Blues CHL prospects season review

By Courtney Wagner

Michal Birner Position

The St Louis Blues had seven prospects playing in
the CHL during the 2004-05 season.

Marek Schwarz,
G – Vancouver Giants, WHL

Height: 6’0, Weight: 180 lbs., DOB – 1986-04-01

Marek Schwarz, the 17th overall selection in the
2004 draft, was the third goaltender taken, behind Rangers pick Al Montoya and
Oilers selection Devan Dubnyk. He came to North America in 2004-05 with high expectations, having been a member of the bronze medal winning Czech team at the
2005 World Junior Hockey Championships where he had a 2.15 goals against average
and .925 save percentage. In 2004-05 with the WHL Vancouver Giants he had 26 wins, a 2.67 goals against average and two shutouts in 56 games. In six playoff games he had a 2.86 goals against average and a .903 save percentage.

Schwarz has decided to return to Europe for a while, however, having signed a two-year deal with Sparta Praha, where he played eight games during the 2003-04 season.

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Roman Polak, D
– Kootenay Ice, WHL

Roman Polak, the 180th overall selection in the
2004 draft, played his first season in North America in 2004-05 with the
Kootenay Ice of the WHL. In 2003-04 he played 52 games with HC Vitkovice in his
native Czech Republic, scoring four goals and 12 points. Known to play a
physical game, Polak has good strength and intensity. He was a teammate of
fellow Blues’ prospect Marek Schwarz at the 2005 World Junior Hockey
Championships where he had two points and a +2 rating in seven games. In 65
games with the Ice in 2004-05 he was the top rookie with five goals, 23 points
and a +19 rating. In nine playoff games he went scoreless with a +2 rating.


Zack FitzGerald, D – Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL

Height: 6’2, Weight: 209 lbs., DOB – 1985-06-16

Zack FitzGerald, the 88th overall selection in the 2003 draft, had a career year in his fourth season with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL in 2004-05. He had seven
goals and 25 points, best for a defenseman on the team, had a +34 rating, second
to only Vancouver prospect Matthew Hansen, and his 244 penalty minutes were the
most of any player in the WHL. In nine playoff games he had three points, 24
penalty minutes and a -1 rating. In 58 games last season he had four goals, 19 points and was third on the team with 163 penalty minutes. Noted for having a mean style of play, FitzGerald is responsible in his own end and can chip in offensively.




Jonathan Lehun,
C – Owen Sound Attack, OHL

Height: 6’0, Weight: 182 lbs., DOB – 1984-02-22

Jonathan Lehun, the 189th overall selection in
the 2003 draft, recently finished his second season with the Owen Sound Attack of the
OHL. In 58 games in 2003-04 he had 13 goals, 37 points and 14 penalty minutes. A
strong forward that is used on the power play, Lehun is good offensively and
uses his speed to create scoring chances. In 58 games in 2004-05 he had 17
goals, 50 points and a +11 rating. In eight post-season games he had a goal, six
points and a -5 rating.

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Michal Birner, RW – Saginaw Spirit, OHL

Height: 6’1, Weight: 183 lbs., DOB – 1986-03-02

Michal Birner, a fourth-round selection in the 2004 draft, split is his time
between two teams in 2004-05, his first season in the OHL. He played 28 games
for the Barrie Colts before being sent to the Saginaw Spirit in December. The
Czech Republic native played for HC Slavia Praha under-20 team for most of the
2003-04 season, recording 25 goals, 60 points and a +6 rating in 55 games. He
also made his debut in the Czech Elite League, going scoreless in one game. A
hard worker in the offensive zone, Birner has good vision and is a solid passer.
In 31 games with Saginaw he had seven goals, 28 points and he finished fourth
overall on the Spirit in scoring with 11 goals and 42 points.




Alexandre Bolduc, C – Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL

Height: 6’2, Weight: 200 lbs., DOB – 1985-06-25

Alexandre Bolduc, the 127th selection in the 2003 draft, split his time in
2004-05 between the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the Shawinigan Cataractes of the
QMJHL. Bolduc had a strong season in 2003-04 with the Huskies, scoring 23 goals
and 58 points in 65 games and also put up 115 penalty minutes. After an
unproductive start to the 2004-05 season he was traded to the Cataractes where he
struggled to put up higher numbers. A good skater with an accurate shot, Bolduc
also uses his speed to create chances offensively. Despite his low numbers
compared to last season, he finished fifth in scoring on the Cataractes with 14
goals and 35 points in 62 games. In three playoff games he went scoreless and
had a -2 rating.


Jonathan Boutin, RW – Shawinigan Cataractes,

Height: 6’2, Weight: 187 lbs., DOB – 1984-10-21

The 277th selection in the 2004 draft was Jonathan Boutin, a teammate of
fellow Blues prospect, Alexandre Bolduc. Boutin broke out in 2003-04, shattering his previous totals. In 70 games he had 31 goals,
good for third on the team and 60 points. The previous season he had only eight
goals and 21 points. A two-way forward with offensive skills, Boutin also
possesses strong character and determination. In 2004-05 his totals were not as
high as the previous season, but consistent. In 70 games he had 23 goals and 53
points to tie him for second on the team in scoring and he boasted a +14 rating. In
four playoff games he had one assist and a -1 rating.


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