Cole Caufield has been on fire lately since returning from the World Juniors, making him an easy choice for January’s top prospect. Several others also did well and get a mention in our three stars.
1st Star: Cole Caufield (Wisconsin, NCAA) – Earlier this year, one of my criticisms was that while he was playing well, he wasn’t dominating and showing he had taken a step forward. Ever since he came back from the World Juniors, he has done that and then some, vaulting his way to the top of the NCAA leaderboard despite basically missing a month while recording a point in every game. At this point, about all I can say now is that his goal should be to try to keep it up, as lofty of a challenge as that may be.
Stats: (NCAA) – 8 GP, 8 goals, 8 assists, 16 points, +6 rating, 2 PIMS, 39 shots
(WJC) – 3 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, -1 rating, 2 PIMS, 9 shots, 17:03 ATOI
2nd Star: Sean Farrell (Chicago, USHL) – In what world does averaging two points per game while recording a point in every single one of them not earn a first-star selection? Well, one where someone else does it at a higher level. Caufield’s showing is the only reason that Farrell isn’t in the top spot even though his month was nothing short of dominant. Yes, he’s repeating the level and he’s clearly too good for it but with his college season cancelled, all he can do is keep racking up the points. Farrell did plenty of that last month.
Stats: 12 GP, 7 goals, 17 assists, 24 points, +13 rating, 26 PIMS, 43 shots
3rd Star: Rhett Pitlick (Muskegon/Tri-City, USHL) – For the second straight season, a midseason trade seems to have sparked the 19-year-old after a sluggish start with the Lumberjacks, Pitlick has been much better with the Storm. Like Farrell, he’s repeating the level although his decision to do was by design as his future school is playing this season. Pitlick hasn’t been lighting it up much and seems a little too fixated on his playmaking. It’s an important skill set but more goal production would go a lot way towards creating more openings for his passes.
Stats: 11 GP, 1 goal, 10 assists, 11 points, +6 rating, 6 PIMS, 14 shots
Honourable Mention 1: Luke Tuch (Boston University, NCAA) – It took a while for Tuch to make his college debut due COVID-related postponements but he has settled in quite nicely and has worked his way up the lineup to the point where he was on the top line this past weekend. I expected him to be of a role player this season – someone who is more of a crash and bang guy with an eye on playing more of an impact role in his sophomore campaign. He’s ahead of that already and has established himself as a key player. Good to see from the second-rounder whose selection came with a fair bit of criticism.
Stats: 6 GP, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, even rating, 4 PIMS, 12 shots
Honourable Mention 2: Alexander Gordin (SKA-1946, MHL) – Not much has changed with him since the last time he was on this list. He’s still scoring at an above-average clip which is good. The problem is that he’s still at the lower level and isn’t doing enough to earn a promotion. This is Gordin’s third season at this level. At some point, merely doing well goes from being good to not good enough. He’s getting to that point quickly this season.
Stats: 10 GP, 7 goals, 2 assists, 9 points, +7 rating, 2 PIMS, 15:14 ATOI