Avalanche junior prospects update

By Ryan MacLeod

The Colorado Avalanche have six prospects playing in the CHL and USHL.  Two of the six are goaltenders.

Nigel Williams, D – Belleville Bulls (OHL)

Drafted: 2nd round, 51st overall, 2006

Williams has seen his production take a dramatic drop since being traded to the Belleville Bulls in mid-January.  He had a solid rookie campaign with the OHL‘s Saginaw Spirit and a blistering start to the 2007-08 season, but after racking up 24 points and 60 penalty minutes in the first 29 games of the year, the towering defender has managed only 13 points in 26 games with his new team, though he is +11 with them. 

While this could be attributed to a sophomore slump, it is also important to note that he now shares the blue line with Canada’s world junior defender, P.K. Subban (MTL), who is sixth in team scoring with 39 points in 46 games.

At 6’5, 226lbs, Williams has the size to be a dominant player at the NHL level.

Playing with one of the top junior teams in Canada guarantees the 19-year-old Chicago native will gain valuable playoff experience this year.

Trevor Cann, G – Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Drafted: 2nd round, 49th overall, 2007
5’11, 199 lbs.

There’s a certain amount of hype surrounding Cann as he’s one of the favorites to suit up for Canada at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championship.  He was cut from the team this year and will need to make a strong showing at the evaluation camp later this year.  He’ll be 19 in March.

However, his numbers in the OHL continue to be hampered by the poor defensive play of the Peterborough Petes. He is top 3 in shots-against for the second year in a row and his record sits at 16-25-2 with a 3.80 GAA and a .902 save percentage.  He will continue to carry the load in Peterborough and will almost certainly be back next year to close out his junior career.

Kevin Montgomery, D – London Knights (OHL)
Drafted: 4th round, 110th overall, 2006
6’1, 185

An ankle injury last year limited Montgomery’s playing time, but he’s making up for it with a decent offensive effort in his second season with the London Knights.  The American defender has collected eight goals and 28 assists in 52 games.  He’s seeing a lot of time lately due to injuries on the Knights blue line.

However, he is coming off a less than stellar performance with Team USA at the 2008 WJC.  In six games he had zero points with a -1 rating.  It was his last WJC, as he will turn 20 in April.

Montgomery’s great foot speed and crisp passing are the pillars of his game, but he still has a lot of development ahead of him.

T.J. Galiardi, C – Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

Drafted: 2nd round, 55th overall, 2007

Galiardi is cruising along at almost a point-per-game clip after making the move from NCAA to the WHL this year.  Galiardi is third in team scoring with 15 goals and 42 assists in 62 games.

Galiardi continues to show the great playmaking skills and vision that helped him lead all rookies in scoring at Dartmouth College last year.  One of his strengths is an ability to read the play and outsmart defenders, often doing the opposite of what is expected by the opposing team.  He has been playing lately on a line with Brandon Kozun and Kyle Bortis.

With a 6’2 frame and weighing only 172 lbs, he will need to fill out to play at the pro level.  Galiardi will be 20 in April.

Paul Carey, LW – Indiana Ice (USHL)

Drafted: 5th round, 135th overall, 2007
6’0, 175 lbs.

Carey was not a highly touted prospect coming into this year, but he is playing well on a team that leads the USHL in about every offensive category possible.

The 19-year-old is tied for second in the league in goals with 23, and seventh in league scoring, with 46 points in just 42 games. 

Carey was selected as a member of the East Division All-Star team this year, scoring a goal in the all-star game at the end of January.

However, lackluster defensive play is a glaring scratch on his hockey résumé.  The forward is -5 on a team that has the best win-loss record in the league.   He will attend Boston College next year.

Kent Patterson, G – Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL)
Drafted: 4th round, 113th overall, 2007
6’0, 184 lbs.

Bad luck is the only way to describe Patterson’s season so far.  He started the year with an injury in training camp and his backup/replacement, Brady Hjelle, stormed onto the scene and now leads the league in most goaltending categories.  That’s making it very difficult for Patterson to get ice time.

Limited to only 11 appearances so far, he is 5-4 with a 2.97 GAA and 0.891 save percentage.  That’s a major dip compared to last year’s numbers and it appears Patterson’s development has hit a road block.

This young tender will need a few bounces to go his way to get things back on track.