Lightning N.A. Junior Report

By Chad Schnarr

Lightning North American Junior Report
A pre-playoffs look at Lightning junior prospects in action on North American ice.

Q.M.J.H.L.

W Evgeni ArtukhinGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Podolsk (Rus 1)491572294NA
2002-2003 Moncton 53132740204+6

Stock: Rising
Since Last Update: 8GP, 2G-3A-5P, 22PIM, (-7)

Artukhin just finished another suspension, this one was two games for a vicious elbow to the head of a Cape Breton player. Prior to the suspension, Artukhin’s offense was continuing to come around. Thanks to a late-season numbers push, Artukhin finished the regular season with 40 points, good for seventh on the Wildcats roster, though below some expectations. It would be interesting to see how much those numbers would rise next year in the QMJHL with a year of North American hockey under his belt, but he likely won’t get the chance. Barring financial disagreements, Artukhin will be in the AHL next year. Artukhin finished the year second on the club with 204 penalty minutes. He contributed four PPG. After a brief hiatus, Moncton, who finished the year 37-20-10-5, is returning to the playoffs as the Dilio Conference’s fifth seed. Moncton is playing Memorial Cup host Quebec in a best-of-seven first round. In game one, Quebec won 5-2. Artukhin went scoreless and penalty-less in the contest, ending up a –3.

C/W J.F. SoucyGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Montreal498132194NA
2002-2003 Montreal65243155168+12

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 9GP, 3G-4A-7P, 14PIM, (+6)

Soucy finished his career-best season with 55 points, 34 more than his previous career high. Three of his goals came on the power play and five were game-winners – tops on the team for GWG. Montreal finished the year 32-27-5-8 and is the fifth seed in the Lebel Conference. In a battle of teams that are moving to new cities next year (The Rocket will move to Charlottetown, PEI – a team partially owned by Lightning center Brad Richards), Montreal will play Sherbrooke in the first round. Sherbrooke will move to Maine next year.

Ontario Hockey League

W Aaron LobbGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 London/Guelph17281018NA
2002-2003 Guelph 60171633114+6

Stock: Falling
Since Last Update: 6GP, 0G-1A-1P, 15PIM, (-1)

After looking like his season was turning around for the better, Lobb quickly fell back to earth when he only managed one assist in his last half-dozen games as Guelph was establishing their playoff position. Lobb’s grit and willingness to play physical will be in important asset for Guelph in the playoffs. Hopefully he can find the groove he was in for the beginning of the last quarter of the season. Lobb finished the year with six PPG. Guelph finished the year 29-28-9-2 and are the sixth seed in the Western Conference and will play the Sarnia Sting in the first round.

W Adam HenrichGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Brampton6633306392-4
2002-2003 Brampton6331336484+24

Stock: Rising
Since Last Update: 9GP, 3G-7A-10P, 6PIM, (-1)

Henrich finished the year with two less goals than he finished the year with last season, but his assist numbers increased a little and his +/- a lot. He concluded the season as the Battalion’s leading scorer. He had four PPG on the year. After missing the playoffs last season, the Central Division Champion Brampton Battalion (34-24-6-4) will be the Eastern Conference’s number-two seed. In game one of their playoff series with the Barrie Colts, Brampton managed a 3-2 overtime win. Henrich was scoreless in the victory.

D Paul RangerGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Oshawa6209949NA
2001-2002 Osh. (Playoffs)50004NA
2002-2003 Oshawa6810283870+25

Stock: Rising
Since Last Update: 9GP, 2G-5A-7P, 8PIM, (+4)

“Mr. Consistency” notched his career-high 10th goal of the year in the Generals final game of the season, a 7-5 win over Peterborough. His +25 rating is 7 points higher than anyone else on the Oshawa club. Oshawa finished the year as the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed and just completed game one of their series against Peterborough – a 3-2 upset overtime win. Ranger assisted on the General’s first goal, which came on the power play, and was on the ice when the OT winner was scored. The Lightning definitely found a gem in this late-round 2002 pick.

Western Hockey League

D Gerard DicaireGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Sea/Kty676465234NA
2001-2002 Kty (Playoffs)221131424+7
2002-2003 Kootenay7215456079+2

Stock: Rising
Since Last Update: 9GP, 1G-7A-8P, 4PIM, (+2)

Dicaire was rewarded for his fine season by being named a Second Team WHL All-Star for the second straight year. The overager set career highs in goals, points, and penalty minutes this season. Dicaire had a remarkable 13 PPG and 33 PPA on the year, good for second in the league. He also scored 1 SHG as he finished fourth on the Ice in scoring and third in the league among defensemen. The defending Memorial Cup Champs finished the year as the Western Conference’s fourth seed at 36-25-6-5. Kootenay will play the Kamploops Blazers in the first round.

W Darren ReidGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Medicine Hat37891770+8
2001-2002 D.V. (AJHL)3191221195NA
2002-2003 Medicine Hat63143044163-8

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 9GP, 5G-4A-9P, 23PIM, (+3)

The Tiger’s penalty minute leader finished the season with a bang, scoring five goals in his last nine games as the once-lowly Tigers forced their way into the playoffs with a 6-1-1 march in March. Reid scored three times over back-to-back games against Lethbridge. Medicine Hat, which finished 29-34-2-7, will face Swift Current in the first round as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. 

LW Ryan CraigGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Brandon5229356452NA
2001-2002 Bdn (Playoffs)1911102113+7
2002-2003 Brandon6042327469+22

Stock: Still Rising
Since Last Update: 8GP, 7G-3A-10P, 2PIM, (-1)

Craig finished the year tied for the team lead in scoring. He set career highs in goal, points, PIM and +/- while being named team MVP for the second year in a row – all this despite missing the first month of the year recovering from major knee surgery. Craig and Jordin Tootoo were named co-MVPs. Craig was also named a First Team WHL All-Star and was voted Most Respected Player and Best Defensive Forward in the Eastern Conference in a newspaper poll conducted with players and coaches. Craig, the team leader in goals, notched 17 PPG on the year, good for eighth in the league. He recently played his 300th career WHL game, all of which came as a Brandon Wheat King. His 11 GWG were tops in the WHL as the Brandon captain led the Wheaties to a Division Championship and the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Brandon, which finished 43-17-9-3, will face the Regina Pats in the first round. Craig is no doubt excited about being healthy for a long playoff run this season. He led the Wheaties to the brink of a WHL Championship last year despite a torn-up knee.

U.S.H.L.

D Arthur FemenellaGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Sioux City5611011215NA
2001-2002 Sioux City (Playoffs)1201132NA
2002-2003 Sioux City 43167186+12

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 5GP, 0G-1A-1P, 22PIM, (+4)

The six-foot-seven Femenella returned to game action from an ankle injury, only to be suspended a few games later for reportedly kicking an opponent in the head. USHL officials gave him a three-game suspension for the highly-disputed incident. Femenella and fellow-Bolt prospect Evgeni Artukhin, in addition to accumulating suspensions and having great size (Arukhin is 6’5 and 240+ pounds), are both are very hard hitters. With their size and the ferociousness of their hits, fans of each team complain calls are made because of the strength of the impact, not for illegal actions. Rick Dudley craved nasty streaks in players when he drafted these two and it appears that’s exactly what he got. New GM Jay Feaster will reap the benefits, provided a little discipline and shaping takes place. A strong and improving stay-at-home defenseman, Femenella will be taking his nasty streak to the University of Vermont next season. Femenella possesses a heavy slapshot, but he rarely uses it and doesn’t get many power play opportunities to show it off. Sioux City has clinched a playoff spot and will need Femenella’s shut-down ability as the Musketeers look to repeat as champs. Femenella was instrumental last season in shutting down projected 2003 first rounder and Minnesota Golden Gopher freshman Thomas Vanek during the first round last year. Vanek was held without a point in a 3-0 S.C. sweep. Much like Rimouski of the QMJHL, the Lightning is making good use of getting impact players from Sioux City. Ruslan Fedotenko and John Grahame are both Sioux City alums, as is former-Bolt Dieter Kochan. Hopefully Femenella will follow in their footsteps to the NHL.

G Joseph PearceW-L-TGAASv%SO
2001-2002 Manchester (EJHL)NA2.16.9330
2001-2002 Man. (Playoffs)NA1.82.938NA
2002-2002 Chicago 13-11-(3 OTL)3.16.8851

Stock: Steady
Last Update: 11-10-3, 3.08, .889%, 1 S.O.

The future Boston College Eagle continues to split goaltending duties for the Steel as Chicago makes their playoff push.

Eastern Junior Hockey League

W John ToffeyGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Ohio State242354NA
2002-2003 Walpole19781510NA

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 11GP, 5G-2A-7P, 6PIM

The Junior Stars have not updated their stats since March 3. Toffey will attend U-Mass next season after leaving Ohio State last year.

NCAA Hockey

 

D PJ AthertonGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Cedar Rapids (USHL)5472229101NA
2002-2003 U of Minnesota1922420NA

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 1GP, 0G-0A-0P, 0PIM

As Minnesota makes its run toward a repeat National Championship, Atherton is finding himself riding the pine more often. Minnesota will play Colorado College in the finals for the WCHA Championship.

D/F Paul LynchGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 U of Maine 2224624NA
2002-2003 U of Maine100336+5

Stock: Dropping Slightly
Since Last Update: 3GP, 0G-2A-2P, 4PIM, (+1)

Lynch is currently playing the “Ben Clymer role” for U of Maine right now. As a sophomore defenseman he was struggling to find ice time until he was moved to forward. In Maine’s horrific upset series loss to U-Mass, Lynch played in game one, a 5-3 loss, and earned a penalty as well as assisting on Maine’s second goal. He did not see any action in U-Mass’s series clinching game. It’s unclear as of yet if the move to forward will be permanent.

W Dennis PackardGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Harvard 329101934NA
2002-2003 Harvard28861428NA

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 5GP, 3G-2A-5P, 4PIM

Harvard is currently battling Dartmouth in the ECAC semi finals. Harvard was able to get to the semi’s thanks to a huge game from Packard in game one of their series against Vermont. Packard, after scoring only two goals since December 7, netted a hatt rick in a 4-2 win. The hatter drew rave reviews from Crimson captain Dominic Moore and coach Mark Mazzoleni, who cited Packard’s new-found confidence after suffering the effects of a broken hand he received in December. Two of Packard’s goals game on one-timers and the other came with five seconds left in the second period when he picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, skated in on a breakaway, leaned right and put the puck home stick-side. Packard notched an assist two games later against Dartmouth.

Note: All statistics as of 3-21-2003.