No. 1 Star - Alexis Vanier, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Talk about a sweet debut to the draft season. Alexis Vanier, a late-95 birthdate is a first-time eligible defenceman from the QMJHL who scored eight points in his rookie season for the Drakkar last year in 53 games. Not too bad for a rookie defensive defenceman, but unlikely to catch the eye of scouts.
Already this season in two games, Vanier has nearly eclipsed that total. After a two-point debut last week against Rimouski, Vanier led the Drakkar offence against the Quebec Remparts with a two-goal effort that resulted in five points. He now has seven points through his first three games. The Drakkar, incidentally, absolutely routed the Patrick Roy-less Remparts by a 7-4 score and out-shot them 40-18.
Also a pretty chippy game as well. Six powerplay goals were scored in the contest—four by the Drakkar, started off by Denis Gorbunov in the first. Baie-Comeau's powerplay came alive in the third, with Jérémy Gregoire potting a couple along with Nicholas Meloche's first ever Q goal. After two assists in his first two games, Baie-Comeau's first rounder this past draft finally tallied.
No. 2 Star - Travis Konecny, Ottawa 67s (OHL)
All eyes were on the 2013 Priority Selection's No. 1 pick Friday night, and Konecny delivered, drawing rave reviews on Twitter for his play from fans and press. He factored in on a couple of 67s goals—both assists—in Ottawa's come-from-behind 5-4 win over the Belleville Bulls.
Down 2-0 in the first, Konecny set up Stan Studnicka on a cross-crease pass, and he had the primary assist on a powerplay goal by Taylor Fielding in the third period that brought the 67s to within one. From there, it was Mike Vlajkov and Joseph Blandasi that scored the tying and winning goals as Ottawa kicked off their season with an important win, desperate to forget last season's mess.
No. 3 Star - Oliver Bjorkstrand, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
The Portland Winterhawks players are once again going to have to draw straws to determine which of their players get featured on the Three Stars. The Columbus Blue Jackets second rounder paced the Portland offence tonight that turned in a routine Portlandesque performance in their opener with a 9-2 win over Prince George. Bjorkstrand had a goal and four assists, leading the charge in a five-goal Winterhawks second period that ended any doubt.
This one also got chippy in the end, with the teams combining for 49 penalty minutes in the third period. Also of note in the third was Vancouver Canuck prospect Anton Cederholm's first WHL goal, from Adam Rossignol and Nic Petan.
Honourable Mention - Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa Generals (OHL) — What may be keeping the General's super sophomore out of the stars tonight is that we had him there a night ago. Michael Dal Colle followed up his four-point debut in the season opener with a two-goal, three-point night in the Gens 5-4 win in Sarnia.
Just to point out the absurd, Brian Hughes scored a shorthanded goal in the first period tonight and Hunter Smith tucked away an unassisted winner with twelve seconds to go. Those are the only two Generals goals, out of the nine the team has scored this season, in which Dal Colle has not factored in. Scouts, take note.
Honourable Mention - Logan Nelson, Victoria Royals (WHL) — The Victoria Royals got off to an inauspicious start, getting outshot 7-1 by the host Vancouver Giants in their home opener. The overage Buffalo Sabres draft pick net four assists, driving the play for the Royals as the visitors scored four unanswered goals in the second and third periods. Linemate Austin Carroll recorded a trick.
Honourable Mention - Taylor Cooper, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) — What's not to like about a 16-year-old sophomore kicking off his season with a hat-trick on the road? Cooper, first-time eligible this June, won't turn 17 in November. He scored the go-ahead goal late in the second and an insurance marker late in the third to seal the road victory.
Potent Notables: Nathan who? Jonathan who? It was Nikolai Ehlers and Andrew Ryan turning in multi-point performances in a 5-2 win for the defending Memorial Cup champions over Moncton… Jérémy Auger scored with 1:07 left in the third for Drummondville as they beat Rimouski 2-1 in a squeaker… Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha scored a hat-trick in his season debut in a 5-0 win for the Foreurs over Gatineau… 96-born Alexis D'Aoust scored twice and recorded 7 shots in Shawinigan's win over Chicoutimi. Cataractes goalie Marvin Cüpper made 43 saves on 46 shots… In the OHL, the home opener for the Sudbury Wolves against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds was fogged out and will be played on a later date… Gemel Smith scored thrice for Owen Sound in a win against Mississauga… The Kitchener Rangers hung 56 shots against a Saginaw Spirit lineup decimated by NHL camps. Jake Paterson made 52 saves but picks up the loss… Anthony Stolarz with a 30-save shutout for London against Plymouth in his season debut. Kyle Platzer scored twice for the Knights… Back to the Dub, Hitmen goalie Chris Driedger was blinded by the neon green monstrosities debuted by the Edmonton Oil Kings at Rexall, allowing 6 goals on 26 shots… Rourke Chartier scored twice for the Kelowna Rockets to spoil Kamloops home opener… Two goals for Jayden Hart in Prince Albert's 6-1 win over Saskatoon, but just one assist on six goals for the German import Leon Draisaitl?