Thursday, January 27, 2011

Forget The All-Stars Come Watch The Future Stars

If you are a New York Islander fan then honestly you will not have much reason to tune in for the NHL All-Star stuff. Friday though offers you a chance to see as many as 4 future Islanders in action depending on whether you have CBS College Sports or a sports package that allows you to check out more than your regional sports network.

If you have not had a chance to see Anders Lee (2009 6th) play then tune in to CBS College Sports Network as Lee's 9th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish will be hosting 13th ranked Miami of Ohio in a key CCHA matchup.

Lee is a lock for the "All Rookie" teams as the 6'3 220 power forward is having one heck of a freshman season. In 28 games, Lee is 16-12-28 with just 14 PIM and at this pace we would be shocked if he lasts more than 2 seasons at Notre Dame before signing with the Islanders.

Here is the protype power forward who when he sets up in the slot area nobody is going to move him out. Superior soft hands and despite his 6'3 size can also play a finesse game when need be.

And when the Notre Dame/Miami game is over just stay right there as CBS College Sports is offering up a double header with the second game featuring 2 Islander prospects in 2010 1st round pick Brock Nelson and 2007 3rd pick Jason Gregoire. Gregoire and Nelson play for 5th ranked North Dakota as they visit Colorado College.

Nelson a 6'3 185 freshman has had his ups and downs was a healthy scratch last Saturday night so it is going to see if he got the message or not. After watching Nelson play for Team USA, we think here is a case of a prospect who would have been better suited going the junior route instead of college hockey.

Teammate Gregoire is a 5'11 junior sniper who can score from just about any place on the ice. Gregoire despite his size is not afraid to mix things up. Gregoire missed 7 games recently due to injury but returned with a bang last weekend scoring 2 goals against Nebraska-Omaha.

Now if you can access the out of market Fox Sports Northwest then at 10 PM EDT/ 7 PM PDT, Nino Niederreiter (2010 1st) will lead his Portland Winterhawks on the road against division rival the Tri-City Americans. This one is going to be a very key game for both teams as Portland is riding a 6 game winning streak and is starting to pull away from the Americans who are at last check 8 points behind Portland.

In addition to "El Nino", this is also a very good chance to see 4 Portland Winterhawks who we project to be selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Ty Rattie and Sven Bartschi in our book are locks for being selected in the first round while defensemen Tyler Wotherspoon (6'2 205) and Joe Morrow (6'1 200) should go in the 2nd to 3rd round range.

In any event we will have the highlights of a very key night in prospect hockey right here as always.


Just one prospect in action on Thursday night as Ranger prospect Jason Wilson (2010 5th) is making a strong case for a contract with his play in the second half. The 20 year old power forward of the Niagara IceDogs had a goal and an assist but his IceDogs lost in the shootout 7-6 to the London Knights.

Wilson set up Niagara's first goal of the game when he fed Ryan Strome for a goal at 7:59 of the first period. It was Wilson's 15th assist on the season and his 5th of the month. 

In the 2nd Wilson had what appeared to be a good goal waved off when his linemate Strome was called for contact with the London goalie (stick tap to Jeff Blay for that one) that would have given the IceDogs a 2-1 lead. 

In the 3rd period with the score tied at 5-5, Wilson scored what should have been the game winning goal when he fired a blast at 18:21 for his 11th goal of the season. The IceDogs were unable to protect the lead as the Knights tied the game up with just 11 seconds remaining in regulation. 

The Knights would go on to earn the extra point in the shootout.  Wilson is now 11-15-26 on the season but 5-12-17 in his last 17 games. We will see him in Hartford once his OHL season is done.

(Lee /NY Islanders, Nelson/NHL Media, Niederreiter/Portland Winterhawks, Wilson/Niagara)

No comments: