Prospect Watch: Almeida’s big night


To continue reading, log into your account:

[theme-my-login show_title=0]
Justin Almeida. -- Marc Smith / DiscoverMooseJaw

Penguins 2018 fifth-round pick Justin Almeida led his Moose Jaw Warriors to a 5-2 win over the Kamloops Blazers on Tuesday night.

Almeida, 20, scored the second and fourth goals of the game for his team, and recorded assists on their third and fifth goals of the game. His first goal and second assist both came on the power play.

Almeida was named the No. 1 Star of the Game and Moose Jaw's Warrior of the Game for his performance, and got to wear this helmet and jacket:

Almeida recorded one other point this week, an assist in a Warriors loss on Jan. 12. His productive week brought his season totals to 13 goals and 42 assists in 36 games. He ranks fifth in the league in assists, and second on his team in points.



Justin Almeida
Position: Center/Wing
Size: 5-11/160
Drafted: 2018, fifth round
Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Season totals: 
36 games, 13 goals, 42 assists

Jordy Bellerive
Position: Center
Size: 5-10/195
Drafted: Undrafted
Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Season totals: 
43 games, 22 goals, 32 assists

Bellerive had an okay week with two goals and an assist in four games. That would be good production by anyone else's standards, but Bellerive is averaging 1.26 points per game this season.

His goal on Jan. 12 was a shorthanded empty-netter that ended up being the game-winner. Kootenay pulled its goaltender while trailing 2-1 on the power play. Bellerive scored 18:33 into the period to extend the lead to 3-1. Kootenay again pulled its goaltender on the power play and scored 42 seconds later, making Bellerive's goal the game-winner.

It was an impressive shot, as far as empty netters go:

Bellerive saw an 11-game point streak end this week, one that lasted from Dec. 8 through Jan. 9. He recorded 10 goals and 11 assists in that span.

Kasper Bjorkqvist
Position: Wing
Size: 6-1/198
Drafted: 2016, second round
Team: Providence College (NCAA)
Season totals: 
22 games, 9 goals, 11 assists

Bjorkqvist recorded one assist in two games this week. He put one puck in the net this week, but it was waved off for a high stick. With a total of 20 points this season, he's three points away from tying his career high total from last season, in nearly half the number of games.

Jan Drozg
Position: Wing
Size: 6-0/174
Drafted: 2017, fifth round
Team: Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
Season totals: 
35 games, 12 goals, 24 assists

Drozg was scoreless in two games this week, both losses by Shawinigan. He was scratched for the game on Jan. 10, presumably with an injury.

Liam Gorman
Position: Center
Size: 6-2/188
Drafted: 2018, sixth round
Team: St. Sebastian’s School (USHS-Prep)
Season totals: 

Gorman’s high school team does not post box scores or stats. He has at least four goals this season, judging from his school’s Twitter feed.

Filip Hallander
Position: Center/Wing
Size: 6-1/190
Drafted: 2018, second round
Team: Timrå IK (SHL)
Season totals: 
25 games, 5 goals, 8 assists

Hallander recorded one assist in two games this week.

Nikita Pavlychev
Position: Center
Size: 6-8/225
Drafted: 2015, seventh round
Team: Penn State (NCAA)
Season totals: 
22 games, 11 goals, 10 assists

Pavlychev scored once in two games this week, this wraparound goal. He moves well for someone of his size:


Calen Addison
Drafted: 2018, second round
Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Season totals: 
42 games, 7 goals, 36 assists

Addison had registered two assists in four games this week. His 36 assists rank second in the league among defensemen, and his 43 points are tied for second among defensemen.

Niclas Almari
Size: 6-1/167
Drafted: 2016, fifth round
Team: HPK (Liiga), HPK U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga)
Season totals: 
25 games, 1 goal, 3 assists with HPK; 2 games, 1 assist with HPK U20

Almari played three scoreless games with HPK.

Ryan Jones
Drafted: 2016, fourth round
Team: Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA)
Season totals: 
20 games, 5 assists

Jones played in two scoreless games this week.

Zachary Lauzon
Drafted: 2017, second round
Team: Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
Season totals: 

Lauzon, who has been rehabbing from the neck injury he sustained last season, will not play this season. He was not able to resume skating with the team.

The Huskies announced that Lauzon will remain around the team for the remainder of the season and will travel with his teammates.

If the Penguins wish to retain Lauzon’s rights, they would have to sign him this summer. That won’t happen. Lauzon’s time as a Penguins prospect is most likely over, if not his entire career.

Antti Palojarvi
Drafted: 2017, sixth round
Team: Lukko (Liiga), Lukko U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga)
Season totals: 
14 games, 2 assists with Lukko; 28 games, 4 goals, 9 assists with Lukko U20

Palojarvi played in one scoreless game with the main Lukko team. He appeared in three games with the U20 Lukko team, recording three assists.

When I spoke with Palojarvi this past summer, he told me he believed he would be able to stay with the main Lukko team this season. He's been splitting his time between the main squad and the junior team, but it's still a big step forward for Palojarvi, who had never played in Liiga prior to this season.

Clayton Phillips
Size: 5-11/182
Drafted: 2017, third round
Team: Minnesota (NCAA)
Season totals: 
20 games, 1 goal, 7 assists

Phillips was scoreless in two games this week.

William Reilly
Drafted: 2017, seventh round
Team: Rensselaer Polytech (NCAA)
Season totals: 
18 games, 3 goal, 9 assists

Reilly recorded three assists in two games this week. He's three points away from his career-high point total of 15, set his freshman year.

Reilly has become more disciplined in his junior season. Two years ago, as a freshman, he finished second on his team in penalty minutes with 68 in 35 games. Last season, he finished fourth on his team, with 24 in 37 games. He's currently tied for fourth in penalty minutes on RPI, with 12 in 18 games.


Alex D’Orio
Drafted: Undrafted
Team: Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Season totals: 
27 games (6-20), 4.35 goals against average, .885 save percentage

D'Orio has to be enjoying himself on his new team. In his first three games with Drakkar, all wins, he's recorded a save percentage of .955 and goals against average of 1.00. Amazing what can happen when a capable goaltender has a supporting cast.

In an interview with Le Manic, D'Orio said he believed playing for Saint John while the team was rebuilding was good for his development because he faced a lot more pucks.

To continue reading, log into your account: