Another month has passed, and entering into December, we’d like to give a summary of November’s events before reviewing the overall numbers and the three stars:
• Lukáš Pařík returned from injury at the beginning of the month and didn’t look like he missed a beat. LA’s 2019 draft selection went 5-1-2, stopping 230/252 shots. The European goalie also picked up an assist. Both Pařík and fellow Kings prospect Jacob Ingham have helpers this season.
• While he went through the month of October of not registering a point, Finnish defenseman Kim Nousiainen regained his rhythm with a goal and three assists.
• After returning from surgery, Bulat Shafigullin posted 1.25 points-per-game in the Russian junior league. His performance was enough to earn him a call-up into the KHL. However, he has only played in two games.
• A couple more players returning from injury recently after missing some time in November: defenseman Jordan Spence and the aforementioned Ingham. During Ingham’s absence, the Kitchener Rangers (OHL), who are not meeting expectations thus far this season, fired head coach Jay McKee.
• Forward Akil Thomas has the longest active point streak among Kings prospects, stretching out to eight games. Seven of his games were multi-point affairs, amassing 19 points (7 G, 12 A) in that span.
• Prior to Thomas, Arthur Kaliyev was riding the longest streak, which was snapped on November 30. In his 14-game span, he gathered 29 points (14 G, 15 A). He sits tied second overall with teammate Jan Jenik (Arizona’s 2018 third-round pick) in OHL scoring.
• Every point earned for the remainder of the season will mark a new career high for defenseman Jacob Moverare. His seven points in 42 games last year is being eclipsed by his current season of 11 points in 21 games.
• Aidan Dudas didn’t have a good weekend…
LA Kings prospect Aidan Dudas sat out tonight for Owen Sound. Hand in a cast, as he jammed his finger last game. No timetable established yet. Timing is terrible, as we'd heard there is very high chance he makes Team Canada WJC team. Have to wait a few days now.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) December 1, 2019
• Then, he received a bit of good news early today when Team Canada announced he was officially invited to their World Junior Evaluation Camp later this month. As expected, Akil Thomas will join him at camp and could potentially even wear a letter in the tournament – where he will most likely serve as one of Canada’s top two centers.
• Team Finland also confirmed Nousiainen and Rasmus Kupari will participate in their WJC camp, prior to the tournament officially starting on December 26.
• Overall, with regard to the WJC, here are the players Los Angeles has a very high potential to get a roster spot:
Braden Doyle: Defense, Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL (6th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 1 goal, 9 assist, plus-6, 2 PIM in 18 games played
Aidan Dudas: Forward, Owen Sound Attack, OHL (4th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 11 goals, 19 assists, plus-12, 10 PIM in 23 games played
Samuel Fagemo: Forward, Frölunda HC, SHL (2nd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 6 goals, 4 assists, plus-5, 4 PIM in 18 games played (SHL)
7 goals, 3 assists, plus-7, 2 PIM in 6 games (CHL)
— C More Sport (@cmoresport) November 30, 2019
Dávid Hrenák: Goalie, St. Cloud State University Huskies, NCHC (5th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 2-6-4, 3.22 GAA, .881 SV%, 0 SO in 12 games played
Cole Hults: Defense, Penn State Nittany Lions, Big Ten (5th round pick in 2017)
Regular season: 4 goals, 9 assists, plus-11, 12 PIM in 15 games played
Jacob Ingham: Goalie, Kitchener Rangers, OHL (6th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 8-3-3, 3.15 GAA, .912 SV%, 0 SO in 14 games played
Andre Lee: Forward, UMass-Lowell River Hawks, Hockey East (7th round pick in 2019)
Regular Season: 4 goals, 5 assist, plus-6, 6 PIM in 15 games played
— UMass Lowell Hockey (@RiverHawkHockey) December 1, 2019
Jacob Moverare: Defense, Frölunda HC, SHL (4th round pick in 2016)
Regular season: 5 goals, 6 assists, plus-13, 6 PIM in 21 games played (SHL)
0 goals, 3 assists, plus-3, 4 PIM in 8 games played (CHL)
Kim Nousiainen: Defense, KalPa, Liiga (4th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 2 goals, 4 assists, minus-5, 12 PIM in 26 games played
Bulat Shafigullin: Forward, Reaktor Nizhnekamsk, KHL (3rd round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 9 goals, 7 assists, plus-7, 10 PIM in 12 games played (MHL)
0 goals, 0 assists, minus-1, 0 PIM in 2 games played (KHL)
Jordan Spence: Defense, Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL (4th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 1 goals, 19 assists, plus-18, 12 PIM in 23 games played
Alex Turcotte: Forward, Wisconsin Badgers, Big Ten (1st round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 6 goals, 9 assists, minus-9, 10 PIM in 14 games played
— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) December 1, 2019
NOVEMBER’S TOP PERFORMERS
NO. 3 STAR
Lukáš Pařík: Goalie, Spokane Chiefs, WHL (3rd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 7-2-2, 2.70 GAA, .912 SV%, 0 Shutouts in 11 games played
Viable candidates for the No. 3 spot were plentiful. IN the end, we went with the Czech goaltender, who after having so little time to adjust to North American ice, has secured himself the No. 1 starting job with Spokane. His combination of technique and athleticism is pushing him into the upper echelon of WHL netminders this season. He even missed out on landing his first WHL shutout by about five minutes. With WJC coming up next month, we expect him to compete for the starting goaltender job while representing his homeland.
NO. 2 STAR
Arthur Kaliyev: Forward, Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL (2nd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 28 goals, 26 assists, plus-3, 14 PIM in 28 games played
It’s extremely difficult to imagine there’s a player with a better individual month than Kaliyev, the reigning No. 1 Star from October. We’ll start with the accomplishments this month: he’s in a three-way tie for first in OHL scoring and scoring at a goal-per-game pace. His 54 points have him statistically involved in nearly half of the 108 goals the Bulldogs have scored this season. And, the Team USA World Junior candidate is just five goals and 43 points away from tying Hamilton’s record, set by Matthew Strome (who has played in almost 97 more OHL games to date).
That said, we can’t overlook he’s in a tie for second overall in league scoring with fellow teammate Jan Jenik. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship for sure, as Jenik has a 25-game point streak. Kaliyev’s offensive instincts are unquestioned, and he’s also getting time shorthanded to round out his defensive game. As previously postulated, LA management will have a tough decision to make next October – having to decide if they’d rather have their 2019 second-round pick play in the NHL or OHL, as the AHL won’t be an option until the 2021-22 campaign.
NO. 1 STAR
Akil Thomas: Forward, Niagara IceDogs, OHL (2nd round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 14 goals, 28 assists, plus-3, 26 PIM in 24 games played
While not as offensively tantalizing as the aforementioned Kaliyev, Thomas did a lot to put Niagara on his back. In November, Thomas posted nine goals and 13 assists in 12 games. Like Kaliyev, the speedy playmaking center is also approaching some franchise bests, including three assists and 33 points away from tying franchise records (set by Ryan Strome and Andrew Agozzino, respectively).
While Niagara was shorthanded a couple players, Thomas played on the top defensive pairing, racking up 29 minutes. Adding third overall in face-off draws taken and leading the team in overall scoring (despite playing fewer games than his teammates), and Thomas is willingly clawing his way into every situation possible to help his team win and prepare for the next level of professional hockey.
Due to his age and experience in the OHL, Thomas is eligible to play with the Ontario Reign next year full-time. He is expected to turn pro over the summer. Among the more immediate questions are, how will he perform at the WJC and will he be traded before the OHL deadline in early January (most likely, yes, as noted on early episodes of Kings of the Podcast).
With his second period goal tonight, Akil Thomas now sits 4th all-time in #IceDogs goal scoring with 93 goals.
— Niagara IceDogs (@OHLIceDogs) November 30, 2019
Keep in mind, this weekly tracker only covers prospects not playing professional hockey in North America. In essence, the report serves to provide updates on all players in the pipeline — signed or unsigned — excluding those in the NHL, AHL, and ECHL.
NOTE: Author David Hofreiter can be found on Twitter @Davidenkness if you’re interested in talking more hockey with him or asking further questions about these players.