Took another Hot List mini-road trip on the weekend to watch the Brampton Battalion dismantle a listless Peterborough Petes team. Needless to say, Evgeny Grachev was like an unstoppable hockey condor and the rumor going ’round the rink was that Toronto’s Cliff Fletcher was in the house, likely enjoying the speed, great hands and faceoff prowess of the draft eligible Matt Duchene.
1. Drew Shore, C – U.S. national team development program: Drew Shore is a man of the world. Thanks to his time with the U.S. NTDP, the young pivot has traveled all over the place, but it was a recent Five Nations tourney victory in Sweden that really stood out.
“That was probably the best experience I’ve had so far in the program,” Shore said.
And that’s a competitive category. Shore, who has put up 33 points in 46 games for the NTDP, largely playing against Division I college competition, had some interesting insights on why the program has worked so well for him.
“It’s different than major junior,” he noted. “Everyone on the team is the same age and no one can get traded, so by the end of your time here, the whole team is best friends.”
Shore has a commitment to Denver University, as do teammates William Wrenn and Adam Murray for next season.
“It will definitely make it more fun,” said Shore, who is actually from Denver. “Obviously growing up there, I went to a lot of games.”
Looking ahead to this summer’s draft, Shore will be a hot commodity and the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder knows what his pros and cons are.
“I think my strengths are how well I see the ice and my ability to be a playmaker,” he said, adding “I’d like to get more selfish with the puck in the prime scoring areas.”
Whatever he’s doing with the puck, Shore is going to be a threat with it as his career progresses. Draft eligible in 2009.
2. Cody Hodgson, C – Brampton Battalion (OHL): We all know Hodgson came very close to making the Vancouver Canucks roster out of training camp, so it’s no surprise he looks like he’s playing his own game out there in the junior ranks. Hockey sense, vision, hands – he’s going to be a great NHLer. Drafted 10th overall by Vancouver in 2008.
3. Chad Johnson, G – University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks (CCHA): The Nanooks secured a first-round bye in the CCHA playoffs, putting them way ahead of pre-season expectations. Johnson, who leads the conference in goals-against average (1.70) and save percentage (.937) is a big reason why. Drafted 125th overall by Pittsburgh in 2006.
4. Chris Terry, LW – Plymouth Whalers (OHL): Despite a loss Monday night, the Whalers are one of the hottest teams in junior right now and the play of their captain has certainly aided that. Terry now stands tied for third in Ontario League scoring with 86 points and looks like a steal of a prospect. Drafted 132nd overall by Carolina in 2007.
5. Adam Brown, G – Kelowna Rockets (WHL): The California kid has been dynamite for the Rockets and even garnered Canadian League Goaltender of the Week honors. Overall, the rookie netminder is second in the Dub with a 2.05 GAA and also sports a very nice .911 save percentage. Draft eligible in 2010.
6. Seth Helgeson, D – Sioux City Musketeers (USHL): A hulking blueliner at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, Helgeson can contribute on the power play, but it’s the physical aspect of the game that will make him a valuable NHLer. The big defender will suit up for the Minnesota Golden Gophers next year and cites Chris Pronger as an influence. Gopher opponents beware… Draft eligible in 2009.
7. Carl Klingberg, LW – Boras HC (Swe.): The youngster started the year with the Frolunda Indians, but has put up more points since joining the second division’s Boras HC. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Klingberg has six points in eight games with his new squad. Draft eligible in 2009.
8. Patrick Wiercioch, D – Denver Pioneers (WCHA): It’s a lonely time for Ottawa fans, but they can turn their weary eyes to Colorado and see one of their future stars putting up a point-per-game from the blueline for the Pios. Wiercioch and his Denver teammates will be a handful in the post-season this year. Drafted 42nd overall in 2008.
9. Jordan Caron, C – Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL): With the Memorial Cup coming to Rimouski this year, Caron is guaranteed the type of high-level experience that can really help a prospect shine. At nearly 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, the young pivot has good size and his 60 points through 50 games come courtesy his puck skills and mobility. Draft eligible in 2009.
10. Kellan Tochkin, LW – Everett Silvertips (WHL): A Dub rookie, Tochkin hit the ground running and leads all freshman scorers with 68 points through 66 games. Considering 50 of those came as assists, it’s no stretch to cite Tochkin for his playmaking abilities. Draft eligible in 2009.
The Hot List, a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday only on thehockeynews.com.
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