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Prospect Corner: Onward to the Playoffs

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Plenty of Canes in the pipeline are making plans to play meaningful games into April.

Czech Republic v Finland: Quarterfinal - 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images

As the junior and NCAA seasons inch closer towards the playoffs, we take a closer look at which Canes prospects will be leading the charge towards the Memorial Cup and Frozen Four.


Europe

Martin Necas’ Czech club Kometa Brno has a bye into the quarterfinals as the five seed in the Extraliga playoffs where they will face Vitkovice. The Canes 2017 first round pick will shoulder a good amount of the offensive load, as he has in all 24 games he has played this season where he leads the club in points-per-game with a .71 rate.

Eetu Luostarinen’s KalPa club has been hot recently, as their form sees them with five wins in a row, which has inched them closer to the 100 point mark for the season. With 19 points in 53 games this season, Luostarinen hasn’t had an extreme offensive breakout, but there has been some progression. Next year is the year to watch for a breakout from the 2017 second rounder.


NCAA

Northeastern has had one of the most potent offenses in college hockey this season led by the dynamic group of Adam Gaudette (VAN), Dylan Sikura (CHI) and Nolan Stevens (STL). Matt Filipe fills in as a secondary scorer for the Huskies, ranking sixth on the team in points-per-game (.45). Northeastern currently sits second in Hockey East with a 21-8-5 overall record and are ranked #7 in the USCHO Top 20 poll. Look for them to be in the Frozen Four field in a couple weeks.

The team currently at the top of the Hockey East standings is Boston College, who are ranked #18 in the USCHO Top 20 poll. David Cotton ranks second on the Eagles in points (27), while leading the team in assists (18), assists-per-game (.53), power play goals (4) and game-winning goals (2). It would benefit BC to win the Hockey East tournament, because there is no guarantee they would be in as an at-large.

Outside of an automatic qualifier, Max Zimmer’s Wisconsin Badgers and Luke Stevens’ Yale Bulldogs are likely out of the postseason picture, but Luke Martin’s Michigan Wolverines have a chance to make it back to the Frozen Four as an at-large after missing out a season ago. Martin has been steady on the back end. When drafted, I saw him following a similar career arc to a player like Brett Pesce. Pesce took a bit bigger step forward in his sophomore season with UNH, but Martin is younger, so his breakout season could come next year as his offense continues to develop.


Western Hockey League

Spokane and Portland have both clinched, so Hudson Elynuik (27-51-78) and Brendan De Jong (4-18-22) are in, with their clubs fourth and second respectively in the West Division.

Tri-City and Brandon to continue compete for Wild Card spots in the WHL playoffs, and both teams sit in first place in their respective conferences. These two rosters boast three of the Hurricanes’ top prospects, so it will be important to watch how the Americans and Wheat Kings close their seasons.

Morgan Geekie continues to lead Tri-City with 71 points in his draft-plus one year, ranking second on the team in points, and first in assists (45). Jake Bean (highlight reels aside) has been a decent addition for the Americans since the trade deadline with 14 points in 25 games. He has been in a bit of an offensive rut recently, with just six points in his last 15 but hopefully down the stretch he help lead Tri-City to some meaningful hockey at the end of March.

Stelio Matheos has certainly done his part in guiding Brandon towards a playoff berth. The 2017 third round selection has 83 points in 62 games, 34 power play points, and is over 50% in the circle. He one of the main producers on a perennial power. If the Wheat Kings are able to sneak in, they will need to overcome Moose Jaw and Swift Current to make noise in the playoffs, as the two clubs have 21 more points than any other teams in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.


Ontario Hockey League

Carolina’s two OHL prospects play on teams that are among the best in the league. Sault Ste Marie is the class of the league, with only six regulation losses in 62 games this season, and as expected they are favorites to reach the Memorial Cup. Noah Carroll has had an offensive breakout for the Greyhounds this season with 34 points in 59 games. This is the first time the defenseman has eclipsed the .50 points-per-game rate in his OHL career.

Jeremy Helvig did everything he could to keep Kingston in a playoff spot until the Frontenacs added some weapons at the trade deadline. They have now clinched and sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 33-20-6 record. Helvig sits second in the OHL in goals against average (2.55), and first in save percentage (.920) in goaltenders who have played 40 games this season. He is another goaltender to add to the minor league system as early as next year.

Check back in at the Prospect Corner in two weeks, when the playoffs are underway for results and updates!


Stats Check

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

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