DETROIT -- Any hopes of a Penguins prospect capturing the Memorial Cup this season ended on Tuesday.
All five active Penguins prospects playing in the WHL or QMJHL, two of the leagues that comprise the CHL, were eliminated in first-round series.
Forward Jordy Bellerive and defenseman Calen Addison's Lethbridge Hurricanes were eliminated in Game 7 of their first-round matchup with the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL playoffs. Bellerive was third on the Hurricanes in scoring during the series, recording two goals and six assists in seven games. Addison finished second in scoring with two goals and seven assists in seven games.
Both players are free to join Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on amateur deals to finish the remainder of the season. 18-year-old Addison will return to juniors for next season, while 19-year-old Bellerive will be eligible to turn pro and play in Wilkes-Barre. Bellerive is already signed to an entry-level contract.
19-year-old goaltender Alex D'Orio, who was traded to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar at the QMJHL trade deadline from the lowly Saint John Sea Dogs to give him a chance to win a championship, was eliminated in seven games in a first-round matchup with the Moncton Wildcats in the QMJHL playoffs. D'Orio played in all seven games, posting a 2.47 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He is already signed to an entry-level deal, can join Wilkes-Barre on an amateur deal this season, and is eligible to turn pro in Wilkes-Barre next season.
Last week, forward Justin Almeida's Moose Jaw Warriors were swept in four games in the first round of the WHL playoffs. Almeida, 20, recorded no points in the series, but it was revealed afterwards that he had been playing with an injured shoulder for nearly the entire season and requires surgery. He'll be eligible to turn pro in Wilkes-Barre next season, and is already signed.
Forward Jan Drozg's season ended on April 1, when the Shawinigan Cataractes were eliminated by the top-seeded Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in six games. Winning two games was an incredible feat against the powerhouse Huskies, the league's regular season champions. Drozg, 20, led his team in playoff scoring with four goals and two assists in six games. He's eligible to join Wilkes-Barre on an amateur deal this season and turn professional next season. He has already signed his entry-level contract.
Defenseman Zachary Lauzon's Huskies are still in the QMJHL playoffs, but he did not play this season after he was unable to resume skating with his team due to head and neck injuries. If the Penguins are to retain the rights of 20-year-old Lauzon, they must sign him by June 1.