The Journey – Prospects on the Rise

by Brad Phillips on April 21, 2018

                                                            Lukas Jasek signs an entry-level contract with the Canucks


It’s that time of the month again! Dobber’s top 200 prospect list is out so let’s take a look at those that are climbing the charts.


Valentin Zykov, CAR – Up to 68 from 150


The thick Russian made quite the first impression during his debut season in North America in 2012-13. Coming over from the motherland to play for the QMJHL's Baie-Comeau Drakkar in his draft year to get acclimatized to the North American style of games, Zykov was a house on fire from the moment the puck dropped on the season. In 67 games for the Drakkar, he scored 40 goals and added 35 assists which is a pretty impressive feat for a draft eligible player in the first year in a new league. More importantly he didn't fade away when the pressure was on as Zykov produced another 10 goals and 19 points in 19 playoff games. He collected a long list of accolades at season’s end; QMJHL All-Rookie Team, QMJHL Offensive Rookie of the Year, QMJHL Rookie of the Year, QMJHL rookie leader in both goals and points, and CHL Rookie of the Year. When someone puts together a season like that in their draft year, you'd think he'd be a lock for being a first round pick. But that was not the case as Zykov slid to the second round where he was snatched up by the L.A. Kings with the 37th overall pick. Zykov played for two more years in the ‘Q’ and put together seasons of 63 and 46 points averaging 1.19 and 1.10 points per game respectively.


Beginning his professional career with the Ontario Reign, Zykov had an unremarkable seven goals and seven assists in 43 contests before a deadline deal sent him to Carolina in exchange for Kris Versteeg and a fifth rounder. Fast forward a couple of years and that’s shaping up to be a very shrewd move. During his first full year with the Carolina organization, Zykov finished third on the Charlotte Checkers with 16 goals and fourth in scoring with 34 points. He put together a hell of a third professional season and has really put himself on the map. The 33 goals he scored led the entire AHL, earning him the Willie Marshall award and he finished 20th in AHL scoring with 54 points in 63 games.


Even though his calling card is his goal scoring, he could still stand to shoot the puck a whole lot more with his 33 AHL goals coming on just 112 shots, translating into an unsustainable shooting percentage of 29%. Towards the end of March he was called up to the big club and had a heck of run to end the Hurricanes season. Playing primarily on a line with the top guns in Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, Zykov produced three goals and four assists in 10 games while averaging just less than 14 minutes per game. That’s a plum assignment for the rookie. It remains to be seen whether or not he will see the same kind of deployment next season with Bill Peters heading to Calgary and a new, yet to be determined, coach at the helm for the Hurricanes.



Lukas Jasek, VAN – Up to 141 from 456

Rocketing up this month’s list is Vancouver Canucks prospect, Lukas Jasek – mainly due to his play over the past three weeks . You’re probably not alone in asking yourself exactly who this is, so let’s investigate.  Drafted in the sixth round in 2015 by the Canucks, Jasek is a product of his hometown HC Trinec program. During his draft year he split time between the U20 program and the big club in the Czech men’s league. With the junior squad he produced 10 goals and 27 points but was limited to just 24 games with them as he was summoned to the men’s team for 27 games. As the youngest member of the team, ice time was hard to come by and his stats reflected that, registering just two assists in the regular season and being held off the score sheet in one playoff game. But at that age playing at that level the most important thing is the experience gained.


In his draft plus-one year he proved that he was playing at a level far above his peers as he was a dominant force for HC Trinec U20. Jasek rattled off the points at a pace of two per game with 15 goals and 13 helpers in just 14 games. Once again he was called up to the men’s team and found a bit more success than the previous go round as he scored his first two professional goals and had one assists in the 25 games in which he played. Back with the U20 team for the playoffs, Jasek led the league in scoring with an astounding 25 points in just 10 games. Too good for the junior league but not quite ready for prime time, Jasek was loaned by HC Ocelari Trinec to HC Frydek-Mistek of the Czech second league which turned out to be a happy medium. Jasek proceeded to lead the team in points per game with 28 in 30 contests and finished second in the league in the category among U24 players. That year Jasek was also selected as part of the Czech contingent for the WJC but it was an underwhelming showing as he failed to register a point in five games.


2017-18 represented Jasek’s fourth attempt at Extraliga play and it finally came together for the 20 year old. He spent a full season with Bili Tygri Liberec and more than held his own to the tune of eight goals and 10 helpers in 48 contests, finishing tied for sixth among U24 scored in the league, and added another assist in 10 playoff games. But where Jasek has really excelled has been his play with the AHL’s Utica Comets. Brought over on an amateur tryout he’s managed to put up seven points in just six games thus far and was signed to his entry-level deal yesterday. It’s a small sample size but the early returns are encouraging and he may have played himself into an NHL deal. Considered a long term project when drafted he’s clearly got some skills and could advance quickly if he keeps up this level of play.



Andrew Oglevie, BUF – Up to 199 from NR

The newest Buffalo Sabres, Oglevie just concluded his third and final season at the University of Notre Dame where he had a very strong college career, especially the past two years. Prior to playing at South Bend, Oglevie was a four year member of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders playing along some NHL prospects in the way of Erik Foley and Adam Gaudette, culminating in a 53 point campaign in which he led the RoughRiders in assists with 32. All tolled in his USHL career, Oglevie racked up 114 points in 211 contests. As a freshman with the Fighting Irish, Oglevie failed to make too much of an impact with a mere nine points in 31 games. But he exploded as a sophomore, enjoying a breakout campaign to the tune of 21 goals and 20 helpers. He tied Anders Bjork for the team lead in goal scoring and finished tied for sixth in the conference, 16th in the nation. In his junior year he managed to not only much, but surpass his producing on a per game basis with Oglevie once again leading the Fighting Irish in goal scoring, lighting the lamp 15 times and adding 24 assists to finish second the team in scoring, second in the conference in powerplay points with 19, and fourth in the B1G in shots per game with 3.50. He helped guide his team to a conference title and an NCAA tournament berth that saw them manage to advance all the way to the title game before falling to University of Minnesota-Duluth.


Oglevie is a versatile player, capable of playing either wing or centre. He’s not the biggest guy but has has enough speed and puck skills to be a difference maker on the ice. At 23 years of age he’s a more advanced prospect but the Sabres rolled the dice on another recent college RA with a similar profile in Evan Rodrigues who just put together 25 points in 48 NHL games. If Oglevie follows a similar path the Sabres would be happy.



As always, thanks for checking out this week’s edition of The Journey. Give me a follow on Twitter @BradHPhillips. Enjoy your weekend!


More from The Journey: CHL Playoff Performers