As teams in various leagues jockey for post-season positioning, the cream rises to the top. The Minnesota State High School Tournament final is fast approaching and NCAA teams are locking down their playoff seeds. But one particular Ontario Leaguer had a very special week…
1. John Tavares, C – London Knights (OHL): It’s J.T.’s world, we just live there. Tavares broke Peter Lee’s 33-year-old record for most career OHL goals (213) when the Knights phenom netted a hat trick in a 4-3 win over the juggernaut Windsor Spitfires Saturday. The top prospect also broke the 100-point barrier for the third consecutive season. Draft eligible in 2009.
2. Brandon Gormley, D – Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL): It’s not easy to step right into major junior hockey and make an impact, but that’s precisely what Gormley has done on the Moncton blueline this year. Gee, you’d think the kid was a No. 1 pick or something…
Of course, that’s exactly how Gormley arrived in the Q and the Wildcats are happy he did. The 17-year-old (his birthday was in February) defenseman has 25 points through 59 games and has certainly met expectations.
“We have a good team and a young team,” Gormley said. “For me, it’s an ideal situation – lots of minutes; lots of ice time.”
A prodigy from P.E.I., Gormley grew up in the same town as Brad Richards and followed the Dallas star’s path to the Notre Dame Hounds program in Saskatchewan.
“It was pretty inspirational to see him do what he did,” Gormley noted. “His family used to babysit me.”
The young defenseman cites his ability to read the play and his poise with the puck as his greatest assets on the ice and still wants to work on getting quicker feet. But considering he was playing in national under-17 tournaments as a 14-year-old, it goes without saying the youngster is mature beyond his years. The next step comes with the looming Q playoffs and once again, Gormley is ready for the challenge.
“It’s a tough league,” he said. “You just have to work hard every day and get your rest at night.”
Gormley’s opponents in the post-season would be wise to do the same.
Draft eligible in 2010.
3. Colin Wilson, C – Boston University Terriers (Hockey East): The Terriers are still the team to beat in the NCAA right now and Wilson, THN’s No. 4 prospect in Future Watch ’09, is in command of the conference scoring race. The rugged sophomore has 46 points in 34 games, not to mention the best points-per-game ratio in Hockey East at 1.35. Drafted seventh overall by Nashville in 2008.
4. Linus Omark, LW – Lulea HF (Swe.): Seems like these 5-foot-9 whippets are getting more chances these days and Omark is no exception. The youngster leads all Swedish League playoff scorers with five points (all assists) through two games. Drafted 97th overall by Edmonton in 2007.
5. Brent Regner, D – Vancouver Giants (WHL): Alright, so we know the Giants are good, but some of the stats their charges are putting up are incredible. To wit; Regner is tied for the best plus-minus in the Dub with an obscene plus-65 to go along with 64 points in 67 games. Drafted 137th overall by Columbus in 2008.
6. Andrej Stastny, LW – Dukla Trencin Jr. (Svk.): The European pipeline has slowed dramatically recently, but Stastny offers some very tantalizing numbers, beginning with his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame. The left winger also has 47 points in 44 games and a monster plus-45 rating. Draft eligible in 2009.
7. Tomas Jurco, LW – HC Kosice Jr. (Svk.): A little more slight (5-foot-11, 167 pounds) than Stastny, countryman Jurco can nevertheless dazzle in his own right. The Kosice prospect has 50 points in 49 games, despite being three years younger than some of his junior mates (he’s a late birthday). Draft eligible in 2011.
8. Olivier Roy, G – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL): Roy seems to have fallen out of favor with scouts as the year has gone on, but the goaltender is still putting up some impressive stats and is the reigning Quebec League defensive player of the week. The netminder helped the Screaming Eagles knock off Saint John and Moncton last week and rocked a 2.00 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in the process. Draft eligible in 2009.
9. Zac Dalpe, C – Ohio State Buckeyes (CCHA): The skilled Dalpe was just named to the conference’s all-rookie team and has his Buckeyes advancing to the second round of the CCHA tournament. The freshman has 25 points through 33 games. Drafted 45th overall by Carolina in 2008.
10. Brayden Schenn, C – Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL): Still putting up points, Schenn now has 84 through 67 games, meaning his two-way game is likely more Mike Richards than it is Rob Niedermayer – something scouts must be drooling about. Draft eligible 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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