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Prospect Report: Foudy on fire in London after making CBJ debut

First-round pick shining after return to juniors

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider /

When Liam Foudy played two games for the Blue Jackets in the month of February, he showed he can play at the highest level of hockey. 

He also picked up valuable experience that will help him both now in juniors and a year from now when he attempts to make the team as a rookie. 

When it comes to juniors, the 20-year-old is certainly putting that valuable experience he got at the pro level to good use. The 2018 first-round draft pick is heating up with the London Knights, as Foudy is riding a 14-game point streak and was recently named the OHL's player of the week after two goals and seven points in three games.  

"It's huge just being around the pros and everything and how quick the game is and how different it is from juniors," he said when he returned to the Blue Jackets to play his second game Feb. 13. "I played Tuesday night (with London) and it was a lot slower game compared to the Monday night game (his NHL debut). Going back there and having a big run in London will be big for my career." 

Now that March 1 has passed, Foudy is not eligible to return to the Blue Jackets until the Knights' season ends. London finishes up March 21, then enters the playoffs, where the Knights could have a long run.  

In his past 14 games, Foudy has 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points. On the year, in 41 games, the gold medalist with this year's Canadian World Juniors squad has a 26-36-62 line.  

College hockey enters postseason: The regular season is nearing a close in college hockey, which means the fun stuff is just beginning.  

The postseason begins with four of the six conferences beginning their tournaments this upcoming weekend on campus sites, with teams all battling to make the 16-team NCAA tournament field and then the Frozen Four to be held this year in Detroit. 

One Blue Jackets draft pick enters the stretch run playing a key role for the No. 2 team in the country. Goaltender Peter Thome didn't see action in the first half of the season for the University of North Dakota, but he's appeared in 10 games in the second half and been excellent. The sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft has a 6-1-2 record, a 1.52 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage while playing the majority of the second half of the season as the starter for the Fighting Hawks, who still have one more NCHC series to go against Omaha before the start of postseason play. 

Meanwhile, in the Big Ten, two CBJ draft picks will battle for a conference title. Ohio State's Carson Meyer, a native of Powell, Ohio, and a sixth-round pick in 2017, finished the regular season on a hot streak and has a 12-13-25 scoring line in 33 games this season. The No. 11 Buckeyes open up tourney play at home vs. Wisconsin with a three-game series. Minnesota's Robbie Stucker, meanwhile, is a key stay-at-home defenseman for the No. 19 Gophers, as the 2017 seventh-round pick has two goals and seven points this year. Minnesota begins postseason play hosting Notre Dame. 

And in Hockey East, there's still a weekend of regular season play to go. Kale Howarth, a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft, and his UConn team play Friday at UMass-Lowell to finish the regular season. This year, the big forward has grown his game, with five goals and 15 points in 28 games.  

KHL playoffs begin: Last week, we wrote about the success of three CBJ draft picks who hail from Russia in 19-year-old forwards Kirill Marchenko (2018 second round) and Dmitri Voronkov (2019 fourth round) as well as goalie Danill Tarasov (2017 third round).  

For Marchenko and Voronkov, who are still playing in their native country, the postseason has begun. Voronkov's Ak Bars Kazan team finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference and is facing Neftekhimik in the opening round, holding a 1-0 lead. Voronkov finished the regular season with five goals and 12 points in 34 games. 

Marchenko has already made an impact in the postseason, as he had two goals in SKA St. Petersburg's opening drubbing of Vityaz. SKA finished second in the Western Conference thanks in part to the growth of Marchenko, who finished the regular season with seven goals and 16 points in 31 games.  

Monsters drop three: It appears a season of callups and injuries is wearing on the top farm team of the Blue Jackets, as the Cleveland Monsters fell further into last place in the AHL's North Division this past week thanks to a trio of losses. 

It began Wednesday on the road in Toronto as the Monsters battled but dropped a 4-3 final in overtime against the Marlies. Ryan MacInnis had a goal and two assists while Trey Fix-Wolansky and Adam Clendening each had a goal and a helper, but Tanner& MacMaster tallied in overtime to give the home team the win. Veini Vehvilainen made 27 saves. 

Cleveland then returned home but dropped a pair of weekend games to Belleville. The B-Sens took the opener Friday night by a 5-1 margin, as Belleville built a 4-0 lead before Kole Sherwood had Cleveland's lone goal. Brad Thiessen got the start and made 20 saves. 

The Saturday game wasn't much better as Belleville took a 4-1 win. This time, the B-Sens were up 3-0 before Sherwood scored, while Vehvilainen made 21 saves. 

Cleveland hosts Laval on Thursday and Friday nights at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

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