Lightning: N.A. Junior Report

By Chad Schnarr

G Jonathan Boutin

W-L-T

GAA

Sv%

SO

22-11-2

2.90

889

4

2003-2004 Halifax

0-6-0

3.88

.867

0

Stock: Falling slightly
Last update: 0-3-0, 4.06, .855, 0.

A 2003 third rounder, Boutin was expected to return to the QMJHL this season and provide solid, consistent goaltending for Halifax. As of the first week of November, Boutin has shown few signs of fulfilling those expectations. Boutin is currently the “1-B” goaltender for the last-place Mooseheads, occasionally spelling Jason Churchill. Coming into this season, Churchill, a 6’3” Newfoundland native, had only four games of Major Junior experience, but has emerged as the Mooseheads go-to guy for big games. Churchill currently sports a 4-6-1 record to go along with a 3.46 goals against average and .889 save percentage—numbers all superior to Boutin’s.

As the December trade period approaches, rumors are swirling that Boutin will be dealt out of Halifax. A new environment and a fresh start should be a positive for Boutin’s confidence level and overall development. There is no question Boutin is still worthy of a third round pick and it’s highly doubtful this rough start has hurt his standing with the Lightning too much.

LW Zbynek HrdelGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Rimouski65101424131-60
2003-2004 Rimouski216121814+11

Stock: Steady
Since last update: 11 GP, 4-6-10, 0 PIM, +8.

Hrdel is benefiting from seeing some playing time with arguably the two hottest players on the hottest team in the QMJHL—16-year-old phenom Sidney Crosby and Dany Roussin, a recent player of the week and Florida Panther seventh rounder (2003). Hrdel’s two-way game continues to develop, as does his ability to play along the walls and in high-traffic areas. Lightning head scout Jake Goertzen called Hrdel “awesome” after seeing him play with full confidence early last season with a lowly Rimouski club. Hrdel fell off the map as the year went on, but Goertzen and Tampa thought enough of him to nab him with a ninth round pick in the 2003 draft. With Hrdel and Rimouski playing so well this season (Rimouski is ranked fifth in the latest CHL top-10 rankings), the gamble could end up paying off.

D Doug O’BrienGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Hull 71103444102+35
2003-2004 Gatineau 185121732+16

Stock: Rising

Since last update: 9 GP, 3-6-9, 19 PIM, +7.

O’Brien was recently named to Team-QMJHL for the RE/MAX Canada/Russia Challenge. The Halifax Mooseheads (Thursday November 20) and Rimouski Oceanic (Monday November 24) will host the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League games. O’Brien has continued to produce as the top defenseman for the top team in the Canadian Hockey League. The No. 1 ranked Olympiques have only lost three times in 22 games this season, thanks in part to O’Brien’s offense from the backline. O’Brien leads all QMJHL defensemen in scoring with 17 points in 18 games. His 66 shots on goal lead all QMJHL defensemen, while his +16 rating lists him fifth among all QMJHL skaters, regardless of position. The Newfoundland native is looking to land a spot on Canada’s WJC squad this Christmas.

Ontario Hockey League

G Gerald ColemanW-L-TGAASv%SO
2002-2003 London 6-9-33.30.8921
2003-2004 London6-3-02.58.9220

Stock: Steady
Last update: 3-1-0, 2.69, .922.

Like Boutin, Coleman is also in a battle for playing time. However, whereas Boutin is battling a goalie who stands 6’3”, Coleman’s competition comes from the diminutive 5’9”, 170 pound Ryan MacDonald. All MacDonald is doing is leading the OHL in goals against average (1.85) and is 4th in save percentage (.926). Coleman is providing some stiff competition, however, as, according to word out of London, the two will continue to split time until a clear-cut winner emerges. Coleman is currently fifth in the OHL in wins (6), eighth in GAA (2.58), and fifth in save percentage (.922). The first place Knights are an offensive machine, so neither goaltender has to be spectacular every night, but both are consistently playing well. Thanks in part to new additions Danny Richmond and Rob Schremp, the Knights have shot up to third in the latest CHL top-10 rankings.

W Adam HenrichGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Brampton6331336470+24
2003-2004 Brampton1510102054+4

Stock: Rising
Since last update: 10 GP, 7-7-14, 36 PIM, +1.

Henrich was named OHL player-of-the-week for the period ending October 19. The 19-year-old scored three goals and added three assists for six points in two games during that period. He collected two goals and an assist in the Battalion’s 8-2 road rout of the Sudbury Wolves and had a goal and two assists in a 4-3 loss to the Plymouth Whalers. Henrich will play in the RE/MAX Canada/Russia Challenge that will feature Team-OHL on November 17 in London and November 19 in Sarnia.

The 6’4” Henrich leads Brampton in goals (10), assists (10), points (20), and PIM (54), while his +4 rating ranks second on the club. He is on his way to breaking his own club record (shared by Raffi Torres) of 33 goals in a season. Barring disaster Henrich will earn a professional contract from the Lightning in the spring. While that seems like a sure thing, his involvement in the upcoming WJC tournament is not. Henrich, who is showing more consistency this year, including improved willingness to crash the net, was not invited to this past summer’s Team Canada WJC development camp, but his play thus far this season could earn him an invitation to December’s tryouts.

D Paul RangerGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Oshawa6810283870+25
2003-2004 Oshawa16661218-6

Stock: Rising
Since last update: 10 GP, 4-4-8, 6 PIM, -3.

Like Henrich, Ranger will also be participating with Team-OHL in the Canada/Russia Challenge. Ranger is among the top in the league in goals (2nd) and points (3rd) among defensemen. He is tied for the Oshawa Generals lead in goals. Four of his six goals have come on the power play. Ranger continues to be used in all game situations for the struggling Generals. Ranger will compete with fellow Lightning defensemen prospects Doug O’Brien and Mike Egener for a spot on Team Canada’s WJC roster this December. All three participated in the summer’s development camp.

Western Hockey League

D Mike EgenerGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Calgary402810210-2
2003-2004 Calgary1804461+8

Stock: Steady
Since last update: 11 GP, 0-4-4, 30 PIM, +4.

Egener earned a game misconduct penalty this week in a 4-3 win against Brandon. With their goalie pulled, Wheat Kings forward and Washington Capitals first rounder (2003) Eric Fehr scored against Calgary to pull Brandon within one goal. While Fehr raised his arms to celebrate, Egener knocked him to the ice igniting a pile-up in front of the Hitmen net. Egener was given a double-minor for roughing in addition to the misconduct on the play. Coming into the game Egener was averaging a team-leading 3.24 PIMs per game. He is in the top-20 in the WHL for PIMs with 61.

Egener, who leads the Hitmen in plus/minus rating with a +8, is starting to show some life offensively by notching four assists in his last dozen games. With his skating and passing ability, as well as his heavy shot, his numbers could be higher. Getting power play time would help him develop his offensive game, but he has yet to be used consistently with the man advantage. Egener was named to Team-WHL for the Canada/Russia Challenge. Team-WHL takes action on November 26 in Calgary and November 27 in Brandon.

W Darren ReidGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Medicine Hat63143044163-8
2003-2004 Medicine Hat1712122454+10

Stock: Rising
Since last update: 9 GP, 7-6-13, 24 PIM, +11.

The 20-year-old Reid was named Honorable Mention for player of the week two weeks ago after racking up six goals, three assists, nine points, a +7 rating, two first stars and one second star in three Medicine Hat wins. A 2002 ninth round pick, Reid is playing on the Tigers’ top line with Steven Regier and 2003 Florida Panther second rounder Stefan Meyer. Despite leading the WHL in plus/minus (on a last-place club) and being fourth in both goals and points, Reid was not named to Team-WHL for the Canada/Russia Challenge. Reid leads the Tigers in goals (12), assists (12), points (24), PIMs (54), power play goals (5), points per game (1.41), and plus/minus (+10).

C Nick TarnaskyGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Lethbridge699202984NA
2003-2004 Lethbridge24681427-5

Stock: Steady
Since last update: 12 GP, 5-3-8, 14 PIM, -3.

Tarnasky has come on strong offensively as of late, shooting up the Hurricanes stat page to third in total points. He is beginning to play more physical, and though his consistency could improve, he’s been a regular contributor for Lethbridge, which sits one point behind Central Division leading Swift Current and Calgary, four points ahead of Medicine Hat.

A.J.H.L.

D Jay RosehillGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Olds49415204NA
2003-2004 Olds 1305597NA

Stock: Steady
Since last update: 4 GP, 0-2-2, 37 PIM.

After rumors Rosehill would join fellow Lightning prospect Matt Smaby at the University of North Dakota this fall proved to be untrue, Rosehill returned to Olds of the Alberta Junior League. The 6’3″, 200-pound defenseman was a seventh round pick of the Bolts in this summer’s draft. Rosehill is yet another Jay Feaster pick fitting the defenseman mold of being big, mean, and mobile.

NCAA Hockey

D PJ AthertonGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 U of Minnesota1922420NA
2003-2004 U of Minnesota30002NA

Stock: Steady

Atherton is struggling to get ice time despite the Gophers being without two of their top defensemen. Rangers 6th rounder and freshman Jake Taylor has leapt ahead of Atherton on the depth chart. Atherton will likely be in the lineup for a two-game series this weekend against North Dakota. At 2-4, two-time defending NCAA Champion Minnesota has fallen to 10th in the USA Today/AHM poll and 11th in the USCHL poll.

D Arthur FemenellaGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Sioux City (USHL)48167197+12
2003-2004 U of Vermont500010NA

Stock: Steady
Since last update: 4 GP, 0-0-0, 8 PIM.

After five games the 6’7″, 244-pound Femenella is still looking for his first collegiate point, but is playing solid defensively. Last weekend Femenella was paired with a forward who was being tried on defense and the team came out with a 2-2 tie vs. Michigan Tech. This came a day after the Catamounts were beaten 7-3 by Tech.

D Brady GrecoGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Chicago (USHL)5792029225NA
2003-2004 Colorado College30002NA

Stock: Steady

Like Atherton, Greco is a sophomore looking to solidify a spot his club’s top-6. The former Michigan Tech defenseman has a good two-way game to offer C.C., but hasn’t hit the scoresheet yet in sporadic duty. Colorado College, still undefeated at 5-0-1, is ranked sixth in both national polls.

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

Stock: Fallen

After being moved to forward in his sophomore year at Maine to get him more playing time, the 2001 fifth rounder and former high school star has transferred to the University of Massachusetts. Lynch will resume his career next fall with two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out this season.

W Dennis PackardGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Harvard28861428NA
2003-2004 Harvard10000NA

Stock: Steady

Packard had two assists in Harvard’s only exhibition game, but, like his teammates, was held off the scoresheet in their ECAC opening 2-0 loss to Brown. After being ranked ninth in both polls to start the year, 0-1 Harvard is 14th in the USA Today/AHM poll and 13th in the USCHO poll. Packard and Harvard face Femenella and Vermont this weekend in ECAC action.

G Joseph PearceW-L-TGAASv%SO
2002-2003 Chicago (USHL)13-11-(3 OTL)3.16.8851
2003-2004 Boston College

Stock: Steady

Pearce, a freshman and third on the Eagles goaltending depth chart, has yet to play this season. B.C. is ranked fifth in both national polls and is currently 2-1-1.

D Matt SmabyGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Shattuck St. Mary’s (USHS)5732023114NA
2003-2004 U of North Dakota501114NA

Stock: Steady
Since last update: 4 GP, 0-1-1, 10 PIM.

The Lightning’s second pick (41st overall) in the 2003 draft notched his first collegiate point last weekend when he assisted on a goal by New Jersey Devils first rounder Zach Parise. The goal was the 9th by the Fighting Sioux in a 10-0 romp of Yale University. Smaby is getting a regular shift with UND, and was paired with
Phoenix Coyote draft pick Matt Jones vs. Yale. Now 4-1, UND is ranked second in both national polls behind 7-0 Maine.

W John ToffeyGPGAPPIM+/-
2002-2003 Walpole (EJHL)19781510NA
2003-2004 UMass20332NA

Stock: Steady

After spending last year in the Eastern Junior Hockey League, the former Ohio State forward is off to a good start this season for the upstart Massachusetts Minutemen. Toffey assisted on both UMass goals in a recent 6-2 loss to Providence. At 5-1, UMass is ranked 12th in both national polls.

Note: All statistics as of 11-5-2003.