The Hot List took in Game 1 of the Ontario League final last week between Barrie and Windsor and the talent on display was for real. The Spitfires are on the cusp of eliminating the Colts right now and would join Brandon at the Memorial Cup in the process. Here are some of the stars from that series, plus the usual roster of kids we can’t wait to see in the NHL one day. Also, The Hot List is heading into a summer schedule, meaning files won’t be every week, but will pop up when major events (NHL draft, Ivan Hlinka tournament) warrant a round-up.
1. Stefan Della Rovere, LW – Barrie Colts (OHL): When the Washington Capitals take stock of their early exit this season, they may want to look at Della Rovere as one possible remedy. Stocky, yappy and effective, Barrie’s captain can play that dirty game that often leads to victories.
“I’m an average-sized power forward and I think I work well below the goal line,” the 20-year-old said. “I really want to work on my skating this summer, but things I do well are taking the body and controlling the boards down low.”
Della Rovere has contributed eight goals in 16 playoff games for Barrie, but his overall grit is what makes him so effective.
“I just want to be a pest out there, try to get their good players off their game,” Della Rovere revealed. “Give ’em a little shove after the whistle – nothing too noticeable to the refs – maybe say something…that’s my game.”
Next year, Della Rovere is likely bound for Hershey and a spot on the juggernaut Bears of the American League.
“Next year’s going to be a whole new experience, I hope,” he said. “If I can crack the AHL lineup, they have a great team there.”
There’s even the outside possibility he’ll crack the Capitals lineup. In that case, he can make life miserable for a whole new class of opponents. Drafted 204th overall by Washington in 2008.
2. Taylor Hall, LW – Windsor Spitfires (OHL): Hall won Game 1 for Windsor in overtime and exhibited a lot of speed and offensive panache for most of the contest. He’s difficult to contain on the rush, which would help explain his 32 points in 18 playoff games, second in the OHL. Draft eligible in 2010.
3. Alexander Burmistrov, C – Barrie Colts (OHL): The talented Russian was excellent in Game 1 and notched a goal in Game 2, but he truly is one of those players you want to see in person. Burmistrov is an ultra-smart hockey player; he always seems to know where the puck is going and he usually makes the right play when he has it. He takes faceoffs and mans the point on the power play – sometimes on the same shift. Sure, he’s skinny, but he’s also a tough competitor. Draft eligible in 2010.
4. Brandon Gormley, D – Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL): Amazing how being steady can work out so well for some young folk. Gormley, whose Wildcats hold a 2-0 series edge in the ‘Q’ final over Saint John, has been humming along with 17 points in 17 post-season games. Meanwhile, his competition for the top defenseman selected this summer – Windsor’s Cam Fowler and Kingston’s Erik Gudbranson – met with adversity in the OHL playoffs and world under-18s, respectively. Gormley was always the safest pick, now he might be the best, too. Draft eligible in 2010.
5. Martin Jones, G – Calgary Hitmen (WHL): We knew the Dub final would be low-scoring, but Jones is absolutely murdering Tri-City with his work between the pipes. Jones now leads the league in goals-against average with a 2.40 mark and has given up just one goal on 48 shots through two games in the series, both Calgary victories. Signed as a free agent by Los Angeles in 2008.
6. Tyler Seguin, C – Plymouth Whalers (OHL): The OHL player of the year, Seguin nudged out Hall for the award and that’s no easy feat. Seguin did put up 48 goals and 106 points this year, however, his solid two-way game is highly coveted by NHL scouts. The only question left now is who goes No. 1 at the draft this summer? Draft eligible in 2010.
7. Nick Ebert, D – Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL): Thought to be a surefire No. 1 pick in the OHL draft, Ebert instead slid all the way down to No. 17, where he was scooped up by Mississauga. Talk that the smooth operating blueliner was prepared to go the college route likely scared off a lot of teams, much like Scott Harrington last year. Needless to say, if the Majors can bring Ebert in, they’ll have a deadly weapon at their disposal. Draft eligible in 2012.
8. Alex Stalock, G – Worcester Sharks (AHL): On a team that has sent out 10 rookies to get the job done in the post-season, Stalock has been a strong last line of defense. The University of Minnesota-Duluth product may be in his first year of pro hockey, but with a 2.46 GAA and .914 save percentage, Stalock is top-five in the league. And more importantly, the Sharks are winning. Drafted 112th overall by San Jose in 2005.
9. Alex Forsberg, C – Beardy’s Blackhawks (Sask. Midget): You won’t be seeing him in the NHL for a while, but Forsberg is on the right path. As the top selection in the Western League bantam draft, Forsberg will eventually join his older brother, Jesse, with the Prince George Cougars. The speedy center tallied 72 points in 44 games this season and has excellent on-ice vision for a 15-year-old. Draft eligible in 2013.
10. Alex Galchenyuk, C – Chicago Young Americans (Midwest Elite): The first overall pick in the OHL draft, Galchenyuk laid waste to the competition this season, leading the hot-house Midwest Elite League in scoring with 87 points in 38 games. That’s 33 points more than the next-highest scorer in the circuit. At 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, Galchenyuk already has size to go with his dominant goal-scoring ways and will bring his game to Sarnia next year. Draft eligible in 2012.
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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. A player is eligible for The Hot List until they play in their first NHL game.
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