With the Memorial Cup starting one month from Wednesday, the three leagues that make up the Canadian Hockey League -- the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League -- have all reached their conference finals. And a number of 2013 NHL Draft prospects have helped their respective teams get to this point.
The conference finals in the WHL start first, with a junior-hockey version of the Battle of Alberta when the Eastern Conference Finals open April 18 with top-seeded Edmonton Oil Kings facing the Calgary Hitmen.
Aiding in Edmonton's effort to this point has been forward Curtis Lazar, No. 26 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2013 draft. A 5-foot-11.75, 193-pound center/right wing is fifth on the team with four goals in nine games. Lazar already has proven himself as a quality postseason player -- Lazar led all first-year WHL players with eight goals and 19 points in 20 playoff games last season to help Edmonton reach the Memorial Cup.
Helping Calgary's case has been forward Gregory Chase, No. 94 on Central Scouting's list. The 6-foot, 195-pound right wing/center is fourth on the Hitmen with seven points in 10 games.