Jackets CHL Player Update

By Aaron Vickers

Western Hockey League

Shane Bendera – G – Red Deer Rebels
Shane Bendera was one of two Columubs goaltending prospects to be named to Canada’s World Junior Tryout for the 2002 World Junior Championships. He made it up until the final cut, where Pascal Leclaire and Olivier Michaud were selected over him. Since the November 30th update, Bendera has struggled a bit. His GAA has jumped from a 2.03 to a 2.28. He has also gone winless in his last 3, bumping his record to 11-6-3. His .926 SV% has dwindled down to a .918. He remains second in the league in GAA, and third in SV%.

Ben Knopp – RW – Kamloops Blazers
Benn Knopp is now a Kamloops Blazer. Strongly desired and readily available from the Moose Jaw Warriors, Kamloops dealt Lwer Derek Krestanovich and a 3rd round pick in the 2002 Bantam Draft. Knopp will be meeting up with AJHL teammate Tyler Sloan. While the trade has not helped Knopps +/- rating, which now sits at –16, his offense has hit the skids which is a greater cause for concern. In his last ten games, Knopp has managed one goal and 3 assists, to push his totals to 33 points(18-15-33) in 39 games. Given some time to get used to his Blazer teammates, and Knopp should regain the scoring touch that has him highly touted by the Blue Jackets Organization.

Kiel McLeod – C – Kelowna Rockets
Kiel has continued to keep his own pace that he set for himself early in the season. His production has tailed off only slightly, from 1.22 PPG down to 1.20. He sits behind only Chuck Kobasew and Carsen Germyn for the team lead. McLeod sits 3rd in goals, with 11, and second in assists with 19, putting him at 30 points on the season, only 5 behind team leader Chuck Kobasew. Kiel’s +/- is significantly better than Kobasew(-4), however, with his +6.

Tyler Sloan – D – Kamloops Blazers
Tyler Sloan seems to have forgotten who he is. Since the last update Sloan has played in 6 games, registering 1 goal(a PP tally) and 3 assists during that span. His recent offensive adventures put him at 13 points (2-11-13) in 31 games. His steady defense continues to shine through, as his +/- remains second to only sniper Jared Aulin. Sloan sits at a very tidy +18.

Ontario Hockey League

Ryan Bowness – RW – Brampton Battalion
Bowness may have turned the corner for his season. Two weeks ago he was having a dismal year, with 4 points (2-2-4). Since that time, he has managed to double his point total to 8 (3-5-8). The reason for his recent offensive output is unknown, possibly due to more ice time, but whatever the case is, Bowness has decided to turn things up a notch.

Scott Heffernan – D – Toronto/St Michaels Majors
Scott Heffernan continues his strong play, upping his +/- from +7 to +11 over the course of the last two weeks. His strong passing game continues to be displayed with 18 assists and 20 points (2-18-20). His confidence continues to rise with each game, and his stats impress.

Cole Jarrett – D – Plymouth Whalers
Although Team Canada released Cole Jarrett after the first round of cuts, it has not diminished his accomplishments thus far in the OHL. Jarrett has continued his steady play on the blueline this year, as he has managed 31 points (11-20-31) in 33 games this season. He has been in and around his usual PPG pace with 31 points in 33 games. Jarrett has also upped his +/- to +20 and been very consistent.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Aaron Johnson – D – Rimouski Oceanic
Johnson, like Jarrett, was also released from the Canadian Junior camp after the first round of cuts, but like Jarrett, it has not diminished his accomplishments thus far. Johnson has registered 35 points(10-25-35) in 35 games thus far. He sits fourth in league scoring among defensemen and behind teammate Tomas Malec, and also has registered a +16. Johnson continues to dominate Malec in +/-, who sits at +3.

Pascal Leclaire – G – Montreal Rocket

Pascal was only one of four Blue Jacket prospects to make the Canadian Junior Team, and speculation has it that he will be the starting goalie come December 25th, despite unflattering numbers in the Q. He remains consistent in his numbers, with a SV% of .887, and a GAA of 3.27. These certainly aren’t the numbers of Olivier Michaud, Leclaire’s goaltending partner for the World Junior Championships. However, Leclaire obviously played well enough to crack the team in between the nets, certainly no easy task considering who was at the camp.

Louis Mandeville – D – Halifax Mooseheads
Mandeville continues his consistant play for the Halifax Mooseheads. He has registered 4 goals and 25 points(4-21-25) in 34 games for the Mooseheads. His +/- is very respectable with a +14 rating. He leads his Halifax team among defensemen in points and plus/minus.