The 2003-04 Canadian Hockey League’s regular season has come to
a close, and many teams are deep into the first round of their playoff
match-ups. With the regular season now complete, the Columbus Blue
Jackets organization can look back on the season that was for those
prospects playing in the CHL.
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
Although he didn’t perform offensively at the level that was expected
of him, the season was not lost for Goertzen, who set career highs in
goals, points and minutes in penalties for the Seattle Thunderbirds.
He dressed in 69 games for Seattle this season, and was recently
signed to an amateur try-out and this past week made his
professional debut in a Syracuse Crunch jersey.
– Right Wing – Brandon Wheat Kings – Selected in the 6th Round (168th
Overall) in 2002
Despite missing a third of the season due to a separated
shoulder suffered in the Columbus Blue Jackets training camp, all was
not lost for Konsorada, who was named captain of the Brandon Wheat
Kings prior to the injury. Konsorada, who leads his Brandon squad into
the playoffs against the Prince Albert Raiders, finished 11th in club
scoring and seventh in plus/minus.
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Tollefsen – Defense – Brandon Wheat Kings – Selected in the 3rd
Round (65th Overall) in 2002
After an injury riddled 2002-03 season, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen managed
to stay relatively healthy during his 2003-04 campaign. Tollefsen,
playing in a career high 53 games, missed time both due to a relatively
minor injury and captaining his native Norway squad in the World Junior
Championships ‘B’ Pool. On top of setting a career high in games
played, Tollefsen set career marks in assists, points and penalty
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
Danny Fritsche, much like Tim Konsorada, had a shortened CHL
season, although for a different reason. Fritsche was returned to the
Sarnia Sting after winning a gold medal with Team USA in the World
Junior Championships in January. Fritsche, who started the season in
Columbus, finished up his regular season on a strong note with the
Sting, registering 29 points in 27 games while wearing the ‘C’ on his
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– Defense – Peterborough Petes – Selected in the 9th Round (283th
Overall) in 2003
Heading into the 2003-04 season, even Trevor Hendrikx himself
couldn’t have predicted his offensive outburst. Hendrikx, whose
previous career high in points was easily tripled this season, saw
himself score eight goals this season. Those eight tallies quadrupled
his previous career total, which had saw him score twice in 102
games over two seasons with the Petes. Offensive marks were not the
only ones set by Hendrikx this season, who also set a career high in
penalty minutes, nearly doubling his mark of 128 last season.
– Defense – London Knights – Selected in the 6th Round (168th Overall)
Although Methot’s statistics may not be overly flashy, the Columbus
Blue Jackets must be happy at Methot’s plus/minus, a mark that saw him
finish in the top three in the Ontario Hockey League. Methot, who
actually put up greater offensive totals in 2002-03, established a new
career high in minutes in penalties with 66, up 20 minutes from last
season. Methot, playing with an extremely strong London Knights squad,
plays host to Windsor in the first round of the OHL playoffs.
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 – Right Wing – Shawinigan Cataractes – Selected in
the 8th Round (233rd Overall) in 2003
It is certain that both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Mathieu Gravel
himself would’ve liked to see a larger improvement statistically in
comparison to his 2002-03 campaign with the Shawinigan Cataractes.
Gravel, who scored 50 points (24-26-50) in 72 games last season,
managed only 35 points (14-21-35) this season. Gravel may get a chance
to redeem himself in the 2004 QMJHL Playoffs when the Cataractes plays
host to Drummondville in the first round.
– Center – Gatineau Olympiques – Selected in the 4th Round (104th
Overall) in 2003
Despite failing to set a new career high in points this season,
Philippe Dupuis did set a number of career bests on the ice this season
with the Gatineau Olympiques. Dupuis, who for the most part played a
secondary scoring role with the Olympiques, set career marks for
points-per-game, assists, and plus/minus. Gatineau, one of the top
teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, earned a bye in the
first round of the QMJHL Playoffs.
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