After a slight hiatus, The Hot List is back and we don’t stop. Middle of summer? Please. There’s still plenty of news in the prospect world and the following represents a smattering of players we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.
1. Ethan Werek, C – Kingston Frontenacs (OHL): Werek would never say his choice of teams last year was wrong, but the early evidence didn’t help. Instead of suiting up next to former Jr. A teammate Corey Trivino at Boston University, where the Terriers barnstormed their way to a national title, Werek headed to Kingston and the lowly Frontenacs, where he initially struggled.
But all that changed when a Killer came to town.
Coach Doug Gilmour, that is. The former NHLer helped Werek turn around his season and the OHL rookie ended his first campaign with a respectable 32 goals and 64 points in 66 games.
“He helped settle me down,” Werek said. “He brought excitement. He was the king of the city and still is.”
But that NCAA crown still would have been cool, right?
“Winning a title would have been great,” Werek said. “But Kingston has been great to me.”
Werek is still working his game out, but scouts agree his skill set is high and with the young Fronts, he has a chance to make a name for himself in the city he chose to grow in.
Drafted 47th overall by the New York Rangers in 2009.
2. Nick Shore, C – U.S. NTDP (USHL): If things shake out, Nick and older brother Drew will play for the Denver Pioneers together in 2010-11. Nick tallied 13 points in 14 games with the U.S. national development team program internationally last season and specializes in goal-scoring, especially when a big marker is needed. Doesn’t mind getting physical, either. Draft eligible in 2011.
3. Ben Marshall, D – Mahtomedi Zephyrs (Minn. HS): Another high-scoring defenseman out of the Minnesota high school ranks, Marshall will get a chance to shine internationally as a member of Team USA’s Ivan Hlinka under-18 tournament team in mid-August. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound rearguard posted 19 goals and 46 points in 25 games last season. Draft eligible in 2010.
4. Brandon Gormley, D – Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL): Gormley had the most impact among major junior rookies last season, according to some scouts. He’ll grow as a player even more this season, but first off he’ll want a shot playing for Canada at the Ivan Hlinka. The kid can defend well and move the puck. Draft eligible in 2010.
5. Kirill Kabanov, LW – Moscow Spartak Jr. (Rus.): If history is any indicator, Kabanov will pile up points at the Ivan Hlinka then, at some point, completely go off on a ref/opponent and pile up PIMs and misconducts. Either way, there’s no denying the electricity in the young man. Draft eligible in 2010.
6. Jamieson Oleksiak, D – Chicago Steel (USHL): Kids grow at different rates, but the teens at the Ivan Hlinka will all be looking up at the 6-foot-6, 216-pound USA blueliner. A late birthday made him a very young USHLer last year, but Oleksiak still held his own on a mediocre Steel team. Draft eligible in 2011.
7. Austin Watson, C – Windsor Spitfires (OHL): Consider Watson part of the next wave of Spits firepower; a tight line of succession that went from Josh Bailey and Greg Nemisz to Ryan Ellis, Taylor Hall and Andrei Loktionov. Watson will get his chance in the spotlight with Team USA at the Ivan Hlinka tourney, bringing his 6-foot-3 frame and Memorial Cup with him. Draft eligible in 2010.
8. Louis Boileau-Domingue, G – Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL): You can’t have a Team Canada junior camp without a goalie from the ‘Q’ and Boileau-Domingue is a great candidate for this year’s Ivan Hlinka team. As backup to Nicola Riopel in Moncton, LBD put up an impressive .930 save percentage and 2.32 goals-against average last year. Draft eligible in 2010.
9. Tyler Seguin, C – Plymouth Whalers (OHL): Seguin had a nice rookie campaign for the Whalers (67 points in 61 games), but the youngster soared in the playoffs, knocking out 16 points in 11 contests. He’s vying for a chance to wear a Canada jersey at the Ivan Hlinka. Draft eligible in 2010.
10. Kellan Tochkin, RW – Everett Silvertips (WHL): One of the newest members of the Vancouver Canucks, Tochkin signed with the NHL squad after leading the Dub in rookie scoring with 74 points in 72 games. The former BCHLer hails from nearby Abbotsford. Signed as a free agent by Vancouver 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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