Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; Denton Mateychuk after being selected as the number twelve overall pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft at Bell Centre.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Fantasy Hockey

Fantasy Hockey Focus: Top CHL postseason performances

It truly is the greatest time of year. The NHL playoffs are in full swing. The U18 World Championships kick off this week. The Men's World Championships aren't far off. But let's not forget about the teenagers in North America. The CHL and USHL post-seasons are already deep into their runs. 

Today we'll take a peek at some of the top performers from across the WHL and OHL.

Denton Mateychuk, D, WHL

Denton Mateychuk has been outstanding for the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL playoffs. Wearing the captain “C,” he boasts 19 points in just nine games, which leads the entire WHL. Mateychuk is a defenceman, lest you forget. This dominant performance has allowed the Warriors to make quick work of the Brandon Wheat Kings, sweeping them four games to zero. The Swift Current Broncos managed one win before bowing out.

This Fantasy Hockey Life card shows some of Mateychuk’s advanced metrics and displays a lot of green. This shows all the areas where he excels compared to his WHL league mates. It remains to be seen just how far he can drive this Warriors team, we wouldn’t want to be against him.

This will be Mateychuk’s fourth and final season in junior. It’s his second as captain of the Warriors and he’d obviously like to cap it off with a WHL championship and Memorial Cup. Regardless of how his team does, he’ll be off to the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL next season and we expect big things from him. It might be another year or two until he’s with the Blue Jackets, but we expect him to make that jump as well and be a force.

Jagger Firkus, RW, WHL

Jagger Firkus was selected 35th overall by the Seattle Kraken in their second-ever draft, 2022. This season is his fourth and last in junior and he’s making his impact felt. Firkus torched the league with 126 points in 63 games for exactly two points per game in the regular season. So far through two rounds with the Moose Jaw Warriors, he has stayed consistent with two points per game in the playoffs as well.

Moose Jaw is in for a far tougher battle against the Saskatoon Blades than they faced in either the first or second round of the playoffs. It’s interesting that Firkus has evolved into much more of a playmaking threat since he has such a great shot. He also has been much better both in transition and defensively, according to Mitch Brown’s tracking data.

The dynamic duo of Mateychuk and Firkus has certainly brought them deep into their playoff run and will likely help determine just how much farther he goes. Next season, when he begins his AHL play for the Coachella Valley Firebirds, will be very important for Firkus. He’ll have to show he can continue to score against bigger and stronger competition. We like his chances.

Sandis Vilmanis, W, OHL

Sandis Vilmanis hails from Latvia but was playing in Sweden when drafted by the Florida Panthers in 2022 in the fifth round. Since then, he’s been in the OHL primarily with the Sarnia Sting but was traded to the North Bay Battalion at the deadline this season. So far, it’s proving to be a great move as the winger has 16 points in nine playoff games.

The Battalion find themselves in the final of the Eastern Conference of the OHL after dispatching both Kingston and Sudbury. Through two rounds, no Battalion forward has more points than Vilmanis with Dalyn Wakely and frequent linemate Justin Ertel just one behind at 15.

The Panthers clearly liked what they saw from Vilmanis this season as they signed him to his entry-level contract. The tracking data from Mitch Brown does not look great. Perhaps he’s scoring much more than expected or he’s benefiting from his surroundings. The winger will likely play in the AHL for the Charlotte Checkers next season and will look to continue his scoring.  We will be eagerly observing that transition.

Dylan Roobroeck, C, OHL

A surprising playoff leader in the OHL is Dylan Roobroeck, who was a sixth-round pick by the New York Rangers in 2023. The massive 6-foot-7 center has been a force for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. He has one more point than likely first-rounder in 2024 Beckett Sennecke and former first-rounder from 2023 Calum Ritchie. His 16 points match his 16 penalty minutes in 10 games.

The Generals will face the Battalion in the Easter Conference finals of the OHL, which will be a much bigger challenge than what they have faced so far.

Roobroeck has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. Sixth-round picks don’t usually take such large strides in their draft plus one season, but he certainly has. You can see from his tracking data by Mitch Brown that his offense is pretty strong, but defensively leaves a lot to be desired. He’s pretty good in transition but will have to be at his best to lead the Generals past the Battalion.

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This article is about:
Fantasy Hockey Columbus Blue Jackets Florida Panthers Moose Jaw Warriors New York Rangers North Bay Battalion Oshawa Generals Seattle Kraken NHL OHL WHL Jagger Firkus Denton Mateychuk Dylan Roobroeck Sandis Vilmanis
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