The Hot List took another OHL road trip this weekend, taking in a tilt between the Guelph Storm and London Knights. Playoffs in the various leagues are about to jump off, so look for some new heroes to make the grade in the upcoming weeks.
1. Drew Doughty, D – Guelph Storm (OHL): Guelph’s coaches have been getting on Doughty to be selective with his offensive rushes, but it will be difficult to find fault with his judgment on the weekend. With time running down in a 2-2 game, Doughty picked up the puck in his own end, skated past the entire Knights team and deked goalie Jhase Sniderman to put the Storm up a goal with just under 16 seconds to go. It was nothing short of outstanding.
“I really wasn’t planning on anything, it just kind of happened,” said Doughty, noting his first thought was to simply make sure Guelph earned one point in the standings that night. “I’ve never scored the game-winning goal with 15 seconds left like that – never in overtime, nothing.”
But with Doughty’s offensive chops, it’s safe to say the floodgates have been opened now. With that side of his game established, the blueliner has been working on the shutdown aspect of his position.
“My focus in the second half of the season has been more defensive,” he said. “I want to prove I can play the complete game.” Doughty points to the shutdown role he accepted at the world juniors as evidence of his commitment.
As for the upcoming NHL draft, where the Storm rearguard is slotted as the No. 2 pick behind Steven Stamkos, Doughty is ready for his podium call.
“I can’t wait for it to come,” he said.
Draft eligible in 2008.
2. Thomas McCollum, G – Guelph Storm (OHL): Another member of the Guelph squad who should get some face time with Gary Bettman at the draft is McCollum. At 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, the goalie fills the net and is very positionally sound. He also directs his team well from the crease; he’s got “the competition” in him. Draft eligible in 2008.
3. Mark Santorelli, LW – Chilliwack Bruins (WHL): Chilliwack is heading into the playoffs again and Santorelli, along with Kings pick Oscar Moller, has been a big reason why. Santorelli is second in league scoring with 94 points in 68 games. Drafted 119th overall by Nashville in 2007.
4. Jan Kovar, C – HC Plzen 2 (Cze.): Kovar has been on a tear of late, registering three multi-point games in the final five regular season contests for Plzen’s junior squad. Draft eligible in 2008.
5. Ethan Werek, C – Stouffville Spirit (OPJHL): Werek has been one of the more compelling storylines in the battle between major junior leagues and the NCAA. Despite committing to Boston U. way before the OHL draft, he was still taken in the first round by Kingston. He led Stouffville in scoring as a rookie, posting 70 points in just 37 games and has 17 points through 12 playoff games. Draft eligible in 2009.
6. Richard Bachman, G – Colorado College Tigers (WCHA): Bachman may have lost to North Dakota’s J-P Lamoureux in the stat race (they tied in save percentage at .934, but Lamoureux had the better goals-against average), but Bachman won in the standings, as the Tigers nabbed the No. 1 seed in the conference playoff race. So to the victor goes The Hot List. Drafted 120th overall by Dallas in 2006.
7. Philip McRae, C – London Knights (OHL): The son of former St. Louis Blues tough guy Basil McRae, Philip plays a skill game, though he did throw down the gloves and lay a beating on Guelph’s Anthony Nigro. McRae has been a frequent member of U.S. national teams and has some great offensive moves. Draft eligible in 2008.
8. Joe Colborne, C – Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL): Colborne finished out the regular season with 90 points in 55 games, good for second overall in the league. His Kodiaks earned a first-round bye in the playoffs and are now taking on the Olds Grizzlies. Draft eligible in 2008.
9. Nicolas Deschamps, C – Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL): A two-time rookie of the month in the Q, Deschamps has battled Quebec’s Mikhail Stefanovich all year long for the freshman points crown. Draft eligible in 2008.
10. Joe Phillippi, G – Hill-Murray Pioneers (Minn. HS): The Pioneers took the state title on the weekend and Phillippi was a big reason for it. First, he stymied the previously undefeated Roseau Rams in a 6-2 semifinal win, then shut out the high-powered Edina Hornets 3-0 for the championship. Draft year unknown.
11. Jyri Niemi, D – Saskatoon Blades (WHL): A Finnish ex-pat playing in the Dub, Niemi won the hardest shot competition at the CHL Top Prospects game and added 32 points in 46 games from the blueline in his rookie campaign. Draft eligible in 2008.
12. Patrick Maroon, LW – London Knights (OHL): Maroon is a big, solid body who protects the puck and passes well. He was crunched by two Storm players in the second period, but didn’t even fall down. Though it looked like he had separated his shoulder, he came back for the third period. Drafted 161st overall by Philadelphia in 2007.
13. Kirill Petrov, LW – Ak Bars Kazan (Rus.): Playing up with the big squad, Petrov has held his own, which is a bit easier when you’re rocking a 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame at age 18. He doesn’t have a lot of points, but a positive plus-minus is a good indicator. Draft eligible in 2008.
14. Jakub Voracek, RW – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL): Voracek is on the precipice of a 100-point season and is doing it largely through assists. Question: If he plays on a line with Rick Nash next year in Columbus, do they even need a center? Drafted seventh overall by Columbus in 2007.
15. Karl Alzner, D – Calgary Hitmen (WHL): The Hitmen are riding high in the Dub’s Eastern Conference and Alzner is still the steadying force scouts projected. His plus-25 rating is a career best and he has been pinched for just 15 penalty minutes all season. Drafted fifth overall by Washington in 2007.
The Hot List, a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re exciting to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday, only on thehockeynews.com.
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