Avalanche CHL prospects update

By Roman Tanner

Wojtek Wolski, LW – Brampton Battalion (OHL)
Height: 6’3, Weight: 202 lbs, DOB: February 24, 1986

After his commendable debut with the Colorado Avalanche was cut short, Wolski (2004 draft, 21st overall) has since returned home to the Brampton Battalion to continue his development. Wolski’s tenure in the NHL was highlighted by some brilliant offensive displays, followed by some clear lack of experience on the defensive end. While piling up six points in nine games, there were some concerns that the youngster needed to strengthen his frame to be able to maintain the day-to-day grind of an NHL season. While both a lack of consistency and his $984,200 rookie contract may also have played a factor in his return to junior, Colorado staff have certainly caught a glimpse of the tremendous impact Wolski will have in Denver for years to come.

Back in Brampton, Wolski has reasserted himself, amassing 14 points in his first 10 games to lead the team at 1.4 points per game. While a shot at the OHL scoring title looks unlikely with his games missed due to NHL duty, Wolski hopes to be a top nine forward for the Canadian junior team as they look to defend their WJC title in Vancouver this year. Wolski has also reserved a spot as a member of Team OHL in the upcoming ADT Canada-Russia Challenge at the end of November.

Chris Durand, C – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Height: 6’2, Weight: 196 lbs, DOB: January 21, 1987

Durand, Colorado’s fourth selection (52nd overall) in the 2005 draft, has had a somewhat disappointing season to date with the Thunderbirds. He is currently tied for sixth on the team in scoring with eight points in 18 games played (5 goals, 3 assists) and sitting at a –1 rating on the season. In his third season with Seattle, Durand was looking to improve on his career season last year where he was second on the team in scoring with 53 points and a +30 in 66 games played. A lack of consistency (particularly on the offensive side of the puck) has plagued him for parts of his junior career and while his two-way game is solid, Durand must prove that he can bring the same level of intensity on a day-to-day basis if he hopes to challenge for a spot on one of the top three lines in Colorado in the future. Durand is also third on the Thunderbirds in penalty minutes with 38. One bright note: Durand was acting captain during team captain Aaron Gagnon’s stint on the injured list with a broken left hand, and picked up his game considerably during this time as the team’s best back-checking forward.

Raymond Macias, D – Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Height: 6’1, Weight: 198 lbs, DOB: September 18, 1986

Macias (2005 draft, 124th overall) has been solid but not spectacular for Kamloops this year, notching two goals, five assists, 16 penalty minutes and a +2 rating in 26 games. He is second only to Roman Tesliuk in defensive scoring for the Blazers. From an offensive standpoint, this is below par for Macias who led Kamloops last year in scoring with 47 points in 69 games. However, his defensive awareness has improved and as the season progresses the points should follow.

Jason Lynch, D – Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
Height: 6’4, Weight: 214 lbs, DOB: May 26, 1987

Lynch (2005 draft, 166th overall) plays a bruising style that has already earned him 72 penalty minutes this year with the Spokane Chiefs, and he’s on pace to more then triple his total from last year where he had 78 minutes accrued. His physical brand of defense, with little offensive upside (1 goal, 1 assist, -1 rating) remains a consistent, steadying force on the backline. While Lynch is still a long way from the NHL, Colorado will continue to monitor his development as his size alone warrants him some consideration as a strong, stay-at-home, defensive prospect.

Kyle Cumiskey, D – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Height: 5’11, Weight: 164 lbs, DOB: December 2, 1986

Cumiskey’s 2005-06 season has been marred with injury from the onset. Playing in only five games, he’s totaled one assist, 14 penalty minutes and a +2 rating. Needless to say, this year has been difficult for Cumiskey (2005 draft, 222nd overall) who has dealt with back and hip problems to start the season and as of the most recent November 15th WHL injury report, is out indefinitely with a concussion. Cumiskey was set to be a leading figure on the blue line (alongside Mike Card) with the departure of Shea Weber. Cumiskey will have to shake the injury bug to have more impact on the Rockets, who currently sit second in the BC division.

Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.