Maple Leafs Prospects Update

By Doug Evinou

The opening of the selection camp for Canada’s World Junior tournament today signaled the official start of the holiday tournament season. Be it the Baltica Brewery Cup, Spengler Cup or World Junior Tournament, the Maple Leafs should be well-represented throughout the world, with a number of their prospects expected to play large roles on their respective teams.

Canadian Hockey League

Player       Team                    GP       G      APts     PIM
Kyle Wellwood Windsor Spitfires 30 27 35 62 0
Matt Stajan Belleville Bulls 28 25 25 50 40
Nicolas Corbeil Sherbrooke Castors 31 15 21 36 26
Ian White Swift Current Broncos 34 9 23 32 30
Brendan Bell Ottawa 67s 29 9 20 29 26
Carlo Colaiacovo Erie Otters 10 3 9 12 0
Dominic D’Amour Hull Olympiques 30 1 9 10 76

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

Goalies

Player       Team                    GP      Save %W       L       T       GAA
Todd Ford Swift Current Broncos 24 0.901 12 7 4 2.61

Notes: It was a big week for six of Toronto’s prospects playing in the CHL, as they received invitations to try out for their respective countries’ National Junior Teams. Carlo Colaiacovo, Matt Stajan, Brendan Bell, Ian White and Kyle Wellwood were all named to Team Canada’s Selection Camp, while defenseman David Turon was invited to the selection camp for the Czech Republic. Turon is now listed as day to day with a broken collarbone, an injury he sustained at the Leafs training camp in September. Turon, a 5th round pick in last year’s draft, impressed many at the Leafs training camp with his solid positional play and mobility before his injury. Portland is obviously anxious to finally get the 6-2, 200 lb defenseman into their lineup, as they are in tough for a play-off spot. Turon will join a solid group of defensemen that includes last month’s player of the month for the WHL’s Western Conference, Richie Regehr, who is the younger brother of NHL’er Robin Regehr, and highly-touted draft prospect Braydon Coburn, who will also be attending Team Canada’s selection camp. The return of Carlo Colaiacovo and the addition of Rob Hisey have resulted in a reversal of fortunes for the Erie Otters, who are slowly climbing their way back into playoff contention. Colaiacovo looks poised to have a career year offensively, as he already has 12 points in 10 games. Brendan Bell’s Ottawa 67’s claimed victory, 6-4, against Dominic D’Amour’s Hull Olympiques in a nationally televised game last week. Bell’s club will be hard-pressed to maintain their number one spot in the CHL’s weekly rankings while Bell and teammate Corey Locke are away at Canada’s selection camp. D’Amour looked impressive in defeat, his size and defensive abilities reminiscent of former Leafs’ defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre.

European Leagues

Sweden (SEL)

Player          Team          GP      G       A       Pts   PIM
Pierre Hedin Modo 21 5 9 14
Alexander Steen Frolunda 28 3 9 12 12
Staffan Kronwall Djurgarden 28 2 6 8 16

Notes: Leafs fans won’t have to wait long to get a glimpse of top prospect Alex Steen. Canada opens the World Junior Tournament against Sweden on Boxing Day. Steen is expected to be wearing the ‘C’ for the Swedes, who are a little thin on the blue line this year, and will be without Colorado 1st-rounder Jonas Johannson up front, due to injury. Steen, a speedy, two-way forward will be expected to provide offense alongside the likes of Fredrik Sjostrom and wunderkind Robert Nilsson. In what is quickly becoming a very compelling competition this season, Staffan Kronwall pulled ahead of his brother and teammate Niklas Kronwall in Djurgarden’s scoring derby. Staffan continues to surprise many with his heady contributions in the SEL this year. The big defensemen, known mostly for his defensive play, managed to collect his first two goals of the season this week. Pierre Hedin has been named to the Swedish squad for the Baltica Brewery Cup, a tournament held in Russia over the holidays.

Russia

Player          Team                    GP     G      A       Pts   PIM
Alex Shinkar Severstal Cherepovets 25 3 1 4 12
Max Kondratiev Lada Togliatta 27 0 1 1 26

Notes: Despite rumours suggesting Kondratiev had suffered a broken leg, he has continued to contribute in Lada and is expected to be one of Russia’s top six defensemen in Halifax at the WJC. The mobile defenseman will surely be looking to improve upon his performance at last year’s tournament, where he looked very good in the decisive game against Canada.

Finland

Player          Team    GP      G       A     Pts  PIM
Jarkko Immonen JYP 29 5 12 17 20
Markus Seikola TPS 29 2 3 5 12

Notes: Immonen continues to play an important role with JYP, who are quickly establishing themselves amongst the elite in the Finnish league. Seikola is currently sitting at a -2 in the plus-minus column.

Slovakia

Player          Team            GP      G       A     PtsPIM
Ivan Kolozvary Dukla Trencin 33 2 9 11 14

Notes: Slovakia opens up the World Junior tournament against Belarus December 27th. Slovakia and Canada are in different pools, so they won’t meet unless they are matched up in the 2nd round of games.

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) 5 0 1 1 0

Notes: It appears that Sklenar has been dropped from the Trebic line-up. Svoboda is starting to settle in with Trinec, and has managed to pick up his first point of the season.

North America

US College Hockey

Player          Team                  GP       G       A       Pts     PIM
Scott May Ohio State (CCHA 15 4 14 18 2
Mike Knoepfli Cornell (ECAC) 11 3 7 10

Notes: May continues his solid play, while Knoepfli is starting to fade a little after a solid start.

Minor Pro

Player          Team                    GP     G     A     Pts   PIM
Jonathon Gagnon Memphis Riverkings (CHL) 4 2 1 3 4
Vaclav Zavoral Memphis Riverkings (CHL) 24 0 0 1 81
Rob Palahnuk Memphis Riverkings (CHL) 14 2 1 3 27
Riley Cote Memphis Riverkings (CHL) 15 0 2 2 77

Goalies

Player          Team                    GP      Save %               W       L       T     OTL       GAA
JF Racine Memphis Riverkings 11 0.934 8 2 0 1 2.15
Jamie Hodson Greensboro Generals 6 0.930 2 3 0 1 2.64

Notes: Jonathon Gagnon returned to the fold, and has helped Memphis continue their recent hot streak. Riley Cote was re-assigned to Memphis after a brief stint in St. Johns’s. St. John’s is slowly working their way through the recent rash of injuries that have hit the team, and have also added journeymen Dwayne Hay to the line-up. Today’s addition of Harold Druken to the organization could result in Palahnuk finding his way back to Memphis soon as well. Hodson’s solid play in Greensboro caught the attention of the Leafs brass, and he was called up to the AHL to fill in for injured netminder Mikael Tellqvist. Upon Tellqvist’s return, the Leafs loaned Hodson to Team Canada’s entry in the Spengler Cup.

USHL

Goalies

Player          Team                    GP      Save %               W       L       T     OTL       GAA
Jan Chovan Sioux City 11 0.923 7 2 0 0 2.68

Notes: Chovan unbeaten streak in the USHL was recently ended, but he continues to have some of the best numbers in the league. Chovan’s Slovakian side will be playing Canada in a tune-up game December 20th in Sydney, Nova Scotia.