Panthers junior prospects 2009-10 review

By Josh Deitell

OHL

Garrett Wilson, LW – Owen Sound Attack
6’2", 205 lbs
Acquired: 4th round (107th overall), 2009
b. May 30, 1991

A solid two-way player who is just beginning to show his offensive side, Wilson became a key player for Owen Sound in his second full season in the OHL. He saw improvement in nearly every statistical category from his 53-game, 35-point performance in 2008-09, posting 36 goals and 25 assists in 65 games this year, good for first on Owen Sound in goals and fourth in total points. He was rewarded for his efforts in the OHL Coaches Poll, being rated as the hardest worker in the league as well as the third most underrated player in the OHL.

Wilson’s balance of skill and grit makes him an intriguing player. His strong defensive game and willingness to play a physical brand of hockey make him a safe bet to be an NHL player someday, but his offensive ability gives him a lot of upside, and makes it difficult put a cap on his potential. He’ll return to the OHL next year and will look to prove himself ready for a professional debut in 2011-12.


Scott Timmins, C – Windsor Spitfires
5’11", 191 lbs
Acquired: 6th round (165th overall), 2009
b. September 11, 1989

Drafted just before his 20th birthday, Timmins just completed his overage season for Windsor. A member of a stacked Spitfires squad with plenty of weapons, Timmins was more of a supporting contributor than a go-to guy, putting up 30 goals and 24 assists for 54 points in 56 games. Considering that Timmins was older than most of his competition and that he tallied 35 goals, 38 assists, and 73 points in 66 games in 2008-09, his numbers this year are a slight step backwards. His 20 points in 18 playoff games thus far helps to salvage his season.

The Panthers have stated that they are interested in signing Timmins this summer after Windsor concludes their season. He’ll start his professional career in the fall and will look to maintain his status as a high-energy goal scorer while working on polishing his all-around game. He projects as a bottom-six player at the NHL level who can chip in offensively from time to time.

A.J. Jenks, LW/C – Plymouth Whalers
6’2", 200 lbs 
Acquired: 4th round (100th overall), 2008
b. June 27, 1990

A two-way power forward by trade, Jenks has developed some impressive consistency in the OHL. This year, he notched his third straight 20-goal, 50-point season with career highs of 23 goals, 40 assists, and 63 points in 52 games, numbers that ranked him second on the Whalers to Tyler Seguin in all three categories. When he’s on his game, Jenks is a force on the ice, utilizing his size to overpower opposing players at both ends of the rink. He’s flown a little under the radar as a prospect. In face, in their annual poll the OHL coaches rated him the most underrated player in the league, as well as the best face-off man.

If he can bring intensity to the rink every night and his offensive game translates at the professional level, Jenks could end up a capable second liner in the NHL, but he safely projects as a versatile bottom-six forward who can play both center and wing. Just signed to an entry-level contract, Jenks will make his professional debut in the fall. 

Adam Comrie, D – Guelph Storm
6’4", 213 lbs
Acquired: 3rd round (80th overall), 2008
b. July 31, 1990

Traded in the offseason from Saginaw to Guelph, Comrie adjusted well to his new environment and took over as the top offensive defenseman for the Storm. Despite his admitted struggles with ADHD, after two seasons where Comrie hovered around the 30-point mark, the big defenseman bumped his game up a notch this year, posting 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points in 68 games. Despite his increased offensive production, Comrie’s defensive game still needs work. Though he rarely gets out-muscled along the boards, he has some trouble defending the rush against more agile forwards.

Despite the need for refinement, there’s a lot of upside to Comrie. The Panthers signed him to an entry-level contract last month, and though it might take him a few years of playing minor-pro hockey to work out the kinks in his game, he has the skill and size to be an NHL blueliner someday.

WHL

Colby Robak, D – Brandon Wheat Kings
6’3", 207 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round (46th overall), 2008
b. April 24, 1990

Robak continued to make strides at both ends of the ice this year, posting 16 goals and 50 assists for 66 points in 71 games. Those numbers placed him first among Brandon defensemen in all offensive categories. Additionally, Robak was able to play an intelligent, disciplined defensive game, apparent in the fact that he finished with the best plus/minus rating on Brandon with a +56 while only taking nine minutes in penalties over the entire season. He’ll need to utilize his frame more when he reaches the professional level, but his positioning is top-notch.

With his combination of size and skill, Robak is on track to be a second-pairing NHL defenseman. He hasn’t been signed to a contract yet, but that’s likely because he’s in the midst of a postseason run with Brandon. All signs point to Robak being inked over the summer and making his professional debut in the fall. He’ll likely start in the AHL, but he could make the Panthers out of camp if he impresses.

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