ECHL: Top prospects, October

By Holly Gunning

Below are the top performing prospects in the ECHL thus far in the 2003-04 season. Inclusion is based on Hockey’s Future prospect criteria.

Sam Paolini, F (Age: 23) The Atlantic City Bullies rookie is tied for third in the ECHL with 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists). Paolini comes to Atlantic City from the very successful Cornell University hockey program. He is 6’1″ 195 lbs, and calls Rochester, New York home. Paolini played on the Atlanta Thrashers rookie team in the 2003 Traverse City Tournament.

Nolan Schaefer, G (Age: 23) The Fresno Falcons netminder ranks second in the ECHL with a 1.43 goals against average. He also has a .950 save percentage in four games this season. Schaefer is a rookie out of Providence College, and was a draft pick of the San Jose Sharks in 2000 (5th round, 166th overall).

Jason Jaffray, LW (Age 22) Jaffray leads Wheeling in goals (5), assists (5), game-winning goals (1) and points (10). Jaffray is a second year pro out of the WHL. Last season he was named ECHL Rookie of the Year, scoring 85 points in 64 games for Roanoke. He also played two games in the AHL last season for the Norfolk Admirals. Jaffray is 6’1″, 204 lbs and hails from Olds, Alberta.

Eric Fortier, C (Age: 22) The Greensboro Generals forward is tied for second in the ECHL with six goals. He had a hat trick on Oct 23rd in Greensboro’s 6-5 overtime win against Texas. Fortier is finding the back of the net very well with an impressive shooting percentage of 37.5%. The 6’3″ 198-pound center spent five years with Val d’Or of the QMJHL, where he scored 107 points in 71 games during the 2000-01 season. He spent his first profession season with the Jackson Bandits of the ECHL in 2002-03.

David Masse, LW (Age: 21) Masse is tied for second in scoring among ECHL rookies with 1 goal and 8 assists. His nine points also leads the Reading Royals. Masse comes to the team from the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, where he scored 98 points in 70 games in 2003-04.

Jonathan Zion, D (Age: 22) Zion is tied for the ECHL lead among defensemen with four goals and eight points. He leads the Reading Royals in goals as well, and stands at +1. Zion was originally a pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fourth round of the 1999 draft and played his junior hockey for the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL. He stands 6’0″ and is 180 pounds.

Justin Kelly, RW (Age: 22) The Las Vegas Wranglers forward leads the league in plus/minus at +9 in seven games. He is also tied for second among rookies in scoring with nine points in seven games. The 6’4″ 200-pound Kelly played his junior hockey with Spokane, Prince Albert and Saskatoon of the WHL.

Mark McRae, D (Age: 22) The Florence Pride offensive defenseman has two goals in six games, one of them a game winner. He leads the team in plus/minus, an impressive +5 rating on a losing team. McRae was an unsigned 2000 draft pick of the Atlanta Thrashers.

Ryan Craig, C (Age: 21) The Pensacola Ice Pilots rookie has eight points in five games, including three goals and five assists. Craig was named the InGlasCo ECHL Player of the week for October 20-26. The 6’2″, 203-pound center was an eighth round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2002 and is currently under contract with the organization. He played his junior hockey with Brandon of the WHL.

Joe Watkins, G (Age: 24) The Bakersfield Condors rookie goaltender is tied for fourth in the ECHL with a 1.50 goals against average. His save percentage is .934 and he has two wins and two losses in four games. Watkins is the only British player in the league.

Garrett Prosofsky, C (Age: 23) The Cincinnati Cyclones center scored his first hat trick of the season on October 31st in a 5-1 win at Toledo. The three tallies brings him to five goals on the season in seven games, tied for sixth in goals league-wide. The 5’11″ Prosofsky was a 1998 fifth round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers.

David St. Germain, G (Age: 23) The Charlotte Checkers netminder ranks fourth in the ECHL with .947 save percentage in two games. His goals against average is 2.31 and he has one win and one shootout loss on the season. St. Germain hails from Brossard, Quebec.

Nicolas Corbeil, C (Age: 20) The Florence Pride center is tied for fifth among ECHL rookies with seven points (2 goals and 5 assists). Corbeil is the youngest among the leading rookie scorers at 20-years-old. He spent his junior days with Sherbrooke of the QMJHL and stands 5’11″ and weighs 180 pounds. Corbeil was a third round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2001.

Greg Day, C (Age: 26) The Las Vegas forward leads the ECHL with 10 assists and ranks second with 12 points. Older than most prospects, Day is in his second year out of college hockey, where he played for Bowling Green. He spent 25 games in the AHL last season for the Worcester IceCats, scoring 13 points. Day’s plus/minus rating of +8 puts him second in the ECHL behind teammate Justin Kelly.

Dan Carlson, LW (Age: 24) Carlson leads the Roanoke Express in assists (6) and points (9), and is tied for the team lead in goals with three. The 5’10” 190-pound Day played his college hockey at Notre Dame, and is in his third year pro.

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