A new season springs new efforts for Columbus Blue Jacket
prospects playing in the Canadian Hockey League. The team saw
prospects Kiel McLeod, Aaron Johnson,
Andrew Penner, Cole Jarrett and
Ryan Bowness leave the junior
ranks, and in the case of McLeod,
Jarrett, and Bowness, leave the organization.
The 2003 National Hockey League Entry Draft brought in new
Blue Jacket hopefuls, such as Philippe
Dupuis of the Hull
Olympiques, Mathieu Gravel of
the Shawinigan Cataractes,
defenseman Trevor Hendrikx of
the Peterborough Petes, and Marc
Methot of the London Knights.
Canadian Hockey League season has officially
got underway, meaning that the Columbus Blue Jacket prospects playing
Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major
League now have some games under their belt.
The Western Hockey League
– Right Wing – Seattle Thunderbirds –
Selected in the 7th Round (225th Overall) in 2002
Steven Goertzen was welcomed back to the Seattle
Thunderbirds on September 22nd after a lengthy stay with the Blue Jackets at their 2003-04 training
Goertzen, who has only played in two of four games for the Thunderbirds
season, has gotten off to a solid start, with one goal. Goertzen, after
participating in his first NHL training camp,
certainly will be taking his memories and using them as motivation with
the Thunderbirds in the 2003-04 season.
– Right Wing – Brandon Wheat Kings – Selected in the 6th Round (168th
Overall) in 2002
Unfortunately for Konsorada, his season will not get underway until the
new year. It was discovered at training
camp that Konsorada had been nursing an injury from the previous
season, something unknown even to Konsorada himself. He was
scheduled to have shoulder surgery on September 22nd, discovering the
injury after failing the Blue Jackets team physical prior to camp. On
the upside, he was named the captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings
prior to the commencement of the season.
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Tollefsen – Defense – Brandon Wheat Kings – Selected in the 3rd
Round (65th Overall) in 2002
It was Tollefsen who may have turned the most heads at training camp before being reassigned to the
Brandon Wheat Kings. Tollefsen, who definitely isn’t ready to skate a
regular shift in the National Hockey League, was nonetheless playing
the body like a veteran, sending the Blue Jackets leading goal-scorer
from 2002-03 Geoff Sanderson to the sidelines. This wasn’t the only
player injured from receiving a hit from the Norwegian native. Trevor
Letowski was another who missed some time after being targeted by
Tollefsen. Wheat King fans have already noticed Tollefsen’s poised
play, as well as much more of a physical domination of opponents.
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The Ontario Hockey League
– Center – Sarnia Sting – Selected in the 2nd Round (46th Overall) in
Unfortunately for the Sarnia Sting, Dan Fritsche has not yet dressed
for the club this season. Fortunately for Fritsche, however, he’s
dressed numerous times with the bug on his chest. Dan Fritsche, above
all other youngsters, has impressed the Blue Jackets
organization. He’s done so to the point where he is making it
difficult to return him to his junior club. Fritsche, who has set up
goals, finished them, and has even dropped the mitts, is the only
remaining junior-eligible player left on the training camp roster.
Will he make the club? The odds are very much against it for Fritsche.
He shouldn’t get discouraged, however, as he’s likely to see some NHL
regular season action before returning to his junior club.
– Defense – Peterborough Petes – Selected in the 9th Round (283th
Overall) in 2003
Trevor Hendrikx certainly made an impression on the Columbus
Blue Jackets brass at his first National Hockey League training camp.
In fact, Hendrikx made a few impressions on his opponents as well — on their heads. Hendrikx dropped the gloves on several
occasions, with an intensity the Columbus Blue Jackets must have
enjoyed. The Peterborough Petes are more comfortable having Hendrikx
back on their blueline as well, as his steady, crease-clearing play
will certainly help in the defensive end.
– Defense – London Knights – Selected in the 6th Round (168th Overall)
Although Marc Methot may not have made quite the impression on
the Columbus Blue Jackets that fellow defense prospect Trevor Hendrikx
did, the London Knights may very well be just as happy to have him
back. Simply put, things have been happening for the London Knights
while Marc Methot has been on the ice. Despite not having any points to
show for these actions, Methot is a sparkling +5 in a mere two games this
season. The 6’3″ 193 lb stay at home defenseman has provided a
reassurance on the blueline in London.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Mathieu Gravel – Left Wing – Shawinigan Cataractes – Selected in
the 8th Round (233rd Overall) in 2003
Mathieu Gravel, fresh off his shortened stint at the Columbus
Blue Jackets Rookie Camp, has taken what he’s learned from the
professional camp, and seems to be utilizing it in the Quebec Major
Junior Hockey League. Although Gravel has participated in only two of
the club’s first six games, he is off to a good start. On a club
that is already boasting a player at -5 (Sebastien Gauthier), Gravel is at a
respectable plus three. His assist total, also at three,
places him one off of the team pace.
– Center – Gatineau Olympiques – Selected in the 4th Round (104th
Overall) in 2003
Philippe Dupuis, now of the Gatineau Olympiques, has found a
spot anchoring the second line of one of the most offensively talented
clubs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Dupuis, who like Gravel
took in a lot from the Columbus Blue Jackets Rookie Camp is off
to his best offensive start of his young career, posting over a
point-per-game average in his four contests.
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