Every week we will take a look around the Minnesota Wild prospect pool and see what players have had an impressive streak of games. It might be three, it might be five, it might just be one. Let’s look at The Young and Wild.
Due to some COVID outbreaks, there were some postponements as the junior leagues were brought back from their holiday break. As old news as that is, there were still some impressive performances from Wild prospects and especially in the Western Hockey League.
After making a brief impression at the World Juniors, and after the WHL dealt with a similar brief pause, 19-year-old winger prospect Pavel Novak is back to putting up points like it’s what he (isn’t) paid to do.
Road to 100 WHL points: Pavel Novak edition— The WHL (@TheWHL) January 16, 2022
3 TO GO!@Kelowna_Rockets pic.twitter.com/xjXa7KLlns
During last week, Novak scored three goals and six total points in just two games for his Kelowna Rockets, including some absolutely beautiful plays.
*When the @Kelowna_Rockets get aux*— The WHL (@TheWHL) January 16, 2022
It's about drive, it's about power. We stay hungry, we devour. pic.twitter.com/dz6pY9Oidz
Novak is an interesting character in the grand scheme of Wild prospects. He doesn’t project to be of similar ilk to the top dogs, or those that are currently professional, but it will take some heavy development to round out his game at that next step.
But whatever, eat up those points my dude.
The Wild’s second first-round pick last year, defenseman Carson Lambos is producing from the blue line for the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, and in his sole appearance last week, he was able to score two goals and earn an assist as well.
Not déjà vu #FeelTheFreeze | #goICEgo pic.twitter.com/9rddawj3ys— Winnipeg ICE (@WHLWpgICE) January 16, 2022
The 19-year-old has found some footing in his return to North America — after spending his draft year abroad or off the ice with an injury. Through 20 games, he now has 21 points, which places him third among all WHL defensemen in points-per-game.
And the best part is the fact that scoring isn’t really his whole game. While it’s easy to get points on a juggernaut junior team like the Ice currently are, he is spending a lot of time developing his craft surrounded by unique talent and serving as a top defender.
Another 2021 draftee, the Wild’s third-round pick on that weekend is staying strong as a linemate of one of the WHL’s raw forwards. Dallas Stars prospect Logan Stankoven is getting familiar with Caedan Bankier as he serves as his centerman, setting up all the plays that he can eventually execute on.
"Stank Snipes" – a vignette (Executive Producer: Caedan Bankier)@blazerhockey | @DallasStars | @mnwild pic.twitter.com/Akmu1nhNxv— The WHL (@TheWHL) January 17, 2022
Bankier + Stankoven = @blazerhockey magic @mnwild | @DallasStars pic.twitter.com/y1yG6FzBsk— The WHL (@TheWHL) January 16, 2022
Through this week, Bankier scored a goal and earned three assists through just two games for the Kamloops Blazers. He is one to look out for down the road, and at 18 years old, he is certainly at the start of his long journey.
Bonus: A Transaction
The CHL is heading into their trade deadline shortly, and while the NHL is still a couple months from the glorious world of rumors and transactions, we get to have a little taste of it with some Wild prospects.
Josh Pillar, who was on the Blazers team with Bankier, is now a member of the Saskatoon Blades.
Details on this afternoon's trade between Kamloops and Saskatoon: pic.twitter.com/XFXupMrO4T— The WHL (@TheWHL) January 17, 2022
Pillar was drafted as an overager last year in the fourth round and has been able to produce fairly well for the Blazers, scoring 11 goals and 31 points in 29 games this season.