Prospects News & Rumors: Podkolzin, UMass & Farrell

Vancouver Canucks prospect Vasily Podkolzin has almost singlehandedly kept SKA Saint Petersburg in their conference finals series against HC CSKA Moscow. The NCAA Final took place on Saturday night and The University of Massachusetts Amherst coasted to a 5-0 victory over St. Cloud State to win the first National Championship in school history. Montreal Canadiens prospect Sean Farrell has broken yet another record in the United States Hockey League.

Podkolzin Dominating KHL Playoffs

SKA lost the first three games of their best-of-seven series but have launched a valiant effort to get back in the series led by Podkolzin. The Russian winger has three goals and two assists in his last two games, including the triple-overtime winner in SKA’s 3-2 victory on Saturday. He now ranks fourth in KHL playoff scoring, with six goals and five assists in 15 games played. His ice time has been a point of discussion throughout the playoffs since he’s only averaging 13:57 of ice time. The rest of the scorers in the top five are averaging over 16 minutes per game, so it makes Podkolzin’s feat that much more impressive.

His ice time has been all over the place in the playoffs, from 3:57 two games ago to 24:42 in yesterday’s game. His 11 points are tied with New York Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov for the most ever by a U20 skater in KHL playoff history. With the emergence of Nils Hoglander this season, the Canucks have built an excellent core of young players around Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. Podkolzin is next in line to make the jump to the NHL, and Canucks fans should be eager for him to join the team.

Drafted tenth overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season bouncing between Russia’s KHL and VHL. He recorded two goals and six assists in 30 games for SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL and three goals and five assists in 16 games with SKA-Neva St. Petersburg in the VHL. Podkolzin represented Russia at the last three World Junior Championship tournaments, winning a bronze and a silver medal. He was captain of the team in 2021 and scored two goals and two assists in seven games.

UMass Win First National Championship

UMass avenged their 2019 National Championship defeat against the University of Minnesota Duluth with a 3-2 overtime victory in the semifinals on Thursday night and completed the redemption story with their victory on Saturday. UMass goaltender and Minnesota Wild prospect Filip Lindberg capped off an excellent season with a 25-save shutout, his second of the tournament after UMass shutout Bemidji State 4-0 in the quarterfinals.

Four UMass players were named to the Frozen Four All-Tournament Team including Lindberg, St. Louis Blues prospect Matthew Kessel, Rangers prospect Zac Jones and junior forward Bobby Trivigno who was also named Most Outstanding Player. He was UMass’ best offensive player all season, leading the team with 11 goals and 23 assists in 29 games played.

Farrell Breaks Another USHL Record

It’s been quite the record-breaking season for Canadiens prospect Sean Farrell. He first broke the USHL single-season point streak record by extending his streak to 24 games in February. He then broke the Chicago Steel record for most points in a single season earlier this month. With an assist in the Steel’s 5-1 victory over Youngstown on Saturday night, he now owns the USHL record for most assists in a single season with 61. He now has 28 goals and 61 assists for 89 points in 48 games played, which tops the USHL in scoring by 11 points. 

THW’s Nick Lariviere had this to say in February about what to expect from Farrell’s future in the NHL.

If he performs well enough once he joins the pros, he could make it to the NHL as a middle-six winger. The fact that the NHL, circa 2013, is more skill-based than it used to be, plays in Farrell’s favour, as the winger only stands at 5-foot-9. Only 10 years ago, it would have been a lot harder for him to make it. Even as we speak today, it is hard to see him be an NHL regular, given his size and the level of competition he’s playing. However, if he continues down the path he is going, anything is possible, and we could see him be a regular on the Canadiens or with another NHL team someday.

Drafted 124th overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season with the Steel. It was his first season with the team, and he recorded 15 goals and 41 assists in 44 games played. He also led the league in assists and ranked fifth on his team in scoring. Farrell is committed to Harvard University for the 2021-22 season, so it might be the last time we will see him grace the USHL ice. Canadiens fans have a lot to be excited about, with Cole Caufield winning the Hobey Baker Award and starting well in the AHL, and Farrell having such an impressive season.