Josh Harding, G
Drafted: Second round, 38th
Height: 6’1, Weight: 195 lbs.
Harding, a second-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2002, is in his
third season with the Houston Aeros. The netminder, Houston’s all-time wins
leader with 61, was in contention to be the backup to Wild starting goaltender Manny
Fernandez after Minnesota traded Dwayne Roloson to the Edmonton Oilers last
season. But Harding was sent back down to the Aeros just prior to the start of
the Wild’s current season.
season Harding had 29 wins, including two shutouts, a 2.68 goals-against average
and a .922 save percentage in 38 games. Harding’s efforts earned him a spot on
the Canadian team for the AHL all-star game, but he was unable to play
due to a leg injury. In three appearances with the Wild in 2005-06 he had two
wins, including his first career NHL shutout, a 2.59 goals-against average and a
.904 save percentage. This season for Houston, as the team’s starting
goaltender, Harding has 11 wins, a 2.50 goals-against average and a .919 save
percentage in 28 games. Harding has the potential to be a starting goaltender in
the NHL someday.
Ryan Stokes, D
Height: 6’4, Weight: 200 lbs.
Ryan Stokes signed with the Minnesota Wild as a free agent in 2004. After
spending one season with the ECHL’s Pensacola Ice Pilots, Stokes moved on to the
Aeros where he has remained ever since. In 2005-06 Stokes had two goals and five
points in 75 games. His 164 penalty minutes were tops on the Aeros. In six
postseason games he had one assist and 10 penalty minutes. In 23 games this
season he has one goal and four points, along with 58 penalty minutes, which is
currently tops on the team. Stokes, a defensive defenseman, is a big, strong
player who can dish out hits. He is on pace to best his totals from last season.
Clayton Stoner, D
Drafted: Third round, 79th
Height: 6’3, Weight: 205 lbs.
A third-round draft pick in 2004,
Clayton Stoner is in his second season with
the Houston Aeros. He had a strong rookie season with six goals and 24 points,
third-most for a defenseman on the team, in 73 games. In three playoff games
last he notched a goal and two points. Stoner is off to a slower start this
season with the Aeros, in 25 games he has one goal, five points and 48 penalty
minutes. Known for his good hockey sense and strong play at both ends of the
ice, Stoner is a solid all-around defenseman.
Peter Olvecky, LW
Drafted: Third round, 78th
Height: 6’2, Weight: 200 lbs.
Peter Olvecky, a third-round draft pick of the Wild in 2004, is in his second
season with the Aeros. In his rookie season he had a solid start with 14 goals,
32 points, good for eighth on the team, and 56 penalty minutes in 67 games. In
seven postseason contests in 2005-06 he had a goal and four points. In 28 games
this season Olvecky has eight assists and only two goals. He is not afraid to
battle for the puck and works hard to create chances for teammates.
Roman Voloshenko, LW
Drafted: Second round, 42nd
Height: 6’1, Weight: 205 lbs.
Roman Voloshenko, a second-round selection in 2004, made an immediate impact in
his rookie season in the AHL in 2005-06. In 69 games he notched 33 goals,
fourth-best on the team and third-best for any rookie in the league, and 60
points, fifth-best on the team. In seven playoff games he had one assist. The
left winger, like many of his teammates, is off to a slower start this season.
In 28 games he has three goals, 12 points and a minus-8 rating. Voloshenko has
an offensive upside and has a strong wrist shot. He plays physical and will
battle hard for the puck in the corners. He possesses a strong work ethic and
has the potential to develop into a decent power forward.
Danny Irmen, RW
Drafted: Third round, 78th
Height: 6’0, Weight: 190 lbs.
University of Minnesota player Danny Irmen is in his rookie season with Houston.
Drafted by Minnesota in the third round in 2003, Irmen played four games for the
Aeros in 2005-06 and had two assists. He was scoreless in seven postseason
games. At the University of Minnesota in 2005-06 Irmen, a teammate of the Boston
Bruins’ Phil Kessel, had 16 goals and his 38 points were good for fourth on the
team. This season Irmen has eight goals, a minus-2 rating and 14 points, which
is good for fifth on the team, in 30 games. Aggressive with good size, Irmen is
good at creating offense and strong with or without the puck.
Benoit Pouliot, LW
Drafted: First round, 4th
Height: 6’3, Weight: 195 lbs.
Pouliot, the fourth overall selection in the 2005 draft, is a rookie with the
Aeros this season. In 2005-06 Pouliot played in the OHL with the Subury Wolves
and notched a team-high 35 goals, 65 points, good for second on the team, and
141 penalty minutes in 51 games. Pouliot joined the Aeros in the playoffs last
season and was scoreless in two games. This season he has 12 goals, tied for a
team-high, 16 points and a plus-5 rating in 20 games. Pouliot also played three
games with the Wild this season, going scoreless, before being sent back
to the Aeros in late November. Pouliot, who has a strong offensive upside, is
creative with the puck and has the potential to be an offensive force at the
Matt Foy, RW
Drafted: Sixth round, 175th
Height: 6’2, Weight: 225 lbs.
Matt Foy, a second-year player with the Aeros, was drafted in the sixth round of
the 2002 draft. Foy split his time in 2005-06 between the Aeros and the Wild. In
Houston he had 15 goals, 40 points and 122 penalty minutes in 51 games. In 19
games with Minnesota he had two goals, five points and 16 penalty minutes. In
eight postseason games with the Aeros he had five goals, eight points and 29
penalty minutes. This season Foy has also seen action with both clubs. He
currently leads the Aeros with 24 points in 24 games. He is tied for the team
lead in goals with 12 and has a minus-3 rating. In nine games with the Wild he
is scoreless with four penalty minutes. Foy is a physical player with an
offensive upside who should see more time with the Wild as he continues to
improve upon his game.
Shawn Belle, D
Drafted: First round, 30th
Height: 6’1, Weight: 235 lbs.
Shawn Belle, currently in his second AHL season, was a first-round draft pick in
2003. In 2005-06 Belle split his time between the Iowa Stars and the Aeros. He
had one goal, three points and 63 penalty minutes in 45 games with the Stars and
notched one goal, two points and 18 penalty minutes in 16 games with Houston. In
eight postseason games with the Aeros he had one goal. This season he has split
his time between the Aeros and Wild. In 25 games with Houston he has one goal,
10 points and 32 penalty minutes. In four games with the Wild, his first in
the NHL, he has one assist. A strong two-way player, Belle is a good skater and
has a strong shot.
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