Los Angeles had a 5-7-1 record in the month of February and are sniffing a top-five pick for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Their farm team, the Ontario Reign went the other way with a record of 8-3 as they compete for a playoff spot. As we’ve been reminding you for quite a while, a long-term plan has been put into motion, and each month brings forth new bits of development.
We’ve had a couple usual suspects frequently show up as our three stars for the past month. This month was demonstrably more difficult.
FEBRUARY’S TOP PERFORMERS
NO. 3 STAR
Jordan Spence: Defense, Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL (4th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 9 goals, 40 assists, plus-49, 26 PIM in 56 games played
It was long overdue to give Spence recognition for a stellar season. In the month of February, the journeyman defenseman picked up 14 points (2 G, 12 A) in 13 tilts. His six-game point-scoring streak surpassed his previous personal record of five. He also tied his personal career high in points in 13 fewer appearances. His scoring prowess has earned recognition league-wide as the fifth-highest scoring blueliner, and it pushed him only six points behind the top defensive scorer with five fewer contests.
While his individual numbers are remarkable, he also made contributions to the team success. Spence and his fellow Wildcats have allowed only 142 goals – making them the best defensive team. Moncton pushed themselves to the top of the Eastern Conference.
#QMJHL #LHJMQ MON/CHI: @monctonwildcats are powered by three 2nd period goals in capturing their 45th win of the season, reaching mark for 6th time. Jordan Spence starts Moncton's scoring and adds an assist. 3 points from 100 – 8th defenceman in franchise history.
— Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) February 28, 2020
Our most recent scouting report on Spence (from the 2020 Prospect Rankings) – click here
NO. 2 STAR
Akil Thomas: Forward, Niagara IceDogs, OHL (2nd round pick in 2018)
Regular Season: 20 goals, 54 assists, plus-12, 56 PIM in 45 games played
1 goal, 1 assist, plus-1, 2 PIM in 7 games played (WJC)
Thomas followed up his memorable month in January with another stellar performance in February. In 10 games, he scored 13 points (4 G, 9 A). More remarkable, however, was scoring his 100th goal, 200th assist, and 300th point in his junior career earlier in February. He pushed himself into the top 100 in career points and among the top 50 in helpers in the OHL.
All things considered; February was less productive compared to Thomas’ other months. These milestones deserve all the recognition. Peterborough has clinched the playoffs, and Thomas’ last expected post-season appearance in juniors begin at the end of March.
— The Armchair Scout (@Davidenkness) February 21, 2020
NO. 1 STAR
Arthur Kaliyev: Forward, Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL (2nd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 43 goals, 54 assists, minus-5, 26 PIM in 55 games played
4 goals, 2 assists, plus-4, 4 PIM in 5 games played (WJC)
Last month, the sniper set a new Bulldogs franchise record in goals, passing Matthew Strome’s 115 tallies. In February, Kaliyev threatened Strome’s achievements again, tying his record of 247 points for Hamilton. Los Angeles’ second-round pick set himself up where he just has to score one more point in his final eight games to be the new record holder. Considering he has picked up at least a point in 45 of the 55 tilts this season, it seems reasonable to expect.
As a whole, Kaliyev has gone through business as usual in February, even without Jan Jenik around to help contribute the offense. Instead, he’s been lined up with highly touted 2020 NHL Draft prospect Jan Mysak. This past month, the #ArtyParty picked up 26 points (11 G, 15 A) in 14 appearances. Mysak was involved in half of those. Needless to say, the winger has been a good tutor for the rookie import. Hamilton has not secured a playoff spot yet, but they have good chances.
🚨 Arty Party!🎉
— Hamilton Bulldogs (@BulldogsOHL) February 22, 2020
– Aidan Dudas, perhaps inspired by Thomas’ milestone, has come close to one of his own. His 13 points (2 G, 11 A) in February put him one shy of 200 in his OHL career.
– Bulat Shafigullin returned to action last week in the MHL. He last played on November 9, and he’s picked up a pair of goals and assists in three games since coming back.
Bulat Shafigullin (#LetsGoKings) scores a beauty on a shorthanded breakaway. He’s had a great return to the #MHL. Islam Gainullin (2021) picks up an assist. #NHLDraft | @MHL_rus pic.twitter.com/VOpftdmLLc
— Dylan Griffing (@Dylan_Griffing) February 26, 2020
– Samuel Fagemo and Jacob Moverare were crowned CHL Champions while playing on Frölunda. For context, the CHL is a collection of the top European teams competing against another. The SHL, Frölunda’s main league, is the top league based exclusively in Sweden. While the Kings’ Swedish duo were victorious in one league, they have more fish to fry as they try to defend their SHL title in their home country.
— Jonas Åhlström (@Aahlstroem) February 20, 2020
– Cole Hults’ six points (3 G, 3 A) in February kept him at the top of blueliner scoring in the Big Ten division. Penn State has earned a first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament.
Only one defenseman on that list…
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) February 29, 2020
– Alex Turcotte has been red hot since returning from injury, and he became another strong candidate to earn a star of the month. He’s picked up nine points (3 G, 6 A) during a five-game point-scoring streak. The goal on February 21 was his first since November 9. Finally, he made the top 10 in Big Ten scoring. Wisconsin made the Big Ten tournament and were put against Ohio State for the first round.
— The Armchair Scout (@Davidenkness) March 1, 2020
– Tyler Madden, the Kings’ most recent prospect acquisition, remains out due to an upper-body injury.
– Markus Phillips, Jacob Ingham, and Lukas Parik have clinched playoff appearances.
Braden Doyle: Defense, Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL (6th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 7 goals, 24 assists, plus-15, 12 PIM in 45 games played
Aidan Dudas: Forward, Owen Sound Attack, OHL (4th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 14 goals, 37 assists, plus-13, 24 PIM in 44 games played
0 goals, 2 assists, plus-0, 2 PIM in 7 games played (WJC)
Samuel Fagemo: Forward, Frölunda HC, SHL (2nd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 12 goals, 9 assists, minus-3, 8 PIM in 37 games played
7 goals, 6 assists, plus-10, 4 PIM in 11 games played (CHL)
8 goals, 5 assists, plus-3, 6 PIM in 7 games played (WJC)
Dávid Hrenák: Goalie, St. Cloud State University Huskies, NCHC (5th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 12-9-6, 2.67 GAA, .908 SV%, 2 SO in 30 games played
Cole Hults: Defense, Penn State Nittany Lions, Big Ten (5th round pick in 2017)
Regular season: 8 goals, 22 assists, plus-23, 18 PIM in 34 games played
Jacob Ingham: Goalie, Kitchener Rangers, OHL (6th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 31-7-5, 2.88 GAA, .920 SV%, 2 SO in 43 games played
Andre Lee: Forward, UMass-Lowell River Hawks, Hockey East (7th round pick in 2019)
Regular Season: 7 goals, 12 assists, plus-7, 30 PIM in 32 games played
Tyler Madden: Forward, Northeastern Huskies, Hockey East (3rd round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 19 goals, 18 assists, plus-4, 34 PIM in 27 games played
Jacob Moverare: Defense, Frölunda HC, SHL (4th round pick in 2016)
Regular season: 6 goals, 8 assists, plus-13, 10 PIM in 37 games played (SHL)
0 goals, 5 assists, plus-0, 6 PIM in 12 games played (CHL)
Kim Nousiainen: Defense, KalPa, Liiga (4th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 6 goals, 12 assists, minus-6, 24 PIM in 48 games played
1 goal, 3 assists, plus-2, 4 PIM in 7 games played (WJC)
Lukas Parik: Goalie, Spokane Chiefs, WHL (3rd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 19-7-2, 2.85 GAA, .914 SV%, 0 SO in 29 games played
0-2-0, 6.17, .846 SV%, 0 SO in 2 games played (WJC)
Markus Phillips: Defense, London Knights, OHL (4th round pick in 2017)
Regular season: 3 goals, 6 assists, plus-21, 4 PIM in 20 games played
Bulat Shafigullin: Forward, Reaktor Nizhnekamsk, KHL (3rd round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 11 goals, 9 assists, plus-2, 10 PIM in 15 games played (MHL)
0 goals, 0 assists, minus-1, 0 PIM in 2 games played (KHL)
Alex Turcotte: Forward, Wisconsin Badgers, Big Ten (1st round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 9 goals, 17 assists, minus-8, 18 PIM in 27 games played
0 goals, 2 assists, minus-1, 6 PIM in 5 games played (WJC)
#SMLiiga: Another strong game for LHD Kim Nousiainen (LAK 4th/2019) as he record three assists in 21:18 of ice time in KalPa's 4-3 win over Assat. He now has 18 points in 44 games and is playing 19:12 a game.#GoKingsGo
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) February 21, 2020
— Jewels from the Crown 💎👑 (@JFTC_Kings) February 4, 2020
CHL Champs 🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/vqHqH0VTrf
— Samuel Fagemo (@samuelfagemo) February 5, 2020
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.