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Prospect Corner: Stelio Shows Off; It’s Almost World Junior Time

The Canes’ 2017 third-rounder earned a nationwide honor last week, and get set for the annual New Year’s tradition.

Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

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

Brandon Wheat Kings vs Calgary Hitmen Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

Mattheos Named CHL Player of the Week

Hurricanes 2017 third-round selection and Brandon Wheat Kings forward Stelio Mattheos currently ranks in a tie for seventh in the Western Hockey League in scoring, with 50 points in just 31 games. The Winnipeg native has scored his fair share of big goals in big moments for the 23-7-1 Wheat Kings, as his seven game-winning goals lead the WHL. Of his 24 markers, half have come with the man advantage, and his 12 power play goals rank second in the league.

Mattheos earned CHL Player of the Week honors last week by posting nine points in three games, helping Brandon to extend their nine-game winning streak. It’s the first time Mattheos has been tabbed for the award, which is open to OHL and QMJHL players but which has been dominated by WHL talent this season. With points in 13 of his last 14 games, Mattheos is quickly closing in on his career high in points, 61, that was set a year ago in 69 games. His points-per-game rate has jumped dramatically in his draft-plus-one season, from .88 a year ago to 1.61 this season.

Canada v Czech Republic - Quarterfinal -  2017 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Top Canes Prospects Gear Up for World Juniors

Jake Bean, Martin Necas, Janne Kuokkanen and Eetu Luostarinen are among the Hurricanes’ top prosects, and all four will be showcased in this year’s World Junior Championships. All except Luostarinen, the Canes’ 2017 second-round selection, have participated in the event in the past and will be returning for another run at a gold medal.

This is a huge tournament for Bean, who has the opportunity to showcase how he has evolved as a defender over the course of the last year. Everyone knows how talented the 2016 first-rounder is offensively, but it will be how he handles his responsibilities as a top-pairing option that I will be watching most in the WJC. As one of the returning blueliners for Team Canada, Bean will have responsibility heaped on him in multiple situations. A good showing from the Calgary rearguard will be a point-per-game tournament while showing he can match up with the best forward lines thrown at him by Canada’s opposition.

Kuokkanen will be relied upon to turn the tables on a terrible tournament for the Finns a year ago. As a returning member of the team, I’m sure he has been waiting a full year to get the taste from last year’s tournament out of his mouth. Kuokkanen will likely sail past the one point in six games that he posted in 2017, but it should be noted tat after starting the season with an impressive 11 points in his first 11 games, he has cooled off recently with just one point in his last six.

Luostarinen likely will not receive the same offensive attention that Kuokkanen does, at the tournament, but he will benefit from the level of play that he faces throughout. The Finns should be a team that has plenty of defensive ability to shut down their opposition, so the ability to put pucks in the net will determine their fate.

Finally, Necas also will be returning for his second shot at a medal with a handful of his teammates who also participated in 2017. In five games a year ago, Necas scored once and added two assists finishing in a five way tie for second among Czech scorers. He will look to improve on that showing, as he, along with the Rangers’ Filip Chytil and Halifax’s Filip Zadina will be relied upon to carry the torch for the Czechs in Group B.

Thee tournament will start its preliminary competition on December 26, with games between Canada and Finland, and the United States and Denmark. Tune in as the Americans look to defend their gold medal from a year ago on home ice in Buffalo.

Kingston Frontenacs V Windsor Spitfires Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

Helvig’s Development Continues in Kingston

Jeremy Helvig continues to showcase himself as one of the best goaltenders in the Ontario Hockey League. His .922 save percentage now leads the league among starting goaltenders, and his goals against average ranks second by a one-hundredth of a point at 2.55. Night in and night out, he shoulders the load for a Kingston team that would be in trouble without his consistent efforts each night.

The 2016 fifth rounder has been especially hot as of late, allowing three goals or less in his last five starts. Over that time he has made 180 saves on 190 shots, good for a save percentage of .947 and a 3-1-1 record for the Frontenacs.

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