I’m not going to go all “recap the final 2 games” on you because there has been way to much depressing stuff on this site lately (sorry fellow AC fam) but if you really want to know...
The Gulls lost their final 2 regular season games against division leading Tuscon, they needed at least a point from either of those games to stay in the playoff picture. Kevin Boyle started the first game and kept them in it up until the final 3 minutes when a costly bad zone clearance led to an outnumbered scoring chance down low. If they had just cleared the puck along the boards instead of up the middle, or made some other safe play, they might have made the playoffs. They only needed that one point. They lost the second game with Tuscon sitting several of their regular starters (as it meant nothing to them), Berra didn't have a stellar outing though did play better as the game went on - the Gulls made a ferocious come back but it was too little too late. They lost the tiebreaker and San Jose advanced to take their spot in the playoffs.
Right - with that out of the way.
The Juniors are still playing!
I gave a brief update on them on the last MOTF but let us check back in.
Max Comtois (2017 2nd Round): Comtois now has 7 points in 9 games for the Victoriaville Tigres, he missed one game due to a suspension for boarding. His Tigres now face Antoine Morands Titan in the Semi Finals. On the season he had 85 points in 54 games. 1.57 points per game. Translating to 0.45 NHL PPG and 24 points in 54 games, not bad for a 2nd rounder. This puts him slightly better than elite first line center Derek Grant who had 24 points in 66 games with the Ducks this year. Assuming that hypothetical 0.45 PPG stayed consistent and he played - say the same amount of games as Nick Ritchie - he would have put up 34 points, 7 more than Ritchie. In fact, his hypothetical PPG would be tied 10th on the team with Hampus Lindholm, better than the likes of Cogliano (0.44), Montour (.40), Grant & Ritchie (0.36), Kesler (0.32) & Vermette (0.25). Food for thought.
Antoine Morand (2017 2nd Round): Antoine's Acadie-Bathurst Titan swept their Quarter-Final matchup after taking their first round series in 6 games. He now faces his childhood friend and fellow 2017 2nd round draftee Comtois in the semi finals. As stated in last weeks piece, he put up career highs in all scoring categories this year, ending the year with 76 points in 66 games, that’s 1.15 points per game. Translating that to NHL standards that is 21.58 points in 66 games. In the playoffs thus far he has 8 points in 10 games, picking up an insane 5 points in Game 3 of the quarter-finals, assisting on all 5 Titan goals. Morands numbers (0.33 PPG and using the 76 game multiplier) compared to that on the current Ducks roster for this season would put him on a par again with Derek Grant - albeit with 10 more games played. It also puts him just above Ryan Kesler (0.32 PPG) for 14th spot on the team but a tad worse than Ritchie & Grant (0.36 PPG). Not bad though. Not bad at all.
Max Jones (2016 1st Round): As noted last week, Max Jones was traded from the London Knights to the Kingston Frontenacs after an injury-shortened season. He then had to contend with a hand injury as the season ended. In total he played 31 games this year, putting up 24 points. Slightly concerning considering the year before he only managed to get in 33 games due to injury also. His final years stats translate to 7.75 points in 31 games in the NHL or 0.25 PPG which places him equal with Antoine Vermette and Beauchemin, ranked 19-20th on this years roster. He has managed to get in 5 playoff games now, scoring 2 goals and 3 points; his Frontenacs dropped their first game of their semi final by a score of 6-2 to Hamilton, Jones had the Fronts first goal in the one-sided dismantlement. His goal was a result of a complete individual effort and is very much worth the watch - skip to about 1.26 if you don’t want to see the Bulldogs first 6 goals.
Sam Steel (2016 1st Round): Steel finished the year with 83 points in 54 games for the Pats. Both he and Mahura are currently waiting out the CHL playoffs as Regina was beaten in 7 games in the first round. His final years totals translate to 25 points in 54 games in the NHL, or 0.46 PPG. Which puts him slightly better than Comtois .45 and tied with Josh Manson for 9th on the team, so although this years stats were no where near the lofty heights of his record breaking year last season, he is still our best forward prospect with Comtois a very close second. He has 11 points in 7 games these playoffs and as noted in last weeks piece, has a chance to captain his Pats to a Memorial Cup Championship in what would be a fitting end to a sparkling junior career.
Josh Mahura (2016 3rd Round): Mahura set career highs in goals, assists and points, compiling 69 (nice) points on the year. He had 5 points in 7 playoff games with the Pats in their first round exit. His 1.045 PPG pace translates to 20.838 in 66 games or 0.318 PPG in the NHL, ranking him 5th amongst Anaheim blueliners on the current roster behind Fowler (0.48), Manson (0.46), Lindholm (0.45) and Montour (0.40) and ahead of Beauch (0.25) and Pettersson (0.18). With two confirmed spots (unless Bob decides to sign another gap filler) opening up next season it will be a dog fight between Pettersson, Larsson and Megna which leaves ample time for Mahura to take a year to develop in the A but mark my words, this kid is going places.
Kyle Olson (2017 4th Round): The 2017 4th rounder did not put up world beating numbers in his post-draft season but mostly because he spent most of it recovering from injury. He had 18 points in 36 games on the year and has 4 points in 4 games in the playoffs, however he is currently out of action with injury again. His 0.5 PPG in an injury shortened year translates to 5 points in 36 games in the NHL or 0.151 PPG. Tied with the departed Dennis Rasmussen on this years roster for 26th on the team but ahead of Bieska (0.14 PPG) and pretty much everyone on the 4th line with the exception of Grant. Due to his birth month he has already played the same amount of years in the CHL as the 2016 draftees but will still be too young to turn pro before next season.
Tyler Soy (2016 7th Round): As mentioned last week, Soy’s Royals were dispatched in 4 games by Olsons Americans in their quarter-final matchup. Victoria had lost several of their impact players (including Soy) to injury and could not compete. As an overager Soy put up 92 points in 66 games which translates to roughly 28 points in 66 games or 0.42 PPG. This would place him hypothetically 12th on the team, behind Cogliano (0.44) but above Montour (0.40) and Richie and Grant (0.36). As I also said last week, he had a hat trick in Game 4 of the Royals first round win over Vancouver. It remains to be seen whether or not the 2016 7th rounder will be offered a contract by the Ducks but it does not look like he will be back in Juniors next season.
Brent Gates Jr. (2015 3rd Round): In his Junior year Gates Jr. emerged as a scoring threat on a team that also featured standout Buffalo prospect Casey Mittelstadt. He had career highs in both points and assists, scoring 26 points in 38 games. Although he could still go back for his Senior year it is looking like he might not return next year, so the 6’1” 196lb Center could possibly sign with Anaheim. His production this season translates to 8.6 points in 38 games in the NHL or 0.23 PPG which would place him on a level with how Chris Wagner was producing before his trade or 21st on the team. Not massively great numbers and with the excess of perssonell now vying for spots on both the Ducks and Gulls it would probably be in his best interests to go back to College for his final year.
I won’t cover the remaining college prospects Badini, Ruggiero and Berkovitz; mostly because its not likely Badini (only drafted this year and just completed his 1st year at Harvard) is going pro anytime soon and the other two are kind of an unknown entity at the moment.
So to recap:
Ranking the Juniors by translated PPG has:
1. Steel - (0.46)
2. Comtois - (0.45)
3. Soy - (0.42)
4. Morand - (0.33)
5. Mahura - (0.318)
6. Jones - (0.25)
7. Gates Jr. - (0.23)
8. Olson - (0.151)
Of those - Steel, Jones, Mahura are going pro next year. Soy and Gates Jr. are eligible but unsigned. Comtois, Morand and Olson will go back to Juniors unless they can make the big club out of camp.