Prospect Progress Report: Paul Martin
Name: Paul Martin
Hometown: Elk River, Minnesota
Acquired: NJ’s 2nd Round Pick (62nd) in 2000
Current Stats: Team: U. of Minnesota League: NCAA GP: 23 G: 6 A: 18 Pts: 24 PIM: 28
Prospect Update: Coming in to the 2002/03 season, big things we’re expected from Paul in his 3rd full season with the Minnesota Golden Gophers of the WCHA. He has a breakout season in 2001/02, and helped guide the Golden Gophers to the NCAA Championship. He had large shoes to fill this year with the departure of Hobey Baker winning defenceman Jordan Leopold to the NHL, and so far this season, he has done an admirable job. He has slowed a bit after a fast start, but he has still played at a high level for most of the season. He is arguably the #1 d-man on the Gophers, and is the team’s top scoring defenceman, and is third overall in team scoring with 24 points, including 6 goals (3 of which have been PP markers), through 23 games. The Devils have no shortage of defencemen in the system, but Martin appears to be the one with the most offensive potential. His point totals have increased every season, and if he keeps up his current pace, he will do so again this year. Paul is known as an offensive defenseman, as his numbers attest, but he is no slouch in the defensive zone. His defensive play improves with every game. He is a very quick, silky smooth skater who is not afraid to lead a rush into the offensive zone. Paul also possesses outstanding distribution skills to go along with excellent on-ice vision. He exhibits the skills to possibly one day quarterback the Devils power play. Paul has one year of college eligibility after this season, and it is unknown whether he will turn pro after this season or, if he will play the full 4 college seasons. No matter what Paul does, don’t expect him to make an impact at the NHL level for at least another couple of seasons, but do expect him to continue to climb up the Devils prospect ladder.
River Rat Rumblings: The Rats have already surpassed last seasons win total, but recently, the injury bug has bitten them hard. However, the team has been playing well, despite the rash of injuries, and the strong play of goaltenders G Scott Clemmensen and G Ari Ahonen has been a big reason why. Since the last report, both Clemmensen and Ahonen have seen their GAA rise a little (2.49-2.58 and 2.52-2.59), but they both still boast strong Sv%’s (.910 and .917), and every night, give the Rats an opportunity to win……… C Adrian Foster is on the River Rats roster, but he still has still not received clearance to play and it is still unknown when he will hit the ice this season………C Chris Hartsburg was having an excellent first pro season, but has been out of action for the last month or so with an injury. It is unknown when he will return to action ……… LW Max Birbraer is mired in a goal-scoring slump. Since the last report, he has been scoreless and remains stuck at 6 goals……… D Mikko Jokela continues to impress. He is fourth in team scoring with 8 goals (3 of which have been game winners) and 11 assists for 19 points, and leads the team with 4 PP markers. His –1 rating is still one of the best on the Rats as well. However, he is now no longer in the organization, as he was dealt Jan.24th to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for LW Steve Kariya ……… C Mike Rupp was not having the best season in Albany, but he was re-called to the Devils on Jan. 13th when the big club ran into injury problems. He promptly scored 2 goals in his first NHL game, and through 5 games with New Jersey, has 3 goals and 1 assist. He has looked very good in his first NHL stint……… C Eric Johansson has 4 goals and 6 assists for 10 points, but still needs work in his defensive game, as evidenced by his –10 rating……… 2nd year LW Scott Cameron has been on a tear since the last report. He has moved to third in team scoring with 8 goals and 12 assists for 20 points, and is currently riding a team high 8 game scoring streak (2-8-10). He also has not missed a game due to injury or illness this season……… D Krisjanis Redlihs has continued to play well, and is getting better each game. He has an impressive +1 rating, and recently scored his first career AHL goal………D Viktor Uchevatov has struggled to remain in the Rats line-up so far this season. He is scoreless in 27 games, and has not been as effective as he was last season……… LW Brett Clouthier leads the Rats in PIM with 119, but his –11 rating is one of the worst on the team.
NCAA News & Notes: LW Jason Rynzar has started to get a little more playing time with Michigan, and as a result, his point totals have risen from 2 assists in 7 games to 2 goals and 4 assists in 13 games……… RW/C Aaron Voros has decided to have season ending surgery on the benign bone tumor that was discovered in his leg in early November. He had returned to play after it was discovered that the tumor was benign, but it was causing him too much pain, and as a result, had affected his play. He decided that it was in the best interest for him to have the surgery, so he can have a fresh start for next season. His final totals for the year: 16 GP, 2 G, 5 A, 7 Pts, 42 PIM……… After an injury plagued 2001/02 season, D Matt DeMarchi so far has been enjoying a very stellar 2002/03 season. He is a stabilizing force on the Golden Gophers blue line, and continues to lead the team in PIM with 57……… Fellow Golden Gopher, RW Barry Tallackson was supposed to miss the WJC in Halifax with an injured shoulder, but he recovered quicker than anticipated and was able to participate in the tournament. In 7 games he scored 3 goals and helped the USA to a respectable 4th place finish. He still continues to see limited action with the Gophers, as he is still looking for his first goal of the season……… D David Hale has been a rock on the blue-line for a strong North Dakota squad. He leads the Fighting Sioux with 49 PIM and has an outstanding +/- rating of +23 to go along with 2 goals and 6 assists in 25 games……… RW James Massen is continuing his break-out season for North Dakota. After 25 games, the 6’2, 219 pound forward has amassed 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points, surpassing his modest 2001/02 totals of 5 goals and 8 assists for 13 points in 34 games. He is 4th on the team in scoring and PPG (4) and has an exceptional +17 rating……… Boston U. RW Kenny Magowan has accumulated 4 goals and 10 assists for 14 points, along with a solid +8 rating in 21 games for the Terriers.
CHL Comments: Oshawa LW Brandon Nolan has continued to light it up offensively for the Generals. Through 45 games, he leads the team in goals with 26, and is second on the team with 58 points……… Sarnia Sting teammates D Anton Kadeykin and D Marek Chvatal have both adjusted well in their first seasons playing in North America. Kadeykin, after missing some time with an injury, has 2 goals along with 7 assists for 9 points, along with an impressive +13 rating, and continues to play a sound, two way game. Chvatal has 3 goals and 10 assists for 13 points, and has a +/- of +2……… Tough guy and 2002 draft pick, LW Cam Janssen, leads the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires in PIM with 182, and has also contributed 1 goal and 10 assists for 11 points through 41 games……… RW Robin LeBlanc has been scoring at quite a torrid pace of late. Since the last report, he has boosted his totals of 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points in 33 games to 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points through 45 games, nearly a point a game pace, for the Baie Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL.
Overseas Observations: As expected, RW Alexander Suglobov was transferred back to Yaroslavl from Neftekhimik. He was a frequent healthy scratch for Neftekhimik, and when he did play, he was ineffective, being held scoreless in 6 games. Upon his return to Yaroslavl, it appears as though Alex has been playing better. He recently scored his first goal of the season, which was also a game winner. Through 15 games (including the 6 with Neftekhimik) he has a 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points along with 12 PIM. He was also invited to play for Team Russia for the Sweden Games of the Euro-Tour………Through 26 games for Spartak Moscow, LW Andrei Posnov has scored 4 goals and 6 assists for a total of 10 points. He continues to lead the club in PIM with 95………RW Maxim Balmochnykh has not retired, as previously speculated before the beginning of this season. Acquired in the blockbuster deal with the Mighty Ducks over the summer, he is currently playing for the farm club of Severstal Cherpovets, where he has recorded 5 goals and 10 assists for 15 points in only 5 games. He had been with the big club, where he has posted totals of 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points through 12 games, but suffered a knee injury, and consequently missed a month of action. Upon his return, he was unable to crack the big club’s roster, which resulted in a demotion to the farm club of Severstal……… Devils management has to be thrilled with the season Finnish LW Tuomas Pihlman is having. He currently is second on JYP with 30 points and is tied for second on the team with 16 goals, through 39 games……… RW Temmu Laine has started to come around a little offensively with Jokerit. After only scoring 3 points through his first 30 games, in the past nine he has added 3 goals and 2 assists, and now has a total of 5 goals and 3 assists for 8 points, while only playing a limited role on the club. His 46 PIM is evidence of his in your face style of play……… 2002 draftee, RW Ilkka Pikkarainen, has had a strong season so far for HIFK of the SM Liiga. After 42 games, he has produced 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points to go along with 37 PIM and solid +7 rating.
D Alex Brooks, Albany, AHL: 34 GP, 0-3-3, 0, 30 PIM
D Phil Cole, Columbus, ECHL: 34 GP, 2-1-3, -4, 92 PIM
G Matus Kostur, Columbus, ECHL: 23 GP, 10-9-3, 3.98 GAA, .884 Sv.%
RW Bill Kinkel, Kitchener/Kingston, OHL: 46 GP, 6-12-18, +12, 90 PIM
D Teemu Kesa, Lukko, SM Liiga (Finland): 23 GP, 0-0-0, +2, 10 PIM