The Quebec Remparts faced the Halifax Mooseheads last night in what should have been, at least in theory, a close, competitive game. The Remparts are a good team and the addition of top Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko makes them even better. The Mooseheads, meanwhile, are the third-ranked QMJHL team and are backboned by Zach Fucale, arguably the top goaltending prospect in the CHL.
Except it wasn't a close, competitive game. The Remparts, down 1-0 at the end of the first period, scored six straight in the second period and went on to win 8-2 largely on the strength of 16(!) powerplay opportunities. Anthony Duclair was named First Star thanks to his two goals and five assists. Here are the highlights.
Duclair now has 82 points in 44 games, which, as Corey Pronman pointed out, makes him the leader in the entire CHL (WHL, QMJHL, & OHL) for guys born in 1995. Just another exclamation point on what he been a season full of them for Duclair. Duclair will get a chance to add to that again tonight against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada; the 2nd ranked team in the QMJHL.
Keep reading for some other prospect updates, including a run of points for Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg.
The Hartford Wolfpack played the Adinrondack Phantoms on Wednesday night and won 5-2. Danny Kristo earned the First Star with two goals and an assist. Kristo now has 16 goals on the season, which is good for fourth among AHL rookies. All three guys ahead of him have 17, with Anders Lee and Matt Peumpel having played six and five more games respectively.
Jesper Fast, with an assist on a Ryan Bourque goal, now has seven points in his last six games. Oscar Lindberg scored his 10th goal of the season and now has 13 points in his last 14 games. Not that either was bad earlier in the season, but both are really getting into a groove now and showing why they were top players in Sweden. Along with the points, both are player very well defensively. One way or another, the Rangers are going to have to let a couple forwards go at the end of the season due to cap implications, and it would make Sather's life much easier if a player or two on entry-level contracts could fill in. I think it's a good bet that at least one of these guys comes away with a spot in the NHL next season. Conor Allen had two shots and an assist on Kristo's first goal. And I'll include another, "don't count out Ryan Bourque just yet" comment, as he scored and earned five shots. Here are the highlights:
Ryan Graves was +2 with an assist and three hits in Val d'Or's 8-5 win last night. It's only Graves' second point since joining VDO, but that reflects a different role he's playing. His defensive partner, Guillaume Gelinas, is the top scoring defenseman in the QMJHL by a ridiculous wide margin, and so Graves is playing the Beukeboom to Gelinas' Leetch, if you will. It's perhaps a better fit for Graves long-term, even if he suffers on the statsheet, because it reflects the kind of role he'll be suited for at the professional level.
Troy Donnay earned an assist and was +2 last night in Erie's 8-1 win.
Pavel Buchnevich had two shots and two PIM in 13:10 of icetime during Severstal's 7-0 win on Wednesday. A recent surge from Severstal has put back in the playoff race. They are now four points out of a playoff spot with four games remaining. They'll need a bit of help elsewhere, but it's certainly manageable and would be a good experience for Buchnevich.
Adam Tambellini was -1 in Calgary's 4-1 loss last night.
Michael St. Croix had three assists and earned the Third Star in Greenville's 5-4 win on Wednesday. Jason Missiaen made 32 stops on 36 shots. Kyle Jean had two shots and was -1. Josh Nicholls was -1 with two PIM.
And finally, congratulations to former NYR prospect Christian Thomas, who was called today by the Montreal Canadiens. Brandon Prust is banged up (what a surprise) and Thomas will fill make his Habs debut if Prust is unable to play. Though I think the Rangers still are better off with Kristo, Thomas is a very solid prospect himself.
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Hopefully Fast and Lindberg are now used to the pro game and are migrating their game into it successfully.If so,they can be useful as call ups for the Rangers.
The more I read about this Duclair kid, the more it looks like the Rangers may have stolen a top talent in Round 2! Very exciting!
the fact that duclair is out playing grigorenko says a lot about him and his potential. im ready for this kid to be a ranger in 2 years.
Any intel on how the rest of Kristo's game is progressing? Do you think the progress of guys like Fast and Lindberg might factor into the decision to trade/keep someone like Cally or Boyle?
@gravey94 *Round 3
Not much to really say. He's playing fine. Quiet game on Wednesday. Ended a 6-game point streak in which he had 1 goal and 8 asssists.
Kristo's production has dropped off a bit in January but he's fine. I think it factors in a bit; it has to. As I said, there's only so much cap room yet so many players who want raises. We can argue about who stays and who goes, but no matter what SOMEONE is going. Having Miller, Lindberg, and Fast on the cusp of the NHL certainly makes that manageable.
Once it got to like 5-1 Halifax was less concerned about playing as they were about slashing guys and yelling at the refs. It was pretty pathetic.
He's gotten better at it. He's never going to be a great defensive player or awesome forechecker or anything like that. He still needs to work at getting them up to NHL standards, though. It's not some sort of alarming cause for concern. He'll spend the rest of the season in Hartford, then the coaching staff will evaluate his place during the next training camp.