Blue Jackets: 2003-04 NCAA prospect preview

By Michael Simmons




NCAA 2003-04 Preview

The following is a preview
of the Columbus Blue Jacket prospects playing the 2003-2004 hockey
season in
NCAA Division I. 
 

The
2003-2004 hockey season
will be the most significant season to date for many of the Columbus
Blue
Jackets prospects playing in the NCAA. This season will mark the first
full
cycle for players drafted at the Blue Jackets inaugural draft in 2000.
Senior
centers Tyler Kolarik and Peter Zingoni will be
completing their
college eligibility and facing the pressure of playing for their first
pro
contracts. Other players will be growing into increasingly more
important roles
for their respective clubs and will need to produce to remain viable
National
Hockey League prospects. The following is a preview of each of the
college
prospects toiling in the Columbus system:


Justin Aikens
(RW, Jr, New
Hampshire):

Once again Justin Aikens
enters the hockey season with great expectations placed on his
shoulders. The
New Hampshire Wildcats will provide Aikens with every opportunity to
become a
major contributor to the team’s offense, including allowing Aikens to
log
significant power play time. There is little debate that Aikens
possesses
dazzling playmaking skills; however, he has yet to consistently
establish
himself as a dominant scorer. Aikens posted 18 assists against four
goals as a
sophomore.
Projection: 40
points
(9-31-40)


Jeff Genovy
(RW/C, So,
Clarkson):

Jeff Genovy is expected to play on the right wing
this year after spending last season bouncing from center to wing. At
6’3”
Genovy has the build to develop into an effective power forward, but he
will
have to contribute more consistently in the offensive end. Although he
led all
Clarkson freshmen with 16 points, he didn’t score a goal after January 5th
and all five tallies came on the power play. Genovy plays a responsible
defensive game, but he will be expected to produce more on a
team that
has a difficult time generating goals.

Projection: 26 points (10-6-26)


Tyler Kolarik
(C, Sr,
Harvard):

Tyler Kolarik is entering his senior season and is
looking to make a big impression on General Manager Doug Maclean and the Blue Jacket scouting staff. The Crimson
are expected to compete for the conference title this season and
Kolarik will
be expected to set the tone with his all out effort. When healthy,
Kolarik has
been a very strong two-way forward, but his effectiveness has suffered
when
injuries have hampered his ability to grind and bang along the boards.
Kolarik
will see time on special teams and has a penchant for scoring big
goals. A year
ago Kolarik led Harvard in game winning goals so expect Kolarik to log
a lot of
ice time in key situations. 

Projection: 33 points (14-19-33)


Kevin Jarman
(LW, Fr, U
Mass – Amherst):

Kevin Jarman will begin his college career this fall with the
University of Massachusetts–Amherst Minutemen. Jarman will join a
team that
is returning 90 percent of their scoring from last season as well as
bringing
in three players transferring from other college programs. The
left winger
excelled last season while playing for Stouffville in the Ontario
Provincial
Junior Hockey League (OPJHL) and was named the Most Improved Player of
the
North Conference. The former junior hockey scoring sensation will not
simply be
given a place in the opening night lineup; he will have to earn his
playing
time with the Minutemen, using his speed on the wing and grit in front
of the
opposing net to create scoring chances. The Minutemen are currently
lacking a
physical presence on their forward lines and if Jarman can provide that
element
it should translate to increased ice time.  

Projection: 16 points (10-6-16)

Greg Mauldin (C, Jr, U
Mass–Amherst):

Coming off a very strong performance at the Columbus Blue Jackets
development camp in July, Mauldin is expected to be an offensive force
for the
Minutemen. Considered by many as one of the top collegiate prospects in
the
Jackets system, Mauldin is one of the quickest players in the
conference and
possesses natural scoring ability. A year ago Mauldin led UMass, as well
as all
sophomores in the Hockey East conference, in scoring. This season he
has a
stronger supporting cast and should see his numbers increase from his
sophomore
season. Mauldin will anchor the first line along with Capitals first
round
draft pick Stephen Werner, but will need to find a new center
as Matt
Anderson
will likely miss the season due to a shoulder injury. As a
third
year starter, Mauldin will be expected to be a leader on the ice and
help keep
a young team focused on competing for the Hockey East Championship.

Projection:
51 points (23-28-53)

Andrew Murray
(C, Jr, Bemidji State):
Expectations are
high this year at Bemidji State, as the coaches of the
CHA have voted the Beavers preseason conference favorites. Conference
coaches
are also projecting great things from Andrew Murray naming the skilled
centerman to the All-CHA preseason team. Murray, returning to the
Beavers for
his junior season, will once again serve as an alternate captain and
will be
the focus of the Bemidji State offense. A year ago Murray led the team
in
assists and short handed goals, recorded the second most points, power
play
points, scored the fourth most goals, and was one of four players with
a plus
rating. After losing both of his wingers to graduation, the big pivot
will have
to create scoring on his own as the Beavers return only one ten-goal
scorer
from last season’s roster. In order to be successful, Murray will need
to
better use his speed and size to pressure the puck in the offensive
zone and
drive hard to the net. 

Projection: 29 points (14-15-29)


Jekabs Redlihs

(D, So, Boston University):
Jekabs Redlihs
is coming off a season in which he was named to the
Hockey East All-Rookie Team. He should see increased playing time with
the
graduation of All-American Freddy Meyer and seniors John
Cronin
and
Mike Bussoli
. However, Redlihs will begin the season digging
himself out of
legendary Terriers coach Jack Parker’s doghouse. Redlihs, along with
several
other teammates, were benched for breaking undisclosed team rules and
may miss
the first few games of the season. Once he returns to the ice, Redlihs
should
quarterback the power play once again this season. During even strength
Redlihs’
two-way play and strong transition game should help steady a fairly
inexperienced crop of defensemen. The Blue Jackets will not expect
Redlihs to
post extraordinary offensive numbers, but would like to see him
continue to
show steady improvement in his overall game.

Projection: 15 points (6-9-15)

Peter Zingoni (C, Sr,
Providence):

After losing nearly half of
last season’s goal production to graduation, the Friars are counting on
senior center
Peter Zingoni to be amongst the team leaders in scoring. Zingoni, who
is one of
the fastest skaters in the Hockey East conference, will move to the top
line to
better capitalize on his speed. Zingoni will try to build from last
season when
he posted the best offensive numbers of his career. Regardless of the
Friars
need for scoring, Zingoni will continue to play his tight checking
two-way game
generating offense from stifling defense. Zingoni has always excelled
at
shutting down the opposition, but with increased ice time he should
have more
opportunities to showcase his scoring prowess.

Projection: 38 points
(20-18-38)

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