Although Prince George is currently the worst team in the WHL, much of it has to do with injuries to top players. Viedensky was playing with top 2010 draft prospect Brett Connolly until Connolly was injured. Viedensky leads Prince George in scoring with three goals and 16 assists for 19 points and is +3 on a team with just two players who are not minus. Viedensky is now centering a line with Connolly and Alex Rodgers. Now that Connolly is healthy, Viedensky should continue to put up consistent numbers. At 6’4 and 185 pounds, Viedensky will need to fill out his big body more to be an NHL player. He was recently invited to play for Team Slovakia at the World Juniors Tournament.
At this point, Sharks recent history of impressive seventh round draft picks looks to be continued by Viedensky.
Varone is currently getting second-line minutes after returning from a recent injury where he missed just a few games. He has three goals and 15 points in just 20 games for the Midwest division leading Knights. Varone is playing on a line with 2007 sixth-round draftee Justin Taylor and Stephen Sanza. Varone also gets consistent power-play and penalty-kill minutes. Varone is sixth in scoring on a very good London team. Varone is a little on the small side at just 5’10 and 185 pounds. His point totals have gone up in each of his seasons in the OHL although his goal totals are slightly down this season because of a lack of shots on net.
Groulx leads defenseman in scoring on the Eastern Division leading Quebec Remparts. In primarily a shut-down role, he has been showing a bit more of offensive flair. In his fourth year in the QMJHL, he is on pace to eclipse his 25-point season from last year, as well as the year before, with five goals and 12 assists for 17 points. Groulx is even on the year in plus/minus. The 19-year-old has deservedly been receiving top pairing minutes, but doesn’t get many power-play minutes. Groulx will continue to develop his all-around game this year, but will mainly focus on being a stay-at-home defenseman.
Julien Demers, D – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
5th Round #146 Overall 2008
Demers has stepped into much more of a leadership role for the Ottawa 67’s as team captain. He has never put up huge offensive numbers in his junior career, but with just six points in 15 games he is not on pace to match his 42-point season last year. This is mostly due to the fact that he has missed 12 games due to injury. The 67’s are currently second in the Eastern Division despite injuries to most of their defensive corps. The 19-year-old Demers plays on a pairing with Travis Gibbons. Demers is a big-bodied and intimidating blueliner at 6’1 and 215 pounds.
Taylor Doherty, D – Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
2nd Round #57 Overall 2009
The 6’8, 230-pound hulking defenseman has been more than solid for the Frontenacs. The Frontenacs are currently third in the Eastern Division. Although the 18-year-old has his inconsistencies, he is developing nicely. In 29 games, Doherty has just one goal and 10 assists but is also a +6 with 50 penalty minutes. Doherty is not known at all for his offensive abilities but more for his smooth skating and big frame. Doherty logs a ton of minutes including both power play and penalty kill. He is not a power-play specialist by any means, but just a good all-around defenseman. Doherty is currently playing with Brian Lashoff (DET) who is 6’3 and 200 pounds himself. Doherty will only continue to get better as he is more of a project defenseman with a ton of potential.
Thomas Heemskerk, G – Everett Silvertips
Signed September 29, 2009
After San Jose signed Heemskerk, the 19-year-old has really progressed from last year. Heemskerk is seventh in the WHL in GAA with 2.16. He also has a .917 save percentage. Last season his goals against with Everett was 3.32 and his save percentage was .906 in just 27 games. This year he is also splitting starts with Kent Simpson who is a 2010 draft-eligible player. Heemskerk is very athletic at 6’0 and 182 pounds. Heemskerk seems to be another nice addition to a healthy goaltending prospect pipeline in San Jose.