This offseason free agent signing is a step towards restocking the emptying cupboard of defensive prospects in the system. A coveted right-handed shooter, Monast is wearing an "A" for Quebec after being acquired from Halifax. Monast is a strong two-way competitor who is willing to stand up for his teammates, even if it requires dropping the gloves. The hulking (for QMJHL standards) defenseman has had a bit of an up and down year, but has largely been a steadying force on the blueline for the Remparts. He has nine points in 23 games and is +4. Thanks to Monast’s improving defensive play, the Remparts have surrendered the third fewest goals in the Q.
Tyler Beskorowany, G – Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
2nd round (59th overall) in 2008
Beskorowany’s Owen Sound Attack once again find themselves giving up more than 35 shots per game and Beskorowany is off to a rocky, up-and-down start. He now sits at 6-7-4 with a .905 save percentage and 3.26 GAA. In half of his first 10 starts, the 6’5 goalie surrendered six or more goals, but he has not surrendered more than three in each of his last seven. He has attracted the interest of at least one rival OHL club, which suggests that stats don’t tell the whole story and more than just the Stars see tons of potential in him. Beskorowany is cognizant of the slump he is currently trying to shake off and will work hard to get the Attack going in the right direction.
Luke Gazdic, LW – Erie Otters (OHL)
6th round (172nd overall) in 2007
The rugged winger missed a bit of time this year from an injury sustained in an early season bout. That hasn’t stopped him from fighting altogether though, he’s dropped the mitts three times in the regular season this year and twice more at Traverse City. He’s putting together some points along the way though as well, 12 points in 23 games to be exact. While Erie has tried some different line combos throughout their mediocre start, Gazdic has been seeing a good amount of time with Red Wings center prospect Zack Torquato.
Sergei Korostin, RW – Peterborough Petes (OHL)
3rd round (64th overall) in 2007
Korostin was dealt from the London Knights to Peterborough where the quick skating forward will have a chance at more ice time. The offensive numbers have not varied much however, seven points in 13 games with London followed by seven points in 11 games with the Petes. That said, things are picking up for him on a struggling Petes team – he has collected seven points in his last seven games. A rookie to the OHL, Korostin will likely benefit from more ice time on his new club. He needs to work on his game-to-game, and even shift-to-shift consistency. He still has a lot to learn about the North American game but he’ll have the opportunity to showcase his skills even more now.
Michael Neal, LW – Sarnia Sting (OHL)
5th round (149th overall) in 2007
James’ young brother was dealt early in the season from Belleville to Sarnia after he went pointless in his first three Bulls games. In 23 games with Sarnia, Neal has recorded a career-high nine points. It seems that Neal is going to have to make the best of it as a role player unless a dramatic improvement in his scoring touch or promotion to more prominent scoring lines. Neal seems game though, dropping the gloves twice in a week’s time back in October with players that engage fairly frequently in fisticuffs, though may not necessarily be considered heavyweights. It should be noted that Neal played in no regular season games last year due to an injury, losing a crucial year of development.
Benn got off to a torrid start in his first WHL season last year and he’s burying pucks at an even more alarming rate this year. Through 24 games, Benn scored a goal in 17 of them, and has obtained a point in 21 of them. He is one of just three 20-goal getters in the WHL at the moment (the other two have played five and six more games). Benn’s nose for the net and tenacity to get to prime real estate in front is nearly unmatched. He leads the ‘Dub with 23 goals and his 43 points places him tied for third. While he still seems a little shy about applying his body to the backcheck, his goal-scoring ability is undeniable.
Colton Sceviour, RW – Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
4th round (112th overall) in 2007
Sceviour is proving that the jolt he received after being dealt from Portland last season was not short-lived. After scoring roughly as many points with Lethbridge last year as he did in his entire WHL career up to that point (54 points in 52 games to 58 points in the previous 130), Sceviour has not disappointed this year. He boasts team bests in goals (12), assists (24) and points (36) through his first 25 games. He is tied for 10th in the WHL in scoring. He typically finds himself on a line with top prospects Zach Boychuk (CAR) and Carter Ashton. Despite his excellent numbers, Sceviour does need some improvement in his game in and game out consistency; it’s not uncommon for him to score four or more points in a night only to go scoreless in the next five games thereafter. On the plus side, Sceviour is making strides in his defensive game.
Matt Tassone, C – Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
6th round (176th overall) in 2008
Tassone, a gritty forward for Swift Current, has developed quite the nose for the net this year. His eight goals in his past six games have catapulted him all the way to 14th in the WHL in goals (with 15). He hasn’t lost his feistiness either, collecting 56 PIMs through 24 games, including five fighting majors. He sometimes displays some questionable discipline and questionable hitting, but those are kinks that can be worked out with strong coaching. On a team with more minus players than plus players, Tassone is doing quite well at +10 on the year. Also, Tassone will be wearing the captain’s "C" in December for the Broncos.
This Norwegian-born center is off and running in his first junior season after playing Midget last season. Winkler has three goals and 15 points through 17 games with Cedar Rapids. Still a fairly unpredictable prospect, Winkler has seen his fair share of power play time this year with the RoughRiders – registering eight of his 15 tallies with the man advantage. Winkler’s three points in his most recent game, a 9-2 win over Des Moines, marks a personal best for him. After this season, Winkler is off to Colorado College to further his development.