Coz for thought: Top prospect impressions

January 22, 2013, 4:49 PM

It’s hard to believe that it took 18 years to experience our first shutout at the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game.

Safe to say that Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones or Jonathan Drouin will become the 11th player to have played in the game to go first overall in the NHL Draft June 30. It would’ve been the 13th had Sidney Crosby been healthy in 2005, and Nail Yakupov in 2012.

I applaud Bobby Smith and Cam Russell for bringing the Halifax Mooseheads franchise back to prominence.

I was surprised just how excited our Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean were to participate in the event.

Never surprised when Don Cherry is genuinely upset when he doesn’t win.

Amazed by the maturity of Darnell Nurse, Josh Morrissey, Jones and Anthony Mantha.

Frederik Gauthier is a man child and once he matures, physically and mentally, he’ll be a top-flight NHL prospect. He is the epitome of raw talent.

Ryan Kujawinski of Kingston is doing his best to mentor ’96-born Frontenacs stars Roland McKeown, Sam Bennett and Spencer Watson the way Billy Jenkins took him under his wing last year.

Sean Monahan is a late birthday, which usually means he gets over-scouted (see John Tavares and Sean Couturier). But don’t sleep on this guy — he’s likely to move down in the top-10 like Couturier, and like Couturier whoever drafts him will have a two-way gem.

Jordan Subban has P.K.’s personality; I’d pay to spend a week with him at Belleville Bulls practices to see how many times he can get head coach George Burnett to crack a smile.

I’d like to be able to rent Nicolas Petan’s mitts for a few days. He and Drouin could deke out a Shooter-Tutor .

Friday Night Hockey: Belleville @ Niagara

Tough break for Ryan Strome, who was returned to the Niagara IceDogs after a short camp stint with the New York Islanders. In typical Islanders fashion, Strome never got a fair shake.

Both he and Dallas Stars prospect Brett Ritchie were more than happy to return to Niagara to be the elder statesmen of what is now one of the youngest teams in the CHL.

The trade of Brendan Perlini to Niagara has shades of Strome’s move to Niagara during the 2009-10 season.

Can’t say enough about the pieces Burnett has added to the Bulls. Tyler Graovac, Alan Quine and Jake Cardwell have added an injection of offence to the Belleville’s league-worst offence.

Other stuff

How about the Kootenay Ice? Looks like Ryan McGill has found his old touch as the Ice have won nine of its last 10.

The Kelowna Rockets have won 19 straight on home ice, and have dropped just two at home all season. You have to go back to a 6-4 loss Oct. 10 to the Spokane Chiefs to find the last one.

Everyone is asking about the Quebec Remparts and while injuries are never an acceptable excuse, it would be fun to watch Patrick Roy’s team play with a full line-up for 8 or ten games. It’s not likely to happen now that Mikhail Grigorenko is with the Buffalo Sabres.

The QMJHL put out a release denying rumors of a team moving to Trois-Rivieres. You know what that means … Keep an eye on the Acadie Bathurst Titan. By the way, head coach Danny Dupont is from T-R.

Did the London Knights take a huge risk upsetting the apple cart by letting Kevin Bailie go?

Keep an eye on the Oshawa Generals and the return of Lucas Lessio. He hasn’t played since Oct. 21 and he’ll have a ton of motivation down the stretch having missed the world juniors.

Big shout out to Jonathan Huberdeau. His debut with the Florida Panthers was nothing short of spectacular.

Rickard Rakell probably snuck under the radar for a lot of people, but you can find the former Plymouth Whaler with the Anaheim Ducks.

And a special thanks to all of you who satisfied your curiosity by tuning into a CHL game during the NHL lockout. We hope you continue to enjoy the product as much as our Friday Night Hockey team enjoys delivering it to you.

Stat trick

Here’s the before and after records of teams that have made coaching changes during the 2012-13 season.

CHL coaching changes
Team Old coach/record New coach/record
Acadie-Bathurst Eric Dubois 10-15-4-1 Danny Dupont 9-9-1-0
Cape Breton Ron Choules 7-17-2-4 Marc-Andre Dumont 2-12-1-1
Erie Robbie Ftorek 7-1-5-2-3 Kris Knoblauch 8-9-1-1
Everett Mark Ferner 16-23-0-2 Garry Davidson 4-3-0-0
Portland Mike Johnston 20-4-1-0 Travis Green 17-2-0-1
Peterborough Mike Pelino 8-23-3-1 Jody Hull 13-26-3-4
Red Deer Jesse Wallin 10-11-1-1 Brent Sutter 15-9-2-1
Sault Ste. Marie Mike Stapleton 13-14-0-2 Sheldon Keefe 11-5-0-0
Val-d’Or Marc-Andre Dumont 4-6-0-0 Mario Durocher 19-14-0-3

Completely off topic

Raise your hand if you’re shocked about Lance Armstrong.

2014 world juniors

For those of you interested in attending the 2014 world juniors, check this out . If you’re interested in sight seeing or playing games of any sport against European competition during the course of the world juniors, this is the place to go.


Friday Night Hockey returns to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. It’s the Rangers playing host to Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters.

For more on the CHL, don’t forget to check out the latest from Patrick King.


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