The Journey: CHL Playoff Performers

Brad Phillips



                                         Gabe Vilardi is piling up the points for Kingston in the OHL Playoffs


Michael Rasmussen – DET

The hulking centreman wrapped up his 2017-18 season with a fairly similar statistical stat line to that from his draft year. The captain of the Tri-City Americans scored 31 times, one fewer than the year before, and dished out 28 helpers to finish the campaign with 59 points in 47 contests. This translates to a point-per-game average of 1.26 representing a 14% improvement over his 2016-17 pace.   But where Rasmussen has really made his hay is where it counts: The playoffs. He’s done the one thing captains are supposed to do, lead by example. In just eight playoffs games Rasmussen has racked up an eye-popping 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points, tying him with teammate Morgan Geekie for second in the league playoff scoring race and giving him a share of the three-way lead in points-per-game with and even three. The Americans are on to the Western Conference Finals on the backs of two series sweeps and a large part of this has to do with the play of Rasmussen.



Gabe Vilardi – LA

Not to be outdone by the player selected two picks ahead of him, the Kings prospect has put together his own impressive playoff run. Vilardi’s 2017-18 got off to a delayed start with a back injury that kept him out until the start of 2018, but once he strapped on the skates he took off and never slower down. Moving from Windsor to Kingston in a New Year’s Day deal Vilardi went on a tear racking up 22 goals and 35 assists, finishing second in the OHL in points-per-game with a mark of 1.81. It’s hard to imagine that Vilardi could elevate his play once the post-season rolled around, but he absolutely did. The big man leads the Frontenacs, and the entire OHL, with 11 goals and 20 points for a nice round 2.00 point-per-game average. Reportedly considered untouchable by the Kings, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him draw into the L.A. line-up next season.



Drake Batherson – OTT

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The biggest surprise from the 2017 draft, Batherson proved that his early season scoring tear