A pair of top prospects for the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens had a huge night in the college ranks. The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is in the middle of a very busy weekend and a trio of recent NHL draft picks made the highlight reels.
Cole Caufield & Dylan Holloway Lead the Badgers
We’ve talked a lot about the University of Wisconsin in this column as the 13th-ranked team in the nation boasts some high-end NHL prospects. Caufield and Holloway are at the top of that list, both being top-15 picks in the last two NHL Entry Drafts.
Caufield, selected 15th overall by the Canadiens in 2015, opened the scoring in Wisconsin’s 6-0 win over Michigan State on Friday.
This was the type of goal we are used to seeing from Caufield with a snipe from the circle. His second goal of the game came by getting to the front of the net and scoring from the “dirty area” of the ice. He capped off his three-point night later on with an assist.
Caufield is tied for the NCAA lead in goals with Matthew Kopperud of Arizona State. They both have 12 goals even though Caufield has played in three fewer games. His 24 points are third behind Brandon Kruse (25, Bowling Green) and Odeen Tufto (28, Quinnipiac) who are both seniors and have played more games.
His assist came on Holloway’s third-period breakaway goal, his second tally on the night. The 14th overall pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft by the Oilers, had two goals and two assists versus the Spartans.
Holloway now has five goals and 14 points in his nine games this season. He has at least one assist in each of last five games and has been red hot with three goals and nine points during this span.
Alexander Alexeyev Shows Off His Mitts
Alexeyev hasn’t played full time in his native Russia since the 2015-16 season, but he has been loaned to Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the KHL by the Washington Capitals for all of 2020-21. The defenseman is enjoying success back home.
He had his best moment of the season, so far, by scoring the overtime goal Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Barys.
He went forehand/backhand to deke the puck around goaltender Henrik Karlsson. Alexeyev now has eight goals and 16 points in 48 games. The Capitals selected him in the first round (31st overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry draft after two successful seasons with the Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League (WHL). He played 58 games for the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League (AHL) last season. He scored three goals and 21 points while finishing with a plus-eight rating.
Daniil Zhuravlyov Nets the GWG
Another defensive prospect found the back of the net during Saturday’s KHL action. Zhuraylyov’s seeing-eye wrist shot found its way around a defender before beating goaltender Jeremy Smith to the stick side. The goal gave Ak Bars Kazan a 2-0 lead over Kunlun Red Stars and was the eventual game-winning goal in a 3-1 victory.
This was the 20-year-old defender’s third goal of the season. He has a total of 13 points in 34 games with a plus-13 rating and a 14:51 of average ice time per game. The Colorado Avalanche drafted Zhuravlyov in the fifth round (146th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He has yet to play in North America and considering the number of talented young defenders in the Avalanche’s organization right now, it will be interesting to see if he is signed to an entry-level contract.
Artyom Galimov Puts on the Moves
Galimov, Zhuravlyov’s teammate with Ak Bars, had one of the prettiest goals you’ll see all season. In the final minute of the opening period, he opened up the scoring with these electrifying moves.
After undressing defenseman Jake Chelios, son of Hall of Famer Chris Chelios, Galimov’s first attempt is poked checked away by Smith. While still driving through the crease, he somehow locates the puck and flicks it between his legs for the highlight-reel goal.
The Anaheim Ducks selected Galimov in the fifth round (129th overall) in this past October’s draft. Injury has limited him to 32 games this season, where he has five goals and 13 points. Two of his five goals have come on the power play this season.