Columbus Blue Jackets Canadian Hockey
League Update – Third Edition
The Canadian Hockey League is roughly a third into the 2003-04 season,
and Columbus Blue Jacket prospects playing in the Western Hockey
League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
should be hitting their stride. While some have impressed, others have
played below expectations, and will look to picking up their play as we
hit the middle of November.
The Western Hockey League
The Columbus Blue Jackets have several players spending the 2003-04
season in the Western Hockey League. Brandon Wheat King teammates Tim
Konsorada and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen were selected in the 2002 National
Hockey League Entry Draft, as well as Steven Goertzen of the Seattle
Thunderbirds, also selected in 2002.
– Right Wing/Defense – Seattle Thunderbirds –
Selected in the 7th Round (225th Overall) in 2002
Thunderbirds utility man Steve Goertzen has done everything asked of
him so far in the 2003-04 Western Hockey League campaign by Seattle. He
has been putting his #26 on the scoresheet with much more
regularity, whether it be by scoring goals, adding assists, or chalking
up minutes in the sin bin. Goertzen, who’s even gone so far as to play
some games from the blueline, has been a regular contributor at both
ends of the ice, including both special teams, Seattle’s mediocre
penalty killing and anemic powerplay.
– Right Wing – Brandon Wheat Kings – Selected in the 6th Round (168th
Overall) in 2002
Wearing the ‘C’ in Brandon could be a curse. Captain Tim
Konsorada, named the club’s captain in the offseason, remains sidelined
indefinitely following shoulder surgery to start his 2003-04 season.
Furthermore, interim captain Ryan Stone
has suffered a broken orbital bone in a game against Calgary last week.
Could there be any hesitation from the next player to be handed his
jersey with a letter on it?
Tollefsen – Defense – Brandon Wheat Kings – Selected in the 3rd
Round (65th Overall) in 2002
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen continues to go about his business patrolling
the blueline for the Brandon Wheat Kings. Tollefsen has managed to play
in all 21 Wheat King games this season, a vast improvement over last
season which saw Tollefsen suffer half a dozen injuries over the course
of the season. A healthy year will help Tollefsen round out his
offensive and defensive game, and allow him to develop a much more
consistent game, something Tollefsen struggled with while battling
nagging injuries last season.
|Brandon Wheat Kings||WHL||21||1||8||9||34||+1|
The Ontario Hockey League
The Columbus Blue Jackets have a pair of prospects currently playing in
the Ontario Hockey League. Defensemen Marc Methot of the London Knights
and Trevor Hendrikx of the Peterborough Petes are 2003 National Hockey
League Entry Draft Selections, while Columbus’ second round selection
Dan Fritsche, who may be returned to the Sarnia Sting, continues to
skate with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
– Center – Sarnia Sting – Selected in the 2nd Round (46th Overall) in
It appears less and less likely that the Sarnia Sting, the
second best team in terms of points in the Ontario Hockey League, will
have the services of Danny Fritsche for the entire 2003-04
season. Fritsche, who after 11 NHL games has a guaranteed base salary of
$700,000, will likely not be returned to the Sting this season.
– Defense – Peterborough Petes – Selected in the 9th Round (283th
Overall) in 2003
Peterborough Petes defenseman Trevor Hendrikx continues to play
his role well. Hendrikx, who has made great strides
in improving his game thus far this season, and has even provided some
interesting offensive numbers for the Petes. Hendrikx, who has averaged
over four minutes in penalties so far this season, has definitely
played the role of enforcer for the Petes. Hendrikx sits first on
the Petes in penalty minutes and fifth overall in the league and has been
a strong, stay-at-home player for the offensively inept Petes.
– Defense – London Knights – Selected in the 6th Round (168th Overall)
Do not read too much into the plus/minus of London Knights defenseman
Marc Methot. The London Knights are an offensive juggernaut in the
Ontario Hockey League, and Methot has received the perks of that. The
Knights are the highest scoring team in the OHL. Despite this, Methot
has only managed to record two points on 96 goals scored by London.
Methot, who has been steady to say the least in the defensive zone, is
tied for second among his teammates and fourth in the league in
plus/minus, sitting at a lovely +14.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
The Columbus Blue Jackets have two players currently playing in
the Quebec Major Junior League. Mathieu Gravel, selected in the 8th
round of the 2003 National Hockey League Entry Draft, as well as
Philippe Dupuis of the Gatineau Olympiques, selected four rounds
earlier in the same draft.
Mathieu Gravel – Left Wing – Shawinigan Cataractes – Selected in
the 8th Round (233rd Overall) in 2003
Mathieu Gravel has struggled to contribute offensively for the
Shawinigan Cataractes, and is playing nowhere near the level that
Shawinigan or the Blue Jackets scouting department would like
to see him. Gravel has been less than noticeable on the ice, and is
seeing less and less of the ice as a result. Gravel, who is a rather
large player at 6’3″, needs to be able to use his body effectively
without sacrificing his offensive play, which has yet to happen.
– Center – Gatineau Olympiques – Selected in the 4th Round (104th
Overall) in 2003
Philippe Dupuis continues to anchor the second line for the Gatineau
Olympiques, and continues to do a solid job of it. Tailing off after a
strong start, Dupuis continues to create chances in the offensive zone
with his strong forechecking to create turnovers, as well as his strong
vision while in possession of the puck. While Dupuis is well ahead of the
pace to repeat his 22-goal campaign from a season ago, he is on
record to shatter his career high in assists set in 2002-03, with 34.
or comments about the Columbus Blue Jackets or their prospects? Please
feel free to visit Hockey’s Future Columbus Blue
Jackets Message Board.