There was just one game on the prospect schedule on Monday but for Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) it was also a new beginning for him as Thomas ended a 10 game suspension on Monday evening.
Thomas was playing for Team OHL in game 4 of the Subway Super Series against Team Russia and Thomas made his first game count. Thomas had a secondary assist on what turned out to be the game winning goal as Team OHL defeated Team Russia 6-3.
The score really does not tell the whole story as Team OHL scored the game's first 6 goals and cruised from there. Thomas scored Team OHL's 6th goal of the game for a 1-1-2 return for him.
It has not been the season that Thomas was hoping for but we hold out hope that the rest of the season will go much better for him than the first quarter. Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) also played in this game serving as one of the assistant captains for Team OHL but did not score.
Islander Prospect Of The Week John Persson
John Persson (2011 5th) made it back to back weeks as the Islander's prospect of the week after a 4-4-8 week that saw him continuing his hot streak. Persson ended his week with an 8 game scoring streak and a 6 game scoring streak.
Persson is a huge reason why the Red Deer Rebels have the 2nd best record in the WHL and lead the WHL's Central Division. Finding words to describe Persson's play since October 28th is getting harder and harder to do as Persson's play has been getting better with each passing game.
Persson started his week off with a goal against the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday the 9th as the Rebels started a 4 game in 5 night road trip. Persson scored the first goal in that game which wound up a 6-4 win for the Rebels.
On Friday night with the Rebels taking on BC Division leaders the Kamloops Blazers; Persson had a 1-2-3 evening as the Rebels earned a 5-3 win. Again scored the first goal of the game for the Rebels and his assists came on the game winner (secondary) and the insurance goal (primary).
Saturday the Rebels took the ferry to Victoria for the start of a 2 game set with the Victoria Royals and Persson kept scoring. Persson earned the game's 2nd star after another 1-2-3 evening (his 4th in last 5 games) to lead the Rebels to a 7-4 win.
Persson got a secondary assist on the Rebel's 1st goal, scored the Rebel's 4 goal of the game and another secondary assist on their 5th goal which also turned out to be the game winner.
On Sunday, Persson scored the Rebels 3rd goal of the game but missed on his shootout attempt as the Rebels lost to the Royals 4-3 in the shootout. The Rebels saw their 4 game winning streak become an 8 game unbeaten in regulation streak.
For Persson he has now gone 8-9-17 in his last 8 games as the Rebels using that 6-0-0-2 streak to move into first place. Overall Persson is 11-16-27 which is good for 16th overall in the WHL.
Ranger Prospect Of The Week JT Miller
JT Miller (2011 1st) we have to admit was a prospect that did not show up on our radar as a serious contender for the Ranger's first round pick which is our way of saying we are learning about who he is and how he plays as we go along.
The best way to describe watching Miller is he is one of those "so that is why Gordie Clark liked him" kind of prospects as you learn something new every time we watch him.
We actually had Steven Fogarty all ready for this spot when we took one more look at Miller and realized that we did not give this to him because his team whipped some serious butt last week. It is not Miller's fault that his Plymouth Whalers won all 3 of their games last week by a combined score of 23-5 (8-4, 8-0, and 7-1) but Miller wound up 2-4-6 +5.
As we have progressed through the season we were surprised that this was Miller's first time winning NYR prospect of the week after all he has either led or been at the top of the prospect scoring race, he has been the leading goal scorer almost since day one and he has been pretty consistent.
Miller started his week with a 2 assist night against the Guelph Storm on Friday, his first assist turned out to be on the game winning goal as the Whalers defeated the Storm 8-4. Miller's 2nd assist was a secondary on the Whaler's 8th and final goal of the game.
We also took note that Miller does not back down from anyone including Islander prospects as he got into a slashing duel with Islander prospect Andrey Pedan of Guelph.
On Saturday night, Miller owned the 2nd period of the 8-0 whipping the Whalers hung on the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. Miller scored for at 0:18 of the period for one goal, added a second goal 3:06 later and then finished off the period setting up a power play goal at 15:42.
Miller's 2-1-3 earned him the game's 2nd star as Miller scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season to go along with his 13th assist.
On Sunday Miller set up the Whaler's 3rd goal as they beat up on the Erie Otters 7-1. The assist gave Miller a 11-14-25 mark with in addition to leading the Ranger prospects, Miller leads his Whalers in scoring and is currently 20th overall in the OHL.
And what can we say we have learned about Miller after 21 games? He is much stronger physically than he looks as we have watched him go up against players his size and bigger (he is 6'1 200 according to NYR).
Miller has an extremely fast shot release that if he is set up ready to shoot is almost impossible to stop if he is on target. Miller keeps his game simple, no trick shots, no trying for the highlight reel stuff as he has his fundamentals down pat.
Miller is also very much a team player which we like because he adapts to those he is playing with not waiting on them adapting to him. Miller is also a much harder worker than anyone has given him credit for.
We also can not forget that Miller has been pretty consistent with points in 14 out of 19 games. For us now the thing we want to watch is his conditioning as by our count Miller has already played in 4 sets of 3 games in 2.5-3 days, 2 sets of 3 in 4 days and that number will grow as the season progresses (he plays 3 in 3 this weekend again).
Right now it is hard to find a hole in Miller's game so we expect to see him here pretty soon.
(Persson- Red Deer Rebels, Miller- Aaron Bell - OHL Images)
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