Starting in the QMJHL, James Malatesta is off to a hot start with the Quebec Remparts, scoring 4 goals and 7 points through 7 games. The feisty winger brings plenty of grit and aggression to the lineup, along with a continually improving scoring touch. It’s hard not to see shades of Matt Calvert when you see him play, he’ll go into any battle against anyone at any time. He projects as a bottom-six winger in the NHL at his absolute best – but make no mistake about it, he’s a legitimate NHL prospect.
Just one other prospect skating in the ‘Q: 2022 third round pick Jordan Dumais. The dynamic winger may find himself as the highest scoring player anywhere in the system this season. He’s off to a great start with 3 goals and 14 points in just 6 games. Though undersized, at this point he looks like a mid-round steal for the Blue Jackets, bringing speed and high end skill – along with a “prove em wrong” attitude.
Luca del bel Belluz is the lone Blue Jacket prospect playing in the OHL, skating this season with the Mississauga Steelheads. He’s off to a strong start as well, with 3 goals and 7 points through 6 games. A strong season from LDBB would be productive offensively, while continuing to grow, stand out and improve as an all-around center. There aren’t many quality center prospects in the system, so his development is pretty important for the Blue Jackets.
Heading out to the WHL, we’ll start with Regina Pats defenseman Stanislav Svozil. He has 5 helpers through 8 games on one of the more exciting teams in the league, playing with super prospect Connor Bedard. He continues his flashy play, often making big plays at key moments – be it a big hit, or a slick pass to set up a wide open teammate. While he isn’t regarded on the same tier as players like Ceulemans, David Jiricek, or Denton Mateychuk; I do think there’s NHL potential here.
The Moose Jaw Warriors boast two Blue Jacket prospects: Mateychuk and forward Martin Rysavy. Rysavy plays as a middle-six forward for the Warriors and has two assists through six games played. He’s a big body who does most of his work in the difficult areas, along the boards and in front of the net. A bit of a project, he projects as a bottom six winger at the pro level.
Mateychuk is one of the top prospects in the entire system, and will look to expand upon his point per game 2021-22 WHL season. He’s off to a great start, wearing the “C” for the Warriors, he already has 6 points in 7 games. Improving his all-around game and continuing to dominate offensively, is the name of the game for Denton. Look for him to get a shot to make Team Canada for the World Junior Championships in December.