Jackets Junior Prospects SIR(Pt 2)

By Aaron Vickers

Jackets Junior Season In Review
The Ontario Hockey League

Ryan Bowness – RW/D – Brampton Battalion
This was, to say the least, a difficult season for Ryan Bowness and the Brampton Battalion, however, there are more positives than negatives when talking about the season Ryan Bowness had. Any player would have difficulty adjusting to a new position, as was the case for Ryan Bowness, who made the transition as best he could from Right Wing to Defense midway through the season. His statistics are not overwhelming in any sense, but given the circumstances, Bowness has impressed. In spite of being moved back to defense, Bowness set new career highs in goals with 7, points with 17, games played with 66, and tied his best season with 10 assists. His plus/minus, however, is a stat best forgotten, with a -22 rating.

Upon closer inspection, Bowness’ –22 rating shouldn’t be considered all that bad. Factor in that Ryan had to learn a new position, moving from Right Wing to Defense. Also consider that teammate Jay McClement was second in team scoring and had a -18 rating. Brent Hughes was worst on the team with a –37 rating. Unfortunately, the Battalion failed to make the post-season, so Bowness gets to get in an extra few rounds of golf this offseason.

Scott Heffernan – D – St Michaels Majors
Scott Heffernan had himself a dandy of a season in his first year with the St Michaels Majors. After two seasons with the Sarnia Sting, Heffernan was given a vote of confidence and an increased role with the Majors. Heffernan set career highs in every category imaginable. His 68 games played, 4 goals, 26 assists, 30 points, +18 rating, and 93 PIM are all career highs for Scott. Heffernan has done everything the Majors could ask for, and then some. Playing behind Mark Popovic, Heffernan added strong credibility to the Majors defensive core.

Heffernan and the Majors finished a strong regular season, and have headed into the post-season. Already, Heffernan has made an impact, scoring a goal against North Bay. His greatest contributions though come in his own end, where he has been, and will continue to be very solid. His offensive game most definitely came around this season, but Heffernan will never be considered a huge threat from the point in terms of offense.

Cole Jarrett – D – Plymouth Whalers
It is probably just me, but I feel that Cole Jarrett had somewhat of a disappointing season. His offensive production took a hit over last season, and I was hoping that Whaler fans would see a point-per-game out of Jarrett, something that really shouldn’t be too unrealistic considering the improvement Jarrett showed from his first season to his second season with Plymouth. This season, Jarrett tallied 14 goals, which was a career high, along with 24 assists, good for 38 points in 51 games.

Jarrett and the Whalers are also off to the post-season, and he does have an assist in his first post-season appearance in 2002. If the Whalers are to go anywhere in the post-season, they’ll need strong goaltending, Stephen Weiss to be Stephen Weiss, and they’ll need Jarrett to step up his play to a new level, something Blue Jacket fans hoped would have already happened this season.

Andrew Penner – G – Guelph Storm
Penner had somewhat of a breakthrough season in his first with the Storm, and 3rd in the OHL. New career highs in games played(36), wins(18), GAA(3.11), and SV%(.898) were all established this season. Despite splitting a lot of the duty of tending the Storm nets with rookie Dwight LaBrosse(appearing in 31 games to Penner’s 36), Penner has been given the nod in the post-season for the Storm.

In the one game Guelph has played in this year’s OHL Playoffs, Penner sparkled, with a victory that saw him allow only 1 goal on 23 shots. If Guelph has any chance whatsoever of doing damage in the playoffs, Penner will need to be on top of his game. Goaltending is obviously essential in any league, and now it is Penner’s turn to shine after struggling in his first two years in the league. With goalies like Shane Bendera and Pascal Leclaire in the Jackets system already, Penner really needs to step up his game, and what better time to do it than the 2002 OHL Playoffs?