Below are the top performing prospects in the ECHL for December 2003. Inclusion is based on Hockey’s Future’s prospect criteria, with younger prospects preferred over older ones. Those who made the previous month’s list are not eligible for this month.
Kevin Doell, C, Gwinnett (Age: 24) Doell is a first year pro out of the University of Denver who with a very strong December is now leading the rookie scoring race with 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points. The 5’11″ 190 center is a two-way player who works well around the net. Doell attended the Traverse City tournament and training camp with the Atlanta Thrashers and is under contract with the AHL Chicago Wolves. (Read Hockey’s Future’s Q&A with Doell here).
Cory Campbell, G, Johnstown (Age: 22) Campbell took an unusual route to the ECHL, he spent a year in the UHL after graduating from junior and not being signed by the LA Kings, who had taken him in the 1999 draft. Campbell is now 7-3-0 on the year with the Chiefs, with a 1.96 GAA and a .921 save percentage. Campbell has been named to the ECHL Eastern Conference All-Star game for 2004.
Tim Smith, LW, Columbia (Age: 22) Smith was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the ninth round of the 2000 Entry Draft. He is a second year pro under contract with the Canucks, and ranks in the top 10 in ECHL scoring with 35 points in 27 games (9 goals, 26 assists). Called up for three games to the Manitoba Moose last season, the small but speedy winger has spent the entire year with Columbia thus far. (Read Hockey’s Future’s Q&A with Smith here).
Michael Garnett, G, Gwinnett (Age: 21) Garnett’s play was good at the beginning of the season, and has only improved. Under contract with the Atlanta Thrashers, the second year pro has an impressive 17-6-1 record with a 2.11 GAA and a .924 save percentage. He has started nearly every game since the call-up of Adam Munro to the AHL. Garnett has been named to the 2004 ECHL Western Conference All-Star team. (Read Hockey’s Future’s interview with Garnett here).
Joe Talbot, C, Alaska (Age: 23) Talbot has been consistently among the rookie leaders all year, and stands second in rookie scoring now with 32 points in 30 games. He played eight games with Atlantic City last year following his season at the University of Western Ontario, retaining rookie status. The 5’10″ 165-pound center played junior hockey in the OHL for Ottawa.
Jim Abbott, F, Pensacola (Age: 23) This southwest Pennsylvania native was a draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2000. Abbott played college hockey for the University of New Hampshire. This season he has found a goal-scoring touch with Pensacola, with 18 goals, 13 assists in 28 games. Abbott is 6’1″, 185 pounds. He will be representing the Western Conference at the 2004 ECHL All-Star game in January.
Jonathan Zion, D, Reading (Age: 22) This second year pro out of Nepean, Ontario is in the top 10 in scoring among defensemen with 6 goals and 16 assists for 22 points in 21 games. Zion has played 5 games in the AHL for the Manchester Monarchs this season as well. He played 18 games in the AHL last year, for Portland and Cincinnati. Zion has been named a starter for the 2004 ECHL All-Star game. This is his second All-Star appearance.
Brent Krahn, G, Las Vegas (Age: 21) Krahn was selected in the first round, ninth overall, by the Calgary Flames in the 2000 draft. Now signed by the Flames, Krahn has recently been called up to the affiliate Lowell Lock Monsters. In his 11 games with the Wranglers, he has posted a 2.49 GAA and a .929 save percentage.
Jason Jaffray, LW, Wheeling (Age: 22) The 6’1″ 204-pound winger is tied for sixth in league scoring with 37 points in 29 games. He is a second year pro out of the WHL and is under contract with the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Jaffray is currently called up to that team. The 2003 ECHL Rookie of the Year has been named a starter for the 2004 ECHL All-Star game.
Derek Eastman, D, Columbia (Age: 23) Eastman is a rookie out of St. Cloud State who makes the defensive scoring list with 6 goals and 15 assists in 21 games with the Inferno. The 5’10″ Eastman hails from St. Paul, Minnesota.
Brian Collins, F, Pensacola (Age: 23) A former Islanders pick out of Boston University, Collins finds himself on the rookie scoring leaderboard with 11 goals and 12 assists in 30 games. The 6’0″ forward was born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.
Matus Kostur, G, Columbus (Age: 23) Kostur was assigned to the Cottonmouths by the New Jersey Devils, with whom he is under contract. Originally from Slovakia, he was a fifth round selection for the Devils in 2000. Kostur has a 2.09 GAA and a .918 save percentage in 10 games with the Snakes.
Dave Csumrik, D, Alaska (Age: 23) A third year pro who started out in the Central Hockey League, Csumrik has broken through this season with 19 points in 30 games. The 5’11″ 190-pound blueliner is from Orillia, Ontario and played his junior hockey in the OHL for North Bay, Toronto St. Michael’s and Sudbury.
Brian Fahey, D, Atlantic City (Age: 22) Fahey is a rookie out of the University of Wisconsin who seemed to have lost his scoring touch after his freshman year, but regained it this season for the Bullies, with 17 points in 29 games. Fahey’s plus/minus is also exceptional at +12. He was a 2000 draft pick of Colorado, and has been named to the ECHL All-Star game.
David Burleigh, G, San Diego (Age: 23) Burleigh is a rookie out of Miami of Ohio who hails from North Vancouver, BC. With the Gulls he has a 2.30 GAA and a .911 save percentage in 11 games.