A few more leagues got underway last month and as a result, several more prospects saw their seasons get underway. The top performers are highlighted in our three stars of the month.
1st Star: Jakub Dobes (Omaha, USHL) – His second go-around in the USHL is certainly off to a strong start. The fifth-round pick capped off November with the goalie of the week award and is statistically one of the top goalies in the league this season. Unlike some other prospects who were forced to play at a lower level due to COVID-19, repeating this level was the plan all along for Dobes and it looks like the smart play so far. He didn’t do enough to get on the radar for the Czechs for the World Juniors but that was basically the only small blemish of his month.
Stats: 6 GP, 4-2-0 record, 1.76 GAA, .929 SV%
2nd Star: Sean Farrell (Chicago, USHL) – Unlike Dobes, Farrell wasn’t planning on another year in the USHL and for good reason as he is clearly too good for the level. The fourth-round pick is part of the top-scoring line in the league while playing for the top-scoring line in the league. As a result, I suspect this won’t be the last time we see Farrell on this list this season. I was a bit surprised he didn’t get a shot at camp for Team USA for the World Juniors after being on their shortlist and I wonder if he would have gotten the opportunity had he been able to play at a better level of competition.
Stats: 6 GP, 5 goals, 6 assists, 11 points, -4 rating, 4 PIMS, 13 shots
3rd Star: Cole Caufield (Wisconsin, NCAA) – This season is an opportunity for Caufield to show that he can dominate and that he truly is too good for the college level which is what Montreal management will want to see before turning him pro. By that standard, he didn’t get off to a great start. By no means did he play poorly – there’s nothing really wrong with a point per game average (he played well) – but I don’t think he truly dominated either which is what I’m looking for from him. But before he gets another shot at that, he’ll get another crack at the World Juniors where he’ll be hoping for a better showing than his first tourney.
Stats: 8 GP, 4 goals, 4 assists, 8 points, -2 rating, 0 PIMS, 38 shots
Honourable Mention 1: Alexander Gordin (St. Petersburg, MHL) – Gordin is repeating this level but it’s not due to COVID-19 – he just hasn’t been able to do much against better competition. It’s not a bad thing that Gordin is having some success at this level but at some point in the near future, I don’t want to be writing about his offensive production in the MHL. In the meantime, his output dipped last month but he was still one of the better offensive performers among Montreal prospects.
Stats: 11 GP, 4 goals, 3 assists, 7 points, -1 rating, 0 PIMS, 16:36 ATOI
Honourable Mention 2: Lukas Vejdemo (Sodertalje, Allsvenskan) – Vejdemo is another player who I’m a little underwhelmed with but production-wise, he did enough to land on this list. At 24, I was expecting him to be more of an offensive threat at this second-tier level. Having said that, he’s not getting top ice time by any stretch either, likely with the idea that he’ll eventually be going back to North America. But Vejdemo isn’t forcing their hand; he’s just playing okay. It’s a big year for him as if he hasn’t shown that he’s ready for a full-time NHL spot by the end of the season, they’ll probably cut bait. He isn’t making the most of his opportunity to start that North American campaign on a high note.
Stats: 6 GP, 0 goals, 5 assists, 5 points, +1 rating, 2 PIMS, 14:48 ATOI