Maple Leafs Prospects Update

By Doug Evinou

The Maple Leafs’ prospects continue to excel in leagues throughout the world. The Leafs have made a concerted effort to draft players from solid organizations with good coaching staffs in the last few years, and the rapid development of many of their prospects speaks volume about the training they are receiving. For the second consecutive year, the Leafs should be well-represented at the World Junior Championships, with at least 7 players appearing to be locks to represent their respective nations.

Canadian Hockey League

Player       Team                    GP       G      APts     PIM
Kyle Wellwood Windsor Spitfires 25 24 29 53 0
Matt Stajan Belleville Bulls 22 20 20 40 28
Nicolas Corbeil Sherbrooke Castors 26 14 17 31 22
Ian White Swift Current Broncos 28 8 19 27 26
Brendan Bell Ottawa 67s 24 7 18 25 22
Dominic D’Amour Hull Olympiques 24 1 5 6 63
Carlo Colaiacovo Erie Otters 5 2 1 3 0

NB: David Turon (D) Portland WinterHawks is now listed as week-to-week with a broken collarbone.

Goalies

Player       Team                    GP      Save %W       L       T       GAA
Todd Ford Swift Current Broncos 19 0.916 11 5 2 2.20

Notes: The selection camp for Team Canada’s World Junior Team is expected to be named next Monday. Leafs’ prospects Carlo Colaiacovo, Brendan Bell and Kyle Wellwood should all be locks due to their excellent showings this season. Ian White has been playing great recently, and his attendance at the summer evaluation camp should stand him in good stead for an invite. Stajan has had an eye-opening season, but the coaches will have to decide if has done enough to surpass several veterans from the summer camp. One such player is Nicolas Corbeil, who has tailed of as of late in Sherbrooke. Goalie Todd Ford will be hard-pressed to displace goalies such as Dave LeNeveu, Cam Ward and Olivier Michaud, despite his stellar play thus far. Regardless of how it all shakes down, the Maple Leafs’ should have their largest contingent of prospects (it says here 3) wearing the Red and White in recent memory. Corbeil’s Sherbrooke Castors recently acquired high-scoring 20 year-old Jean-Francois Plourde from Rimouski, and are making a push for first place in their division. Dominic D’Amour’s Olymipique squad are in the thick of things in the QMJHL’s tough West Divison with Val D’Or and Montreal. The team boasts a formidable defense corps, with highly touted prospects Jesse Lane and Martin Vagner playing alongside D’Amour. Hull was hit hard when Ales Hemsky stuck with the Oilers this year, but have managed to maintain a strong level of play by focusing on their defensive game.

European Leagues

Sweden (SEL)

Player          Team          GP      G       A       Pts   PIM
Alexander Steen Frolunda 21 2 8 10 12
Pierre Hedin Modo 21 3 5 8
Staffan Kronwall Djurgarden 22 0 5 5 8

Notes: Eliteprospects.com recently name Pierre Hedin the most NHL-ready player in the SEL. The veteran defenceman is a smart two-way player with good skating ability. I for one would love to see Hedin given an opportunity to replace Jyrkki Lumme in the line-up next year. Rumour has it that Hedin will only make the trip across the pond if he is given a one-way contract with the Maple Leafs.

Russia

Player          Team                    GP     G      A       Pts   PIM
Alex Shinkar Severstal Cherepovets 19 3 1 4 10
Max Kondratiev Lada Togliatta 21 0 1 1 20

Notes: Shinkar scored the game-winning goal against Amur in the dying minutes of a contest last Wednesday. Former Canadiens’ prospect Martin Brochu has joined Shinkar’s squad, who already have Marcel Cousineau as their number one goalie.

Finland

Player          Team    GP      G       A     Pts  PIM
Jarkko Immonen JYP 23 3 10 13 14
Markus Seikola TPS 22 2 2 4 12

Notes: Immonen and Seikola’s squads are both fighting for their play-off lives.

Slovakia

Player          Team            GP      G       A     PtsPIM
Ivan Kolozvary Dukla Trencin 26 2 6 8 10

Notes: Kolozvary is expected to represent Slovakia at the World Junior tournament. In 7 games last year, Kolozvary scored two goals and added a helper. More will be expected of Kolozvary this year, as he will be a veteran on the team, and has benefited from a year playing in the top men’s league in Slovakia.

Czech Repbulic

Player           Team              GP      G       A     Pts     PIM
Jaroslav Sklenar     Znojmo (Extraliga)      8      0       0       0       0
Trebic (1.liga) 9 0 1 1 2
Petr Svoboda Trinic (Extraliga) 0 0 0 0 0

Notes: The Czech Hockey website has not been updated in a week, so information on Svoboda’s debut are unavailable at the moment.

North America

US College Hockey

Player          Team                  GP       G       A       Pts     PIM
Scott May Ohio State (CCHA 13 3 13 16 2
Mike Knoepfli Cornell (ECAC) 7 2 8 10

Notes: May is leading his team in scoring, while Knoepfil is second on Cornell. Both players seem poised for career years, far exceeding expectations from the beginning of the season.

Minor Pro

Player          Team                    GP   G    A       Pts   PIM
Vaclav Zavoral Memphis Riverkings (CHL)1700 0 69
Rob Palahnuk Memphis Riverkings (CHL)1421 3 27
Riley Cote Memphis Riverkings (CHL) 12 0 2 2 63

Goalies

Player          Team                    GP      Save %               W       L       T     OTL       GAA
JF Racine Memphis Riverkings 8 0.933 6 1 0 1 2.24
Jamie Hodson Greensboro Generals 1 0.893 1 0 0 3.03

Notes: Cote and Palahnuk were called up by St. John’s and made their debuts with the Baby Leafs in Hamilton last week. With Bob Wren and Craig Mills both hurting, and Paul Healey playing well in Toronto, Cote and Palahnuk should get an extended opportunity to make an impression on coach Lou Crawford. Cote tried to stir up his listless squad in Friday’s game against the Bulldogs, but came up on the short end of a bout with Marc-Andre Bergeron. Goalie J.F. Racine continues his stellar play in Memphis, while Zavoral continues to make multiple trips to the penalty box. The Greensboro website stats have not been updated since late October, but Hodson has managed to get into two more games this season. He was stellar in stopping 53 shots in a win against Trenton, and then came up short in an overtime loss to Charlotte allowing 3 goals.

USHL

Goalies

Player          Team                    GP      Save %               W       L       T     OTL       GAA
Jan Chovan Sioux City 6 0.943 5 0 0 0 2.06

Notes: After failing to find employment in the OHL this year, Chovan landed a job in the USHL, a U.S. based Tier 1 Junior league that allows it players to maintain their NCAA eligibility while playing quality junior hockey. Chovan is yet another Leafs goalie who has gotten of to a great start this year, unbeaten and leading the league in GAA and save percentage, albeit in only 6 games. Chovan is expected to be the starting goalie for Slovakia’s World Junior team.