HF Prospect of the Month for November, 2012

By Andrew Sykes

Ryan Strome and Brett Ritchie - Niagara IceDogs

Photo: Niagara IceDogs forward and New York Islanders prospect Ryan Strome (#18) went on an offensive tear in November, which elevated teammate and Dallas Stars prospect, Brett Ritchie (#20) (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

This one was almost a no-brainer.

Ryan Strome’s phenomenal performance in the month made him the easy selection as the Hockey’s Future Prospect of the Month for November.

The New York Islanders first round, fifth-overall selection in 2011, Strome was simply dominant in 13 November games, averaging close to three points per game and picking up at least a point in all 13 of those games.

His totals were sparkling. Strome’s nine goals and 26 assists in the month has given him a comfortable lead in the OHL scoring race and has made him a top contender for CHL Player of the Year honors. His dominance also showed in the plus/minus column where he was a +18, upping his league-best total to +33. Always known as a player who makes those around him better, the 19-year-old Strome has helped linemate Brett Ritchie (Dallas 2nd round) become one of the top OHL scorers, with Ritchie having already established career highs in goals, assists and points. Much of the credit for Ritchie's success goes to the elite playmaking skills of Strome.

Up next for the highly skilled center is the 2013 U-20 World Junior Championship where he will be one of six returning players hoping to lead Canada back to a gold medal, something the team has failed to do in the past three tournaments.

Honorable Mentions

Robin Lehner (OTT)
Binghamton Senators – AHL

One of the top goaltending prospects in hockey, Lehner has lived up to those credentials throughout the current AHL season and was an absolute wall in the crease in the month of November. Playing behind a red hot Binghamton Senators team, the 21-year-old Lehner was practically unbeatable in six November starts, posting a 5-0-1 record, a 1.48 goals-against average and a dazzling .960 save percentage.

The big 6’3”, 220-pound netminder has been a major reason for Binghamton’s early season success, and as the top goalie in the AHL through the season’s first 20 games, is certainly on the short list when it comes to Most Valuable Player talk in the AHL.

Mac Carruth (CHI)
Portland Winterhawks – WHL

After being given the reigns as the starting goaltender for the top team in the WHL, Carruth has taken the opportunity and run with it. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect caught fire in November, registering an 8-1 record to go along with a 1.94 goals-against average and .930 save percentage, helping lead the Portland Winterhawks to the best record in the WHL and a ranking as the second best team in all of the CHL.

A seventh-round pick in 2010, the 20-year-old has taken some time to develop but has always possessed the potential to become a star netminder. Playing for such a strong team has clearly been a huge benefactor, but the Chicago Blackhawks will no doubt be pleased with the confidence he is sure to be gaining from his strong play this season.

Teuvo Teravainen (CHI)
Jokerit – SM-Liiga

The Chicago Blackhawks first-round pick in 2012, Teravainen enjoyed a very productive month with Jokerit in the SM-Liiga. The 18-year-old Finnish winger scored five goals and added four assists in six November games and ended the month with points in five straight games.

In his second season with Jokerit, Teravainen ranks fourth on the team in scoring and is already closing in on the numbers he posted as a rookie. He will now put his focus on the World Junior Championship where he will look to keep Finland among the national powers in what will be a highly competitive tournament.

Erik Haula (MIN)
University of Minnesota – (WCHA)

One of the nation’s leading scorers a year ago, Haula is once again leading the charge for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, leading the team offensively and producing a big month of November for the fourth-ranked Gophers.

A seventh-round pick of the Minnesota Wild, Haula started a little slow through the club’s first six games of the season but caught fire in their past nine contests. In November the 21-year-old racked up 13 points in nine games, leading the attack for the Gophers who also feature top prospects such as Nick Bjugstad and Zach Budish.