While there isn’t playoff hockey going on in Stockton or Calgary this season, a few prospects who could be joining the Flames and Heat down the road are still fighting for their playoff lives.
Swift Current Broncos captain Glenn Gawdin and last year’s first-round selection in the NHL Entry Draft (and current Tri-City American) Jusso Valimaki are both in their respective conference finals matchups with Gawdin and the Broncos currently up two-games to none on the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL’s Eastern Final, and Valimaki and his Americans are tied up 1-1 against the Everett Silvertips.
Gawdin needed seven games to get past both the Regina Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors, but are now cruising against the Hurricanes, who’ve won both of their previous series in five games. What’s been most impressive of Gawdin’s run through the WHL postseason has been his consistency, as the forward is tied for fourth in the WHL with 22 points, nine of which are goals (ranking fifth in the WHL).
And while Gawdin has had to fight and claw with his team to get into the third round, it’s been easy sailing for Valimaki and the Tri-City Americans, having swept Dillon Dube and the Kelowna Rockets, followed by another sweep of Matthew Phillips and the Victoria Royals.
In fact, the Americans didn’t fall in the playoffs until their ninth game of the “second season”.
Valimaki has been impressive in his first WHL playoff run, posting a goal and seven assists, tied for the eighth most among WHL defenseman and has posted a plus-9 rating through his first nine games.