon goaltenders, starting an OHL-high 59 games for Kingston. This season appears to be no different, as the young netminder has been in between the pipes for 11 of the Fronts’ first 14 games.

In his 11 starts, Helvig has won five times, and has faced nearly 30 shots per game when he has been in net. He ranks seventh in both shots per minute (.54) for goaltenders who have faced 350-plus shots this season, and goals against average (2.85) for goaltenders who have played in 10-plus games. Last season, Kingston finished last in the OHL with 179 goals scored, but still managed to make the playoffs in large part due to Helvig’s strong play. If early season results are any indications, it appears that the Fronts will need a similar effort from their top goaltender if they are going to make a return trip to the postseason.


Bean will represent WHL in Canada-Russia Series

Starting next week, the annual CIBC Canada-Russia series will start in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan with the WHL facing Russia to kick off the six game, 10-day event. Jake Bean was one six WHL defensemen chosen to represent his league in the series, and was named an alternate captain. He is one of seven NHL first rounders on the roster.

Bean has had a solid start to his 2017-18 season, ranking among the top-20 scoring defensemen in the WHL with 12 points. His 11 assists tie Bean for sixth among WHL blueliners, and his 42 shots rank seventh. The offensive defenseman has failed to record a point in just three contests this season, and is currently riding a five-game point streak, and a three game multi-point streak.


Stats Update

Canes Prospects: Skaters

Player Position Team GP Goals Assists SOG P/GM PIM
Player Position Team GP Goals Assists SOG P/GM PIM
David Cotton C Boston College (NCAA) 34 9 18 80 0.79 20
Hudson Elynuik C Spokane (WHL) 64 27 51 206 1.22 74
Matt Filipe LW Northeastern (NCAA) 29 5 8 65 0.45 31
Morgan Geekie C Tri-City (WHL) 60 25 45 215 1.17 32
Eetu Luostarinen C KalPa (Finland) 53 5 14 n/a 0.36 56
Stelio Mattheos RW Brandon (WHL) 62 40 43 202 1.34 68
Martin Necas C HC Kometa Brno (Czech) 24 9 8 n/a 0.71 6
Luke Stevens LW Yale (NCAA) 30 6 5 68 0.37 12
Max Zimmer LW Wisconsin (NCAA) 25 3 4 30 0.28 0
Jake Bean D Tri-City (WHL) 49 9 31 155 0.82 18
Noah Carroll D Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) 59 6 28 86 0.58 67
Brendan De Jong D Portland (WHL) 62 4 18 114 0.35 40
Luke Martin D Michigan (NCAA) 36 1 7 37 0.22 20
Ville Rasanen D Jokerit U20 (Finland) 28 0 6 n/a 0.21 14

Canes Prospects: Goalies

Player Position Team GP GAA SV % GA Saves
Player Position Team GP GAA SV % GA Saves
Jeremy Helvig G Kingston (OHL) 51 2.55 0.920 129 1475
Jack LaFontaine G Michigan (NCAA) 11 3.51 0.889 31 279
Eetu Makiniemi G Jokerit U20 (Finland) 35 3.03 0.916 n/a n/a