Prospects News & Rumors: Ovchinnikov, Truscott, Robidas & More

Toronto Maple Leafs’ Prospect Dmitri Ovchinnikov continues his hot start to the 2020-21 MHL season. A Vancouver Canucks’ fifth-round pick from the 2020 NHL Entry Draft records his first career NCAA goal, and a top prospect from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League registers a four-point-game to lead draft-eligible skaters.

Ovchinnikov Registers Five Point Game

Ovchinnikov continues to terrorize his opposition in Russia’s junior league — the MHL. Drafted 137th overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Russian winger amassed 24 goals and 31 assists for 55 points in 54 games for Sibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk during the 2019-20 season. This year he’s off to an even better start, registering 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in 19 games played. He leads his team in scoring and is ranked sixth in the league despite playing fewer games than those above him. His 1.58 points per game are second-best among MHL skaters to play at least ten games, trailing only Emil Galiaskarov (1.80).

Ovchinnikov recorded his best effort of the season earlier yesterday morning, putting up an impressive five-point performance in Sibirskie Snaipery’s 5-1 victory over Reaktor. He added one goal and four assists, with the last one coming on Makar Nikishanin’s empty-net goal. Ovchinnikov has eclipsed three points in a game on three other occasions this season. He surpasses his previous season-high of four, which he recorded on Nov. 4 against Tyumensky Legion.

The Chita, Russia native continues to prove the doubters wrong and show that the Maple Leafs got great value in the fifth round. He’s played in five KHL games this season but failed to register a point. Although his point production is impressive, he will eventually have to get things done in the KHL if he’s really going to take the next step forward in his development. It’s safe to say that Leafs’ fans will have their eyes on Russia this year with Rodion Amirov and Ovchinnikov.

Truscott Scores First NCAA Goal

Canucks’ prospect Jacob Truscott recorded his first career NCAA goal on Saturday night for the University of Michigan in their 2-1 loss to Notre Dame. His goal comes a day after he recorded his first NCAA assist in Michigan’s 3-2 loss to Notre Dame. Drafted 144th overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Truscott amassed nine goals and 23 assists for 32 points across 66 games played for the United States National Team Development Program during the 2019-20 season.

Truscott is part of an impressive freshman class for Michigan that includes Vegas Golden Knights’ 2020 first-round pick Brendan Brisson and San Jose Sharks’ 2020 second-round pick Thomas Bordeleau. The roster also features three top prospects for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft in Kent Johnson, Matty Beniers and Owen Power, all of whom are freshman too.

The Canucks have had some success drafting NCAA-bound defensemen over the last couple of drafts, with Quinn Hughes and Jack Rathbone highlighting the crop. The Canucks hope that Truscott can join the group and emulate some of the success Hughes had with the University of Michigan during his two seasons with the team. While Truscott might not produce at the same level as Hughes and Rathbone, he could still prove to be a reliable top-four defenseman at the NHL level.

Robidas Leading QMJHL Draft Eligible Skaters

Justin Robidas is one of the top prospects from the QMJHL eligible for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. The 17-year-old center was drafted second overall by the Val-d’Or Foreurs in the 2019 QMJHL Entry Draft. Born in Plano, Texas, Robidas is the son of long-time NHL defenseman Stéphane Robidas. During his rookie season, he amassed 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 points in 57 games played. To begin the 2020-21 QMJHL season, he currently has seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 14 games played. He leads the Foreurs in scoring and sits 13th in the league.

On Friday, Robidas recorded a season-high four-point performance, with one goal and three assists in the Foreurs’ 6-1 victory over the Rimouski Océanic. Among draft-eligible skaters, he sits second in scoring, trailing Cole Huckins by one point. However, he does lead all draft-eligible skaters in points-per-game, with 1.29. It’s early, but Robidas looks set to challenge as the top prospect from the QMJHL eligible for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

Luke Hughes Bags First of the Season

Brother of Jack and Quinn, Luke Hughes is destined to follow in his brothers’ footsteps and be a top ten selection for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. The young American plays for the U.S. National U18 Team of USNTDP and picked up his first goal of the season on Saturday. He unloaded a slap shot from the blue line on the powerplay to get his team on the board in the third period. During the 2019-20 season, Hughes played for the U.S. National U17 Team and amassed 11 goals and 30 assists for 41 points in 76 games played.

Hughes represented Team USA at the U17 World Hockey Challenge, winning a silver medal and recording one goal and three assists for four points in six games played. He’ll be following in his brother’s footsteps next season, as he is committed to the University of Michigan for the 2021-22 season.