Hockey’s Future Prospect of the Month, February 2011

By Andrew Sykes
Photo: Ryan Ellis is Hockey’s Future’s February Prospect of the Month. (Photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)

Ever since Ryan Ellis first put on the jersey he has been a scoring star for the Windsor Spitfires. Now in his fourth junior season Ellis has become one of the most decorated defenseman in OHL history and his illustrious career only continued to get better in February where he has been selected as Hockey’s Future Prospect of the Month.

It was a month of milestones for the 20-year-old who collected his 300th career point moving Ellis into 3rd place on the OHL’s all-time scoring list among defensemen, trailing only Denis Corriveau and Hall of Famer Denis Potvin. He also became the second-highest point-producer in franchise history for the Spitfires with whom he has helped win back-to-back OHL and Memorial Cup Championships.

This year, the Nashville Predator first-round pick has simply been a dominant player. In 51 games Ellis has potted 15 goals and dished out 66 assists for 89 points which ranks him 4th in the entire league in scoring and first among league blue-liners. For the month he averaged two points-per-game with 27 points in 13 February games and while the Spitfires have struggled to keep the puck out of their net at times this season, Ellis tallied a plus-nine rating for the month and his season total of plus-26 makes him far and away the club leader in that category.

In his four-year junior career Ellis has accomplished more than most players could ever dream of. His team accomplishments along with his individual accolades have undoubtedly etched him a place in CHL lore as one junior hockey’s all-time greats, and despite some perceived short-comings to his all-around game, Ellis figures to be a high point-producer in the NHL as well. This time next year we could very well be talking about Ryan Ellis as a potential Calder Trophy candidate but for now he will have to settle with being Hockey’s Future February Prospect of the Month.

Honorable Mention

Brad Thiessen

The undrafted Thiessen continues to make head-waves performing as one of the best goalies in the AHL this season. The 24-year-old former Northeastern University standout has been nothing short of spectacular in goal for the Wilkes-Barre Penguins and his play in the month of February ranked right up with the best in professional hockey. With a record of 8-2, a miniscule 1.28 GAA, and a .940 save percentage, Thiessen continued to be a wall in net for the first place team in the AHL standings. He also recorded three shutouts in the month upping his league-leading total to six.

As the league-leader in nearly every major goaltending statistic, Thiessen’s outstanding season is starting to get him recognized as he was named the AHL’s goalie of the month for February. With Marc-Andre Fleury cemented in as Pittsburgh’s franchise goalie, Thiessen may very well be on track to be his backup, but if the young net-minder still aspires to be a number one guy in the NHL then he will likely have to look elsewhere.

Scott Glennie

A first-round, eighth overall selection of the Dallas Stars in 2009, Glennie has put together a superb season and proven why he is considered to be one of the top prospects in the Stars organization. After playing last season alongside the likes of Matt Calvert (CLB) and Brayden Schenn (LAK), many expected Glennie’s production to drop off with neither of the aforementioned players still with the Brandon Wheat Kings. That certainly hasn’t been the case as Glennie has formed a dynamic duo with Ottawa draftee Mark Stone.

The 20-year-old’s 81 points ranks him 8th in the WHL scoring race, but it was his dazzling month of February that helped lift his team into a playoff spot. In 11 games, Glennie racked up 10 goals and 18 points including a hat-trick and five multi-point efforts to help the Wheat Kings to a 9-2 record for the month.

Blake Geoffrion

The NHL’s first fourth-generation player, Geoffrion has begun to add to his legendary last name and is starting to carve out his own career in the NHL. In his first full year of professional hockey, the former Hobey Baker winner from the University of Wisconsin has been one of the Milwaukee Admirals top players which paid off in a recent call-up to the big club in Nashville. In the month of February, Geoffrion scored three goals and dished out nine assists adding to his season total of 37 points which placed him second on the Admirals in scoring.

On February 26 the big winger made his NHL debut with the Predators and on the 1st of March he recorded his first NHL goal against the Edmonton Oilers. With Nashville in the middle of the incredible western conference playoff battle, Geoffrion will hope that he can continue to contribute and perhaps see some in the post-season. Not bad for a 23-year-old, first-year pro.