Each week I will be featuring the top three performers among first time eligible players for the 2020 NHL draft. Along with the occasional honourable mention for other noteworthy accomplishments. This week’s three stars features two players who each recorded ten points and a goaltender with back-to-back shutouts.
1. Seth Jarvis
The Portland Winterhawks are 18-0-1-1 in their last 20 games and have established a healthy nine-point lead atop of the U.S. Division of the Western Hockey League. In three games this past week, the Winterhawks outscored their opponents 18-4, with forward Seth Jarvis accounting for four of those goals while adding six assists.
The Winterhawks opened their week with a 7-0 drubbing of the Kelowna Rockets. Jarvis earned the second star of the game honour for his two-goal and one assist effort. Despite his small frame, Jarvis shows a willingness to get to the dirty areas in front of the net, where he does most of his damage. The agile skating winger, currently ranked 32nd by Future Considerations, displays tremendous puck-skills and high-end vision.
One night later, the Winterhawks narrowly defeated the Rockets 3-2. Jarvis added assists on the powerplay goal that opened the scoring, as well as the game-winning goal.
In the most recent game, the Winterhawks destroyed the Tri-City Americans 8-2. Jarvis helped kick-start the victory with one goal and three assists in the opening frame. He later added another goal, his 24th of the season, in the second period. Jarvis received the first star of the game nod for his exceptional performance. As a result of his remarkable week, Jarvis has climbed into the sixth spot in WHL scoring.
2. Alexis Lafreniére
The phenomenal playmaking ability of the top-ranked prospect for the 2020 NHL draft, Alexis Lafreniére, was on full display this past week. Lafreniére added ten assists to his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League-leading assist total, which now sits at 60.
Lafreniére began the week with four even-strength assists in a game versus the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. That performance resulted in a 5-0 victory for the Rimouski Océanic and the first star of the game selection for Lafreniére. Throughout the match, he showed poise, patience and elite vision in finding open teammates. Lafreniére even had a hand in the only goal in which he didn`t receive an assist. His aggressive forecheck led to the turnover, which resulted in the unassisted marker.
Wednesday, Lafreniére once again garnered first-star recognition in a 7-0 pasting of the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Likewise, his remarkable playmaking attributes were evident in providing three helpers on the night.
In the final encounter of the week, Lafreniére earned his third consecutive first-star recognition. His two first-period powerplay helpers, both of which were primary assists, helped the Océanic to a 4-1 decision over the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. He later set up the empty-net goal, which sealed the victory. Following his ten-point performance this past week, Lafreniére now sits comfortably on top of the QMJHL scoring race with an astonishing 84 points in 38 games.
3. Dylan Garand
Sparkling goaltending performances are becoming a common occurrence for Kamloops Blazers netminder Dylan Garand. This week, however, he was exceptional in stopping all 48 shots fired his way. The consecutive shutouts were his third and fourth of the season, which is tied for second amongst goaltenders in the Western Hockey League.
His first shutout came in a 21 save performance and 4-0 blanking of the defending B.C Division champions, the Vancouver Giants. He earned the second star of the game honour in that contest. In the second game, a 3-0 win versus the Prince George Cougars, Garand turned aside 27 shots, resulting in a first-star selection. Garand sits near the top in all goaltending categories in the WHL. He has a 2.17 goals-against average with a .924 save percentage and four shutouts.
This week was an extraordinary week in which there were several performances worthy of more than an honourable mention. However, the 2020 NHL draft class has so much high-end talent that astonishing performances have become the norm. Here are just a few of those examples:
Carter Savoie had five goals and two assists in three games for the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
Rick Warman is a Vancouver Canucks and prospects contributor for Overtime Heroics. Follow him @statman1956 on Twitter
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