The first prospect update of 2019 is here. It’s highlighted Ty Smith, Aarne Talvitie, Fabian Zetterlund, and Akira Schmid competing in the World Junior Championship. It also saw QMJHL defenseman Xavier Bernard traded from Drummondville to Charlottetown. Also, Gilles Senn seems to be earning more playing time for HC Davos as he started in both the NLA and Spengler Cup.
Ty Smith has played in all of Canada’s 4 group stage games, adding 3 assists, +4, 6 shots, and averaging 18:44 per game. He earned Best Player honors for Canada in their victory over the Czech Republic on Saturday due to his 2 PP assist performance. Mark Masters of TSN has this article on Smith is trending up at the World Juniors after impressing the Devils. I recommend checking out the full article as it has quotes from Taylor Hall, John Hynes, and Canada head coach Tim Hunter. Here’s what Hunter had to say about Smith’s game and how he responded to criticism of having his shifts be too long in Canada’s opening game:
”Last game he played was outstanding,” Hunter raved. “Thirty-seven second average shift and he was jumping in the play at the right time. He was urgent defensively and offensively. When he was averaging one minute per shift, you can’t play like that. Last game was the best game we’ve seen him play so I know he’s going to get better, because he’s in that mindset.”
Canada finished 2nd in Group A and will play 3rd place Group B finishers, Finland tomorrow in Quarterfinal action. Speaking of Finland, they are being captained by Aarne Talvitie. Through Finland’s 4 group stage games, Talvitie has 2 goals, 2 assists, +5, 14 PIM, and is averaging 15:43 per game.
Fabian Zetterlund is one of the Alternate Captains for Sweden. He’s been playing a big role for the team but hasn’t found any points in Sweden’s 4 group stage games. So far he is a +2 with 4 PIM, 9 shots, and an average ice time of 19:14.
Akira Schmid made 2 starts out of a possible 4 in Switzerland’s group play. Last Thursday against Canada, Schmid made 29 saves on 32 shots in a loss. He faced another tough test but didn’t have as much success against Russia on Sunday, making 34 saves on 41 shots in another loss. Switzerland finished 4th in Group A and will play Group B 1st place finishers Sweden tomorrow in the Quarterfinals.
Due to the QMJHL’s holiday break and an upper body injury, Jocktan Chainey has only played in one game out of a possible three games since the last prospect update two weeks ago. He was a -2 with 2 PIM and 2 shots in Halifax’s 5-2 loss to Charlottetown this past Friday. He missed Sunday’s and yesterday’s games against Cape Breton due to the upper body injury.
Xavier Bernard has been traded from the Drummondville Voltigeurs to the Charlottetown Islanders. The trade took place last Thursday and saw Isles captain Pierre-Olivier Joseph go to Drummondville in exchange for a two player, three pick package headlined by Bernard. Drummondville is currently 2nd in the QMJHL with 55 points in 36 games while Charlottetown is in 6th place in the league with 49 points in 36 games. This move appears to be a “re-tooling” move for Charlottetown and Bernard should step in right away and play a significant role with the team. So far in 2 games with the Islanders he has 2 assists, +5, 2 PIM, and 5 shots. He finishes his season with Drummondville with 5 goals and 11 assists in 32 games played along with a +21 and 59 PIM.
Jeremy Groleau had 2 assists, +4, and 2 PIM in 3 games since the last update.
Mitchell Hoelscher was on a tear heading into the OHL’s holiday break. It seems that he has cooled off some as he had just one assist, +1, 2 PIM, 4 shots, and a 37.29 FO% in 3 games last week for Ottawa. The assist came against Niagara on Friday and extended his point streak to 10 points in 6 games until it was snapped with no points in his past 2 games.
Ty Smith is currently competing in the WJC for Canada.
Jeremy Davies had an assist, +3, and 5 shots in 2 games last week for Northeastern.
Reilly Walsh had an assist, +1, and 2 shots in a 5-1 win over Concordia in exhibtion play on Sunday. Harvard resumes regular season play on Friday against RPI.
Matt Hellickson had a PP goal, +1, and 3 shots in a 4-0 victory over Boston College yesterday.
Aarne Talvitie is currently competing in the WJC for Finland.
Akira Schmid is currently competing in the WJC for Switzerland.
Mikhail Maltsev made his first KHL appearance since 11/2, with a cameo against Slovan on 12/18. He played just 2:39 in the game and didn’t register anything of note. He had an even rating and won all 4 faceoffs he took in 5:37 of VHL action on 12/19.
Yegor Zaitsev had an even rating, 2 PIM, and averaged 19:23 across 2 KHL games last week.
Nikita Popugaev has been a busy man since the last update. He made 4 KHL appearances finishing with an even rating, 4 PIM, 2 shots, won 2/3 faceoffs, and averaged 8:29 per game. In 2 MHL games this past weekend he had a goal, +1, 2 PIM, and 11 shots while averaging over 23 minutes per game.
Sweden & Finland
Jesper Boqvist had 2 goals, 3 assists, +2, 2 PIM, and 9 shots while averaging 18:05 over his last 5 games since the previous update. He leads Brynas IF as well as all U21 players in the SHL with 22 points in 29 games. You can check out one of his most recent goals below:
Fabian Zetterlund is currently competing in the WJC for Sweden.
Eetu Pakkila has been off the past 2 weeks due to the schedule.
Gilles Senn had a strong stretch for himself, competing in NLA regular season action and the 2018 Spengler Cup. On Saturday 12/22 he picked up a win over Fribourg in league play by stopping 22 of 24 shots. The following night he made 38 saves on 40 shots in a victory over HC Ambri Piotta. He made 2 starts in Spengler Cup play, making 33 saves on 35 shots in a victory over Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers on Thursday in group play and earning UBS Key Player honors. On Sunday he lost a semifinal matchup with KalPa despite making 26 saves on 28 shots and once again earning UBS Key Player honors. You can check out a few of his saves from his game against Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers below. Based on a translation of this article, it appears he has started to gain the trust of the new coach that took over in December and that he has opened up contract extension talks with HC Davos once again.
A couple of beautiful stops by Gilles Senn. Nurnberg has been all over Davos, but Senn has been the player to watch today. pic.twitter.com/tofhyBLliH— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisNHL) December 27, 2018
Which prospects stood out to you this week? Which prospects have you enjoyed watching in the WJC? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!