Back with another edition of the prospect reports! Can’t believe how quickly the season has flown by. There’s under two months until the CHL regular seasons end and NCAA playoffs are in sight as well.
Canadian Hockey League
#44 - Bowen Byram (D)
Vancouver Giants (24-20-5)
Well, last week I called out Byram in the report, saying that I was underwhelmed with his offensive performance so far this season. He proceeded to prove me wrong by putting up SEVEN POINTS (one goal, six assists) in three games. Sorry Bowen, I never should’ve doubted you.
Don’t look now but @Avalanche prospect @BowenByram is rolling pic.twitter.com/esFWmdB4wd— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) February 5, 2020
Not even a week after calling out Byram in the last prospect report the man literally went out and put up 7 points this week I'm so amused (and thrilled)— ♀️Lauren Kelly ♀️ (@laurkelly24) February 10, 2020
Byram put up at least two points in all three of those games and now has 32 points in 38 games this season. Vancouver has been surging lately (see what I mean about his play correlating to wins for them?) and they absolutely throttled Kamloops last night 7-3. They still remain third in the division, but their playoff odds look so much better than two weeks ago.
Are there any prospects that you could see being dealt (for example, we have a good young player in a position where they might not break through into the AHL/NHL… but might get us a good return for a player who could help us in a position of weakness? — Markopolo
Bowen Byram’s name has been thrown around a lot lately in regards to a trade with Winnipeg to bring Kyle Connor to Denver. I don’t see the Avalanche parting with him unless they’re really getting a big name back. More realistically, if the Avs were to add at the deadline, I think players like Beaucage or Sasha Mutala would probably be dealt first given their potential and how they’ve performed this season.
That’s not to say I don’t think either won’t break into the pros, because I believe both will, but the Avs’ pipeline is quite deep at right-wing and I think if there are prospects dealt, it will probably be one of them.
#34 - Sasha Mutala (RW)
Tri-City Americans (15-30-5)
Welp. Tri-City continues to struggle — their last game of the week they were shutout 5-0. Mutala still had two goals in their three games, and is now up to 54 points in 49 games this season, but the Americans have fallen down to fourth in the wildcard race.
#Avs prospects Bowen Byram and Sasha Mutala were busy tonight.— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) February 5, 2020
Mutala scored two goals while Byram finished with a goal and two assists to help the Vancouver Giants to a 12-4 win over Mutala and the Tri-City Americans.
#27 - Luka Burzan (C)
Brandon Wheat Kings (27-19-5)
Brandon only played one game last week, and Burzan went pointless — his point streak was snapped at three games. He still has 53 points in 51 games as Brandon still sits in a division playoff spot.
#16 - Alex Beaucage (RW)
Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (24-24-4)
A strange week for Beaucage, as he went pointless in two games. He still remains the only Avalanche prospect to hit 60 points this season, though. Rouyn remains fourth in the conference.
Do you think Beaucage has enough beyond goal scoring to be a solid pro? How has his skating and play driving ability progressed this year? — SuckMyAvs
I alluded earlier in the week that I was playing around with a separate prospect projection list, and Alex Beaucage was one of those players I could see being a really good offensive driver in the AHL. I think he’s definitely met or surpassed expectations this year — he’s driving play for Rouyn this season and he’s still putting up points with younger linemates. He and Oleksii Myklukha (2021) look incredible together. His skating looks good, and I see the potential there for him. Rounding out his defensive side would be where I’d like to see him take his next steps.
#18 - Alex Newhook (C)
Boston College Eagles (16-8-1)
Boston College lost a disappointing yet exciting Beanpot semi-final to rival Boston University last Monday, and will play in the Beanpot consolation game tonight. BC also played UMass-Lowell over the weekend, but lost that game as well.
Newhook had two goals and an assist, though, including his second shorthanded goal of the season!
Receive pass. Top shelf. Celly.— BC Hockey (@BCHockey) February 4, 2020
Typical Alex Newhook #WeAreBC pic.twitter.com/Rp4XtqYgtA
It doesn't look like Newhook intended to pass to Cotton but IDC it all worked out #GoAvsGo https://t.co/Uf8cOWLHbn— ♀️Lauren Kelly ♀️ (@laurkelly24) February 4, 2020
▶️ Number 12 on the year for @AlexNewhook_ was a shorthanded beauty pic.twitter.com/3yAeotMlSL— BC Hockey (@BCHockey) February 8, 2020
#4 - Drew Helleson (D)
Boston College Eagles (16-8-1)
Helleson didn’t record any points in BC’s Beanpot loss, and when I turned the game on for overtime, I soon realized that he wasn’t on the ice at all. I originally thought he had been benched, but it turns out that he suffered an injury that night and was kept out of the lineup for their second game of the week against UML.
Helleson actually sustained an injury in Monday's Beanpot semi-final. Will miss tonight's game against UMass-Lowell. #GoAvsGo https://t.co/eoJMPrOoZ9— ♀️Lauren Kelly ♀️ (@laurkelly24) February 7, 2020
Boston College will take on Harvard this afternoon in that Beanpot consolation game.
#26 - Cam Morrison (LW)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-11-5)
Notre Dame had the week off.
#4 - Nick Leivermann (D)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-11-5)
#2 - Nate Clurman (D)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-11-5)
The Irish will play host to Minnesota this weekend.
#58 - Sampo Ranta (RW)
Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-11-4)
Speaking of Minnesota, Ranta and the Gophers split their two games against Michigan State over the weekend. Ranta scored a goal:
You just can't leave pucks lying around like that.— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) February 8, 2020
Sampo Ranta WILL put them in the back of the net. pic.twitter.com/FX4XeZ7gHa
Hi Lauren. Long time listener, first time caller. I was wondering if you think Sampo Ranta can live up to his draft spot and what kind of a projection you have for him. Thanks! — Jokke Nevalainen
Hahahahaha. Well, since you asked so kindly, Jokke...
I’ve really felt like Ranta is a different player in his sophomore season, compared to last year. He’s eclipsed his freshman goal totals and he just looks stronger and faster. More engaged and aware on the ice, Ranta’s also winning a lot more puck battles this year. I think his speed and ability to play well at both ends of the ice will translate to pro hockey, but I could also see him playing four full years of college before joining the AHL.
I definitely could see Ranta in a checking role with the Avs one day (if he’s not dealt as a key piece in a trade). I’d love to see him take his game to another level by becoming more offensively productive, but I think he’s made excellent strides to his game and I’ve been really impressed by him every time I’ve watched him — whether with Team Finland or in the NCAA.
The Golden Gophers tie it up on a goal from former #NTDP player Scott Reedy.— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) January 18, 2020
Sampo Ranta ignites the play and finds Reedy out front for the one-timer finish. #PrideOnIce #SJSharks pic.twitter.com/HwHB7iyPuN
Minnesota will play Notre Dame twice this weekend.
#25 - Denis Smirnov (RW)
Penn State Nittany Lions (18-9-3)
Smirnov had a goal and an assist as the Lions continued to roll against Ohio State.
Denis Smirnov scores his first goal of 2020, ending his 10-game goalless drought for Penn State #GoAvsGo https://t.co/H7mDjnFyOh— ♀️Lauren Kelly ♀️ (@laurkelly24) February 8, 2020
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!! @ColeHults with the power-play snipe for the 2-0 lead!! #WeAre #HockeyValley pic.twitter.com/qmWX87LUtU— Penn State Men’s Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) February 8, 2020
Penn State will play the struggling Wisconsin Badgers (*sigh*) this weekend.
#40 - Tyler Weiss (LW)
Nebraska Omaha Mavericks (12-13-5)
Omaha dropped both of their games to Minnesota-Duluth over the weekend. Weiss recorded one assist in those two games. The Mavericks will get the week off before taking on Colorado College in two weeks.
#20 - Matthew Stienburg (RW)
Cornell Big Red (17-2-4)
We got a goal, folks!
CU 1, ‘GATE 0 | 11:25 GOAL!!!!! Matt Stienburg cleans up some loose change in front of the nets to give Cornell the lead!— Cornell Hockey (@CUBigRedHockey) February 9, 2020
If Stienburg is going to put up points, that’s probably how he’s going to do it. Really great to see him get back on the scoresheet.
Watch highlights from @CUBigRedHockey's win against Colgate! #YellCornell https://t.co/8MDAYlkwIz— Cornell Video (@CornellVideo) February 9, 2020
Cornell will play Union and RPI this upcoming weekend.
#51 - Nikolai Kovalenko (RW)
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (30-21-4)
Gonna keep this short and sweet — Lokomotiv played one game and Kovalenko is out with an injury.
#NJDevils Daniil Misyul, #Canucks Artyom Manukyan and #GoAvsGo Nikolai Kovalenko are injured and will miss the Kaufland Cup. #2020NHLdraft eligible prospects Maxim Groshev, Yegor Chinakhov and Nikita Shashkov have been added to the Russia B-Team roster for the tournament. https://t.co/k4HDL880mI— Russian Prospects (@RUSProspects) February 4, 2020
#2 - Danila Zhuravlyov (D)
Ak Bars Kazan (39-11-4)
Zhuravlyov also missed Bars’ lone game of the week, marking his sixth straight game out due to injury.
Kovalenko and Little Z. Are they realistic prospects and what are their respective floor, ceiling, strengths and weaknesses? — Xqb15
This is a difficult one. I think they’re realistic prospects in terms of NHL upside. There’s a ton of potential there. Nikolai Kovalenko would probably be more of a middle-six winger in the NHL, but I could see him on a top line with the Eagles for sure. Danila Zhuravlyov just sees the ice so well, and I’ve never seen him (not that I watch him a lot, but I did get two full weeks of viewings at the WJC) make a bad decision with the puck or with regards to his defensive positioning.
I think he’s definitely someone to watch for fitting in comfortably in a shutdown or bottom-pair role in the NHL — we saw at the World Juniors that he can play top minutes no problem, so that’s probably a more realistic AHL projection.
Do you think any of the KHL prospects ever come over to North America? Specifically Zhuravlyov? Watching the World Juniors, he didn’t stand out which for his style of play is not a bad thing. We have a bunch of D prospects that are standout players and I think it would be a good thing to get some d men that don’t stand out in negative or positive ways if that makes sense. — Colorado_Kid
I’m really not sure whether either of Kovalenko or Zhuravlyov come over. I definitely agree with what you’re saying about those steady, less standout players on the blueline, and I think Zhuravlyov would be a great fit on a bottom pair in 5-7 years time with the Avs. I think you could flip a coin on either of them coming over to North America — I could see it going either way at this point.
All statistics from the WHL, QMJHL, NCAA, and Flashscore. Please leave your questions for next week’s report in the comments!