I believe the term is “fire-wagon hockey”, yeah that’s it, that’s the only way to describe the Belleville Bulls style of play so far this season. After 6 games they have scored 35 goals while allowing 23 against, not exactly the New Jersey Devils are they! No, they’re the Bulls and they’re 5-1 to start the season and that’ll suit coach Jim Hulton just fine I’m sure and the fans as well. This is a very speedy and talented team and they have, at present, 2 goalies that are quit capable of handling wide-open play. All of the new additions are fulfilling expectations, which as I said last year is a tribute to the scouting staff of the Bulls. Here is a rundown of the Bulls roster and how each player has looked so far.
#10 Andrew Brown, RW- (6-0-0-0-7) A big strong winger, but doesn’t use size effectively. Needs to go to the net more and start punishing opposing defenders. An average skater, with limited scoring ability.
#7 Rane Carnagie, C- (6-4-3-7-2)The Bulls first round pick is learning extremely fast. This kid has unlimited potential and looks to be a sure 1st or 2nd round pick in the 2003 entry draft. He is very sturdy on his skates and has great moves. He has also shown a good nose for the net with 4 goals already this season.
#13 Andre Deveaux, C- (6-0-2-2-13)The second year man is currently struggling with back problems. He looks to be a bit more focused this year than last, but still looks as if he’s just out for a Sunday skate sometimes. Needs to play as he did in the playoffs last year.
#21 Jake Gilmour, LW- (6-0-0-0-21)The Bulls 3rd pick this year has been doing exactly what he was brought in to do, fight, and he does it well. He is 6’1”, 230lbs and he’s only 17. He has already established himself as a heavyweight in the OHL. His skating at present is average, but I believe he could actually become a good skater with some work. Like Deveaux, Gilmour also needs to be more hungry for the puck and drive to the net.
#8 Cody McCormick, RW- (6-1-2-3-23)One of the Bulls inspirational leaders, McCormick has picked up where he left off, hitting everything that moves. Appears more focused on hockey rather than fighting this year. Needs to find the net more.
#44 Neil MacInnis, LW- (0-0-0-0-0)Rookie who hasn’t seen any game action this year. Currently playing with the Trenton Sting.
#25 Adam Paiement, RW- (3-0-0-0-7)After a separated shoulder in the exhibition season and then a suspension for hitting from behind, Paiement hasn’t seen much action as of yet. He has good size and will be looking for better goal production this year and I believe it will come.
#81 Marc Rancourt, LW- (6-1-3-4-0)Marc was the best rookie in camp in my opinion. He has excellent hands and has been able to create scoring chances early on. Look for him on this years central scouting list by mid-season.
#9 Mike Renzi, LW-(6-9-7-16-16) An overage forward, Mike was expected to pick up some of the scoring that departed with Randy Rowe and Branko Radivojevic and he has done that in spades. He is currently leading the league with 16 points in 6 games.
#77 Nathan Robinson, LW-(5-4-7-11-5)The other overage forward, Nate is probably the fastest and most agile skater in the OHL. I have often compared him to a running back on skates. He also is contributing in a huge way with 11 points in 5 games.
#17 David Silverstone, LW-(5-2-1-3-16)In camp Silverstone displayed an excellent slap shot and good speed, but he has yet to unleash this potential on his opponents. He is doing a good job of staying away from pointless fights so far and just jumping in when it has to be done. The Bulls should expect 20 to 30 goals from him this year.
#23 Ben Snell, RW-(0-0-0-0-0)At 6’4” Ben has a big frame to fill into. He just turned 16, so Belleville isn’t going to rush him; he is currently with the Trenton Sting, but has good offensive potential and could slowly be worked into the line-up this year.
#14 Matt Stajan, C-(6-4-6-10-7)A second year player, Matt has stepped up his offensive game this year. He has a noticeably better shot this year and is using it effectively so far. He was kind of rushed into duty on the 2nd line last year with the Bulls shortage of centremen, but it served him well and he is now a legitimate top liner.
#97 Kyle Wellwood, C-(6-8-6-14-0)The quest begins to prove the critics wrong again. After leading the league in scoring last year is it possible he can improve? In a word, yes. Wellwood has shed a few pounds and is in great shape, which is very evident on the ice. He is much more agile and is logging a lot of ice time. At this rate he is a sure bet to make the NHL in a few years.
#16 Alex White, LW-(6-1-3-4-0)Alex is a hard player to figure out. He is a good skater and has good hands, but he hasn’t taken a key offensive role on the Bulls. I believe he needs to try to create more, rather than relying on his linemates.
LATEST LINE COMBINATIONS
The lines have not been stable at all, as the Bulls try to figure out the best line combination for Wellwood. They have also had to deal with the suspensions of Robinson and Paiement.
#2 Trevor Barton-(0-0-0-0-0)The Bulls 2nd pick showed good skating ability and hands, but has to work on quicker decision making in his own end. Barton is also with the Trenton Sting, most likely to work on his defence. He has a big frame and like Snell, will be worked into the line-up slowly this year. Will turn into a solid future d-man.
#4 Matt Coughlin-(6-1-0-1-17)This years captain was the most improved player in camp. His skating has improved immensely in addition to better puck control. So far in regular season has not stepped up offensively. Once he recognizes that he can take more offensive chances due to his newfound speed, I believe he will be one of the most effective d-men in the OHL.
#24 Dan Growden-(6-0-0-0-11)Presently the Bulls best defenseman, Growden has good speed and a great work ethic. Hasn’t taken an offensive role this year yet, but along with Coughlin, has made it very difficult for opposition to manoeuvre in the Bulls end.
#6 Malcolm Hutt-(6-0-6-6-10)Hutt isn’t very flashy and doesn’t have much size, but he gets the job done on the blueline. Has started to lug the puck more out of the defensive zone. His skating looks much better this year as well.
#12 Mike Knight-(6-0-0-0-6)Probably the biggest surprise in camp was this man. The Bulls rookie is not big but has a lot of heart. He played himself onto the team in the exhibition schedule and looks to be holding his own so far in the regular season. He is filling the spot that was most likely intended for Barton.
#22 Oliver Maron-(6-0-4-4-0)Maron came to the Bulls via the import draft. He is from the same hometown as Jan Chovan in Slovakia. He is a very good skater and moves the puck well. He is gaining confidence every game and appears to be on his way to being an excellent OHL defenceman.
#5 Adam Sturgeon-(6-0-2-2-0)Sudbury must of really had some problems with this guy to let him go because he looks great. He is a smaller d-man but he is an excellent skater and is really adding an offensive element for the Bulls from the blueline.
#30 Jan Chovan–He looks to be in good form so far this year, he is controlling his rebounds pretty well. Relies mainly on his reflexes but has good positioning as well
#1 Paulo ColaiacovoI haven’t seen much of Paulo this year as has played on the road mostly. Uses positioning and size to block off the net.
#31 Eric TobiaAnother big surprise out of camp Tobia is a local product and for now has been playing on Kingston’s Junior A team. Will be brought up for backup if the Bulls decide on a definite number 1, which would mean a trade demand from the other.