Columbus Blue Jacket Prospect Report: Syracuse Crunch Players

By Jeff Parzych

Now that the Syracuse Crunch are ten games into the 2002-03 season, we thought it was time to take a look at the Columbus prospects currently skating in Syracuse with the Crunch. It is the first of eight installments throughout the season, as we will take a look at every prospect currently with the Crunch at a ten game clip. We will also have updates on players who are with the Crunch, but are no longer considered prospects according to the guidelines set up by Hockey’s Future. Those updates will come in the week following our prospect report.

Goaltending:

Pascal Leclaire:

Leclaire as received the lion’s share of playing time between the Syracuse pipes, appearing in seven of the first ten games with a record of 2-5-0. He currently carries a goals against average of 4.42 along with a save percentage of 86.9%.

Inside the Numbers: The fact of the matter is Leclaire is a twenty-year old goaltender trying to adjust to the pro game. He has struggled at times, but has not played as bad as numbers indicate. He has fell victim on numerous occasions to a very porous Crunch blue line. Pulled in his last outing after giving up four goals on ten shots against the defending Calder Cup Champion Chicago Wolves. In that game, only one, possibly two could be blamed on the Quebec native. He may find himself watching the next few contests or so from the bench.

Karl Goehring:

In limited action, the former University of North Dakota standout has put up some very solid numbers. He has appeared in five games this season, only two of them starts, with a record of 1-1-0. His goals against average, which currently leads the AHL is a paltry 1.53 along with a save percentage of .944.

Inside the Numbers: Goehring, who has become a favorite of the fans in Syracuse, especially after Saturday’s 2-0 shutout of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in only his second start. Clearly he has been the better of the two so far this season, but he has also been the recipient of some better defensive play by the Crunch. If he continues to perform at this level it could pose a problem for Head Coach Gary Agnew, who realizes that the parent Jackets have high expectations for Leclaire and expect him to see his share of ice time.

Defensemen:

Duvie Westcott:

One of the lone bright spots on a very shaky Crunch defense, the former St. Cloud standout has played in all ten games for the Crunch this season, recording one goal, six assists to go along with 32 penalty minutes. He also is a +3, the only full time defenseman with a positive number.

Inside the Numbers: He has been, hands down, the most consistent performer on the Syracuse blue line. He leads all defensemen in scoring, which ties him for fourth on the team. Westcott continues to make major strides since signing as a free agent with the Jackets a little over a year ago. If Columbus comes calling searching for “D” help, look for Westcott to get the nod.

Paul Manning:

Another player who has appeared in all ten games for Syracuse this season. He has registered one goal, that coming in Friday’s loss to Chicago, to go along with six penalty minutes. His plus/minus is a -2.

Inside the Numbers: Is still adjusting to the AHL game after missing most of last season with a shoulder injury. Has shown flashes, but needs to be more consistent and display the talent that made Columbus give the Calgary Flames a fifth round pick in the 2001 Entry Draft for Manning.

Dan Watson:

Dan has played in nine games for the Crunch this season registering one goal to go along with two penalty minutes and holds a plus/minus of -2. He was a healthy scratch for the 11/2 contest against Cincinnati.

Inside the Numbers: Watson, who is trying to play more physical, has struggled with that transition. He, like Manning, has shown flashes, but needs to work on consistency. Notched the game winner, his first of the season, in Saturday evening’s 2-0 shutout of the Penguins.

Tyler Sloan:

Sloan, who started the season with Dayton of the East Coast League, has played two games in Syracuse this season. He has yet to break into the scoring column for the Crunch.

Inside the Numbers: Sloan played in his second game for the Crunch this past Saturday after being reassigned by Columbus on November 9. In each game, Sloan has performed admirably, adding a more physical element to the Crunch blue line. He could become a victim of a numbers game in Syracuse even though his play deserves a longer look with the Crunch.

Forwards:

Brad Moran:

Moran has appeared in nine games so far this season, posting two goals, five assists, eight penalty minutes and is even over that time frame. He missed one game, on 11/6 against Hamilton with a hurt knee.

Inside the Numbers: Moran has been his usual steady self, registering points in six of nine games played. He continues to show improvement each and every season and is poised to have a big year. Should receive a shot at some point this year with the Jackets.

Andrej Nedorost:

Has appeared in seven games with the Crunch along with three in Columbus. He has registered two goals, four assists, ten penalty minutes and is a +1 in a Syracuse uniform. In three games with the Jackets he has recorded one assist.

Inside the Numbers: After returning from a three game stint in Columbus, Nedorost returned and played at a noticeably higher level. Over a two game stretch against Cincinnati and Hamilton he recorded two goals, two assists and was a combined +4. Has soon he is ready to play full time has a top six forward, he will be a fixture in Columbus.

Kent McDonell:

Kent has registered five points (2g,3a), 11 penalty minutes and is a -4 in nine games with the Crunch this season.

Inside the Numbers: Despite adequate numbers, McDonell has to be considered somewhat of a disappointment so far this season. He needs to consistently display the high-energy game that he brought to the Crunch on a regular basis last year when quite often he was the best player on the ice for Syracuse. He even was a healthy scratch in a game on 11/1 against the Mighty Ducks. Responded the next night with a three-point game (1g,2a).

Jeremy Reich:

In eight games he has recorded two goals, one assist, to go along with 13 penalty minutes. He is also a -2 over that time.

Inside the Numbers: Jeremy has played decently so far this season, despite being scratched on two separate occasions. One player who definitely knows his role on team, to play a physical brand of hockey, and does it on a nightly basis. He also serves as enforcer at times and easily had the best scrap of the season so far with Grand Rapids defenseman Sheldon Brookbank.

Blake Bellefeuille:

Has appeared in eight games so far this season and has registered one assist and eight penalty minutes. He also is a -5 over that stretch.

Inside the Numbers: Bellefeuille hasn’t played has bad has numbers may indicate, but hasn’t played up to expectations either. Last Saturday’s game against Wilkes-Barre was only second time all season he wasn’t a negative. Still an asset on the penalty kill and face-offs. Missed two games with a slight concussion.

Tim Jackman:

Jackman also has appeared in eight games and has recorded one assist and four penalty minutes. He is a -3 in the eight games.

Inside the Numbers:Has displayed the potential that warranted a six figure signing bonus from the Jackets. Uses his size well, just needs time to develop. Although he has appeared in eight games, his ice time has been effected by the increased amount of penalties being called and the resulting increase in special teams play. In the short time I have seen him, nothing he does tells me he will not be a top-flight power forward in the NHL.

Mike Pandolfo:

He has played in all ten Crunch games this year and has compiled one assist and two penalty minutes. His +/- is a -2.

Inside the Numbers: Another player who’s ice time has been limited because he rarely plays on special teams. I would like to see him go to the net more and be more of a slot area presence. He works well in the corners and for the most part utilizes his 6’3”, 226 pound frame well.

Jonathon Schill:

Schiller has appeared in only three games so far this season and has registered 6 penalty minutes. He is even on the season.

Inside the Numbers: He is a regular in street clothes having been a healthy scratch seven of ten games. The three times he did dress, his ice time was limited so his progress is difficult to judge. Still shows up every night and plays hard when called upon.

Martin Paroulek:

He has played in eight games and has registered six penalty minutes. He is also a team low -6 on the season.

Inside the Numbers: As the numbers indicate, he has struggled somewhat this year. He seems to be more of a top six forward talent wise, but can’t crack top two lines and is relegated to a checking line role, which does not really suit his game. Has been a healthy scratch twice this season.

Editor’s Note:Check back next week when we take a look at the players not considered prospects by Hockey’s Future that are currently skating in Syracuse. Players like David Ling, Mathieu Darche, and Chris Nielsen just to name a few and has always, feel free to leave any comments on our message board.