American Hockey League
21-year-old rookie Frank Vatrano started the season with five goals in two games to take the AHL Player of the Week honor. He netted four goals in a 6-4 win over Portland last Sunday. Vatrano joined the Providence Bruins from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst last season and he posted one marker in five outings. Alexander Khokhlachev collected five assists to start the season and he had a hand in four of Vatrano's four tallies. Khokhlachev as hoping to stick with Boston this season before going back to the minors, but if he can keep playing like this then it won't be long before he gets called up. Ty Rattie of the Chicago Wolves skated in just one game last week and he produced three points (two goals, one assist) in a 5-1 win over Milwaukee. Rattie, who nearly made the cut with the Blues, had 21 goals and 42 points in 59 AHL matches last campaign. Other AHL rookies who made a strong first impression were Hershey's Riley Barber and San Diego's Nick Ritchie, who scored two goals each in their minor-league debuts. Barber, who was a sixth-round pick of the Capitals in 2012, enjoyed three very productive seasons with Miami University (Ohio) before turning pro this year. Ritchie, of course, was the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by Anaheim. He developed his game in the OHL with Peterborough and Sault Set. Marie.
National Collegiate Athletic Association
Calgary prospect Mark Jankowski picked up a goal and four assists in two games against Miami University (Ohio) last weekend. Providence won one match and tied the other. In their 7-3 victory, Jankowski notched four points. He was selected in the first round (21st overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft, but he has remained in school and is playing his fourth year with the Friars. Jankowski's teammate and St. Louis draft pick, Jake Walman, registered a goal and two helpers to begin his sophomore campaign. The defenseman was a third rounder of the Blues in 2014. University of Maine forward Blaine Byron posted a goal and two assists as well in two games. The sixth-round choice of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013 is playing in his third season after he had 27 points in 39 matches last year. The NCAA had another Blues prospect making waves last week when Maxim Letunov tallied a hat trick Friday and earned an assist Saturday in two appearances versus Alabama-Huntsville. He was a second-round pick (52nd overall) in the 2014 draft.
2016 top prospect Auston Matthews surprised a lot of people when he decided to take his talents overseas for the 2015-16 season. He had the choice of playing in the NCAA or the WHL, but he chose to play for the ZSC Lions of the Swiss National League A. The 18-year-old wanted a chance to play with men and it was very appealing for him to play for coach Marc Crawford. Matthews has made an impact in Switzerland with eight goals and 10 points in nine games. We will get a closer look at him during the World Junior Championship, but he'll probably be a regular in the prospect report over the course of the year.