The Detroit Red Wings have at least one prospect in each major junior league across Canada. In the OHL, two of three prospects are worth a long look — Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton. The Red Wings have one prospect in the QMJHL and a great defensive prospect, Logan Pyett, in the WHL.
Jan Mursak, W — Belleville Bulls
Acquired: 6th round, 182nd overall, 2006
The Belleville Bulls have won 13 of the last 15 games, which included an incredible 12-game winning streak. The recent streak has the Bulls sitting in first place in the OHL‘s Eastern Conference. Prior to the hot streak, the Bulls acquired 20-year-old Jan Mursak from the Saginaw Spirit.
Mursak is a slick playmaker who has averaged at least a point per game in each of the past two seasons. In 2006-07, Mursak logged 27 goals and 53 assists for 80 points, which was highlighted by a Spirit team record 22-game point-scoring streak. Before coming to Belleville, the 5’11, 173 lbs winger had 6 goals and 20 assists in 26 games with Saginaw. Since being traded, Mursak has notched 4 goals and 16 assists in 20 games, and an impressive +11 with the Bulls.
In April 2007, Mursak signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Red Wings and then was given an amateur tryout with affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL).
Cory Emmerton, C — Brampton Battalion
Acquired: 2nd round, 41st overall, 2006
In December, an effort to prove that they were focused on winning in the near term was shown by the Brampton Battalion as they acquired Cory Emmerton from the Kingston Frontenacs in a seven-for-one trade. The deal included two players and five draft picks going to Kingston. The 19-year-old Emmerton is regarded as one of the top two-way players in the Ontario Hockey League.
The 6’0, 177lb center had 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points in 24 games, along with a -14 for the disappointing Kingston Frontenacs. Since the trade to Brampton, Emmerton has 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points in 12 games, along with a -3 plus/minus rating.
Emmerton was invited to try out for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships. On Day 1 of Team Canada’s World Junior Team Selection camp, Emmerton came down with mononucleosis and was sent home.
A couple of weeks ago, Emmerton earned the title of the St. Thomas-Elgin Male Athlete of the Year, nosing out another outstanding hockey talent in San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton.
Zach Torquato, C – Erie Otters
Acquired: 6th round, 178th overall, 2007
The Erie Otters are struggling mightily with a dismal 11-37-2-1 record this year. The team has moved within five defeats of owning the OHL record of 29 straight road losses, which was set by the 1993-93 Newmarket Royals.
This has not rattled Otters captain Zach Torquato. The 18-year-old Torquato has posted some decent statistics including 16 goals and 30 assists for 46 points in 49 games. The Red Wings had expectations that he would come close to the 100-point mark this season, but with a lack of scoring support it has been difficult for him to do so.
Torquato is a born leader and has natural scoring ability. If Erie makes some roster improvements over the offseason or Torquato gets traded to a playoff contending team, it is likely that he will come close to the Red Wings expectations.
Randy Cameron, C — Moncton Wildcats
Acquired: 5th round, 148th overall, 2007
During his two-year career with the Moncton Wildcats, 19-year-old Randy Cameron has been known for his keen intellect on the ice. A solid all-around forward who can play either center or right wing, Cameron also uses his intellect off the ice. In October 2007, the 5’11, 180 lbs Cameron was named the QMJHL Scholastic Player of the Month.
Look for Cameron to improve on his totals of 17 goals and 22 assists for 39 points last year. The 19-year-old Cameron has posted 11 goals and 22 assists in 49 games so far this year.
Logan Pyett, D — Regina Pats
Acquired: 7th round, 212th overall, 2006
Pyett is an offensively-gifted defenseman who plays with great vision and intellect. He is very mobile and has a hard point shot. With the Regina Pats, Pyett is paired with Victor Bailey, as one of the WHL elite power-play duos. Pyett has 17 goals and 25 assists for 42 points in 46 games so far this season as captain.
Pyett is undersized at 5’11, 198 lbs but he is very strong for his size. He has great work ethic and doesn’t shy away from traffic. The 19-year-old Pyett still needs to work on his defensive zone play, but that is quickly improving.
He showcased his talents on the third defensive pairing of the gold medal winning Canadian National Junior Team this year.
The Red Wings feel that the new style of the NHL will benefit Pyett. He must be signed by June 1, 2008, and it’s expected he will be.