Willie Coetzee refuses to use this year’s earlier NHL lockout as an excuse for currently playing for the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. There is a reason why the Detroit Red Wings decided to keep the 5'10”, 180-pound forward in the ECHL instead of letting him build off of his 2010 campaign (11 goals, 11 assists) with the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids, MI.
Take a scan through the 2013 ECHL All-Star Game roster and there me be some odd selections or missing names.
However, the ECHL has purposely made its All-Star Game a showcase of the league’s young and upcoming prospects instead of a game featuring its top performers. By doing so, the ECHL is able to display some of its best talent that may one day crack an NHL roster or play in the American Hockey League.
The final result may not have been what the local fans in Halifax were hoping to see but the 2013 Home Hardware NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game did not disappoint in delivering plenty of skill, speed and physical play. When the last buzzer sounded, Team Orr had beaten Team Cherry by the score of 3-0 in what was the first shutout in the history of the Top Prospects Game.
Like a number of CHL teams, the Portland Winterhawks have sent multiple players to the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game this year. Seth Jones has received the majority of the attention as both the captain of Team Orr and one of the top draft-eligibles for the 2013 NHL Draft, while his teammate Nicolas Petan is a familiar name for prospect watchers after helping Canada win the gold at last summer's Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Mirco Mueller could be excused if he is a little disorientated this week while playing at the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax. Ever since the start of the 2013 calendar year, the young Swiss defenseman has spent almost as much time traveling on airplanes as he has playing hockey.