Prospect Impressions: “Lil Burns” wins over fans, LaBerge shines at CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

By David Hahn
Josh Ho-Sang - Niagara IceDogs

Photo: Niagara IceDogs forward and New York Islanders prospect Josh Ho-Sang is among the Top 20 scorers in the OHL with 15 goals and 58 points in 45 games (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)



The NHL All-Star weekend is always a fun event and this year, a number of the league’s brightest personalities entertained the fans in Music City. It may have been hard to top his red carpet outfit, but Brent Burns‘ son stole the show this weekend. In addition, the CHL/NHL Top Prospect Game took place and Victoriaville Tigres forward Pascal Laberge took center stage, possibly improving his draft stock in the process. Also, a pair of goaltenders show off their quickness, an enigmatic forward strikes again, plus goals by the Wolverines captain and one of the NLA’s top scorers.

Limited to just 36 games in the QMJHL due to two separate hand injuries, Pascal Laberge took advantage of a little chemistry to take headline honors at the 2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Paired up with Pierre-Luc Dubois, a teammate at the U16 and U17 levels, Laberge scored twice and setup the game winner by Dubois. Ranked 31st overall in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings, Laberge may be on the way up by the time the draft rolls around.

The next great hope for Canadian goaltending, Michael DiPietro is enjoying quite the rookie year for the Windsor Spitfires. Blessed with excellent agility and footwork, DiPietro is an exciting young prospect breaking onto the scene in the OHL. Currently ranked second in the league with a 2.27 goals-against average and third in save percentage at .921, DiPietro is garnering national attention. Just 16 years old, DiPietro is eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft.

Niagara IceDogs enigmatic forward Josh Ho-Sang leads the team in points and has been a creative addition since being added to the lineup. Often controversial, Ho-Sang faces conjecture about his off-ice antics, but it is his play on the ice that has people talking this year. With 15 goals and 43 assists, Ho-Sang has been responsible for creating offense for the IceDogs, and how he goes about it has been entertaining. This past week, the New York Islanders prospect scored on a penalty shot and faked a one-timer to send an extra pass for an easy goal by Minnesota Wild prospect Pavel Jenys.

Since being drafted 70th overall in 2013, New York Islanders prospect goaltender Eamon McAdam has rapidly improved in each consecutive season at Penn State University. After averaging over 4 goals against per game with an .882 save percentage in his freshman year, McAdam currently sports a sparkling 2.54 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. Those marks are both good for second in the Big Ten, a strong sign that he is progressing well.

Former Big Ten Rookie of the Year J.T. Compher has already surpassed his career-high point total of 31 and is blazing a trail as the unquestioned leader at the University of Michigan. Originally drafted by the Buffalo Sabres, Compher was acquired by the Colorado Avalanche in the Ryan O’Reilly trade this offseason. The Wolverines captain has nine goals and 27 assists this season, and his +29 rating proves that he is excelling at both ends of the ice. While shorthanded against Penn State, Compher snuck behind the defense to bury a nice breakaway goal.

Playing in the National League A, the top tier of hockey in Switzerland, former New Jersey Devils prospect Harri Pesonen is having a career year. Currently placed sixth in league scoring with 21 goals and 22 assists, Pesonen has been wearing the golden helmet and flame-emblazoned jersey as the PostFinance Top Scorer for Lausanne. It is a good look on him, and it looked even better as Pesonen carved up Biel’s defense this weekend.

With all due respect to John Scott and P.K. Subban‘s impersonation of Jaromir Jagr, the star of this weekend’s NHL All-Star Game festitivies has to be “Lil’ Burns.” Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski brought their kids along in the Skills Competition, and Burns’ son became an internet sensation with his goal and subsequent celebrations. Who knows, maybe we’ll see him again when we profile the NHL Draft in 2029?


Last week’s Prospect Impressions feature