The WHL Prince George Cougars had a very young team in 2002-03. Although they snuck into the playoffs by virtue of a wild card rule, they would not have done so without the hard work of three players in particular who the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau found necessary to include in their 2003 Final Rankings, Jonathan Filewich, Dustin Byfuglien and Tyrell Moulton.
Right Winger Jonathan Filewich is profiled in Hockey’s Future’s Draft Preview and is likely to be picked in the second round.
Filewich’s CSB Rankings (NA skaters)
Birthplace: Roseau, Minnesota
Birthdate: March 27th, 1985
Last November, the Cougars acquired offensive defenseman/forward Dustin Byfuglien in a trade with the Brandon Wheat Kings. “Bubba” finished the 2002-03 season leading Cougar rookies in scoring, and ended up 10th overall in WHL rookie scoring with 39 points in only 56 games. Byfuglien, a native of Roseau, Minnesota, was used very little in Brandon. He was out of shape, and was given a vote of no confidence by the Wheat Kings staff. The trade to Prince George was without a doubt the turning point of his season. He shaved off close to forty pounds throughout the season and became an instant fan-favorite in Prince George with his physically dominating play and dazzling puckhandling skills. Perhaps the most beautiful part of Byfuglien’s game, is that he excels on the wing as well as on the blueline. His best game of the season featured a four-goal effort against Tri City. Also while playing on the wing, he does not forget about defence. Byfuglien was a team-high +11, which is very impressive for playing with a team who allowed 60 more goals than it scored.
Byfuglien’s CSB Rankings (NA skaters)
Birthplace: Cranbrook, BC
Birthdate: December 28th, 1984
Defenseman Tyrell Moulton was acquired last October in a trade with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Moulton is a rock-solid stay at home defenseman who understands and respects his role with the team. His passion for the game is shown by his aggressiveness on the ice, and his dedication is evident as he is never afraid to stand up for his teammates when needed. Moulton, a leader on and off the ice, does contribute occasionally to the offense, however his concentration to defence ensures the Cougars have a reliable defensive commodity every time he is on the ice. Perhaps what stands out the most Moulton’s game, is his lack of mistakes with and away from the puck. Moulton was an impressive +7.
Moulton’s CSB Rankings (NA skaters)
Other members of the 2002-03 Cougars Hockey Club who are in their first year of draft eligibility are: Adam Flick (RW), Matt Girling (F), Brett Parker (RW/C), Colin Patterson (LW/C), Stefan Sarka (LW/C), Myles Zimmer (LW/C), Dan Ehrman (D), and Ryan Blatchford (D).