In this week’s Prospect Faceoff, we take a look at Quebec Remparts goaltender Callum Booth, who has been the team’s saving grace during a rough stretch. He will be opposed by a former first overall pick, Daniel Audette, who has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. Also in this week’s edition, one underrated forward on North Dakota is garnering attention, as are a pair of draft-eligible skaters who are in weekend competition.
Callum Booth (Quebec) vs. Daniel Audette (Sherbrooke) – QMJHL
In this week’s Feature Faceoff, we check in on Sherbrooke Phoenix forward Daniel Audette as he tries to snap a three-game scoreless skid when Callum Booth and the Quebec Remparts come to town.
Unlike previous seasons, the Quebec Remparts don’t find themselves near the top of the standings, and are trying to get back to form following a dismal stretch where they only have one regulation win in their last 10 games. Lacking in goal scoring depth, Quebec has relied upon Carolina Hurricanes goaltending prospect Callum Booth to provide them with stability in goal. He has performed admirably considering the circumstances, posting a 3.15 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage through 35 games. Booth will need to be on his game this weekend if the Remparts are going to break out of their slump.
Coming into the 2012-13 season, the Sherbrooke Phoenix introduced Daniel Audette (MTL) as the new face of the franchise when they took him with the first overall pick in the QMJHL Entry Draft. His first season in the league was a quality one, as have the past two seasons, but Audette is still rounding into form and trying to hit the scoresheet more consistently. He tallied 25 points through the end of October, but then was struck with the injury bug and didn’t return until December. Since then, he has been back in the lineup regularly but has been hit-or-miss over the last month.
Austin Poganski (North Dakota) vs. Quentin Shore (Denver) – NCAA
With most of the focus on the University of North Dakota’s top line of Brock Boeser (VAN), Nick Schmaltz (CHI), and Hobey Baker Award finalist Drake Caggiula, Austin Poganski has been the very epitome of consistency. The St. Louis Blues prospect is surging right along with the rest of his teammates as North Dakota is once again a powerhouse in college hockey. Poganski will be happy to see Denver on the schedule, as the last time the two teams met in December, Poganski scored three goals in two games, tallying the game-winner in both contests.
The University of Denver counters with senior forward Quentin Shore, who has a number of timely goals in his own right. Shore is in his final year with Denver before facing a mutual decision with the Ottawa Senators, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2013 NHL Draft. Shore, a power forward who drives the net with a ferocity matched by few, is coming off his best game of the year where he scored twice and added an assist against the Miami University. Shore is two goals shy of his career-high of 10, which has helped guide Denver to a 6-1-3 record in their last 10 games.
Brayden Burke (Lethbridge) vs. Keegan Kanzig (Calgary) – WHL
Originally drafted by the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL Bantam Draft, Brayden Burke suited up for a quick cup of coffee with the team before being shipped off to the Lethbridge Hurricanes at the beginning of last year. The team saw endless potential in Burke, who has rewarded their patience by blossoming into one of the WHL’s premier playmakers. Following a 34-point rookie year, Burke was expected to come in this year and provide depth, and he took that opportunity and ran with it. He is currently the team’s leading scorer with 20 goals and a staggering 60 assists, and with Giorgio Estephan (BUF) on the shelf, the Hurricanes need him now more than ever. Eligible for this summer’s NHL Draft, Burke may soon find out that an NHL team needs him, too.
Where Burke is a slippery forward with the ability to create space, he will need to keep his head up when Calgary Hitmen defenseman Keegan Kanzig is on the ice opposite him. The physically imposing defender is one of the most intimidating defenseman in the league, and at 6’7” and 245 pounds, Kanzig has the reach, strength, and defensive prowess to shut most forwards down. Kanzig led the WHL in 2014-15 with 166 penalty minutes, rarely turning down an opportunity to fight or protect a teammate. He is the kind of guy teams love to have but hate playing against, and after this season the Calgary Flames are expected to keep him right in the back yard when he begins his entry-level contract.
Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor) vs. Dante Salituro (Ottawa) – OHL
The Windsor Spitfires have a penchant for hitting the lottery in the CHL Import Draft, and they struck gold once again with Russian defenseman Mikhail Sergachev. One of the most talked about defenders for the upcoming NHL Draft, Sergachev burst onto the scene in the OHL and currently sits third in scoring by defensemen. Sergachev’s vision is regarded as his best asset, but his shot and ability to get to the front of the net has to be respected. With 14 goals and 27 assists so far, Sergachev is garnering attention as a potential top-10 pick for the 2016 NHL Draft.
When Ottawa 67’s team captain Travis Konecny (PHI) was traded to the Sarnia Sting, that further opened the door for Dante Salituro to shine. Salituro often played second-fiddle to Konecny, but increased ice time and opportunities have opened the door for Salituro to garner attention after he was surprisingly snubbed at the 2015 NHL Draft. While undersized at 5’9” and 170 pounds, Salituro’s offensive acumen shines consistently, and he is closing in on career-high marks in goals and assists. With 30 goals and 36 assists, Salituro is clearly the 67’s new leader and a big reason why the team has won seven of their last 10 games.
Jakub Vrana (Hershey) vs. Philip Samuelsson (Springfield) – AHL
Newly-minted CCM/AHL Player of the Week Jakub Vrana will be in competition this weekend as the Hershey Bears visit the Springfield Falcons. Vrana, who earned the honor following a three-goal, four-assist stretch last week, enters the game with seven goals and nine assists since joining the team. Selected 13th overall by the Washington Capitals last year, Vrana is yet another skilled European prospect who appears to be close to making his NHL debut. Early results are one thing, but continuing this torried scoring pace would help him join the Capitals sooner rather than later.
Vrana will be opposed by Philip Samuelsson, who is working hard to become an NHL regular within the Arizona Coyotes organization. Samuelsson has never been known as an offensive dynamo, but he is slowly picking it up in that category, notching three goals and 18 assists so far this season and recently passing his previous career-high in points with a month to go in the regular season. Samuelsson has been impressive enough to play a handful of games with the Coyotes, who relied upon him to provide them with a capable, smooth, and calming presence on the blueline.
Robbie Burt (Oshawa) vs. Michael Dal Colle (Kingston) – OHL
The K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ontario was sold out this weekend as Michael Dal Colle (NYI) and the Frontenacs hosted his old team for the first time since he was acquired from the visiting Oshawa Generals. Playing on a line with Spencer Watson (LAK), Dal Colle scored twice, including the game-winner, and added an assist in the Frontenacs 5-4 victory. Watson played a role in every Kingston goal, his third multi-point game in his last five outings. Robbie Burt, who was the lone player acquired for Dal Colle, did not register a point for the Generals.
Daniel Sprong (Charlottetown) vs. Evgeny Svechnikov (Cape Breton) – QMJHL
Judging by how Daniel Sprong has performed since being returned to the QMJHL, it may not be long before he is back playing in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sprong tallied four assists as linemates Filip Chlapik (OTT) and Oliver Cooper each scored twice in the Islanders 7-6 win. Charlottetown carried a 4-1 lead into the third period, before Evgeny Svechnikov (DET) sprang into action, scoring his 23rd goal of the season during Cape Breton’s five-goal third period to draw the game even. In overtime, Cooper buried his 24th of the year to secure the victory.
Terrance Amorosa (Clarkson) vs. Jeff Taylor (Union) – ECAC
ECAC members Clarkson University and Union College met up for a weekend tilt, with Clarkson coming away with a decisive 4-1 victory. Clarkson spread the scoring out, with eight players managing at least one point. Terrance Amorosa (PHI) didn’t register a point, but he did lay out Union forward Cole Maier early in the first, setting the tone for the night. Union defenseman Jeff Taylor (PIT) was no match, finishing with a -1 rating despite launching seven shots on goal.
Noah Juulsen (Everett) vs. Ethan Bear (Seattle) – WHL
Two of the highest scoring defensemen in the WHL met up last weekend, with Everett Silvertips rearguard Noah Juulsen (MTL) getting the better of Ethan Bear (EDM). Juulsen logged an assist, as Carson Stadnyk and Graham Miller each scored twice in the Silvertips’ 4-1 win. Playing behind Mathew Barzal (NYI) couldn’t spark Bear, who was outmatched for most of the game, finishing with a disappointing -3 rating.
Mikko Rantanen (San Antonio) vs. Jason Dickinson (Texas) vs. – AHL
The Lone Star State hosted a whirlwind of a game between the Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage, with the Stars defending home ice successfully in a 4-3 win. Mikko Rantanen (COL) and Jason Dickinson (DAL) each tallied one assist, but on this night other players took center stage. Borna Rendulic, another prized Colorado Avalanche prospect, scored twice to pace the Rampage. AHL veteran Travis Morin scored one goal and one assist, and Julius Honka added two assists for the Stars.
Follow Dave Hahn on Twitter via @