Today’s Prospects News & Rumors takes us all over the hockey globe. We start with a talented young Carolina Hurricanes prospect who is leaving the pro ranks to head back to juniors. The postseason has started in Russia, and top prospects of both the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers got off to fast starts. Finally, the Washington Capitals’ most recent first-round pick is producing on the ice.
Seth Jarvis Returns to Portland Winterhawks
As the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) U.S. Division is getting ready to finally begin their season later this month, players are starting to return to their teams. Jarvis has been lighting it up for the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League (AHL). However, because of the agreement between the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and the NHL, he now has to return to Portland for the WHL season.
“It’s been nice to have fun with these guys here and enjoy my time,” Jarvis said before heading to the Great Northwest. “It’d be nice to keep playing here with these guys, but going back, I think I’m going to enjoy every moment of it. I think juniors is kind of the best years of your life. That’s when you make the most friends and have the most fun. I’ll have fun going back and I don’t want it to affect my development at all, so a lot of the onus will be on me to keep pushing myself every day and keep competing.”
The agreement that is in place between the CHL and NHL states that no player under the age of 20 can play in the AHL; they must either be with their junior team or in the NHL. Due to the postponed start to the WHL and Ontario Hockey League (OHL) seasons, teenaged players were allowed to play in the AHL until their respective leagues began again. If and when the OHL ever starts its season, the Wolves will also lose a talented trio in Jamieson Rees, Ryan Suzuki and Phil Tomasino.
Jarvis, who was drafted 13th overall by the Hurricanes in 2020, showed exactly why the CHL/NHL agreement needs to be revisited. In nine games, the 19-year-old put up a league-high 11 points and scored seven goals, second only to his teammate Rem Pitlick. It sure feels like going back to the WHL is a step backward in his development, and he is far from the only player we can say this about. Jarvis and the Winter Hawks open their season on March 18.
Vasily Podkolzin & Vitaly Kravtsov Score in Playoff Openers
We have written a lot about Podkolzin and Kravtsov this season as they play in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The Gagarin Cup playoffs started on Tuesday, and these exciting young prospects wasted little time to make an impact.
Podkolzin, drafted 10th overall by the Canucks in 2019, scored the game-winning goal for SKA St. Petersburg as they beat Dinamo Minsk 4-2.
The 19-year-old forward only had one shot on goal during his 12:27 of ice time, but he made the most of it. He became the youngest player in SKA franchise history to score a game-winning playoff goal as they grabbed a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven series. Podkolzin had five goals and 11 points in 35 regular-season games.
Kravtsov showed exactly why the Rangers used the ninth pick of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft to add him to their system. He used his great speed to score the opening goal for Traktor Chelyabinsk on Tuesday.
Vyacheslav Osnovin scored two goals to lead Traktor to a 3-1 series-opening win over Salavat Yulaev Ufa. During the regular season, Kravtsov scored 16 goals and 24 points in 49 games. It will be interesting to see if these two youngsters make their way to the NHL after their playoff runs are over.
Hendrix Lapierre Keeps Dishing it Out
The art of the assist is something Lapierre has mastered during his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. Heading into the 2020-21 season, the Capitals’ 2020 first-round pick had put up 47 assists on 67 games. He has picked up right where he left off in his brief time on the ice this season.
On Monday night, he scored his fifth goal of the season and added two assists for a three-point night during a 7-2 win over Baie-Comeau Drakkar.
Lapierre has 16 assists and 21 points in just 12 games this season. His biggest problem during his junior career has been staying on the ice. He was off to a great start last season but was limited to just 19 games due to concussion issues and a neck injury. There is little doubt the talent to be an NHL star is there, now he just has to remain in the lineup.