Thrashers CHL prospect update

By Matt MacInnis






Although the Atlanta Thrashers have just seven prospects playing in the<br />CHL this season, the team still has a strong crop of players in the league

Although the Atlanta Thrashers have eight prospects
playing in the CHL this season, this crop includes three of the team’s top five
prospects, the defensive trio of Jimmy Sharrow, Boris Valabik and
Braydon Coburn, with representation across all three leagues of the
CHL.

 

Braydon
Coburn, D
– Selected 8th overall in 2003

 

Coburn returned to Portland for his fourth full season
in the WHL. Despite having just three
NHL draftees on their team, the Winter Hawks find themselves in the middle of
the WHL’s US Division with a 10-8-1-1 record.
Coburn is serving as the captain of the Winter Hawks this season. At 6’5, 224 lbs, Coburn continues to improve
his overall game. A physical defenseman
with offensive capabilities, Coburn has the tools to be a top pairing defenseman. He has put up good numbers so far this
season, averaging nearly a point per game and adding 54 penalty minutes. Coburn has been named to play for Team WHL
in the Canada/Russia Challenge and is expected to represent Canada at the 2005
WJC once again.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Portland
(WHL)

19

5

9

14

54

+1

 

 

Boris
Valabik, D
– Selected 10th overall in 2004

 

The Slovakian redwood has only played in seven games
this season due to a concussion sustained early in the season. Despite missing Valabik, the Kitchener
Rangers currently hold the third place position in their division, benefiting
from three other key players including Mike Richards, Jakub Kindl (2005 eligible), and Evan McGrath. In the seven games he has played, Valabik
has not registered a point while accumulating 31 PIM. After missing roughly a month last season with a back injury,
health has to be a concern for the Thrashers organization. Valabik needs to take advantage of his time
in junior to improve his skating and further develop his defensive game. If his health improves, Valabik almost
certainly will play for Slovakia in the WJC and should play a huge role in that
team’s success, particularly against the North American teams as a physical
presence. However, at this point, the first
priority must for him to get healthy and get back into as many games as he can.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Kitchener
(OHL)

7

0

0

0

31

+1

 

 

Scott Lehman,
D – Selected 76th overall in 2004

 

Lehman is one of the new faces to the Atlanta
Thrashers, having been selected in the 2004 Entry Draft. He has a frame that should grow to NHL
standards and played a solid all-around style of play in 2003-04 to get him
drafted. This year with the Toronto St.
Michael Majors, Lehman has seen his point production go down slightly, but he
has taken a larger role as a physically intimidating defender, both with a
rough style of play and fighting. So
far Lehman has registered just four points.
His decreased point total is indicative of the entire team, who sits in
second last in OHL scoring.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Toronto St.
Michael (OHL)

16

1

3

4

53

-5

 

 

Chad
Painchaud
, LW – Selected 106th overall in 2004

 

Painchaud began the season with the Mississauga Ice
Dogs and played reasonably well until being dealt on October 20 to the Sarnia
Sting in a blockbuster deal. Since
arriving with the Sting, Painchaud has struggled in his seven games, scoring
only twice and adding one helper. The
Sting made the move for Painchaud in an attempt to improve
their offense,
which has produced the fewest goals in the OHL this season with only 45 in 22
games. The speedy winger has played a
total of 15 games this year and scored a disappointing five goals. However, the season is still young and there
is plenty of time for Painchaud to put up the bigger numbers the organization
expected out of someone they have hopes for as a second line player down the
road.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Mississauga
(OHL)

8

3

3

6

11

+2

Sarnia
(OHL)

7

2

1

3

0

-3

 

 

Jimmy
Sharrow, D
– Selected 110th overall in 2003

 

The lanky defender was taken by the Mooseheads after
putting up impressive numbers in his rookie year in the Q. Those numbers doubled the next season, and
with 22 games played so far in 2004-05, Sharrow is once again on pace to set
career high totals in goals and total points if he can remain healthy. He has added some weight in the offseason
but remains a bit on the thin side for a defenseman, but has time to get
stronger. With the strong Mooseheads
team this year, Sharrow continues to serve as a dangerous offensive weapon from
the blue line in set plays and also on the rush, using his good speed and puck
handling abilities to get through the neutral zone. If he were not an American, Sharrow would have challenged for a
spot in the QMJHL/Russia Challenge. Sharrow is a very versatile player who,
over the course of the past two seasons, has played both the wing and
defense. He sometimes looks lost at the
forward position and is clearly better suited to play defense. Sharrow is being looked at for the US 2005
WJC team.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Halifax
(QMJHL)

22

6

10

16

30

+1

 

 

Guillaume Desbiens, RW –
Selected 116th overall in 2003

 

Desbiens is currently playing in his fourth season
with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL).
Early on in the season his offensive numbers appear to be declining from
the gains he made last season. However,
he is on an early pace to break 200 PIM.
The feisty winger has added some weight to his frame which has helped
him play a more physically imposing role.
Now listed at 6’2, 213 lbs, the 19-year-old has shown a willingness to
drop the gloves and do what it takes to inspire his teammates. Desbiens’ production this season is
disappointing, as he will need to produce more to move on professionally. After spearing Alexandre Picard
(Lewiston), Desbiens received a game misconduct and an automatic one-game
suspension. However, two more games
were added to the suspension by the QMJHL to make three total.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Rouyn-Noranda
(QMJHL)

19

5

5

10

85

-8

 

 

Juraj Gracik, RW –
Selected 142nd overall in 2004

 

Gracik rose to prominence
quickly in the 2003-04 season, beginning with the Topolcany Jr team and quickly
being promoted after scoring at nearly a goal a game pace to the senior
team. At the top level in Slovakia,
Gracik continued to perform, leading to his selection in the 2004 draft. After the season, Gracik made the decision
to switch to the WHL and join the Tri-City Americans. Unfortunately, Gracik has been unable to adapt as quickly to the
North American game as he did to the senior Slovakian league. In 20 games this year the slight
power-forward has tallied just four points, including two goals. Tri-City has struggled to score goals as a
team, with Marcus Jonasen leading
the team with just seven goals at this point in the season. The team also suffered
from the injury bug early in the season with two of its key defensemen (Logan Stephenson and Clayton Stoner) missing the first ten
games. In addition to seeing limited
ice time, all of these factors have likely played a role in Gracik’s diminished
stats. While the skill is certainly
there, the 18-year-old needs to prove he can excel in the North American style
of play before being considered to contend for a spot in the NHL.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Tri-City (WHL

20

2

2

4

10

0

 

 

Dan Turple, G – Selected 186th overall in 2004

 

Turple
has had a tumultuous time in the OHL.
He began with the Kingston Frontenacs, where he spent his rookie season
and began his sophomore season. After
nine games he was dealt to the Oshawa Generals, where he put up stellar numbers
and a good record (20-7-3) en route to being selected by the Thrashers. He began this season with the Generals but
on November 16 was traded to the Kitchener Rangers, joining fellow Thrashers prospect
Valabik. In Oshawa, Turple was
splitting time with Ryan Gibb before
being moved. In Kitchener, he will have
the starting job. In ten appearances
with Oshawa, Turple posted a 4-4 record with a GAA of 3.71. A change of scenery may turn things around
for Turple. He is eligible to play his
first game with Kitchener on Friday, November 19.

 

Team

GP

W

L

T

SO

GAA

Save %

Oshawa
Generals (OHL)

10

4

4

0

0

3.71

.872

Kitchener
Rangers (OHL)

 

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