5 players who improved their draft stock at Top Prospects Game

Antoine Morand, Owen Tippett and MacKenzie Entwistle each had a goal and an assist to help lead Team Cherry to a 7-5 win over Team Orr. Team Cherry had lost the previous six times.

• Hischier making bid for No. 1 overall
• DiPietro’s solid season continues
• Chmelevski shows off sweet hands

Nolan Patrick is the projected No. 1 overall pick in this June’s NHL Draft and was all the talk heading into Monday night’s Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

The Brandon Wheat Kings forward had two assists in Team Cherry’s 7-5 win over Team Orr, but he wasn’t the only player that impressed the NHL scouts in attendance.

Here are five players that improved their draft stock at the Top Prospects Game:

Nico Hischier, Halifax Mooseheads
Hischier has been making a case to be the No. 1 overall draft pick all year with an impressive rookie season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The 18-year-old is currently ranked No. 2 among North American skaters but his one goal and two assists for Team Orr made him the most recognizable player on the ice despite the loss.

Not only was his breakaway goal very nice, but he also made a smart move to draw a Team Cherry defenceman over before feeding Kailer Yamamoto for the team’s fourth goal.

Hischier is fourth in QMJHL scoring with 68 points (33 goals, 35 assists) in 40 games. The Swiss native might be leading the league in points had he not missed a large chunk of December and into January at the world junior championship where he had four goals and three assists in five games.

Michael DiPietro, Windsor Spitfires
DiPietro entered the second half of the game and showed why he leads the Ontario Hockey League in both goals-against average and save percentage.

The 17-year-old turned aside 14-of-16 shots in 27:48 — both goals coming off strange bounces. It was his save late in the second period that put a stamp on an otherwise impressive performance for Team Orr.

The Amherstburg, Ont., native is currently the No. 7 ranked North American goaltender but there’s still lots of hockey, and chances to show why he should move up in the draft, left. DiPietro will once again be in the spotlight in May during the MasterCard Memorial Cup, which Windsor is hosting.

DiPietro is 22-7-5 with a 2.15 goals-against average and .925 save percentage this season while also adding five shutouts.

Stelio Mattheos, Brandon Wheat Kings
Mattheos’ goal to round out the Team Orr scoring wasn’t pretty — a tap in at the side of the net — but overall it was a solid night for the forward.

The Winnipeg native hasn’t put up crazy numbers in his sophomore Western Hockey League season but he did a lot of little things right. One negative would be Mattheos’ first period hooking penalty.

Mattheos is currently ranked 23rd by NHL Central Scouting and will need to improve on his 17 goals and 21 assists in 46 games so far this year to move up. But his performance on Monday night was a good start.

Former Wheat Kings general manager and currently Vegas Golden Knights assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon had nothing but high praise for Mattheos when I spoke to him prior to last season.

“He’s a first pick overall in his age group, the 1999 borns,” McCrimmon said. “He’s a good young player.”

Gabriel Vilardi, Windsor Spitfires
The Top Prospects Game was an opportunity for Vilardi to shine after being limited to 30 games this season due to a pair of injuries.

The centre didn’t disappoint by scoring a garbage goal on teammate DiPietro in the second period while also leading Team Cherry with six shots.

Vilardi, 17, is currently the No. 3 ranked North American skater and, like DiPietro, has a lot of time left to rise his stock.

The Kingston, Ont., native has 17 goals and 19 assists — a pace of 1.20 points per game.

Sasha Chmelevski, Ottawa 67’s
The centre tied the game at 1-1 for Team Orr in the first period with this impressive goal:

It was his hustle off the bench followed by the patience to wait out Team Cherry defenceman Artyom Minulin that was impressive on the goal.

Chmelevski, 17, is currently ranked 38th among North American Skaters so any solid showing would help the six-foot, 186 pounder from Northville, Mich.

Chmelevski, who was sent to Ottawa in a blockbuster deal last January for Travis Konecny and Sam Studnicka, will need a big last two months if he’s to climb some team’s draft lists. He’s been scoreless in his last five games and has 17 goals and 14 assists in 39 games.

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