Monday, December 31, 2012

Game Report: Edmonton 6 Brandon 2

1ST PERIOD
EDM M. Moroz (7) (S. Legault, C. Corbett) 10:30
EDM H. Samuelsson (20) (B. Carroll) 11:44
BDN T. McGauley (9) (A. Nikkel, R. Nejezchleb) 16:42

2ND PERIOD
EDM K. Lowe (7) , 2:56
EDM H. Samuelsson (21) (C. Lazar, A. Sautner) 8:48

3RD PERIOD
EDM K. Lowe (8) (H. Samuelsson, S. Legault) 4:57 (PP)
EDM H. Samuelsson (22) (D. Wruck, T. Foster) 10:49 (PP)
BDN R. Nejezchleb (8) (C. Robinson, T. Cooper) 16:22

Brandon
Corbin Boes 30/36

Edmonton
Laurent Brossoit 21/23

Brandon
1. Richard Nejezchleb RW - Nejezchleb is a big bodied winger that was one of a very few that had any offense in his stick on this night. His skating is a bit sluggish at times but his puck control is solid, especially along the boards. Tallied a goal and an assist on this night. The Wheat Kings are very thin at forward even with the return of Michael Ferlund, so any offense coming from any of their forward would be of great help.
2. Ryan Pulock D - The best chance at zone entry for the Wheat Kings was Pulock rushing from the defense position. Pulock was quiet on this night, but was by far their most reliable player. Pulock's all around game and just having a penchant for making the right play at the right time will make him very sought after for the 2013 NHL draft. The Wheat Kings seemed very disjointed for most of the night and Pulock got caught up in that but his overall talent is something that should go unnoticed.

Edmonton
1. Henrik Samuelsson RW - Samuelsson was having one of those nights where everything he shot was going into the net, but he was full value for every goal. Often found himself in the right place at the right time and made the most of his opportunities. Tallied three times and added an assist. His big frame gave the Wheat Kings problems all night, a matchup he took full advantage of. Scored off the rush and scored around the net, showed nice versatility tonight.
2. Keegan Lowe D - With fellow defenders Griffin Reinhart, David Musil and Martin Gernat out of the lineup, Lowe stepped up his offensive game by tallying twice. Scored the big goal in the 2nd period that put the Oil Kings up 3-1 and they never looked back. Lowe played well in all zones. Was shooting the puck offensively and played a reliable game defensively. Battled for the puck all night. He is needed right now as the Oil Kings are playing a lot of defensemen that don't have a lot of experience. Lowe's expeience came to the forefront tonight.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Game Report: Red Deer 5 Edmonton 3

1ST PERIOD
R.D W. Johnson (8) (B. Underwood, K. Doetzel) 1:18
R.D T. Elson (11) (D. Fafard) 3:30
R.D M. Dumba (8) (B. Gaudet, D. Volek) 5:37 (PP)
EDM M. St. Croix (20) (T. Foster) 12:17
EDM T. Ewanyk (5) (H. Samuelsson, M. Moroz) 18:36

2ND PERIOD
R.D B. Maxwell (3) (R. Dieno, D. Fafard) 3:27
EDM T. Foster (17) (C. Corbett, M. St. Croix) 16:18

3RD PERIOD
R.D M. Dumba (9) (B. Gaudet) 16:32 (PP)

Red Deer
Bolton Pouliot 53/56

Edmonton
Tristan Jarry 34/39
Laurent Brossoit 1/1

Red Deer
1. Turner Elson LW - Have to admire the courage with the way Elson plays the game. The Rebels captain tallied once. had a fight with Keegan Lowe that I would call a draw and finished +2 on the night. Elson also showed courage by taking a couple of shots to the legs standing in front of the net. Elson is the poster child for how the Rebels play. Courageous, fearless, push the pace style game.
2. Mathew Dumba D - Statement game for the Rebels and a statement game for Dumba. After being one of the last cuts off of the Team Canada World Junior Team, Dumba didn't let that get to his head and played a strong game tonight. Defensive position still questionable at times but his ability to make impact plays at critical times in a game either through a big shot or a big hit. Scored twice including the clincher in the third period. Dumba remains an impact player on a team that believes they can win.

Edmonton
1. T.J. Foster C - Foster with yet another strong game, but thats expected from one of the veterans on the Oil Kings. Foster is so reliable at both ends of the ice. Tallied a goal and an assist tonight. Foster is the sharpshooter for the Oil Kings. Good things usually happen when he is taking shots towards the net. Foster cannot be unnoticed by the pro leagues much longer.
2. Cody Corbett D - Corbett was one of the few mainstays on the Oil Kings backend on a night where there were a lot of new faces due to injury and the World Junior Championship. Corbett tallied an assist but played solid defense and was complementing the offense nicely. The Oil Kings leaned on Corbett a lot tonight but ultimately their slow start did them in. Corbett continues to be rock solid defensively while his offensive game is coming around.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Game Report: Edmonton 5 Victoria 2

1ST PERIOD
VIC T. Stahl (4) , 5:45

2ND PERIOD
EDM C. Corbett (2) (H. Samuelsson) 2:02
VIC S. Hodges (8) (J. Crooks) 2:56
EDM M. St. Croix (15) (D. Wruck, T. Foster) 5:24 (PP)
EDM T. Foster (14) (S. Legault) 7:50
EDM K. Lowe (6) (E. Kulda, D. Mayo) 15:36
EDM B. Baddock (4) (K. Wilson, L. Bertolucci) 16:00

3RD PERIOD
No Scoring

Victoria
Patrik Polivka 18/23
Coleman Vollrath 6/6

Edmonton
Tristan Jarry 24/26

Victoria
1. Steven Hodges C - Hodges was the most productive forward on the Royals tonight. Scored once on a sifter that beat Jarry five hole and had another glorious chance where he had Jarry beat on a slick right to left move but hit the post on a yawning net. The thing holding the Royals back is they have good players but just quite not enough attention to defensive detail. Wth the Royals playing on back to back nights, once the Oil Kings broke through offensively, the game was essentially over. Hodges is a part of the forward mix that can stand to better in their own zone.
2. Tyler Stahl D - Really impressed with Stahl's game today. Scored with a bomb from the point, laid out numerous hits including one on Luke Bertolucci that was illegal (headshot) that raised the ire of the Oil Kings and blocked a shot with his head that stopped a surefire goal. The shot did not keep him out of the game. He was right back out there the next shift. His toughness and his dependability was on full display tonight. Victoria captain played like a captain tonight, unfortunately he did not get much help along the way.

Edmonton
1. T.J. Foster C - Foster was his usual, reliable self. Chipped in offensively with a goal and an assist. His line with Stephane Legault and Curtis Lazar was the most effiecient on the night. Foster shows his versatility by switching back to center from the wing where he has played most of the year. Pro scouts have to be impressed with how Foster handles himself on the ice. A do-it-all type forward that can play in any of the 12 forward slots and be productive.
2. Cody Corbett D - With Griffin Reinhart and David Musil out of the lineup for the Oil Kings, it meant more minutes were going to be piled up on Corbett's lap. He responded with his best game of the season, at least of the games I've seen. Did a great job of puck distributing, including setting up Dylan Wruck for breakaways on two different occasions with nice stretch passes. Scored by walking in from the point and putting a well placed wrist shot over the glove of Polivka. Corbett was solid in his own zone as well.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Game Report: Red Deer 3 Victoria 2 (SO)

1ST PERIOD
R.D R. Dieno (6) (B. Maxwell, T. Elson) 1:12
VIC L. Nelson (8) (J. Hicketts, B. Walker) 13:45 (PP)

2ND PERIOD
R.D M. Bellerive (8) (B. Underwood) 7:37

3RD PERIOD
VIC J. Walker (1) (B. Walker, B. Cote) 15:28

Shootout
Victoria
Logan Nelson Goal
Brandon Magee No Goal
Steven Hodges Goal

Red Deer
Rhyse Dieno Goal
Matt Bellerive Goal
Connor Bleackley Goal

Victoria
Patrik Polivka 30/32

Red Deer
Bolton Pouliot 32/34

Victoria
1. Logan Nelson C - Nelson was Victoria's best forward on this night as he tallied once and then again in the shootout with a slick move. Nelson plays a heady game and plays with a chip on his shoulder. Knows when to engage and when to back off. Competed hard all night. Plays an opportunistic game but makes the most of his chances.
2. Keegan Kanzig D - Kanzig a large figure on the Victoria. Mostly goes unnoticed until he starts leaning on opposing players. Takes up a lot of space in the defensive zone. Mobility is above average considering his size. The next stage in his development is reps and becoming reliable game after game in his own zone and finding comfort with that. Understanding the flow of the game in when to engage and when to back off is something he is still learning on the job.

Red Deer
1. Rhyse Dieno RW - Considering Dieno was playing the SJHL not too long ago, his immediate offensive impact on the Rebels is nothing short of amazing. He has immediately come into this club and has the offensive flow of the team on his stick. His combination of skating, vision and to be able to navigate in traffic makes him very dynamic. Dieno is a great story and player making the most of his opportunity.
2. Mathew Dumba D - Dumba had a strong game tonight, considering he is one day removed from being cut from Team Canada U-20 Club. This is the most reliable I have seen him play a game in quite some time. Moreof this is needed from him. He really stumbled leading up to the camp but it showed his character tonight to have a strong game and put that in the rear view mirror. His defensive reads were getting a bit sloppy and his reactions were slow. Tonight, he was more crisp in that area.


 

Game Report: Saskatoon 4 Swift Current 3

1ST PERIOD
S.C R. Scarlett (4) (D. Bosc) 2:51
SAS M. Stransky (19) (B. Walker, D. Thrower) 8:53
SAS J. Nicholls (25) (S. McColgan) 18:52

2ND PERIOD
S.C A. Lowry (18) (R. Moser, C. Gordon) 14:43

3RD PERIOD
SAS J. Nicholls (26) (D. Siemens, S. McColgan) 2:45
S.C C. Gordon (9) (A. Lowry) 4:46
SAS S. McColgan (9) (N. Burns, J. Nicholls) 11:21

Swift Current
Steven Myland 23/27

Saskatoon
Alex Moodie 30/33

Swift Current
1. Adam Lowry LW - Lowry had a solid game, both as a finisher and playmaker. Scored in the 2nd period to tie the game with a nifty backside tuck. Setup Coda Gordon with a nice stretch pass that sprung him on a breakaway. All in all, Lowry was his usual power forward self, makes really solid decision with the puck.
2. Reese Scarlett D - Scarlett played a solid game at both ends of the ice. Opened the scoring early in the first period and made numerous defensive plays. Scarlett is a bit undersized to as a pure defensive defender so any contribution he can make on offense would be much needed as the Broncos do not have a lot of offensive firepower from the defense. Still has trouble reading plays but makes up for it with a lot of hustle.

Saskatoon
1. Josh Nicholls RW - Nicholls was the best player on the ice tonight. Sniped one goal, tipped in another, had another fantastic assist on the winner. he was a force offensively. Tallied his league leading 26th goal. A pro team looking for a straight up scorer might be wise to give Nicholls a look. Tall, lanky player that plays a greasy game and can make offensive plays with the puck.
2. Duncan Siemens D - Siemens played a solid all purpose game for the Blades tonight for the most part. Gets caught wondering out of position from time to time as shown by the goal scored by Lowry when he got caught behind the net instead of being in front of it. Siemens looks to be trying to get involved in the offense more as he isn't hesitant to shoot the puck from the point, one of them which ended in a tip in goal for Nicholls. The biggest issue with Siemens seems to be focus.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Official Team Canada World Junior Roster 2013

Official Team Canada:
Jonathan Huberdeau-Ryan NugentHopkins-Mark Scheifele
Charles Hudon-Ryan Strome-Brett Ritchie
Jonathan Drouin-Boone Jenner-Ty Rattie
Anthony Camara-Phillip Danault-J.C. Lipon
Nathan MacKinnon

Morgan Rielly-Dougie Hamilton
Scott Harrington-Xavier Ouellet
Griffin Reinhart-Tyler Wotherspoon
Ryan Murphy

Malcolm Subban
Jordan Binnington
Jake Paterson


My Team Canada:
Jonathan Huberdeau-Ryan NugentHopkins-Ryan Strome
Jonathan Drouin-Mark Scheifele-Nathan MacKinnon
Brett Ritchie-Boone Jenner-Ty Rattie
Phillip Danault-Sean Monahan-Tom Wilson
Mark McNeill

Ryan Murray-Dougie Hamilton
Morgan Rielly-Cody Ceci
Griffin Reinhart-Mathew Dumba
Scott Harrington

Malcolm Subban
Zachary Fucale



Thoughts:
- Team Canada went for a more smallish, speddy lineup rather than a balanced one considering they will be playing on the lasrger ice surface in Russia.
- Two worries for myself are how the defense will hold up considering it is made up mostly of "specialists". Players that are excellent in some areas of the game but weak at others, as opposed to taking more well rounded players. Initial thought is, the Ryan Murray injury that forced him to miss the rest of the hockey season is going to loom large. That's why I had more well rounded defenders in Cody Ceci and potentially Ryan Pulock (replacement for Ryan Murray) to make the club. That way they can be plug and played into any situation without having to disrupt the lineup too much.
- The other worry is the lack of strength in the forward ranks. A lot of that strength will be tied up in the forms of Brett Ritchie and Mark Scheifele which may or may not be enough at the end of the day. Even though the big ice surface tends to favor speedy players, there are still times when board battles and one on one strength battles will need to be won. Not much of an intimidation factor to this club.
- If Team Canada is going to persevere, they are going to need stellar goaltending from Malcolm Subban. Protecting a lead could become problematic for this club and Subban will need to be at the top of his game. Only Scott Harrington and Dougie Hamilton are returnees, so it will be interesting to see how the defense holds up under the pressure of the big games.
- I'm hoping to see Mark Scheifele at center and Ryan Strome on the wing as Scheifele's rangy frame will be able to cover more area of the ice and is a better pivot considering how the team is built. Strome can use his tenacity much more off the wing without having to worry about being out of position.
- Happy to see NHL Draft eligible players Jonathan Drouin and Nathan McKinnon make the club as I think they will be two of Canada's best offensive players. I'm hoping McKinnon gets more icetime than just as a 13th forward. Hunter Shinkaruk and Sean Monahan were not so lucky to make the club but you can only bring so many underage player and not have it become a detriment.
- Happy to see Charles Hudon make the club even though I didn't have him on my team. Hudon is a gutsy player that can play a variety of roles off the wing. I went with a more center heavy club which squeezed Hudon off of my team but it was gut wrenching to leave him off as I really like the way he plays the game.
- I have Team USA winning the gold, but I think its a 3 horse race between Canada, Russia and USA for gold and it should be a wonderful tourney to watch over the Christman/New Years part of the season.









Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Game Report: Kelowna 3 Lethbridge 1

1ST PERIOD
KEL C. Rigby (4) (D. Severson, C. Martin) 13:23
KEL J. Barnett (4) (D. Severson, R. Olsen) 14:12 (PP)

2ND PERIOD
LET C. Sutton (1) (J. Merkley, M. Sofillas) 14:04

3RD PERIOD 
KEL C. Heffley (5) 19:48 (EN)

Kelowna
Jordon Cooke 20/21

Lethbridge
Ty Rimmer 24/26

Kelowna
1. Carter Rigby LW - Rigby tallied the opening goal on a long range bullet. Rigby went undrafted in the NHL draft last season and has dealt with injuries in the early part of this season. If Rigby can stay healthy, things will set up nicely for him to get drafted the 2nd time around. Kelowna is an emerging team and Rigby figures to take on a power forward scoring role. Scored his first goal in 7 games. Rigby should be a big part of Kelowna's ascension up the standings.
2. Damon Severson D - Severson is really starting to emerge as a quality all around defender. Played a ton tonight, I'd venture a guess and say it was near 30 minutes if not more. Plays in all situation, played on the powerplay, penalty kill, was out their to preserve the Rockets lead and succeeded, although Lethbridge really poured on the pressure at the end. Tallied 2 assists tonight and is a very important piece for the Rockets.

Lethbridge
1. Jay Merkley C - Merkley was the best player out of the 2013 draft eligibles tonight. I know that Merkley has some decent offensive skills, but I was impressed with his boardwork and his ability to hound the puck tonight. Played a relentless game without giving up too much of his defensive responsibilities as a center. Merkley tallied a lone assist tonight, but was robbed on a point blank shot by Cooke and hit the post dead on with a shot that could have tied the game.
2. Ryan Pilon D - 2015 NHL draft eligible player is a phenom. Plays the game like he 20 years old, even though he is in reality a fresh faced 16 year old. The best way to describe Pilon's game is that of Wheat Kings defender Ryan Pulock. An all purpose defensman that makes the right plays in all 3 zones. Doesn't quite have the cannon shot that Pulock has, but has an above average shot of his own that is formidable. It will be a treat to watch this kid grow. Lethbridge is a team that will soon be formidable, they have a lot of top notch draft eligibles coming to an NHL rink near you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Game Report: Calgary 5 Edmonton 2

1ST PERIOD
EDM E. Kulda (4) 2:00
EDM C. Lazar (13) (S. Legault, D. Wruck) 10:58 (PP)
CAL C. Sylvester (17) 11:27

2ND PERIOD
CAL C. Samoridny (6) (P. Padakin, A. Roach) 17:39 (SH)

3RD PERIOD
CAL Z. Jones (7) (B. Brassart, B. Macek) 11:50
CAL Z. Jones (8) (B. Brassart, B. Macek) 16:42
CAL P. Padakin (9) (V. Rask) 19:19 (EN)

Calgary
Chris Driedger 34/36

Edmonton
Laurent Brossoit 36/40

Calgary
1. Zane Jones LW - The line of Jones-Brassert-Macek were a handful for the Oil Kings tonight. They physically punished the Oil Kings defense into submission and it allowed them to take the lead in the 3rd period. Since arriving from Victoria, Jones has fit like a glove into the Hitmen system. The deal was Jones for Gogolev and both players have been key cogs for their respective teams. Jones big bodied presence and his ability score goals around the net make him very valuable for the Hitmen going forward.
2. Chris Driedger G - Driedger was outstanding for the Hitmen, especially as his team was mounting a comeback. Would not give the Oil Kings the 3rd goal that would have been a backbreaker. Got lucky a lot tonight as the Oil Kings hit posts many times tonight, but Driedger kept battling and got the bounces. Didn't panic, just kept pucks from crossing the red line. Driedger's play has grown leaps and bounds this season and its a big reason why the Hitmen now find themselves alone at the top of the Central Division.

Edmonton
1. Curtis Lazar C - I have always been impressed with Lazar's play but over the last 3 weeks he has taken his game to another level and is starting to put up points. Far better player when he plays within the context of the team. Lazar has some great individual skills, such as his skating and his quick trigger release, but the thing that makes him a fantastic player is he will take care of the little things to help his team win games. A "do it all" type center.
2. Dysin Mayo D - Mayo is player that could become very important to the Oil Kings going forward. He gives the Oil Kings a mobile option on the backend even if he is a bit on the inexperienced side. The Oil Kings would be wise to continue to give Mayo games until they can find a more experienced option on the backend. There is a lot to like about Mayo's game, but a lot of it is raw and unproven. Finding a proven puckmoving Dman is going to be a tough find, so in the meantime they groom and grow Mayo, they might even be surprised what becomes of him.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Game Report: Vancouver 7 Victoria 2

1ST PERIOD
VAN C. Franson (8) (J. Houck) 17:01
VAN J. Houck (5) (C. Franson, W. Vannieuwenhuizen) 19:52

2ND PERIOD
VAN K. Kessy (8) (C. Popoff, D. Sward) 0:56
VIC S. Hodges (7) (A. Gogolev, B. Walker) 12:35 (PP)
VAN R. Kieser (3) (T. Cheek, B. Orban) 15:00
VIC L. Nelson (7) (J. Zgraggen) 18:35

3RD PERIOD
VAN B. Kulak (5) 6:27
VAN C. Franson (9) (J. Houck, B. Orban) 7:04
VAN C. Popoff (4) (D. Sward, B. Kulak) 13:06 (PP)

Vancouver
Payton Lee 31/33

Victoria
Patrik Polivka 12/15
Coleman Vollrath 9/13

Vancouver
1. Jackson Houck RW - Impressed with Houck's game. He and Cody Franson were a terror in the offensive zone tonight. Houck scored a nice goal on a tip and chipped in with an assist. Houck showed his versatility by helping out with the penalty kill tonight when the Giants ran into penalty trouble in the 2nd period. Houck plays a smart, gritty game and is one of the few bright spots on a tough start for the Giants this season. Impressed with his hockey IQ.
2. Payton Lee G - Lee has grown leaps and bounds over the last month. In his first start of the month, he looked rough to put it mildly. But since then his confidence has grown and he is stopping pucks one at a time. The biggest thing for young goaltenders is trying to forget the past and focus on the future. Lee has come a long way and it shows in his structure in between the pipes. Lee is confident he will stop the first shot and is tracking the puck well. His defense played well tonight, which will be a big key for him surviving the season.

Victoria
1. Alex Gogolev LW - Gogolev has taken the leadership of the offense over for the Royals as he looks to constantly create either through shooting or passing, but he is the straw that stirs the drink. Only tallied one assist as they struggled to get pucks past Lee, but they owned the play territorily. Goglev is super smooth with the puck on his stick and is confident that he will make a play. Really put the pressure on the Giants.
2. Joe Hicketts D - Hicketts finished the night -2, but there seems to be something elite about his skills. Reminds me a lot of Morgan Rielly at the same age, excellent puckhandler and skater. All that's needed now is experience. Will have issues with strength battles due to being undersized, but seems very deft with the puck and able to escape trouble. Hicketts is a 2014 NHL Draft Eligible Player and one that should be tracked as the season goes on. I expect him to become a scoring factor as he gains experience as he get more looks on the powerplay.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Team Canada Invite Roster For 2013 Junior Team

Goaltenders

Jordan Binnington L
Laurent Brossoit L
Jake Paterson L
Malcolm Subban L

Defense

Frank Corrado L
Mathew Dumba R
Dougie Hamilton R
Scott Harrington L
Ryan Murphy R
Xavier Ouellet L
Adam Pelech L
Derrick Pouliot L
Griffin Reinhart L
Morgan Rielly L
Ryan Sproul R
Tyler Wotherspoon L

Forwards

Francis Beauvillier L
Anthony Camara L
Daniel Catenacci L
Phillip Danault L
Jonathan Drouin L
Tyler Graovac L
Jonathan Huberdeau L
Charles Hudon L
Boone Jenner L
J.C. Lipon L
Nathan MacKinnon R
Mark McNeill R
Sean Monahan L
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins L
Ty Rattie R
Brett Ritchie R
Mark Scheifele R
Hunter Shinkaruk R
Colton Sissons R
Ryan Strome R
Tom Wilson R

Thoughts:
- Team Canada brass decided on a more veteran look especially on the defense and goaltender positions. Two players I had making the club defenseman Cody Ceci and goaltender Zachary Fucale did not even get an invite. Another in Ryan Pulock, who I had potentially as a replacement for the injured Ryan Murray did not get an invite as well.
- Team Canada did a good job in bringing in diverse players. A good blend of size and speed, defensive and offensive abilities. Since the tourney is played in Russia this year and the bigger ice surface comes into play, leaning towards a more speedy team would be a wise thing to do. At the same time, size will be important as well, and Hockey Canada has done a good job of addressing both.In my opinion, Hockey Canada cannot use the player's age as a qualifier this year. as the team's best offensive players will be the younger players, especially in the form of Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin. Sean Monahan should get a long look as well as a two-way center. All 3 of those players are 2013 NHL Draft eligible and should be top 10 picks, if not top 5.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins inclusion on the list is a massive gain for this team. The tourney figures to be a tough one for Team Canada and Nugent-Hopkins will lead the offensive charge. Team Russia and Team USA will be extremely stingy in this tourney and any piece of offensive leverage they can get is a huge piece for them.
- Malcolm Subban figures to be the starter in the net for Team Canada. Since Subban wouldn't be eligible to play in next season's tourney because at that point he will be 9 days too old, it would have been a good time to groom a younger goaltender like Zach Fucale or Eric Comrie and make them the backup. Both are more than capable. That being said I think Binnington will win the backup job, just a hunch.

As For The WHL:
- The WHL figures to be slightly under represented this season, especially with the seaon ending injury to Ryan Murray. The defense is wide open this season but thats where the WHL figures to have the most impact. Morgan Rielly is all but certain to make the club while Dumba and Reinhart have a good shot at making it.
- The forwards from the WHL is going to be thin on this club. Ty Rattie figures to be the only lock while McNeill, Shinkaruk, Lipon, and Sissons are on the bubble.
- Laurent Brossoit is 50/50 to get the backup job against Binnington. Binnington has the numbers but Brossoit has the big game experience.

All in all, a solid list for this club. Picking the club from here only gets tougher. The blend of players will be very important as this figures to be a very competitive World Junior Tourney. Very little room for error.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Game Report: Red Deer 6 Medicine Hat 5

1ST PERIOD
R.D B. Underwood (2)  14:15
R.D C. Bleackley (6) (C. Millette, R. Dieno) 15:57

2ND PERIOD
M.H C. Valk (17) (H. Shinkaruk, C. Lanigan) 3:34
R.D C. Millette (7) (R. Dieno, K. Doetzel) 10:24
M.H D. Busenius (3) (H. Shinkaruk, C. Valk) 15:45
M.H C. Valk (18) (S. Jensen, E. Pearce) 18:09 (PP)

3RD PERIOD
R.D T. Elson (8) (B. Maxwell, R. Dieno) 0:35
R.D W. Johnson (4) (C. Bleackley, H. Fleury) 1:09
M.H T. Cox (10) (B. Leier) 7:18
R.D B. Maxwell (2) (T. Elson, K. Doetzel) 16:57
M.H E. Pearce (10) (C. Valk, H. Shinkaruk) 19:29

Medicine Hat
Cam Lanigan 19/24
Marek Langhamer 6/7

Red Deer
Patrik Bartosak 36/41

Medicine Hat
1. Curtis Valk C - Valk's hands were all over this game tonight. Two goals, two assists on this night. Even for a smaller stature player, he has no issues playing in the high traffic areas, especially in front of opposing net. Valk and Hunter Shinkaruk really played well off of each other tonight as Shinkaruk played playmaker on the edges while Valk attacked the middle of the ice and won his fair share of puck battles.
2. Dylan Busenius D - Busenius is the lone, real mobile defenseman the Tigers boast this season. Tallied once tonight on a seeing eyed wrist shot. While Busenius has had some success offensively, he has had some issues in his own zone by tallying a -18 not even halfway into the season. Needs to make better use of his stick and better positioning in the defensive zone. Busenius does have some offensive upside to his game.

Red Deer
1. Rhyse Dieno RW - The ex-Tiger had the game of his life tonight. Had 3 assists but they were of the spectacular fashion. He was loaded with no look saucer passes that were connecting and immediately leading to goals. Not sure what the future holds for Dieno on his new club in Red Deer, but with Charles Inglis now departed, they will be looking for someone to pick up the offensive slack and Dieno may be that player for the rest of the season. Feel good story.
2. Hadyn Fleury D - Fleury is one, impressive '96 born player. A rare combination of size and speed. His range makes him tough defensively to deal with while his speed allows him to close gaps. Has a nice outlet pass that will allow him to put up some points. Whether he can become a powerplay option full time remains to be seen. Fleury covers a lot of ice very quickly both through his speed and reach. A player that will be watched closely for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Game Report: Moose Jaw 2 Vancouver 1

1ST PERIOD
VAN T. Sieben (3) (D. Sward, M. Geertsen) 3:20
M.J K. McFaull (1) (A. Johnson, J. Edmundson) 18:30 (PP)

2ND PERIOD
No Scoring

3RD PERIOD
M.J M. Rielly (5) (S. Fioretti, T. Brown) 15:09

Moose Jaw
Justin Paulic 15/16

Vancouver
Payton Lee 32/34

Moose Jaw
1. Justin Kirsch LW - Likely the best Warriors forward on this night, but overall a poor night for the Warriors' forwards overall. Kirsch is one of the few Warriors forwards who wasn't afraid to shoot although he missed the net on most of his opportunities. Kirsch is a raw offensive player with some decent stick skills. Just needs to look for his own shot more and make the most of his opportunities. The Warriors have a general offensive issue and are looking for anyone to step up and score.
2. Morgan Rielly D - Rielly once again was mostly good on this night. Scored the winner with less than 5 minutes left in the game, so you can add clutch to his long resume. Still had issues with angling players off during rushes. Needs to use his stick more effectively on such plays. Many pundits are suggesting Rielly is lock for Team Canada WJHC. While I agree, he should be on the club, to go as far as saying he should be on the top pair with Ryan Murray out of the lineup might be a bit ambitious. Rielly is definitely a player that you want on the ice when looking for a goal, but not so sure I'd want him out there if protecting a lead.

Vancouver
1. Trevor Cheek LW - Cheek went pointless tonight, but felt he should have had a goal that was eventually waved off. Cheek was the player that went around Rielly, on the rush, and beat the goaltender Paulic, but was deemed that the net was off before the puck crossed the line. Cheek is turning into quite the demon on the rush which is allowing him to put up some modest goal totals this season. One of a few bright spots on the Giants this season.
2. Payton Lee G - Lee played well tonight with some luck involved. Tends to get his mind wandering during the game and he allows that softy that ends up killing his team because of its inability to score at the other end. Lee is a solid prospect but he is going to be a tough prospect to gauge because his team figures to get blitzed more and more often as the season goes on. Those shots tend add up and can play with a young goaltenders mind. If Lee can hold up physically and more importantly, mentally, the Giants may have a solid goaltender on their hands if he can survive the season and end up in the Giants good books.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Game Report: Prince Albert 6 Brandon 0

1ST PERIOD
P.A M. McNeill (10) (D. Vandane, J. Knutsen) 3:29
P.A C. Perreaux (3) (S. Danyluk, C. Braid) 5:45
P.A Z. Hodder (1) (D. Vandane, M. Winther) 8:41
P.A L. McVeigh (5) (J. Morrissey, D. Conroy) 19:25

2ND PERIOD
No Scoring

3RD PERIOD
P.A D. Vandane (3) 3:04
P.A J. Morrissey (5) (L. Draisaitl, M. McNeill) 16:12 (PP)

Prince Albert
Luke Siemens 18/18

Brandon
Corbin Boes 38/44

Prince Albert
1. Mark McNeill C - It was good time for McNeill to have a noticable game by tallying once and assisting on another. McNeill is on the very cusp of making the Team Canada World Junior. His calling card will be his versatility as he can play any position, in any role, to go along with being a nice blend of size and speed. It will be interesting to see if McNeill makes the club as I can see the WHL being underrepresented at the WJHC. The QMJHL and OHL figure to take up the bulk of the forward spots.
2. Josh Morrissey D - Impressed with Josh Morrissey's overall game. Morrissey is a 3 zone player. Responsible enough defensively and smooth enough offensively. Brings the responsible play of a Ryan Murray, brings the puckmoving of a Morgan Rielly and can throw a hit like Mathew Dumba. Not quite as polished as those three in those areas but has a hint of those attributes that could be enhanced. Morrissey is an intriguing prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft, as he's not flashy but he protects the puck, makes good reads and keeps the play in front of him.

Brandon
1. Jayce Hawryluk C - 2014 draft eligible player was the best forward for the Wheat Kings on an otherwise ugly night. Plays a high energy, gritty style type of game. Relentless on the puck and can make a play once the puck gets around the net. Was -3 on the night, typical of a youngster that is forced to play over his head due to injury, but Hawryluk has the will to improve an will be an interesting prospect to watch over the nest couple of seasons.
2. Eric Roy D - Roy is a 2013 draft eligible known more for his skating and offensive abilities than his defensive game. Roy is one of those players that is all over the map on many draft rankings. On one hand, you have to like his ability to create offense, on the other hand, he has a lot to learn about the defensive game and still need to strengthen up to be able to handle all shapes and sizes. The team that decides to draft Eric Roy will be getting an out and out project. The team missed Ryan Pulock's presence and tonight showed what happens when Eric Roy gets more minutes than he should.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Game Report: Edmonton 5 Moose Jaw 1

1ST PERIOD
EDM M. St. Croix (14) (D. Wruck, H. Samuelsson) 10:45 (PP)

2ND PERIOD
M.J T. Eberle (4) (M. Rielly, S. Fioretti) 6:07
EDM G. Reinhart (3) (C. Corbett, S. Legault) 8:10 (PP)
EDM T. Foster (12) (M. St. Croix, D. Wruck) 18:56

3RD PERIOD
EDM K. Lowe (3) (D. Musil, H. Samuelsson) 2:38
EDM B. Baddock (3) (A. Sautner, S. Shmoorkoff) 13:35

Moose Jaw
Justin Paulic 35/40

Edmonton
Laurent Brossoit 22/23

Moose Jaw
1. Tanner Eberle LW - Was the player that created the most for the Warriors, physically and offensively. Really battled hard, but it was a give and take kind of night for him. It was Eberle's type of game where there was a lot of dump and chase and a lot of finishing checks. Tanner Eberle does a lot of the little things well to go on top of his pepperpot style of play. Went undrafted this past draft but could have a future in the pro game if he sticks with it. A fun player to cheer for if he's on your side.
2. Morgan Rielly D - Rielly was his usual puck distribution self, not as crisp as I have seen him in the past but had made a nice setup for the lone Warriors goal. Rielly skated miles tonight but had a tough time navigating through the Oil Kings defense. Rielly lost some leverage battles tonight. I can recall him losing angles on Moroz and Lazar on two seperate occassions that allowed prime scoring chances for the Oil Kings. The Warriors lost a lot of heavy lifting and grit from last seasons' club and it shows as Rielly is having to take on more roles.

Edmonton
1. Michael St. Croix RW - St. Croix is an offensive wizard. A great knack of knowing when to pass and knowing when to shoot makes him a dual threat. St. Croix has established himself as a great powerplay option during his tenure with the Oil Kings. His all around game is slowly coming around as well as he has had some looks at center this season. St. Croix should lead the team in points this season as long as he stays healthy.
2. Griffin Reinhart D - This could very well have been Reinhart's best game this season, at least out of the ones I viewed. Reinhart was an equal amount offense, defense and toughness.Those are the calling cards of Reinhart that make him appealing. Rangy defender that takes up a lot of space on the ice. Reinhart looked for his shot more tonight and shot the puck with more conviction. Reinhart should get an invite to the Team Canada World Junior Camp. He's at about a 50/50 shot to make the club depending on how Team Canada officials decide on the makeup of the team.
 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Game Report: Victoria 5 Saskatoon 2

1ST PERIOD
VIC B. Magee (10) (R. Gagnon, T. Crunk) 3:10

2ND PERIOD
VIC J. Crooks (10) (L. Nelson, B. Cote) 1:46 (PP)
SAS B. Walker (3) (D. Dietz)10:25
VIC J. Crooks (11) (S. Hodges) 12:29 (SH)
VIC A. Gogolev (10) (A. Carroll, B. Walker) 18:58

3RD PERIOD
VIC T. Stahl (3) (A. Gogolev, A. Carroll) 3:43
SAS M. Stransky (9) (G. Craig, K. Schmidt) 9:05 (PP)

Saskatoon
Andrey Makarov 22/26
Alex Moodie 8/9

Victoria
Patrik Polivka 29/31

Saskatoon
1. Matej Stransky RW - Continue to be impressed with Stransky's combination of size, strength and puckhandling. Tallied a goal tonight when the game was no longer in doubt. Stransky is off to a somewhat slow start this season, not as slow as some others but not as hot as Josh Nicholls, who has 18 goals early on this season. Stransky was a bit lethargic like some of his other teammates but can still contribute offensively even if he is a bit off.
2. Andrey Makarov G - Even though he let in four through his 2 periods of work, I was still impressed with his play. To say Saskatoon's defense was awful would be an understatement as Victoria controlled the play through 2 periods that pretty much sealed the deal. Makarov held the fort as long as he could but eventually Victoria's attack became too much for Makarov to hold off. To date, Makarov has only missed two periods of hockey between the pipes for Saskatoon. Makarov has pro written all over him.

Victoria
1. Alex Gogolev LW - The deal that brought Alex Gogolev from Calgary to Victoria for Zane Jones was a real game changer for both sides. Improved both sides dramatically. In Gogolev, Victoria gets that dynamic scorer it was missing. Can get the puck from A to B and make a play when he gets there. Gogolev has been setting up teammates all year long and calls his own number on occasion. Great find for the Royals that will make him more competitive this season.
2. Tyler Stahl D - Impressed with Stahl's competitiveness and toughness. Really took a lot of the Blades' forwards to task along the end boards, winning his fair share of the battles. Stahl closed the scoring for the Royals on this night. A solid choice to be team captain of this particular club.
 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Game Report: Edmonton 2 Swift Current 1

1ST PERIOD
EDM S. Legault (1) (D. Wruck, T. Foster) 13:11 (PP)

2ND PERIOD
EDM S. Legault (2) (C. Lazar, H. Samuelsson) 3:14 (PP)
S.C Z. Mackay (3) (R. Scarlett, J. Derko) 17:35

3RD PERIOD
No Scoring

Swift Current
Eetu Laurikainen 42/44

Edmonton
Laurent Brossoit 26/27

Swift Current
1. Zac Mackay C - Mackay tallied the lone goal on the night for the Broncos. Mackay is 2013 draft eligible, scored his 3rd on the season by banking one off Brossoit to cut the defecit to 2-1. MacKay is flying under the radar as a draft eligible while the Broncos boast other high profile draft eligibles in Colby Cave and Dillon Heatherington. Mackay played a fine game tonight in limited minutes, in an otherwise poor game by many of the Broncos forwards.
2. Eetu Laurikainen G - Best player on the Broncos by a country mile tonight. In what I thought may be a question mark on the Broncos heading into the season, Laurikainen has proved to become a strength of the Broncos. Like many Europeoan goaltenders, he is tough to beat down low and plays the position with a lot of composure. His rebound control is top notch. He gave his team a chance to win tonight, especially when the Oil Kings blitzed him early and often.

Edmonton
1. Stephane Legault LW - The Oil Kings missed the swiss army knife that is Stephane Legault while he was out with an injury. Legault plays in a variety of situations in a variety of positions that allows everyone else on the team to be slotted in properly. Legault provides depth scoring for the Oil Kings. On this night, he tallied both goals that led the Oil Kings to victory. Gritty, smart player.
2. Laurent Brossoit G - Brossoit has been hold and cold a lot this year. Tonight was one of those nights he was very good, especially in the 3rd period when Swift Current was looking for the equalizer. Brossoit has the benefit of playing in front of an above average defensive corps. But there are those occasions where they do play a bit sloppy and he rises to the occasion. Brossoit has a tendancy to lose focus over the course of 60 minutes, but tonight he was dialed in to make sure the Broncos did not tie the game. Brossoit is likely to be on the short list to get an invite to the Team Canada World Junior Camp.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Game Report: Prince Albert 4 Edmonton 3 (OT)

1ST PERIOD
P.A L. Draisaitl (6) (M. Winther, M. McNeill) 4:12
P.A M. Winther (9) (M. McNeill) 19:11

2ND PERIOD
P.A C. Perreaux (2) (C. Braid, S. Danyluk) 2:02
EDM C. Corbett (1) (D. Wruck, G. Reinhart) 19:46

3RD PERIOD
EDM D. Musil (4) (H. Samuelsson, M. St. Croix) 9:39
EDM M. St. Croix (13) (H. Samuelsson, D. Wruck) 16:17

OT
P.A S. Danyluk (3) (H. Ruopp) 3:35

Prince Albert
Luke Siemens 47/50

Edmonton
Laurent Brossoit 18/22

Prince Albert
1. Mark McNeill C - McNeill was a handful tonight for the Oil Kings defense. Off the rush and cutting to net are the biggest strengths in his game. McNeill did not stand out in the Subway Super Series as much as one would hope. He is on the cusp of making the Team Canada World Junior Club. He'll need a strong December as well as a strong camp to ensure his spot on the WJC team. I have him as the 13th forward on my mock team due to his versaitility and his strength/speed combination.
2. Luke Siemens G - Siemens was phenomenal tonight. The Oil Kings blitzed him with 50 shots and his team still left with 2 points. Prince Albert broke out to a 3-0 lead, but that's when the Oil Kings really started firing at him. Siemens held the fort as long as he could before the Oil Kings finally broke through in the 3rd period. He was sharp both physically and mentally tonight. Didn't waiver even after the Oil Kings tied it up. Siemens was a great offseason acquisition for the Raiders and has been a big reason why the Raiders are off to such a great start.

Edmonton
1. Henrik Samuelsson RW - Samuelsson was great tonight, both with and without the puck. He was a handful around the Raiders net which made Siemens' game much more specatcular. Samuelsson made a couple of nice dishes that ended up in goals in the 3rd period. Samuelsson is such as great player in traffic or in space. Samuelsson is still a fine complementary for the Oil Kings, as he is player that can play in all situations and thrive.
2. Cody Corbett D - Corbett tallied for the first time on the season tonight. Was much more involved in the offense, something the Oil Kings will need going forward with the acquisition of David Musil on the backend. The Oil Kings are struggling with getting offense from the defense these days, something Corbett can help out on. But the key for him going forward is finding a way to start putting up numbers without sacrificing any of the defensive game. He has been strong defensively for the most part this season. It's time for Corbett to establish himself as an all around defenseman.
 

Game Report: Vancouver 4 Regina 3 (SO)

1ST PERIOD
VAN T. Cheek (8) (J. Houck, C. Popoff) 16:01

2ND PERIOD
VAN K. Kessy (5) (D. Sward) 4:42
REG L. Scheidl (11) (M. Klimchuk) 11:24
REG K. Burroughs (1) (L. Scheidl) 18:01

3RD PERIOD
VAN K. Kessy (6)  7:16 (SH)
REG M. Klimchuk (12) (L. Scheidl, D. Stevenson) 19:06 (PP)

Shootout
Regina
Lane ScheidlNo Goal
Morgan KlimchukGoal
Dyson StevensonNo Goal
Colten MayorNo Goal
Adam BrooksNo Goal
Adam RossignolNo Goal
Emil SylvegardNo Goal
Vancouver
Trevor CheekGoal
Jackson HouckNo Goal
Carter PopoffNo Goal
Kale KessyNo Goal
Brett KulakNo Goal
Anthony AstNo Goal
 Thomas FosterGoal

Regina
Matt Hewitt 27/30

Vancouver
Payton Lee 25/28

Regina
1. Morgan Klimchuk LW - Klimchuk's game reminds a lot of that of what Patrick Marleau brings to the San Jose Sharks. Very deft at finding soft spots in the offensive zone and have a quick release on his shot. Klimchuk also isn't very comfortable with the physical part of the game. So, his game comes and goes in spurts. He's one of those players that you might not notice all night but burn you near the end of the game, kind of like he did tonight. There is a niche for Klimchuk at the NHL, but whatever NHL team takes him will have to take the good with the bad. Klimchuk is 2013 draft eligible.
2. Kyle Burroughs D - Burroughs is a player that has been on the cusp of my top 30 2013 draft eligible players this season. Known as a puckmoving, mobile dman, but is undersized and gets in trouble in strength and leverage battles. Needs a better stick in order to be more effective in the defensive zone. Burroughs has a future as a potential offensive, puckmoving Dman, but needs the experience, reps and guidance in order to get there.

Vancouver
1. Kale Kessy LW - Kessy was his usual robust self tonight but also managed to pot a couple of goals tonight. Has a hard, heavy shot that he used twice to his benefit. Kessy is a big body that is pretty firm on his skates. A heavy skater that finishes checks. Has the look of a very raw power forward. It will be interesting to see how his game fairs in the pro ranks. Had himself a solid game tonight.
2. Payton Lee G - Lee played much better tonight after watching him get shelled last week against Portland.  Rare for a 16 year old to be a starting goaltender for his WHL club but that's where Lee finds himself with the Giants. Lee will be a "trial under fire" type position all year. The experience will help him but getting shelled game in, game out may hurt him mentally down the road. Vancouver will have to monitor his starts closely but Lee is a bluechip prospect for the Giants and should be treated as such.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Game Report: Kootenay 5 Brandon 3

1ST PERIOD
KTN A. Vetterl (1) (J. Martin, K. O'Connor) 4:47
KTN J. Descheneau (4) (J. Leach) 6:57
KTN S. Reinhart (6) (B. Montgomery) 7:30
BDN J. Hawryluk (5) (T. McGauley, A. Bertaggia) 14:56
KTN C. Shirley (5) (J. Dirk, J. Descheneau) 16:24 (PP)

2ND PERIOD
KTN K. O'Connor (3) (L. Philp, J. Leach) 2:20 (PP)

3RD PERIOD
BDN R. Pulock (9) (E. Roy, T. McGauley) 6:43 (PP)
BDN A. Bertaggia (14) (T. Seaman) 9:23

Brandon
Corbin Boes 11/15
Curtis Honey 16/17

Kootenay
Mackenzie Skapski 32/35

Brandon
1. Alessio Bertaggia LW - Bertaggia was a madman tonight. Putting his body in harms way and desperate to make a play. Some plays were nifty and successful, others were thwarted and looked down right painful. Bertaggia was crashing net all nighy long, something that may not be wise considering his size and stature but one has to admire the heart and courage he played with to get his team back into the game. Bertaggia has a sneaky, quick trigger on his shot and blazed a trail up and down his wing.
2. Ryan Pulock D - The more I watch Pulock play, the more he continues to impress. A do it all type defender. Scores a goal on one end and shuts things down at the other, all while playing big minutes doing it. Pulock to a shot to the face late in the 2nd period, came back early in the 3rd to launch a bomb from the point for a powerplay goal. You can add gutsy to his long list of credentials. Was one of four players on the Wheat Kings to finish on the plus side of the ledger. For my money, should be the 2nd Dman drafted after Seth Jones in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Kootenay
1. Sam Reinhart C - Reinhart is such a rare blend of speed, hands and hockey smarts all wrapped into one package. 2014 Draft Eligible has emerged as the scoring leader for the Ice this season and should remain their leader as long as he is with the team. Chipped in with a goal tonight, has numerous other opportunities that he barely missed on. Reinhart, Jaedon Descheneau and Collin Shirley should form as the future for the Ice going forward. All 3 are dynamic scorers for that club.
2. Joey Leach D - Leach was dynamite tonight for the Ice on the backend. Broke up numerous rushes and chipped in with a couple of assists. Played a well rounded game tonight. Threw some hits, won some board battles and made good decisions with the puck. Depending on how the Ice improve or regress during the season, Joey Leach could become prime trade bait for one of the contending club as a 20 year old. A solid defender.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Game Report: Team Russia 5 Team WHL 2

1ST PERIOD
RUS Mikhail Naumenkov (2) (Kirill Kapustin, Anton Shenfeld) 7:06
RUS Andrei Sigarev (2) (Alexander Khokhlachev) 19:50

2ND PERIOD
WHL Ty Rattie (1) (Tyler Wotherspoon) 8:15
RUS Kirill Dyakov (1) (Kirill Kapustin, Mikhail Naumenkov) 8:43
RUS Alexander Khokhlachev (2) (Andrei Sigarev) 14:39

3RD PERIOD
WHL Adam Lowry (1) (Colin Smith, Ty Rattie) 3:42 (PP)
RUS Yaroslav Kosov (1)  18:32 (EN)

Team Russia
Andrey Makarov 22/24

Team WHL
Laurent Brossoit 10/13
Eric Comrie 17/18

Team Russia
1. Alexander Khokhlachev C - Khokhlachev's best game the series. Really showed off his stick skill by depositing a goal at the mouth of the crease and had a dandy tip that hit the crossbar. He and Yakupov never really gathered chemistry together much in this tourney even though they were tied at the hip for most of it. A Bruins draft pick that should be known more for his deft offensive talent but is also a solid defender in his own right.
2. Mikhail Naumenkov D - Naumenkov was likely Team Russia's best defender over the tourney. Brings a little bit of everything type defender. Has some offensive ability with a crisp shot. Solid defender in his own zone. Doesn't mind the physical stuff. Added a goal and an assist tonight. Fully expect him to on the Team Russia squad for the World Junior Chamionships.

Team WHL
1. Ty Rattie RW - Rattie was the only player that could create anything offensively tonight. Used his speed on the rush to get the puck into the scoring areas. He really attacked the net tonight. Rattie a superb offensive player that is equal part playmaker as he is a sniper. Should be on the Team Canada World Junior Roster in December. Can be a roleplayer on Team Canada if they feel they have too many scorers as Rattie's game is diverse enough.
2. Eric Comrie G - Only played in half the game tonight, but that was plenty of time to showcase off his athleticism and his composure in the net. Comrie only gave up one goal in his half the game. Tried to keep the game close while Team WHL tried to get its offense in order. Team WHL's defense was poor tonight, especially defensively. Lots of blown coverages and turnovers. Plenty of point blank looks but Comrie was up to the challenge. Comrie is eligible for the 2013 draft and if he keeps up his numbers, he may get himself into the 1st round.


 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Game Report: Tean WHL 1 Team Russia 0 (SO)

1ST PERIOD
No Scoring

2ND PERIOD
No Scoring

3RD PERIOD
No Scoring

Team Russia
Nail Yakupov No Goal
Vladimir Tkachev No Goal
Andrei Sigarev No Goal

Team WHL
Mitch Holmberg No Goal
Hunter Shinkaruk Goal
Mark McNeill Goal
Sam Reinhart Goal

Team Russia
Andrey Makarov 35/35

Team WHL
Laurent Brossoit 30/30

Team Russia
1. Yaroslav Kosov RW - Kosov was a handful tonight. Big bodied Florida Panthers draft pick was a terror cutting in off the wing. Kosov and Nichushkin were two of the better players on this night as the big bodies were the players that had a chance to get to through the vaunted WHL defense and get near the opposing net. Kosov has good wheels and a nice set of hands for a bigger player. Can't seem to buy a goal in this Super Series.
2. Andrey Makarov G - Makarov was the best player on the ice tonight for either team. He had the forcefield up all night until the shootout came around. Made a number of big saves and was tracking the puck unbelievably well on this night. Had to wonder if he was going to be beat at all. Team WHL finally got to him in the shootout. Makarov is a cool customer. Doesn't get rattled and fights for his ice. Is really strong when the pressure is applied around his crease.

Team WHL
1. Travis Ewanyk C -  Was laying players out left and right before he got met with that double edge sword that forced him from the game with an apparent ankle injury. Ewanyk had a couple of nice open ice hits before he got taken out of the game by a low bridge hit from one of the Russian defenders. Ewanyk has a potential future as a checking line center at the pro level.
2. Laurent Brossoit G - Brossoit equalled Makarov save for save through 60 minutes keeping the game scoreless. Unlike Makarov, he was perfect in the shootout as well. Brossoit really played well tonight. Could have been the best game I have seen him play ever. Didn't get rattled, was composed through 60 minutes. It looked as if time and score didn't matter as he was just focused in on making the next save. Has to be on the radar for for a Team Canada World Junior invite, if not potentially make the team. This great game could not come at a better time for him.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Game Report: Team OHL 2 Team Russia 1

1ST PERIOD
OHL Ryan Strome (1) (Garrett Meurs, Matt Puempel) 9:50

2ND PERIOD
NO SCORING

3RD PERIOD
OHL Frankie Corrado (1) (Ryan Strome, Dougie Hamilton) 9:16
RUS Nail Yakupov (2) (Albert Yarullin, Maxim Shalunov) 19:24

Team Russia
Andrei Vasilievski 26/28

Team OHL
Jordan Binnington 8/8
Jake Paterson 7/8

Team Russia
1. Nail Yakupov RW - Team Russia had pracitically no offense going on tonight, as they could only muster 16 shots through the entire game. Team OHL stuffed them at every turn, which is a kudos to Team OHL for their defensive play. Yakupov scored late in this game which is a complement to him that he doesn't need much of an opportunity to capitalize on a chance. Really got beaten up in this game but much to his credit he kept plugging away and didn't quit on the game or his team. Yakupov does have some enigmatic things about his game that need to be ironed out but his will and his drive shouldn't be questioned.
2. Andrei Vasilievski G - The best player on Team Russia tonight and likely was the only reason the game was close. Team Russia ran into penalty trouble at the worst times tonight but Vasilievski was his teams' best penalty killer. When Vasilievski is on, he is tough to beat along the ice and tonight he was a wall in Team Russia's net.

Team OHL
1. Tom Wilson RW - Tom Wilson did not show up on the scoresheet but his physicality was all over the ice as he handed out hit after hit. He has come a long way in terms of his skating, but in terms of his overall hockey sense, he knows what he is and relishes that role. Its good to see a player take on such a physically demanding role and enjoy doing it. Very much in the conversation to make the World Junior club for Team Canada as a 4th line energy player.
2. Dougie Hamilton D - Hamilton was a rock on the backend for Team OHL tonight. Team Russia only mustered 16 shots on the game and a lot of that was because of Dougie Hamilton. He is a unique blend of size and mobility, with equal parts of offense and defense. Rock solid with and without the puck. A great deal of maturity in his game. Should be a shoe-in to be on the backend for the Team Canada World Junior Team this winter and anchor that blueline.

  

My Mock Team For Canada World Junior Club 2013

Jonathan Huberdeau-Ryan NugentHopkins-Ryan Strome
Jonathan Drouin-Mark Scheifele-Nathan MacKinnon
Brett Ritchie-Boone Jenner-Ty Rattie
Phillip Danault-Sean Monahan-Tom Wilson
Mark McNeill

Ryan Murray-Dougie Hamilton
Morgan Rielly-Cody Ceci
Griffin Reinhart-Mathew Dumba
Scott Harrington

Malcolm Subban
Zachary Fucale

Thoughts:
My lineup consists of a variety of types of players. A solid blend of youth and experience, size and speed, right and left handed shots. 4 2013 Draft Eligible players in Nathan MacKinnon, Sean Monahan, Jonathan Drouin and Zachary Fucale. Team will be dependent upon whether Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is let go by his AHL club. Two players I couldn't fit into the club but I wanted to make the club are Ryan Murphy on defense and Charles Hudon at forward.

Will wait to see how the real club shakes down. Should be a very competitive team again this year, making for a very competitive tournament. USA and Russia should have very formidable clubs as well.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Game Report: Portland 9 Vancouver 5

1ST PERIOD
VAN A. Ast (2) (B. Orban, W. Vannieuwenhuizen) 3:51
POR A. De Champlain (3) (T. Rutkowski) 5:49
POR T. Peters (4)  15:18
POR B. Leipsic (10) (S. Jones, N. Petan) 19:07 (PP)

2ND PERIOD
VAN T. Cheek (5) (C. Popoff, J. Houck) 6:27
VAN T. Cheek (6) (B. Kulak) 8:53 (PP)
POR T. Wotherspoon (2) (N. Petan, T. Rattie) 14:22
POR T. Leier (4)  14:33

3RD PERIOD
VAN M. Tvrdon (8) (K. Kessy) 1:16
VAN C. Popoff (2) (T. Cheek, T. Morrison) 4:32
POR N. Petan (9) (B. Leipsic, T. Rattie) 7:21
POR P. Bittner (1) (T. Peters, T. Leier) 7:56
POR N. Petan (10) (T. Rattie, D. Pouliot) 16:41 (PP)
POR A. De Champlain (4) (D. Turgeon) 18:40

Portland
Brendan Burke 14/19
Mac Carruth 1/1

Vancouver
Payton Lee 21/26
Tyler Fuhr 23/27

Portland
1. Nicolas Petan C - Petan was very impressive tonight, contributing 2 goals and 2 assists to the Winterhawks win. Petan plays a fearless game. Has the help of playing the WHL's best scorer over the years in Ty Rattie, but Petan has made the best of that situation. Portland had a hole at center and Petan has filled that brilliantly.As of right now, Petan is the leading scorer for Portland, and its not a stretch to say he will add a whole bunch more points as the season goes on. His size is still a concern but his heart and determination may be more than enough to make up for that. Portland has a penchant for finding this smaller players that play with big heart.
2. Seth Jones D -  Jones is amazing. To have speed, size and hockey smarts all in one package is going to be a treat for some NHL team. His composure with and without the puck makes him prime to become a +/- demon. +4 on this night. I expect him to end up with some gawdy +/- number by seasons' end. Jones chipped in with an assist tonight and plays in all situations for the Winterhawks.

Vancouver
1. Trevor Cheek LW - Had the hot hand. Had 2 goals and an assist tonight. Played a very determined game and scored goals that kept his team in the game. Vancouver did not have a lot going for them tonight, Cheek played hard regardless of the score. They will need more efforts like that tonight in order for this team to be competitive going forward.
2. Blake Orban D - Orban was the Giants defenseman that stood out the most for me tonight. Played a chippy style and was in Ty Rattie's face for most of the night. The Giants got a lot out of their foot soldiers tonight, Orban being one of them, but the goaltending let them down tonight. Orban had an assist and finished the night with a +1. Orban did his best tonight but the Giants, as a team were outmatched as shown by the 53 shots they gave up tonight.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Game Report: Team Russia 2 Team OHL 1

1ST PERIOD
No Scoring

2ND PERIOD
2. OHL Tyler Graovac (1) (Sean Monahan) 5:49 (SH)

3RD PERIOD
3. RUS Anton Shenfeld (1) (Yaroslav Kosov, Andrei Sigarev) 12:41
3. RUS Maxim Shalunov (2) , 13:05

Team Russia
Igor Ustinski 23/24

Team OHL
Malcolm Subban 7/7
Jordan Binnington 8/10

Team Russia
1. Valeri Nichushkin RW - Even though he was held off the scoresheet, he was impressive tonight. Has unique blend of power, speed and reach. As left handed hot playing the right wing, it allows him to get his shots off quickly. Isn't shy about shooting as he rarely looks to pass. Is a bull when charging the net on the rush. Is decnet on the forecheck as well, using his speed to engage on defensemen. 2013 NHL Draft Eligible Player has Top 10 potential as long as his heart is set on playing in North America.
2. Igor Ustinski G - Ustinski is a diminutive goaltender that really played well tonight. Team OHL was buzzing around for the 2nd goal most of the net but Ustinski didn't give it up. Partly because of him, the other half because of his defense bend but don't break style. Impressed with moxie he played with tonight as he held things together long enough to allow his team to win it in the 3rd period.

Team OHL
1. Sean Monahan C - Monahan is the type of center I envision building a team around. A strong pivot that plays well in all zones, responsible with and without the puck. Is apt to make plays with and away from the puck. Setup a shorthanded goal by making a nice read on a steal and then setting up Tyler Graovac with a nice pass. Monahan should be a top 5 pick in the upcoming 2013 NHL Draft.
2. Malcolm Subban G - Subban did not get a lot of work tonight, facing only 7 shots in his half a game. Part of it was because Team OHL was dominate in the first half game and the other part was it looked like Subban was in the head of the Russian shooters as a lot of their shots went high and wise. Athetic, composed goaltender that should be the frontrunner to be the starting goaltender for the Team Canada Junior Team come December.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Game Report: Kelowna 3 Edmonton 2

1ST PERIOD
EDM S. Shmoorkoff (1) (C. Lazar) 4:38
KEL T. Baillie (6) (C. Heffley, M. Bowey) 6:37
KEL H. Nyberg (3) (Z. Franko) 7:30

2ND PERIOD
EDM T. Ewanyk (4) (K. Wilson, M. Moroz) 0:24

3RD PERIOD
KEL R. Chartier (5) (R. Stadel) 3:04

Edmonton
Laurent Brossoit 20/23

Kelowna
Jackson Whistle 25/27

Edmonton
1. Travis Ewanyk C - Ewanyk was his usual reliable self tonight. Penalty kill demon that just plays hard and keeps his own ice clean. Chipped in with a goal. Ewanyk has come a long way since being drafted in 2010. Had to over come a serious shoulder injury, but is now to the point where is he relied upon to shutdown top opposition and be a leader on a talented Oil Kings squad. Initially what I thought was a reach pick by the Oilers, might just pay dividends yet.
2. Stephen Shmoorkoff D - Tallied his 1st WHL goal tonight. It's taken awhile for Shmoorkoff to feel comfortable in his own skin at the WHL level but he played well tonight at both ends of the rink. With the scrambly play a lot of the Oil Kings veteran defenders had tonight, Shmoorkoff was one of the reliable ones tonight.

Kelowna
1. Tyson Baillie RW - At the rate the Rockets are winning games, either they will have to find a bonafide sniper or they will have to have Baillie come of age very quickly. Baillie is a highly touted 16 year old who is playing a lot better than his age should indicate. Has snipers hands and snipers menatlity to become a scorer in this league. It will be a treat to see how high the ceiling is for this player.
2. Damon Severson D - Was impressed on how Severson went into lockdown mode when the Rockets established a 3-2 lead that they would not relinquish. Severson did a great job of getting into lanes, blocking shots and breaking up passes. Even lead the team on a couple of dangerous rushes up the ice. Severson played well tonight and him playing an all purpose game allowed the Rockets to hold the lead and win the game.

Game Report: Team QMJHL 5 Team Russia 2

1ST PERIOD
QMJHL Francis Beauvillier (1) (James Melindy, Christopher Clapperton) 0:59
RUS Andrei Sigarev (1) (Nail Yakupov) 11:40 (SH)

2ND PERIOD
QMJHL Jonathan Huberdeau (1) (Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin) 3:51
QMJHL Jonathan Huberdeau (2) (Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin) 17:32 (PP)

3RD PERIOD
QMJHL Nathan MacKinnon (1) (Xavier Ouellet, Jonathan Drouin) 5:56 (PP)
RUS Vladimir Tkachev (1) (Kirill Dyakov) 6:26
QMJHL Jonathan Drouin (1) (Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Huberdeau) 15:45

Team Russia
Andrei Vasilievski 27/32

Team QMJHL
Zachary Fucale 9/10
Francois Brassard 14/15

Team Russia
1. Nail Yakupov RW - Yakupov only tallied an assist tonight, but to be fair, there was very little going for the Russian side. This game was dominated by QMJHL. Yakupov had his moments of being dangerous on the rush but it amounted to very little. Yakupov is an undeniable offensive weapon in many facets of the game. Equal amount playmaker and shooter. Looks to make a play everytime he touches the puck.
2. Andrei Mironov D -  Played the game with a lot of anger tonight. Sometimes its good, sometimes its bad. He brought the physicality and chippiness the Russians as whole played with tonight, but it got them into penalty trouble. Mironov was taking numbers tonight. One thing is for sure, he brought it, for better or for worse, others might say he was undisciplined.

Team QMJHL
1. Nathan McKinnon C - McKinnon was much better in the 2nd game of this set. Much crisper in his passing decision making. Puck movement was real quick and thorough, between he, Jonathan Huberdean and Jonathan Drouin. McKinnon is much like a right handed version of Yakupov. Game is built on attacking speed, vision, puck distribuion and a sneaky, quick shot. Still think he is much better off as a winger than a center, as it will allow him to attack on offense more without having to worry about his own zone as much. McKinnon  is also very crafty at getting the puck through the neutral zone with chip passes.
2. Zachary Fucale G - Wasn't busy tonight but in what was seen, we can all see what the hype was about. Very athletic in the net with a calm demeanour. The one goal that did beat him tonight was a scrambly goal that went off of a stick and changed direction. Fucale will get likely get an invite to the Team Canada World Junior team, not bad for a 17 year old in a 20 year old tournament. Fucale will likely be the 1st goaltender taken in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Game Report: Team Russia 6 Team QMJHL 2

1ST PERIOD
1. RUS Mikhail Grigorenko (1) (Valentin Zykov, Anton Zlobin) 9:49
1. RUS Nail Yakupov (1) 11:03

2ND PERIOD
2. QMJHL Xavier Ouellet (1) (Jonathan Huberdeau, Anthony Mantha) 2:53 (PP)
2. RUS Maxim Shalunov (1) (Vladimir Tkachev, Evgeni Mozer) 6:14
2. RUS Mikhail Naumenkov (1) (Mikhail Grigorenko) 17:35

3RD PERIOD
3. RUS Alexander Khokhlachev (1) (Nail Yakupov, Maxim Shalunov) 9:11 (PP)
3. QMJHL Jean-S├ębastien Dea (1) (Jonathan Huberdeau, Xavier Ouellet) 14:39 (PP)
3. RUS Valentin Zykov (1) (Evgeni Mozer) 17:23

Team Russia
Andrei Vasilievski 31/33

Team QMJHL
Etienne Marcoux 21/27

Team Russia
1. Mikhail Grigorenko C - Grigorenko imposed his will tonight and was determined to make an impact. Scored the opening goal on a well placed shot and added an assist on a faceoff win. When Grigorenko decides to impose his size and reach on a game, he becomes a handful on opposing defenders. He was a real difference maker in terms of wanting to make plays and being in the right spots at the right time. Grigorenko is a big man with some soft hands around the net.
2. Andrei Vasilievski G - Vasilievski was very sharp tonight. When he is on, he is practically impossible to beat along the ice, with how quick his legs are. Made many pad stops, some of them he didn't even see until the last possible moment. He really broke the spirit of many the QMJHL shooters and got into their heads as the game went on. Cannot emphasize enough how composed he played in the net tonight.

Team QMJHL
1. Jonathan Huberdeau LW - Huberdeau had the best mojo going on for the QMJHL team. Huberdeau is at his best when he can survey a play and distribute the puck. Chipped in with a couple of assists tonight and played with some grit as he came to the aid of some of his teammates when the physicality was amped up. Have questions about how effective his overall game at the pro level but at the very least should become a powerplay demon.
2. Xavier Ouellet D - Ouellet is one of those players that is poised with the puck but could stand to be more effective without it. Ouellet is a puckmoving, playmaking wizaed from the backend but had his hands full with the bigger Russian forwards. Has an outside shot of making the Team Canada World Junior squad. Scored a nice goal on the powerplay tonight by going high on Vasilievski.




 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

WHL Top 30 2013 Draft Prospects At The Quarter Pole

1. Seth Jones D Portland - Seth Jones got off to a slow start early on this season, but has picked up his game, as expected. Jones is an all purpose, all situations type defender. Equally strong at both ends of the ice, all while being a big minute eater on the backend. Jones is a gifted athlete with a strong sense of how to play the game. A very fluid skater for someone with his size. 14GP-4G-6A-10PTS +8 Last Rank: #1

2. Ryan Pulock D Brandon - Ryan Pulock has started this season with an absolute bang. Pulock has many of the traits that Seth Jones exhibits. Perhaps not quite the mobility that Jones has but has an A+ above average slapshot. That slapshot has helped him tally a few times this season and throughout his WHL tenure. Pulock should become an all situations defender at the pro level. 17GP-7G-11A-18PTS +7  Last Rank: #2

3. Hunter Shinkaruk LW Medicine Hat - Hunter Shinkaruk has started the season slow but has picked his game ten fold over the past few contests. Shinkaruk struggled early on as he got acclimated with becoming the go-to offensive player with the Tigers. Shinkaruk has to take on more of a playmaking role early on this season and seems to be handling that well now. Shinkaruk is a dynamic offensive player, be it a playmaker or a scorer. Should put up a pile of points with the Tigers this season. 19GP-12G-14A-26PTS -2 Last Rank: #3

4. Curtis Lazar C Edmonton - Curtis Lazar has run and cold to start the season. Lazar's skill and ability to attack on the rush is undeniable, but his skillset is more defined in a team setting. Lazar is at his best when he makes plays in a team setting as opposed to being a player that makes strictly individual plays. It's that kind of player that allows the Oil Kings to have lots of success through the past couple of seasons. Lazar plays both ends of the ice very well, something rare for a player of his age. Lazar's offensive game is a little behind in terms numbers, but the skill is there for it to come to the forefront. 16GP-8G-3A-11PTS +4 Last Rank: #4

5. Josh Morrissey D Prince Albert - Josh Morrissey has had a fine start to the season for his surprising Prince Albert team. Morrissey has played in a variety of situations for the Raiders team early on this season. Though somewhat undersized, he is still firmly built, but its his size that sets apart Pulock and Jones from Morrissey. But if there is one player that could become a riser in this group, it will be Morrissey. Morrissey brings a little of everything, offense, defense, physicality. Very smart defender. 17GP-3G-11A-14PTS +8 Last Rank: #5

6. Eric Comrie G Tri-City - Eric Comrie has taken the next step in his development and cemented himself as the undeniable starting goaltender for Tri-City. Comrie is one of those rare hybrid goaltenders. Structurally sound enough to stop the first shot, but athletic enough to go from side to side quickly. Sky is the limit for Comrie as he has all the tools that most scouts look for in a goaltender. What makes his start more impressive is the Tri-City team has struggled offensively but his goaltending has kept his team afloat. 18GP-10W-2.43GAA-.917S% Last Rank: #8

7. Morgan Klimchuk C Regina - Morgam Klimchuk has had a fairly consistent start with a weak Regina Pats team this season. Klimchuk is a very cerebral player with an excellent knack of finding offensive opportunities. Klimchuk may have an ugly plus/minus to end the season but that shouldn't take away from the fact he is a dependable player all over the ice. Klimchuk should emerge close to the top for point totals with the Pats this season. Klimchuk is as much of a scorer as he is a playmaker. 18GP-8G-6A-14PTS -5 Last Rank: #7 

8. Shea Theodore D Seattle - Shea Theodore is as smooth with the puck as any of the draft eligibles this season. Away from the puck remains a work in progress but he has made some strides as his Thunderbirds team has improved early on this season. Theodore often plays like a 4th forward on the ice. Rarely hesitates to grab the puck and rush up the ice. Very dangerous with his vision and decision making with the puck. Theodore could stand to add some muscle but not too much to hinder his skating which is a big asset for him. 15GP-4G-7A-11PTS -2 Last Rank: #13

9. Jamal Watson RW Lethbridge - Jamal Watson started off the season slowly but has emerged as one the Hurricanes go-to scorers. Watson's flying off the wing, crash the net style, is reminiscent of how WHL alumni Emerson Etem played in his time with the Tigers. Watson's overall game is still a bit raw, but his skating and fearless style makes him very intriguing as a prospect going forward. If Watson bulks up a smidge without losing any speed, much like Etem did, he could have himself a very prosperous future. 18GP-5G-6A-11PTS +5 Last Rank: #10

10. Jay Merkley C Lethbridge - Jay Merkley has emerged as a top flight center with the vastly improved Hurricanes this season. Merkley is known as a two-way center that has shown some offensive acumen early on this season. Merkley's mental makeup has gotten stronger as he has gained more experience. Merkley and Watson combined give the Hurricanes a dynamic duo that they can take with them into the future. Merkley has morphed nicely into a scorer early on this season. 18GP-7G-4A-11PTS +9 Last Rank: #11

11. Mirco Mueller D Everett - Mirco Mueller has had a solid start to his North American hockey career. Paired mainly with 2nd overall NHL draft pick Ryan Murray. Mueller is tall player that stands 6'4" with a long reach, much like some of the other European defenders that have invaded the WHL over the recent years. Mueller plays the game with a lot of composure with and without the puck. Has some offensive acumen, what the ceiling on that potential is, remains to be seen. Mueller could stand to bulk up a bit, but all in all, a solid start to the season for him. 19GP-2G-6A-8PTS +3 Last Rank: NR

12. Madison Bowey D Kelowna - Madison Bowey could very well be the fastest skater coming out of the WHL this season. Effortless skater with a smooth pass. Bowey's hockey sense is still a work in progress as he is prone to brain cramps from time to time, but he is a player that keeps the other team honest by constantly trying to push the puck up the ice. If Bowey makes a leap up the rankings, it will show in the numbers. There is still room for him to grow into his game. 17GP-3G-4A-7PTS +6 Last Rank: #9

13. Nicolas Petan C Portland - Nicolas Petan has taken the Portland Winterhawks by storm early on this season. Leads the high scoring team in points as a 17 year old and this is a team that includes perennial high scorer Ty Rattie. Petan plays a gutsy game. Hangs in plays a little longer than he likely should, but that style has done well for him early on this season. Petan has established himself as a go-to offensive forward in Portland. His size may hold him back at the next level, as he is undersized, but his courageous play and gawdy numbers early on shouldn't go unnoticed. It has made him an early riser this season. 16GP-8G-19A-27PTS +23 Last Rank: #24

14. Jesse Lees D Kelowna - Jesse Lees has enjoyed a fine start to the season on a stacked blueline for the Rockets. Lees may not have the natural ability that his teammate Madison Bowey has, but what he does bring is a reliability and stability to the defense position. Known for his puck movement but has shown early on this season that he can play in a variety of situations. It will be interesting to see how Lees emerges on the backend for the Rockets. 14GP-1G-3A-4PTS +13 Last Rank: #22

15. Greg Chase C Calgary - Greg Chase taken his offensive game to another level this season. As of now he is playing center for the Hitmen but might be better off playing on the wing at the next level as he is dynamic in attacking off the edges on the rush. Is very good at using his speed and leverage to cut towards the net. Excellent vision and playmaking skills he has displayed to this point of the season. 16GP-2G-13A-15PTS +1 Last Rank: #15

16. Oliver Bjorkstrand RW Portland - Oliver Bjorkstrand has come over from Denmark to play in the WHL this season. Bjorkstrand is a shifty, nose for the net type player. A little on the thin side as of now, like a lot of players that seem to come from Europe. He has landed in a good spot in Portland. He should be a solid complementary scorer on a team stacked full of offensive talent. Not sure if he can become a go-to offensive talent, but he should be able to put up some solid numbers with Portland this season. 16GP-6G-7A-13PTS +12 Last Rank: NR

17. Jackson Houck RW Vancouver - Jackson Houck likely should have made my preseason list. Gritty player that I had doubts on how effective his offense would be. His offense has come around this season and with the way the Giants have purged players this season due to a slow start, things are setting up nicely for Houck to have a breakout season. Kind of a sleeper pick. Plays the game with a lot of energy and tenacity. With the offense coming around, he's the type of player scouts look for. Demon on the forecheck. 16GP-4G-14A-18PTS +3 Last Rank: NR

18. Connor Rankin C Tri-City - Connor Rankin is off to a slow start this season. After establishing himself as a solid offensive contributor in his 16 year old season, Rankin has had some issues elevating his game as he has moved up the lineup. It will be interesting to see if Rankin can put up better numbers throughout the season or if he was better off playing down the lineup and contributing at the bottom of the order. As of now, he is going to have to find another gear if he wants to move up the rankings. 19GP-6G-3A-9PTS 0 Last Rank: #16

19. Alex Forsberg C Prince George - Alex Forsberg is the biggest tumbler on the list. Forsberg has been disappointing so far this season. I expected him to grab the offensive reigns of the hockey club. Newcomer Colin Jacobs has come in and stole the spotlight which has relegated Forsberg to a secondary scoring role. His defensive play has been subpar as well. He seems content for the time being in being a secondary scoring. If he doesn't improve his overall game, he could stand to fall further in the rankings. Still needs work on his hockey sense. 15GP-4G-5A-9PTS -7 Last Rank: #6

20. Matt Needham C Kamloops - Matt Needham has had a lukewarm start to the season. Everytime I see Needham play, I think of Steve Ott. Needham is kind of at the mercy of the Blazers hot start. Needham hasn't gotten the offensive looks as a lot of his teammates are off to torrid offensive starts which has forced Needham to play down the lineup. Needham has played a lot of center this season out of necessity, though I think he is better on the wing. 19GP-4G-4A-8PTS -1 Last Rank: #14

21. Eric Roy D Brandon - Eric Roy hasn't quite enjoyed the success his Wheat Kings teammate Ryan Pulock has so far this season. Eric Roy is a solid puck distributor from the backend but has issues away from the puck. Not as dynamic as a Shea Theodore, but makes solid contributions as a puckmover. Doesn't hesistate to rush up the ice. Continues to need to work on strength and defensive coverage. 18GP-3G-8A-11PTS -4 Last Rank: #12

22. Macoy Erkamps D Lethbridge - Macoy Erkamps has enjoyed a fine start to the season. Slowly coming around and becoming one of the go-to defensemen on the Hurricanes club. A smidge undersized, but a slick puckmoving defenseman. Has a bit of feistiness to his game. It will be interesting to see how ends the season to see if he can continue to improve his overall game. 19GP-1G-9A-10PTS +3 Last Rank: #26

23. Carter Hansen RW Moose Jaw - Carter Hansen is a budding power forward who is still trying to find his offensive game. Has the tools to become so. Big frame, smooth skater, his puckhandling is a little sloppy at times. Hansen hasn't grabbed the offensive reigns on the Warriors team like I thought he would have, especially on a team that is looking for goals from the forward positions. Hansen will be an interesting case study throughout the rest of the season. 17GP-3G-5A-8PTS -3 Last Rank: #17

24. Axel Blomqvist RW Lethbridge - Axel Blomqvist is the WHL version of Dustin Penner. Big man with soft hands and nice offensive skills, but isn't the most graceful skater. Creates space for his smaller Lethbridge teammates. At this stage Blomqvist looks to be more of a playmaker than a player looking to score. All in all, has been a big part the Hurricanes emergence this season completes the quartet of Hurricanes players on the list. 17GP-1G-10A-11PTS +1 Last Rank: NR

25. Brian Williams C Tri-City - Brian Williams got off to very slow start but is now starting to come around with the offense. Most of the time is the smallest player on the ice but you have to admire the guts and tenacity he plays the game with. Not afraid to go to the dirty areas and has a nice set of hands in and around the net. Will be interesting to see how much of the offensive slack he picks up as the season goes on. 18GP-3G-6A-9PTS -2 Last Rank: #18

26. Kohl Bauml C Everett - Kohl Bauml is another diminutive, gutsy plater that you can't help but cheer for. Bauml is a jack of all trades forward for the Silvertips this season, that is pitching in on the offense. The Silvertips are getting very little in terms of scoring from the forward position this season. Bauml should continue to get offensive looks on a thin Silvertips club. 19GP-7G-4A-11Pts -7 Last Rank: #25

27. Dillon Heatherington D Swift Current - Dillon Heatherington is another player that I initially should have has on the preseason top 30 list. Heatherington makes his hay through being a shutdown defender, although he may have some untapped offensive ability. Not a lot of flash to Heathington's game, but there is a high degree of dependability to it. Another prospect to watch to see where the ceiling stops. 19GP-2G-5A-7PTS +5 Last Rank: NR

28. Tristan Jarry G Edmonton - Tristan Jarry is starting to get more games under his belt as he heads into his draft year. While Oil Kings starter Laurent Brossoit looks entrenched as the starting goaltender, Jarry is making the most of his opportunities by posting miniscule numbers to start the season. Still prone to the odd, flaky goal, but has solid mechanics and athletic enough to make the big saves. All he needs now is the experience and the volume of games, but I'm not sure that will come this year. 6GP-3W-1.51GAA-.938S% Last Rank: #21

29. Keegan Kanzig D Victoria - Keegan Kanzig is a player trying to develop a name for himself as a shutdown defender. Has the size and strength to do so, but I'm not sure the temperment is there for him to play ultanasty when the need arises. Kanzig is a big man and takes up a lot of space on the ice, but hasn't quite developed that timing of when to play tough and when to back off. Don't think there is much of an offensive pedigree here, so he will have to find a way to establish "fear" into his game a la Dylan McIlrath. 17GP-0G-3A-3PTS -4 Last Rank: #19

30. Cole Ully LW Kamloops - Cole Ully replaces teammate Chase Souto as the #30 on the list. Ully has managed to put up some points in a 3rd line role on a stacked Kamloops team. Ully has done a job of establshing himself as a role player playing in mostly defensive roles but still managing to put up points. Ully-Needham-Souto have been a line for most of the season, all three eligible for the 2013 NHL draft. 19GP-6G-6A-12PTS +8 Last Rank: NR