Wild prospect Khovanov looking like a steal

Rather than focus exclusively on the Minnesota Wild’s top prospects, we’re taking a look at the best players from across the State of Hockey every week.

From college to the pros, check out our recap of all the week’s events in Minnesota hockey, as we check in with college players, Wild prospects and State of Hockey alums.

Let’s take a look at our three stars of the week in the latest edition of the State of Hockey Tracker.

 

FIRST STAR

Alexander Khovanov, F, Moncton (QMJHL)

It was a big week for Khovanov, who had a hat trick and two assists for a career-high five points in a win over Shawnigan on Thursday. Check out all of them below.

He was back at it Friday, picking up two assists, then added another goal and an assist Wednesday. He now ranks fifth in the QMJHL with 19 goals and 22 assists (41 points) in 30 games. One of the Wild’s three third-round picks in this last summer’s draft, Khovanov didn’t make his juniors debut until Dec. 28 last year after recovering from an illness, finishing with nine goals and 19 assists in 29 games, and his draft stock suffered accordingly. Wild fans should get a chance to see him in action later this month. Khovanov was among the players named to Russia’s World Junior Championship camp roster this week.

 

SECOND STAR

Hunter Shepard, G, Minnesota Duluth (NCHC)

The NCHC’s Goaltender of the Month, Shepard went 4-1 in November, leading the conference with a .949 save percentage, a 1.01 GAA and two shutouts, allowing just five goals. Those were some of the best numbers in the country last month. Only five goaltenders had a better save percentage, while Shepard was one of six to post multiple shutouts. He shined last weekend, backstopping the Bulldogs to a split with conference rival North Dakota. Shepard made 22 saves in a 5-0 win over the Fighting Hawks on Friday for his program-record 10th career shutout, then allowed two goals in a 2-1 loss the following night. A native of Cohasset, Minn., Shepard went undrafted after spending two seasons in the NAHL, and took over as the Bulldogs’ goaltender last season.

 

THIRD STAR

Kirill Kaprizov, F, CSKA Moscow (KHL)

We try not to dwell on Kaprizov too much around here. The former fifth-round pick is staying in Russia until 2020 at the earliest. However, we’ll check in whenever anything major changes with the 21-year-old playmaker. He’s struggled a bit out the gate this season, suffering through a couple lengthy scoring droughts, but Kaprizov has come on strong this week. He had back-to-back multi-point games last week, racking up a goal and an assist in wins over Spartak and HC Sochi. He’s up to 15 goals and 10 assists (25 points) in 34 games this season, third on the team.

 

AROUND THE RINK

— Wild prospect Connor Dewar (third round, 2018) stretched his point streak to six games Wednesday with an assist in the Everett Silvertips’ 4-2 win over Spokane. He’s tied for third in the WHL with 23 goals in 27 games.

— Wild prospect Ivan Lodnia (third round, 2017) has three goals and six assists in his last six games.

— Minnetonka, Minn., native and New York Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller had a goal and four assists over the weekend, tied for the Big Ten lead, to help Wisconsin to a win and tie in their weekend series with Penn State.

— The State of Hockey will be well-represented in the NWHL All-Star Game. The Minnesota Whitecaps will have eight players in February’s event: Defensemen Lee Stecklein and Amanda Boulier, forwards Hannah Brandt, Kendall Coyle Schofield, Jonna Curtis, Allie Thunstrom and Kate Schipper and goaltender Amanda Leveille.

— Stillwater, Minn., native Collin Saccoman of Lake Superior State was named the WCHA’s Defenseman of the Month after scoring five goals in nine games, tied for first in the nation.