Cam Atkinson could not have got hot at a better time. He managed eight goals, 10 assists with the Springfield Falcons, and finished with a plus-nine rating in 12 December games, making him the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Month.
A 2008 sixth round pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets, Atkinson produced in a consistently dominant fashion in the AHL over the past month, managing a point in all but one game and had five multi-point outings.
The performance was enough to not only vault him into the upper echelon of scorers in the league, but makes him a serious candidate to play in the NHL once the season finally gets under way in mid-January. Atkinson appeared in 27 NHL games in 2011-12, almost all towards the end of the year, and was among the more effective players for a weak Columbus team, managing seven goals and seven assists.
With Columbus having only 11 forwards on NHL deals, Atkinson should be among the short-list of prospects that will compete for the final couple roster spots, along with Ryan Johansen, and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault.
Another player who may have spent his fall in the NHL if not for the labor lockout, Jakob Silfverberg had a relatively slow transition to the AHL this season, and it was not until December he seemed to finally discover the offensive game that makes him a prized prospect for Ottawa.
He started to come on in November however and by mid-December, he was among the hottest players in the AHL. He managed 15 points in 12 December games including a seven game, 10 point streak that saw him score six goals in six games.
Silfverberg now has 13 goals and 28 points through 32 AHL games and is the top scorer for the Binghamton Senators. He is not a lock to start the season in the NHL but there is a good chance he will get a long look in Ottawa's abbreviated training camp.
Missing most of last season because of major knee surgery, it took Alex Galchenyuk a little while this season to get back to top form. Not that he was underperforming to begin with, but his play keeps getting better as the 2012-13 season wears on.
In seven December games, Galchenyuk managed 11 goals, six assists, and a plus-10 rating, giving him 27 goals and 34 assists in 33 games on the season, among the best numbers the OHL.
He rode that hot streak into the World Junior Championships and was one of the most productive players early on for Team USA, managing two goals and five assists during the four-game preliminary round of the tournament.
Galchenyuk is among the small number of prospects currently in Canadian Major Juniors who could get promoted to the NHL with the labor dispute now resolved.
Corban Knight (FLA)
University of North Dakota – WCHA
Recently named the National College Hockey Player for the Month of December, Corban Knight has been extremely impressive in his senior season of college hockey. He started the season off well enough, producing at roughly a point-per-game clip, but in December, he turned up his play to another level, and managed six goals and five assists in five games. In that five-game span, North Dakota was 4-0-1 and outscored their opposition 21-9.
Knight currently has 29 points in 19 games and is among the top offensive producers in the nation.
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