Prospect Watch: Seasons end, playoffs begin


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It's that time of year.

Regular seasons have come to a close in junior and college hockey, and some prospects are already done playing for the year.

The only Penguins prospects still in action are Justin AlmeidaJordy BelleriveJan DrozgFilip HallanderNikita PavlychevCalen AddisonNiclas AlmariAntti PalojarviAlex D'Orio, and potentially Kasper Bjorkqvist.

This will probably be the last weekly Prospect Watch this season, and I'll stick to posting shorter updates as the remaining prospects' teams advance or get eliminated in their seasons.

As I did last summer, I'll post the prospect pool breakdowns to wrap up everyone's year and preview next season as we near free agency.



Justin Almeida
Position: Center/Wing
Size: 5-11/160
Drafted: 2018, fifth round
Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Season totals: 
64 games, 33 goals, 78 assists

Almeida scored three goals and six assists in three games this week.

The Warriors will play the Saskatoon Blades in the first round of the WHL playoffs.

Jordy Bellerive
Position: Center
Size: 5-10/195
Drafted: Undrafted
Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Season totals: 
68 games, 33 goals, 50 assists

Bellerive scored two assists in two games this week as the Hurricanes wrapped up the regular season.

The Hurricanes will play Calgary in the first round of the WHL playoffs.

Kasper Bjorkqvist
Position: Wing
Size: 6-1/198
Drafted: 2016, second round
Team: Providence College (NCAA)
Season totals: 
39 games, 16 goals, 12 assists

Bjorkqvist scored one goal and one assist in three games this week as Providence College lost to Boston College in the Hockey East Tournament.

If the Friars make the NCAA Tournament, regionals begin March 29.

Jan Drozg
Position: Wing
Size: 6-0/174
Drafted: 2017, fifth round
Team: Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
Season totals: 
60 games, 21 goals, 41 assists

Drozg scored one goal and five assists in three games this week as the Cataractes wrapped up the regular season.

In the 18-team QMJHL, the top 16 teams make the playoffs. The Cataractes earned the final spot by one point, and will play the first-place 59-8-0-1 Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the first round. Expect Drozg to come to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in four games.

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

Gorman’s team’s season ended on Feb. 27. He’ll be at Boston University next season.

Filip Hallander
Position: Center/Wing
Size: 6-1/190
Drafted: 2018, second round
Team: Timrå IK (SHL)
Season totals: 
45 games, 7 goals, 14 assists

Hallander scored one assist in two games this week.

Timra IK is currently in the Swedish relegation tournament. If Timra does get relegated to the second-tier Allsvenskan for next season, and the Penguins do not choose to bring Hallander to North America yet, he does not have to play for Timra IK next season.

The Penguins have already signed Hallander to an NHL contract, and he is technically on loan to Timra. If the Penguins don't want him on Timra next season but wish to keep him in Sweden for another year, he can just be loaned to a different SHL team.

Nikita Pavlychev
Position: Center
Size: 6-8/225
Drafted: 2015, seventh round
Team: Penn State (NCAA)
Season totals: 
38 games, 14 goals, 14 assists

Pavlychev was scoreless in one game as Penn State eliminated Ohio State in the Big Ten playoffs. They'll face Notre Dame in the Big Ten championship game on March 23.


Calen Addison
Drafted: 2018, second round
Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Season totals: 
67 games, 11 goals, 54 assists

Addison recorded three assists in two games this week as the Hurricanes wrapped up the regular season.

The Hurricanes will play Calgary in the first round of the WHL playoffs.

Niclas Almari
Size: 6-1/167
Drafted: 2016, fifth round
Team: HPK (Liiga), HPK U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga)
Season totals: 
42 games, 1 goal, 4 assists with HPK; 2 games, 1 assist with HPK U20

HPK's regular season ended and did not play this week. They'll be the fifth seed in the upcoming Liiga playoffs, and will play TPS in the first round.

Ryan Jones
Drafted: 2016, fourth round
Team: Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA)
Season totals: 
36 games, 12 assists

Jones recorded one assist in two games as Nebraska-Omaha was swept by Minnesota Duluth in the first round.

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

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

Antti Palojarvi
Drafted: 2017, sixth round
Team: Lukko (Liiga), Lukko U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga), SaPKo (Mestis)
Season totals: 
16 games, 2 assists with Lukko; 29 games, 4 goals, 9 assists with Lukko U20; 7 games, 1 goal, 2 assists with SaPKo

Palojarvi returned to SaPKo's lineup on the top defensive pairing after missing the past two weeks. He recorded one assist in one game.

Clayton Phillips
Size: 5-11/182
Drafted: 2017, third round
Team: Minnesota (NCAA)
Season totals: 
34 games, 1 goal, 9 assists

Phillips was scoreless in Minnesota's only game this week as they were eliminated by Notre Dame in the Big Ten Semifinals. Phillips recorded no shots and an even plus/minus in the 2-1 overtime loss.

William Reilly
Drafted: 2017, seventh round
Team: Rensselaer Polytech (NCAA)
Season totals: 
33 games, 5 goals, 13 assists

Reilly and RPI were swept by Yale in two games to end the season last week.


Alex D’Orio
Drafted: Undrafted
Team: Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Season totals: 
49 games (21-27), 3.57 goals against average, .889 save percentage

D’Orio appeared in three games this week, two wins and a loss, to close out the QMJHL regular season. He stopped 18 of 19 shots in a 2-1 overtime win over Quebec on March 13. On March 15, he was the No. 3 star with 26 saves on 30 shots in a 6-4 win over Rimouski. The following night, he made 29 saves on 33 shots in a 4-1 loss to Rimouski.

The Drakkar are the No. 2 seed in the East and will play Moncton in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs.

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