This week’s top performers among draft-eligible players for the 2020 NHL draft features a red hot prospect from the Western Hockey League, along with two players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, leading the scoring race for their respective positions.
1. Seth Jarvis
The Portland Winterhawks are 12-3-1-1 in their last 17 games. During that time forward, Seth Jarvis has been on fire amassing 20 goals and 28 assists. Jarvis has put himself into consideration as a likely first-round pick for the 2020 NHL draft and sits second in WHL scoring with 84 points in 50 games. The diminutive winger is very creative and extremely dangerous off the rush. He likes to play an up-tempo game and has a quick release.
This week the Winterhawks started the week with a rare 4-1 loss at the hands of the Everett Silvertips. Jarvis provided the primary assist on their lone goal.
The following night they pasted the Moose Jaw Warriors 11-2. In that encounter, Jarvis managed one goal and four assists. His first assist on the night came while on the powerplay when he found Reece Newkirk in the slot to give the Winterhawks a 2-1 lead. All four of his helpers in the game were primary assists, with three coming with the man-advantage. Jarvis earned the second star of the game recognition for his performance.
The Winterhawks closed out the week with a 5-3 decision over the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Jarvis sparked his team with a shorthanded tally in the middle frame. He then added a secondary assist on the game-tying goal early in the third period before scoring the eventual game-winning marker minutes later. Jarvis earned the first star of the game for the match.
2. William Villeneuve
What a difference a year makes. Last season William Villeneuve had one goal and 18 assists and was a -52. However, this campaign, nine goals and 46 assists and a +3 rating, represent a remarkable turnaround. The second overall selection in the 2018 QMJHL draft registered eight points this week and sits first among defensemen in league scoring. In seven games in February, Villeneuve managed 12 points to help keep the Saint John Sea Dogs in the hunt for a playoff spot. They currently sit in the sixth position in the Eastern Conference. Villeneuve is ranked 47th by Future Considerations for the 2020 NHL draft.
Villeneuve began the week with one goal and three assists in a 9-7 win versus the Halifax Mooseheads. The right-handed puck-moving defender showed a strong transition game throughout the contest. All three of his helpers were primary assists. The first of those came when Villeneuve led the rush into the offensive zone, stopped up and hit the trailer with a drop pass. The second one came as a result of an impressive stretch pass.
A day later, the Sea Dogs edged the Acadie-Bathurst Titan 5-4 in dramatic fashion. Villeneuve added three assists, including one on the game-winning goal with four seconds left in the third period. With eight seconds remaining, the Sea Dogs won a faceoff in the offensive zone, and Villeneuve maneuvered around a defender before dishing off to a teammate in the slot.
Villeneuve added another primary assist in the Sea Dogs’ final encounter of the week. However, it wasn’t enough as they fell 5-4 to the Cape Breton Eagles.
3. Alexis Lafreniére
The most dynamic player of all the prospects available for the 2020 NHL draft, Alexis Lafreniére, showed how dominant he could be with a seven-point performance versus the Québec Remparts. The Rimouski Océanic forward offers a physical presence to go along with elite vision and a tremendous hockey IQ. He also possesses an exceptional shot and top-notch puck protection skills.
In the game versus the Remparts, Lafreniére displayed all of those attributes, collecting one goal and six assists. His ability to hang on to the puck in the offensive zone and then find an open teammate was incredible. The overall package that he presents is what separates him from the rest of the draft class.
Rimouski dropped their next contest 4-3 in overtime to the Moncton Wildcats. However, Lafreniére again provided his teammates with numerous scoring opportunities. He earned two primary assists in that match as well. The next game saw the Océanic blanked 1-0 by the Halifax Mooseheads. Lafreniére leads the QMJHL with 101 points in 46 games played.
Oscar Magnusson had back-to-back two-point games in the Swedish SuperElit.
Goaltender Drew Commesso stopped 53 of the 56 shots he faced for the United States National Team Development Team U18 squad.
Other USHL action featured Daniil Guschin of the Muskegon Lumberjacks posting three goals and two assists in a pair of games.
In the Ontario Hockey League, forward Jan Mysak registered six points in three games for the Hamilton Bulldogs.
In the WHL, Spokane Chiefs’ forward Jack Finley added six points in three contests.
These are just a few of the remarkable performances from first time eligible prospects for the 2020 NHL draft. Please come back again next week to see which prospects make the list.
Related Articles: 2020 NHL Draft: 3 Stars of Week 19 and 2020 NHL Draft: 3 Stars of Week 20.
Rick Warman is a Vancouver Canucks and prospects contributor for Overtime Heroics. Follow him @statman1956 on Twitter
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