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Growth spurts

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Our two No. 1s, Steven Stamkos and John Tavares, remain in the Hot List Hall of Fame this week and may have even chatted about their vaunted status during the Sudbury leg of the CHL-Russia challenge last night (but probably not). With that said, here is this week’s compendium of players we can’t wait to see in the NHL in the near future.

1. Jeff Zatkoff, G – Miami RedHawks (CCHA): The RedHawks are flying high this year and part of the reason is Zatkoff’s work in net. The future L.A. King has a miniscule 1.37 goals-against average and just one loss versus 10 wins. Drafted by Los Angeles in 2006.

2. Brayden Schenn, C – Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL):
At 16 years old, Schenn is already making a mark in the rough-and-tumble Western League, posting up nearly a point a game in his first season with the Wheat Kings. Draft eligible in 2009.

3. Joe Colborne, C – Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL): First, some news – Joe Colborne has signed a letter of intent to play for the Denver Pioneers next year.

“It’s official now,” Colborne told

Second, the perennial NCAA power probably shouldn’t size his jersey just yet.

“The year of the WHL draft, I was about 5-foot-8, now I’m 6-foot-4,” Colborne revealed. “And I don’t know if I’m finished growing yet.”

With 43 points in 22 games this season with the Alberta Junior League’s Kodiaks, you wouldn’t think Colborne had any problems with his game, but the Calgary native is figuring out life as a behemoth.

“I’m still getting used to my body,” he said. “Learning how to use my frame and reach.”

Not surprisingly, two of Colborne’s favorite NHLers come from similar stock: Joe Thornton and Vincent Lecavalier.

“They’re both big guys with skills,” he noted.

Colborne chose Denver University because of the history and tradition of the hockey program, but the coaching staff has also been a major asset.

“They’ve been really good, saying they want to help me get to that next level.”

That next level, of course, is the NHL. And one of the big league teams will be calling this summer, as Colborne is draft eligible in 2008.

4. Taylor Hall, C – Windsor Spitfires (OHL): It’s all about the underclassmen this week, and the Spits have got a couple of ‘em (we’ve got Ryan Ellis next time). Hall just turned 16 nine days ago, but he’s fourth in scoring among OHL rookies and Ellis thinks Hall is one of the fastest players in the entire league. Draft eligible in 2010.

5. Richard Bachman, G – Colorado College Tigers (WCHA): In a conference with some pretty stacked goaltending, Bachman still leads them all in winning percentage and save percentage, which he’s executing at a sick .944 clip. Drafted by Dallas in 2006.

6. J.T. Wyman, RW – Dartmouth Big Green (ECAC): No one’s putting up huge numbers in the conference, but Wyman has six goals and 12 points in just eight games, so he’s climbing the ladder. Add a 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame to that and you’ve got one mean Big Green player. Drafted by Montreal in 2004.

7. Jan Stransky, LW – HC Plzen (Cze): The sure-handed Czech teen has been called up from junior to play on the big squad after torching the U20s last season. He made a name for himself in the summer at the Ivan Hlinka U18s and even at 5-foot-8, he’s not afraid to take a defender wide. Draft eligible in 2008.

8. Victor Hedman, D – Modo (Swe): The towering defenseman has also been called up from junior to play in the elite ranks. Still just 16 years old, the 6-foot-5 Hedman definitely has the size for the big league. Draft eligible in 2009.

9. Jeff Glass, G – Binghamton Senators (AHL):
Glass is off to a great start this season, coming in with the only goals-against average in the league under two (he’s at 1.87). He’s got Gerber and Emery ahead of him in Ottawa, but Glass is putting himself in a good spot. Drafted by Ottawa in 2004.

10. Kevin Porter, LW – Michigan Wolverines (CCHA): The Coyotes pick continued his destructive tear this week, coming in with 24 points in just 14 games. With 16 goals, he’s keeping his sniper’s pace, too. Drafted by Phoenix in 2004.

11. Teddy Purcell, RW – Manchester Monarchs (AHL): Everyone’s favorite gap-toothed dangle artist is still pushing the pace in the American League, posting 27 points in 19 games. Purcell has more than an assist per game right now. Signed as free agent with Los Angeles in 2007.

12. Christopher DiDomenico, C – Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL): Rocketing up the leader board with 41 points in 26 games, DiDomenico already has 23 goals for the Sea Dogs. Drafted by Toronto in 2007.

13. Nikita Filatov, LW – CSKA 2 (Rus): Still clicking at a goal-per-game pace, Filatov is showing why he’s being pegged as a high draft pick this summer. Averaging nearly two points a contest. Draft eligible in 2008.

14. Oscar Moller, RW – Chilliwack Bruins (WHL): Alongside teammate Mark Santorelli, Moller has been terrorizing the ‘Dub’ this season, tallying 23 goals and 37 points in 28 games. The Swede averaged a point per game in his rookie year and looks to eclipse that mark in 2007-08. Drafted by Los Angeles in 2007.

15. Luke Schenn, D – Kelowna Rockets (WHL): Brayden’s big brother has been garnering a lot of pre-draft buzz this year, and rightly so. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder is a plus-11 on the year and has even chipped in with 12 points in 25 games. Draft eligible in 2008.

The Hot List, a a weekly roundup of players we can’t wait to see in an NHL uniform, appears every Tuesday, only on

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