An impromptu road trip to the ‘burbs ended in a Hot List appearance at the Mississauga-Ottawa game on the weekend, where the 67’s upended the best team in the Ontario League. With some standouts from that game, plus happenings around the prospect world, here’s a look at some of the players we’re excited to see in the NHL some day.
Dmitri Jaskin, RW – Slavia Prague (Cze)
It’s been a tough run for Czech prospects in recent drafts, but NHL folk are excited about Jaskin, a Russian-born power forward who moved to the Czech Republic when he was eight months old. The son of a hockey player, Jaskin has impressed scouts with his competitiveness, his strength and his willingness to finish hits. The fact he’s playing against men back home has helped those areas of his game.
“It is certainly better for my development to play against older players,” Jaskin said. “I have no problem with either the power or the technical play.”
One thing the right winger would like to get better at is skating, but he’s already contributing offensively to his Slavia team with three goals and nine points in 30 games. Playing an all-round game is important to the youngster and it shows in his NHL influences.
“I notice shooters as much as any viewer,” Jaskin said. “But I also notice defensive players. I love to watch Pavel Datsyuk and how magic he is with the puck.”
In the near future, that could be Jaskin making the magic in North America. His Canadian League rights are owned by the Calgary Hitmen, but he hasn’t made a decision on where he’s playing next season yet. Draft eligible in 2011.
Ryan Martindale, C – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
With his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame, Martindale looks like a condor out on the ice and he uses it to his advantage. Not only are his offensive skills quite evident this year (top-15 in league scoring), but the big pivot can also deliver a big, stiff bodycheck when necessary. Drafted 61st overall by Edmonton in 2010.
Cody Ceci, D – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
A late birthday who has already been given a nice amount of responsibility in Ottawa, Ceci plays in all situations and has a bullet of a slapshot. His wrister is also quite effective and at 6-foot-2, 203 pounds, he already has the size to impose himself on opponents, though he’s more of an offensive defenseman at this point. Draft eligible in 2012.
Joseph Cramarossa, C – Mississauga-St. Mike’s Majors (OHL)
A speedy pivot who plays a feisty game, Cramarossa looks like he’s on track to becoming a solid energy line player at the next level. Playing for the Majors, his offensive numbers aren’t eye-popping, but there’s definitely some tantalizing skills there. Draft eligible in 2011.
Seth Ambroz, RW – Omaha Lancers (USHL)
Every draft class has a whipping boy for scouts and Ambroz has been a large target this season. Expected to do more offensively as a young vet in the United States League, the 6-foot-2, 211-pound power forward struggled early, as did the Lancers. But Ambroz has rebounded lately, tallying eight points in the past 10 games and Omaha has gone 9-0-1 in that stretch. Draft eligible in 2011.
Sean Couturier, C – Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)
With a lot of other top prospects stealing the show lately, Couturier responded with six points in his past three games, earning second star honors in the ‘Q’ for his troubles. While his No. 1 status is in question now, there’s no getting around the fact NHL scouts and GMs still love his size, skill and puck possession dominance. Draft eligible in 2011.
Justin Faulk, D – University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (WCHA)
Known for his big point shot, Faulk leads all UMD defensemen in scoring with six goals and 19 points in 26 games, while his plus-16 rating is second among all Bulldogs. The blueliner is very strong and got great experience at the world juniors as part of Team USA. Drafted 37th overall by Carolina in 2010.
Blake Pietila, LW – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
Committed to Michigan Tech, Pietila came up big for the Americans at the recent Five Nations tournament in the Czech Republic. The mid-sized winger had Team USA’s first two goals in an eventual 7-4 over Finland to capture the tourney title and put in the shorthanded winner against the Czechs before that. Overall, he had seven points in four games. Draft eligible in 2011.
Olli Maatta, D – JYP Jyvaskyla (Fin. Jr.)
A big young man at 6-foot-2, 196 pounds already, the 16-year-old blueliner was a key contributor to the Finnish offense at the Five Nations tournament and already has a world junior under his belt. He’s played at various levels this season for JYP. Draft eligible in 2012.
Domenic Graham, G – Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)
Another late birthday, Graham has steadily improved in his first season of major junior, particularly since the beginning of the calendar year. True, he’s playing for a great Volts team, but the 16-year-old has six straight wins and one of the best goals-against averages in the league at 2.61. Draft eligible in 2013.
The Hot List, a 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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