The Portland Winterhawks' deep group of NHL prospects has helped the team win 16 of its past 17 games to climb within one point of the best record in the Western Hockey League. But another major factor has been the play of three of its most heralded 2013 NHL Draft hopefuls.
Center Nicolas Petan, right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand and defenseman Seth Jones all played significant roles as the team swept a pair of games this weekend to extend its latest winning streak to four games.
|Seth Jones, center, is one of three 2013 NHL Draft-eligible players starring for Portland.|
Petan had a pair of goals Friday in a 4-2 defeat of the Kootenay Ice. Saturday, he had a goal and an assist in an 8-2 win at Seattle. Bjorkstrand had a pair of goals in Saturday's game. Jones had an assist in each game, giving him a point in three straight.
Jones, who has 17 points and a plus-17 rating in 24 games, is No. 1 on Central Scouting's top 25 ranking of WHL skaters for this year's draft. Bjorkstrand, who leads all first-year WHL players with 13 goals and is tied for the lead with 23 points, is No. 11. Petan, third in the league with 44 points, is No. 15.
Here is how other WHL draft hopefuls fared over the weekend:
* Prince Albert defenseman Joshua Morrissey, No. 6 on Central Scouting's WHL top 25, had a goal and an assist in the Raiders' 6-0 win Friday at the Brandon Wheat Kings.
* Saskatoon left wing Nathan Burns made his first goal with the Blades since being acquired in a trade a big one, netting the game-winner with 1:01 left in regulation Friday in a 3-2 victory at the Kamloops Blazers.