No player at any level this season has had better puck luck than Dennis Yan of the Shawinigan Cataractes. The 2015 third round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning scored on 41.2 percent of his shots in the month of October, totalling 14 goals (on 34 shots) and 10 assists in 11 games. He also had four game-winning goals. Yan’s performance was enough to earn him the Hockey’s Future NHL Prospect of the Month designation for October of 2015.
Yan, a native of Portland, OR fell to the Lightning in this past June’s draft and is using the beginning of this season to prove himself. He scored a goal per game in last year’s first round, seven-game exit in his rookie season with Shawinigan, and through the end of October has 15 goals in 13 games this season. Yan clicked with Anthony Beauvillier (NYI) immediately upon arriving in Shawinigan and the pair have become the most dynamic duo in the QMJHL.
The Cataractes are 15-3-0 this season and have been on the BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings throughout the year. Yan went pointless in the team’s first game of the month, a 3-2 win over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Since then he has been the driving force of the offense, carrying a 10-game point streak into November. His best stretch of games came from Oct. 4-10, where, in four games, Yan recorded 15 points, including back-to- back hat tricks against Rouyn-Noranda and Val d’Or. He also scored a hat trick against Rimouski on Oct. 28th on just three shots.
Brayden Point, C, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Brayden Point is off to a tremendous start this season. The 19 year old recorded 178 points in just 132 regular season games the past two seasons and had a very strong summer with Hockey Canada in the exhibition games against Russia. The Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick didn’t join the Warriors until Oct. 3rd as he was with the Lightning in training camp, but when he did return he immediately began putting up points in bunches. Point had 12 points through the first four games of the season and ended the month with 28 points in 12 games. Point is arguably the most skilled player in the WHL, if not all of junior hockey. He could arguably play and do well in the AHL this season, but is ineligible. Instead, he will be a key contributor for the Canadian World Junior team and likely appear on this list throughout the season.
Vili Saarijärvi, D, Flint Firebirds (OHL)
Vili Saarijärvi has helped stabilize a franchise in transition in his first season with Flint. The Finnish defender is tied for the team lead in points with 16, leads the team in assists with 14 and is a team-high +10. William Bitten has the next best rating on the team – a +1. After a strong start with 5 assists in three September games, Saarijärvi carried momentum into October and finished the month with 11 points in 11 games. He only finished one game with a minus rating in the month and also held a six-game point streak from Oct. 4-22. The Detroit Red Wings selected the small, puck-moving defenseman in the third round of June’s draft.
Maxim Letunov, C, University of Connecticut (Hockey East)
Nineteen year old Russian freshman Maxim Letunov has been one of the best scorers in NCAA Hockey through October. He played six games in the month and, despite being held pointless on Oct. 31st, he finished the month with 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists). Letunov, a St. Louis Blues second round pick in 2014 whose rights were later dealt to the Arizona Coyotes, spent the 2014-15 season with the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL and finished second in scoring behind 2015 first round pick Kyle Connor (WPG) with 64 points in 58 games. In his first game with Connecticut, Letunov recorded a hat trick and hasn’t looked back. Through one month he ranks sixth in the country in scoring.
Devin Shore, C, Texas Stars (AHL)
The Texas Stars have been one of the hottest teams to start the AHL season and one of the main reasons is the contribution of rookie center Devin Shore. The Ajax, ON native played 19 games with the Stars last season after leaving the University of Maine, but recorded just six points and struggled to find a role late in the season. This year has been different, however, as Shore leads the Stars in scoring with 11 points in nine games, all of which were played in October. He scored a goal in his first game of the year, two in his second and then a hat trick in his third game. Shore plays on both the penalty kill and power play units and scored on both in October.
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