Nicolas Blanchard, C —
Chicoutimi Sagueneens, QMJHL
Height: 6’3, Weight: 186 lbs., DOB:
A sixth-round selection of the
Carolina Hurricanes in 2005, Nicolas Blanchard is in his second season with the
Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL. Playing on a strong squad with teammates
like Maxime Boisclair and Tampa Bay prospect Stanislav Lascek, Blanchard has
less chance to showcase his skills, but has displayed his understanding of the
game, his ability to dig into corners and his willingness to play tough. He has
good size at 6’3 and 186 lbs., and his game could benefit from adding pounds to
his frame. He is contributing to a team who has a good shot at taking the QMJHL title in 2005-06. In 26 games this season Blanchard has six goals, 16 points for eighth place on his team and a + 6 rating.
Joe Barnes, C – Saskatoon
Height: 6’4, Weight: 220 lbs., DOB:
A third-round selection in the 2005
draft, Joe Barnes is in his fourth season with the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL.
Barnes had a breakout year last season, following a disappointing showing in
2003-04 after suffering a neck injury at the 2004 Under-18 World Championships. With a new coach and players like San Jose prospect Devin Setoguchi, Boston prospect Wacey
Rabbit and Ryan Keller, the Blades turned it around, as did Barnes. He was recognized for his efforts by being named the most improved player and most dedicated player on the Blades. A physical player with
a strong shot, Barnes has good size at 6’4 and 220 lbs. In 24 games this season he has 11 goals, 23 points, good for fifth on the team, and a +3 rating. He was chosen for Team WHL in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge, but has recently suffered a separated shoulder and will not be able to take part.
Brett Carson, D — Calgary
Height: 6’5, Weight: 210 lbs., DOB:
A fourth-round selection of the
Hurricanes in the 2004 draft, Brett Carson is in his fourth season in the WHL,
and third full season with the Calgary Hitmen. Solid in his own zone, Carson is
a physical presence at 6’5 and 210 lbs. He is utilized on both the penalty kill
and power play and has made strides to be more consistent and contribute more
offensively. In 28 games this season he is three shy of his goal total of eight
last season, now sitting at five, and has 14 points and a -5 rating. Carson is the fourth leading scorer on the team, and doing it from the back line. He’s also scored the winning goal in two Hitmen shootout wins. Calgary is 20-8-0, good for third in the league.
Ondrej Otcenas, C — Plymouth Whalers, OHL
Height: 6’1, Weight: 190 lbs., DOB:
A fourth-round pick in 2005, Ondrej Otcenas is in his rookie season in the OHL with the Plymouth Whalers, his first in North America. In 2004-05 Otcenas split his playing time between Trencin’s Under-18 and Under-20 teams. Otcenas isn’t known for being strong offensively, but he pays attention to the defensive side of the game. He makes up for a lack of outstanding
offensive skills by working hard and battling for the puck. His attitude and
work ethic make him an appealing prospect. In 21 games with Plymouth he has
three goals, six points and a -2 rating.
Jakub Vojta, D — Ottawa 67’s,
Height: 6’0, Weight: 194 lbs., DOB:
A fourth-round pick in 2005, Jakub Vojta, like Otcenas, is in his first season in the OHL and in North America. In 2004-05 he played for the Under-20 Sparta Praha team where he had two goals, nine points and a +17 rating in 38 games. He was also a member of the Czech Republic’s Under-18 team at the World Junior Championships where he had one goal and a +4 rating in seven games. An offensive-minded defenseman, Vojta plays well when he displays determination. He is creative with the puck, but his attitude has been questioned and will be something that may be a test for him in North
America. In 27 games with the Ottawa 67’s he has 15 points, 46 penalty minutes
and a team-best +13 rating. His 15 points place him second on the team in scoring behind Derek Joslin.
The Czech Ice Hockey Association has just announced their desire to have the Ottawa 67’s release Vojta to the Czech National Under-20 Team to participate in the IIHF World Junior Championship which will be held in Vancouver from December 26, 2005 to January 5, 2006.
Ryan Pottruff, D – Guelph
Height: 6’3, Weight: 219 lbs., DOB:
A seventh-round selection in 2004,
Ryan Pottruff is playing in his first full season for the Guelph Storm after coming over from the London Knights in a trade last season. Pottruff
had an unlucky start last season, breaking his leg early on. After
returning, he played 29 games with Guelph, scoring two goals and five points. His
size, at 6’3 and 219 lbs., is an asset for a blueliner and could benefit his
game. In 16 games this season he has only one assist, 39 penalty minutes and a
Justin Peters, G – Toronto St.
Michael’s Majors, OHL
Height: 6’2, Weight: 210 lbs., DOB:
A second-round pick in 2004, Justin
Peters is in his fourth season with the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors of the OHL.
In 58 games last season he had 23 wins, a 2.78 goals against average and a .911
save percentage. He was a member of this year’s OHL squad at the ADT Canada-Russia
Challenge and backstopped the Canadian side to a win in Game 2 of the OHL
series. A butterfly goalie with good size at 6’2 and 210 lbs., Peters plays the
puck well and is good down low. He is usually consistent between the pipes, although he hasn’t had the greatest start to the season
with nine wins, a 3.88 goals against average and a .892 save percentage in 18
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